February 2017
The Oberoi Gurgaon

The Oberoi, Gurgaon is an urban sanctuary defined by bespoke design features, open spaces and refreshing views



The award winning The Oberoi, Gurgaon is conveniently located just fifteen minutes from Delhi's international and domestic airports, and thirty minutes from Central Delhi, in Gurgaon - the business and commercial centre of Delhi's National Capital Region. Spread over nine acres, The Oberoi, Gurgaon is an urban sanctuary defined by bespoke design features. Its high ceilings and open spaces filled with natural light afford refreshing views of the hotel's vast, azure reflection pool and verdant green wall.

Today, the Oberoi brand is synonymous with luxury, but that wasn't always the case. Back in the mid-1970s, when the financial journal Institutional Investor rated hotels, no Indian establishment ever made the cut, and that rankled Oberoi Sr., who told his son that the quality quotient of their hotels had to be dramatically upped. Bikki Oberoi took his father's words to heart.


Quality service has remained an obsession with him ever since. Critical to comprehending the Bikki Way, is understanding how the man thinks and operates. The devil lies in the details, is an oft-repeated quote in Oberoi folklore. But exactly how deep can the 83-year old chairman of a leading global hotel chain go? Read on. While the management of The Oberoi, Gurgaon was finalising the new restaurant 361, the chairman was asked to choose between three different table tops, each with its own set of cutlery, cruet sets and runners.


Old hands will tell you that Oberoi is the chief architect, designer, and planner in every one of his hotels. "The architects and designers are not very amused when I don't agree with them, which is quite often. They build for themselves and have big egos. I tell them, build for customers," he says. Consider the latest hotel that's creating waves in the hospitality sector: The Oberoi, Gurgaon.

The octogenarian visited the hotel more than 50 times. "He was involved even at the excavation stage," says Chopra. Such an encyclopaedic knowledge of the nuts and bolts of a hotel comes from building and operating dozens of them and being a hands-on hotelier for nearly six decades.


Even at this age, the chairman likes to get a first-hand feel of his properties. Last year, he visited all of them, barring Bali and Bhubaneshwar. "In the 1980s, I spent a third of my time in my hotels. The only way to improve service is to go to them very frequently," says Oberoi, who until 1973 literally lived in his hotels. A widely travelled man, even visiting other hotels is no vacation.


He's constantly seeking out ideas for his own chain. 'Subconscious observation' is how Bikki puts it. For example, from Regent, Hong Kong, he picked up the large size of the bathrooms, and from Carlyle, New York, he got the idea for walk-in closets. "We have 70-80 sq. ft. closets in our hotels so that you can hang your clothes, put up your suit and tuck away your suitcase," he says, "Others are copying us now."


He also makes note of things that are not to be replicated: like using technology that's too hi-tech. "Recently, I couldn't locate the bedroom switch for half an hour at a hotel. It was frustrating. User friendliness is one thing but too much technology can be intimidating for guests. You should use technology that people use at home," he says. Functionality is an important tenet in the Oberoi rulebook.

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