Illuminating a fusion of heritage and modernity

The panellists shed light on the enchanting journey of Rajasthan as a destination and the seamless fusion of modernity with heritage

In the latest episode of BW HOTELIER’s webBLAST series, The GM Show Season 2, the focus was on Luxurious Rajasthan and ecreating the royal experience. The discussion, moderated by Ashok Rathore, Area Director, Rajasthan and General Manager, Rambagh Palace, Jaipur with industry experts, provided a comprehensive insight into the state's rich heritage and their design and guest experience. The host for the show was Bhuvanesh Khanna, CEO – BW Communities, BW BUSINESSWORLD.

The panellists included Abhishek Sharma, GM, The Leela Palace Jaipur; Devraj Singh, Cluster GM, Taj Amer; Nalin Mandiratta, Regional GM - IHG & GM, InterContinental Jaipur Tonk Road; Supreet Singh, GM, Jai Mahal Palace Jaipur and Deependra Rana, GM, ITC Rajputana - A Luxury Collection Hotel. The industry experts shed light on the enchanting journey of Rajasthan as a destination and the seamless fusion of modernity with heritage. 

Kicking off the discussion, Rathore declared, “Rajasthan is not a destination; it’s an experience, promising to enchant, educate and inspire.” He emphasised the unique ability of the state’s capital, Jaipur, to embrace modernity while upholding its rich heritage and culture. “I feel special being part of a half-a-century old journey with IHCL by opening many hotels in every city of the state,” he added, highlighting the significant role of IHCL in shaping the hospitality landscape of Rajasthan. He went on to reflect on the distinctive architectural style of Rajasthan. “Rajasthan’s own special architectural style is visible in different forts,” Rathore noted.

Sharma, GM of Leela Palace Jaipur, shared his personal connection with the state, saying, “I moved to several brands but could not move away from the appeal of the state of Rajasthan.” He underlined the enduring cultural appeal of Rajasthan, stating, “Since the inception of the Golden Triangle, Rajasthan was a part of it because of its rich traditional and cultural appeal.” He further discussed the transformation in the hospitality industry, noting, “Over a period of time, hotels like Leela Palace Jaipur have changed the focus from guest satisfaction to guest delight. Nowadays, it is about creating a ‘wow’ memory.”

“For new hotels, striking the right balance between tradition and contemporary is crucial, ensuring a return on investment for the stakeholders,” added Devraj Singh. He also praised the diverse Rajasthani cuisine, observing, “Rajasthani cuisine does not end with Dal Bati Churma and Gatta. It is an amalgamation of every city in the state, from Mewari to Marwari cuisine. Not to forget, the underrated Shekhawati cuisine,” Devraj Singh highlighted the Rajasthani hoteliers in creating a universal experience. He stressed on the immersive heritage walk offered by the hotel, celebrating the state’s iconic festivals like Gangaur and Teej.  

Mandiratta discussed the potential of Rajasthan in various tourism sectors. “Whether you look at the potential for MICE tourism or cultural tourism or heritage tourism, each has a place in the state,” he affirmed. Emphasising the importance of personalised service, he said, “We can ensure customer delight by taking care of the desires of each customer that steps into the hotel.” However, Supreet Singh posited a rather delicate matter of presenting and preserving heritage structures. He acknowledged the challenge of blending historic structures with modern elements, stating, “We don’t renovate; we do restoration.”

Rana concluded the discussion by highlighting the continuous evolution of hospitality offerings. “All the brands have evolved their product offering to make it more and more contemporary, so the hotel is not 31 years old; it is 31 years young,” he emphasised, talking about the Pink City being the City of Love, “The creation of the city of Jaipur was done for love and affection to happen, and this is what we do in hospitality with its unique blend of tradition and modernity.”

The episode ended with host Bhuvanesh Khanna thanking the esteemed panellists for sharing their thoughts and views on the subject and informing everyone about the edition of The GM Show on Regal Weddings and Events in Rajasthan – A Grand Affair at 4 pm on November 17.


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