Catering to the Discerning Guest
The founder CEO and CEO of the Naumi Hotel Group speak on their vision for the future.
Photo Credit : Naumi Hotel Group,
(L to R) Gaurang Jhunjhnuwala, CEO of Naumi Hotels (Australia and New Zealand) with Surya Jhunjhnuwala, the CEO and Founder of Naumi Hotel Group.
BW HOTELIER had the great opportunity to speak to the two forces behind the Naumi Hotel group which recently opened their second property in Auckland New Zealand after their first very successful hotel in Singapore.
Surya Jhunjhnuwala, the CEO and Founder of the company along with Gaurang Jhunjhnuwala, CEO of Naumi Hotels (Australia and New Zealand) spoke to us via email in a most enlightening interaction.
The holding company of the hotels is the Hind Group of Companies, which opened its first hotel in Singapore back in 2007. The closely held family business is a brand synonymous with modern luxury. The group visions to consistently engage today’s discerning traveler in a warm sanctuary of comfort, with a stylish design concept, whilst showcasing architectural and design philosophies reflective of city hotels, according to the company.
Naumi pronounced “know-me” means “the 9th day” in Sanskrit, which carries an auspicious meaning based on the Hindu calendar.
Each Naumi establishment aims to represent the highest standard of hospitality that is passionate, enthusiastic and intuitive. Fueled by the desire to delight more customers with redefined ultra-luxurious living, Naumi Hotels began with the opening of its flagship hotel, Naumi Hotel on Seah Street in Singapore in 2007, which soon built up an enviable reputation for unparalleled attention to detail and impeccable personalised service.
BW HOTELIER: Tell us a little about Naumi’s philosophy.
Surya Jhunjhnuwala: Naumi is a design-driven, boutique luxury hotel brand which offers bespoke customer-centric personalised services to every guest. We want our guests to step inside and immediately feel that Naumi is a luxe version of ‘home away from home’. Luxurious but also warm, friendly and never intimidating.
Gaurang Jhunjhnuwala: Naumi is also akin to staying with your closest friend who has a great sense of style. It’s somewhere you can be yourself, and feel welcomed at all times. The brand blends modern chic luxury with service from the heart.
BWH: What makes the brand unique in comparison to your competition?
GJ: You know how most large hotel chains have the same cookie-cutter designs and rooms? Yes, some people like that its predictable, but for most, it just takes away the element of fun and surprise.
You will never find two properties with the same look and feel at Naumi. We’ve made it important that each property is unique, by anchoring its design with a main inspiration point and incorporating elements from the local community as well. Our guests love the concept of our designer rooms inspired by the likes of Chanel, Andy Warhol, Yayoi Kusama, Missoni & more.
SJ: Quality is something that we take seriously, and it is something that keeps people coming back for. You’ll know we’re serious about guest comfort when you try our signature 5-layer bedding with 400 thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets or powerful rainshower that just instantly melts stress away.
We don’t believe in making guests pay for add-ons. One price gets you everything - from Wifi, Apple TV, facilities to the mini-bar here at Naumi. Guests are a fan of our huge list of perks named Naumi Signatures, which is complimentary with every booking.
We’re also conscious about our environmental footprint so we have been coming up with initiatives to go green. To reduce plastic pollution, we are working on phasing out in-room single use plastic bottles and replacing them with reusable bottles in Singapore. Our Auckland team has recently switched to bio-degradable straws as well. This is on top of many other initiatives we’re working on to give back to the community.
BWH: Has your Indian heritage been imbibed in any way into the brand value?
SJ: For starters, our brand name Naumi (pronounced “know-me”) actually means “the 9th day” in Sanskrit, which carries an auspicious meaning based on the Hindu calendar.
GJ: We try to incorporate the understanding of ancient Hindu scripture “Atithi Devo Bhava” when we train our staff. It’s proven successful of course, as over the years we’ve received a lot of compliments on our service quality, setting us apart from our competition.
We also consult with Vaastu in relation to the design of our hotels, which is the science of arranging the five elements – earth, water, fire, air and sky in complete harmony.
A statue of Lord Ganesha, one of the best-known and most worshiped deities in the Hindu pantheon is also tastefully placed at the entrance of every Naumi Hotel. Lord Ganesha is widely revered as the remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences and the deva of intellect and wisdom.
And of course, Indian cuisine is a mainstay at Naumi Hotels. Table by Rang Mahal in Naumi Hotel Singapore serves up delectable Indian dishes like Tandoori Paneer Tikka, Murg Angar and more while Paksa Restaurant and Bar in Naumi Hotel Auckland Airport presents a good mix of cuisines, including dishes like Aloo Gobi, Rogan Josh and Chicken Jalfrezi.
We also intend to serve authentic Indian cuisine in all upcoming properties.
BWH: Why did you choose Australasia as your area of expansion?
GJ: Australasia is now dubbed as the ‘it’ location for millennials and honeymooners, being more pocket-friendly compared to Europe or the UK. Simply put, our expansion into Australasia is fuelled by the high demand of visitorship and shortage of rooms. There is a gap in the market to be filled, and we dove right in after analysing market needs.
BWH: What are your expansion plans? Do they include India and if so, what is the strategy you are looking at?
GJ: We have three new properties coming up – two in Wellington and one in Sydney that is stipulated to be operational by end 2019. For the next 2-3 years, we’re looking to expand in Wellington, Queenstown, Christchurch, Melbourne and Brisbane. After that, we will be looking towards the Europe market.
SJ: It’s all about making the right investments at the right time. The European market looks positive in the upcoming years. A good portion of our loyal customers actually come from Europe and the UK, and I’m sure they will be excited to find a Naumi closer to their home.
As for India, with the right location and partner, why not? Location is always key for Naumi Hotels. If we were to expand to India, locations like Bangalore or Mumbai will be ideal. The Indian market is unique, and our branding is niche. We will need to target the right market that understands the value of a luxury boutique hotel.
BWH: Where do you see the group in the next decade?
SJ: As we’re going global, there’s a lot of work to be done. In the next decade, we aim to build the brand into a globally recognised Singapore-branded boutique luxury hotel group known for doing things differently.
GJ: Well, to be known for our sexy designs and services of course! Hopefully, we will be in the India market by then.
This article was published in BW hotelier issue dated '' with cover story titled 'MICE issue'
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