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Memoir of Oberoi Hotels and its subsidiaries

Oberoi Hotels and Resorts is a well-known brand in the hospitality industry who has adapted to the changing dynamics of the hospitality industry. However, it was not that easy as it needed a vision of a great man Rai Bahadur Mohan Singh Oberoi. A term of ‘rags to riches’ can actually fit for the success story of Rai Bahadur Mohan Singh Oberoi of Oberoi Hotels & Resorts. Rai Bahadur Mohan Singh Oberoi was born in a Punjabi Sikh family in Bhaun, a village in Jhelum District, Punjab, British India.

Mr Oberoi’s father A.S. Oberoi, a contractor in Peshawar, died when he was six months old. He did his first years of schooling in his village and later joined a school in Rawalpindi. Mr Oberoi went to Lahore to join college and passed intermediate college examination. He had to left his education half way as he didn’t had finance to go ahead. However, on his friend’s insistence he learned shot hand and typing.

After unsuccessful attempt at passing Government exam in Shimla and lot of struggle, Mr Oberoi finally got a job as a billing clerk in Hotel Cecil in Shimla at Rs 40 per month. Soon the salary raised to Rs 50. In 1924, Mr Oberoi’s general manager Mr Clarke decided to enter into hotel business himself and asked Mr Oberoi to join him. The Carlton Hotel in Shimla was going into liquidation. Mr Clarke needed guarantors and Mr Oberoi readily stepped in with the help of relatives and friends. After few years, Mr Clarke decided to sell The Clarkes Hotel in Shimla and Mr Oberoi bought it by mortgaging few assets and his wife’s jewelry. After settling in the hotel business, breakthrough came when The Grand Hotel in Kolkata needed a restart. The rent was Rs 7,000 per month which was finalized by Mr Oberoi.

The best part was Mr Oberoi appointed Mr Grove who was his first employer at the Cecil Hotel. In 1943, he brought the controlling shareholdings of Associated Hotels of India Limited and thus gained control over a big chain of hotels in Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Lahore, Muree and Delhi among others. There was no looking back for Mr Oberoi.

Oberoi Group was started in 1934, employed about 12000 people worldwide and managed around 30 hotels in the recent years. Their every property oozes luxury and class thus making it comfortable for customers. The story of Oberoi Hotels is truly an inspiration for many people. Woodstock Hospitality believes in making success stories for its customers. For daily dose and inspiring stories, please follow Woodstock Hospitality blog. 

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