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‘We aim to position Marriott Mussoorie as a wedding destination’ - Chandrashekhar Joshi, GM, JW Marriott Mussoorie Walnut Grove Resort & Spa

Chandrashekhar Joshi, General Manager, JW Marriott Mussoorie Walnut Grove Resort & Spa speaks to Akansha Pandey about the upscale facilities offered by the property and how he aims to make the hotel North India’s most premier family-style resort

Saturday, November 1, 2014, 12:30 Hrs  [IST]

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Q. Since when have you been with the hotel and how has been the pre-opening phase?
A.
I joined the hotel as the General Manager in April, 2014. As we are located on a hill station, during the pre-opening phase, we faced quite a few logistical challenges especially with regards to the procurement of hotel supplies and equipments. Having said this, with a strong team in place and an extremely supportive network of reliable suppliers across the country, we were successful in the soft launch of the hotel within five months of the takeover on October 1, 2014. This is one of the fastest pre-openings in the Marriott portfolio in India.

Q. How do you plan to create a difference in the experience of leisure travellers?
A.
As the first JW Marriott resort in the country, our focus is to set ourselves apart through our offerings and highly personalised service. At the resort, we aim at creating memories for our guests right from the time they arrive. Our aim is to be North India’s most premier family style resort and we have introduced a number of room packages to suit the various needs of our guests such as a spa, sightseeing, honeymoon and adventure packages.

As most guests come to our resort with a view to relax and unwind, we have on offer a 12,000 sq. ft. of entertainment space called The Den and an activity calendar that includes yoga classes, cooking sessions, interactive games and evening tea in the traditional Garhwali style under the walnut tree. At all our restaurants, our chefs go beyond offering what is available on the menu to creating meals customised to individual preferences. We focus on creating several touch points for our guests during the course of their stay to ensure they leave with fond memories.

Q. Apart from the leisure travellers, how do you aim to attract the MICE traffic?
A.
Marriott India is fortunate to boast of a very strong sales set up both at the national and market levels. With our existing base of loyal corporate across industries, we believe that our first JW Marriott Resort in India will drive traction in terms of small-to-medium senior management meets/ off-sites. We already observe a lot of excitement amongst our partners - be it the corporate, event management companies, other associations with regards to our property and the prospect of organising their next meet with us.

Besides being the ideal getaway resort in North India, we are also positioning ourselves as a wedding destination. With 4,200 sq ft of banquet space which includes a spacious pre function area, we have the flexibility and talent to create memorable weddings and social gatherings against the picturesque backdrop of the Himalayas.

Q. What are the challenges for hotels in the region in terms of business and how are you gearing up to confront the same?
A.
Mussoorie is a popular hill station in North India and pre-dominantly attracts guests from the Delhi - National Capital Region (NCR) and Punjab. Although these will remain our major feeder markets, we also aim to capitalise further through our existing presence across 12 locations in the country including the metropolitan cities. Our focus is to increase the appeal of this mesmerizing destination in markets such as Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kolkata.

Moreover, we believe that with the world-class facilities offered at our resort, we will be successful in tapping the expat segment as well. The power of our loyalty program, the Marriott Rewards, which has an existing customer base of over 35 million members, will stand us in good stead to drive this segment.

Q. With branded hospitality chains already established in the region, how do you foresee to carve a niche for the property?
A.
Whilst Mussoorie has always been a popular hill station in North India, a premium brand such as ours is the first to enter this market. JW Marriott is an established international luxury brand with a very strong recall value. As a product, the facilities offered at the resort are truly class apart. In a market where most hotels offer just a couple of dining options, we have over five restaurants which include an Italian trattoria, a soon to open Asian specialty, a Grill lounge and tea lounge besides our all day dining.

We have 12,000 sq ft of dedicated entertainment space which includes a two lane bowling alley, gaming consoles, a children’s play den and nap areas. We have tied up with L’Occitane, a renowned brand of international repute from the South of France to launch the Cedar Spa at the hotel and a salon by Warren Tricomi. Our location away from the hustle and bustle of the crowd also gives us the advantage of being surrounded by untouched natural beauty and unhindered views of the Himalayas.

 
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