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.