The Park Hyatt in Hyderabad is one of the more fashionable and welcoming five-star hotels in the city, and there is a concerted effort behind the scenes to make this happen. As of December 2015, the property had a new General Manager, Thomas Abraham, who has been bringing his world-class experience to make the Park Hyatt an international brand without losing its local Hyderabadi fervour. This week, we caught up with Thomas, who talked us through the changes that have been made since he’s taken over the mantle.
What has the move to the Park Hyatt Hyderabad been like for you?
It has been a different and unique experience, since prior to this I was at the Park Hyatt in Goa for four years. Coming back to a city again – but not one as busy as Mumbai or Delhi – has been a good experience. Hyderabad has its own set of challenges; everybody knows that the partition of the two states has had an impact on business in general. However, things are looking good again, and it’s great to step up because there’s so much opportunity for us to work on and develop.
Where are you from originally, and where have your travels taken you?
I’m from Kerala but never lived there. I was born and brought up in Bahrain; I did my schooling there and my Bachelor’s in commerce in Mumbai. I went on to pursue hotel school in Switzerland and then came back to India and started my career in hotel management.
What has it been like to work in different hotels across India over the span of your career?
I’ve worked in many hotel companies across India and this has helped me a lot, in both my professional and personal journeys. I started my career with the Oberoi, and then moved to the Marriott. I opened the first Marriott in India in Goa. I was also with the Taj Group of Hotels and Leela Hotels at different points. I left the country for a year and came back to India to join Grand Hyatt Mumbai, then Goa and now here. So it has been a pretty long journey, with so many different companies and cultures. It has also been very rewarding, as I’ve been able to grasp the best from each organisation.
What are some of the changes you’ve made at the hotel since taking over as GM?
Well, to begin with, business has taken an upward trend in Telangana, and we need to ride that wave. The important thing is to understand the market and what the requirements are to be able to create brand recall. The purpose for our company is for our people to be their best, and we need to be able to support and guide them. So whether it’s our employees, customers, vendor partners or overall community, we need to be there for them to care for them.
What’s in store for customers at the hotel now?
Things are looking exciting now, primarily because there’s a lot more opportunity to do things that have never been done before. We have been able to evolve the product and experiences for our customers, whether it is in the F&B area, spa or room stay. We now have a larger section of Indian food, and the Living Room now has a lot more local favourites like Irani chai, owing to the number of locals who come here to discuss business. They come to sign deals, discuss movies, etc., and so it’s a great opportunity for people to come down and sit. Our aim is to host the perfect experience for them. We want to sign on the right partners associated with our hotel, across different sections, to be able to create unique experiences for our customers. One of the other important initiatives has been to promote art in the hotel. We’re now using the space within the hotel to facilitate local artists to display their work. So we convert a section of the lobby into an art gallery, and the art is displayed over the month. We also work with an NGO called Thrive, which works with the community on various social causes.
Tell us a little about The Hyatt Residences.
It’s the number one address in the city today, and is comparable to any other luxury apartment in the country. It is a private space wherein one can drive into the basement and the elevator brings you straight up to your floor, without having to walk through a lobby or common area, therefore giving you the utmost privacy. There are many advantages of being a resident of the apartment; it has its own cooking space and is fully equipped to be your home during your stay. We have a mix of local and international guests staying in these residences.
– as told to Suneela