An embodiment of Tajness in grandeur and elegance
Taj Bengal sets new standards for excellence in hospitality in Kolkata, says General Manager Arnab Chatterjee
CRAFTED UNDER the visionary design sensibilities of architect Bob Fox, Taj Bengal in Kolkata seamlessly captures the essence of the city’s celebrated art, culture and heritage. Boasting 200 meticulously designed rooms, including 27 suites adorned with authentic antiques, invaluable artworks and traditional accents, the hotel effortlessly intertwines classical elements with contemporary style and cutting-edge amenities. “The property stands as a testament to the city’s rich cultural tapestry, providing an immersive experience that goes beyond mere accommodation. Taj Bengal is where one can indulge in the culinary delights offered at exquisite fine-dining restaurants, setting a new standard for excellence in Kolkata,” says General Manager Arnab Chatterjee.
What’s more? Within walking distance are prominent landmarks like Victoria Memorial, Royal Calcutta Race Course, Horticultural Gardens, National Library, Eden Gardens and the Alipore Zoological Gardens. “The city’s commercial centre is just 3 km away while it is a 45 minutes’ drive to the airport. Nestled in the city’s greenest precinct, Taj Bengal’s guests are treated to lush flora teeming with birdlife and clear views of the Alipore Zoological Gardens. The vertical garden on the T-shaped facade is one of the chief distinguishing factors of the Belvedere Road hotel and it runs on the interior facade too, ensuring every room has a view of its own patch of green,” he shares. Chatterjee. It was just six months back that he took over the reins of the hotel as its General Manager though he has been with IHCL for almost two decades now. Interestingly, he had joined IHCL in 2004 as a Sales Executive in Taj Bengal.
Talking about the target clientele and market positioning of the hotel, Chatterjee says, “Deeply inspired by Kolkata’s art, culture and heritage, Taj Bengal is an embodiment of Tajness in its grandeur and elegance. The hotel is regarded as Flagship of the East in the IHCL portfolio of hotels and has always been the leader in its F&B offerings for the city with its legendary restaurants and banquets.” He adds the target clientele has been the crème de la crème of the city and targetted to its luxury offering to the rest of senior corporate heads of the country. “The hotel has hosted Heads of States, Nobel Laureates, Corporate Heads and celebrities over the three-and-a-half decades of its existence.”
IHCL has always been seen positively adapting technology to ensure efficiency in delivery of products and services, opines Chatterjee. “Covid19 came with its set of challenges and the requirement of zero touch gave us the momentum to implement certain touchless initiatives and also helped us place ourselves as a hotel chain that adapted itself to the circumstances we operated. We introduced I-Zest platform for Zero Touch Service Transformation to ensure safety of our guests and associates along with interactive platforms which enabled customers to use their own devices for seamless execution of check-in, check-out, settlement of bills and availing F&B services with ease. Physical meetings gave way to quick connects over virtual platforms that also helped us connect with colleagues at remote locations,” he informs.
To balance luxury service with environmentally conscious practices, the General Manager says that as sustainability is the new luxury, they bring about a balance! “The implementation of sustainable practices in IHCL hotels range from simple measures such as recycling and reducing waste to more complex initiatives such as the use of renewable energy sources, eliminating use of fossil fuel. The initiatives are aimed not only to help the community and environment but are a requirement for new-age carbon footprint-conscious traveller too. We look at sustainable initiatives as a medium to improve upon efficiency and at the same time help with a healthy bottom line.”
Equally important, he feels, is generating awareness about the initiatives amongst the guests as well as creating positive imaging so that the guests partner and support the hotel in its endeavours. “Implementing technology is another way to balance our environmental commitments and to aim at being efficient. The use of one-touch services has reduced the printing costs at the hotel. Energising solar usage ensures reducing the load on electrical costs. Recycling of STP water ensures fresh water is preserved for essential purposes. Sustainability in hospitality is good business but a word of caution – it needs to be followed from the heart and should not be looked as a marketing gimmick,” says Chatterjee.
Communicating transparently with the local community is an essential part of running hotel operations, shares the GM. “Being a joint collaborative effort, Taj Bengal has seen the support from the communities increasing by the year. The hotel is located in the greenest part of Kolkata and diagonally opposite to Alipore Zoo. As part of our cleanliness drives, we have cleaned the inner part of the zoo and the National Library that is a stone’s throw from the hotel. We have educated vendors outside the zoo on hygiene and sanitisation, briefed them on safe cooking and storage practices. Right behind the hotel is the Alipore Women’s Correctional Centre, here the hotel team has engaged in converting a barren piece of land into a lush green vegetable garden that supplies requirements to the kitchen,” he adds.
When it comes to leading a team, Chatterjee says he believes in a collaborative effort as he is a strong believer of working in teams to achieve success. “By choosing to have a mindset that looks at positivity or learning in all the challenges, I have been able to build a similar culture in the work environment at the hotel. I’m clear in setting expectations out of my team and give them the freedom to choose a path for achievement of their goals. My constant support to them ensures that I help them iron out wrinkles when required yet I maintain a distance to give the team the required freedom. Positive body language as simple as standing tall and straight gives you the required confidence, I work hard to instill basic etiquette in my team. I encourage them to use positive language and never hesitate to question a situation or a decision,” he informs.
To ensure a high level of service and guest satisfaction, Chatterjee feels it is not a function but a culture that needs to be nurtured at all levels in the hotel. “We, at IHCL, have been mastering the art of curating experiences for each of our guests. Satisfaction is only achieved when expectations are met and that is done only with a motivated team. Colleagues need to see value in the roles they play, their passion needs to be nurtured. Senior leaders have to be on the lookout to offer a word of encouragement and assist in timely corrections. Constant reiteration of Athiti Devo Bhava and the customer-centric approach of IHCL has gone a long way in ensuring defect-free and quality service to our guests,” he says.
This article was published in BW hotelier issue dated '' with cover story titled 'BW HOTELIER THE BLEISURE SPECIAL'
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