Arjun Kaggallu, General Manager of Hyatt Centric Goa Candolim – firmly believes in keeping up with the dynamic business environment for effective sustainability and market inclusion. As a leader, Arjun stands tall to Hyatt’s purpose of CARE – for his guests, associates and shareholders so that they can be at their best throughout. He is known for his rich experience of over 14 years in the world of hospitality, having worked in India, Europe & USA. Arjun joined Hyatt Centric Candolim Goa as the General Manager in 2019 and he has been very successful in driving Hyatt Centric Candolim Goa to new heights thus positioning the hotel as the most preferred hotel in North of Goa that continues to deliver the Hyatt Centric brand experience in it’s truest form to travelers across.
A graduate from the Hotel & Tourism Institute – Switzerland, he has worked with some of the most luxurious iconic hotels like the Park Hyatt Goa Resort & Spa, Taj Lands End Mumbai, JW Marriott Bengaluru, and The St. Regis New York.
What makes Hyatt Centric Goa stand out from other properties you’ve worked in?
Centric is a completely different game in the world of hospitality with our brand promise in place – ‘The experience we create.’ We connect our guests to the heart of the action, so they never really miss a moment of adventure. All our guests are avid travellers with adventurous spirits who focus on IN-THE-NOW. To enable our guests to be at their best, our passionately engaged team are experts in providing local expertise to our guests who are savvy explorers. Located in the heart of India’s most vibrant destination – Goa, Hyatt Centric Candolim Goa offers it’s guests several options to explore the destination through the lens of a local. The experience at Hyatt Centric Candolim Goa offers a modern and playful vibe in sync with the city’s vibe, designed tastefully combined with exclusively curated experiences – offered inside and outside the property that enables a traveller to explore unmarked trails and create socially sharable moments. The numero uno factor that distinguishes Hyatt Centric Candolim Goa from others is that we stand out in delivering positive experiences consistently which is backed up by a team that excels at service standards which in turn creates a launch pad for a traveller to #GetLostInGoa and explore the unexplored.
Who is your typical customer?
Owing to the Hyatt Centric’s Brand promise where it centres to be a launch pad for a travel destination – the millennial ‘minded’ travellers or as we call them – the Gen Y are our typical and potential customers. These captioned travellers are always in search of newer and exclusive unexplored experiences, they are a socially connected Gen that is driven by the new age trends of social media.
If you could plan a one-day itinerary for guests looking to explore Goa, where would you send them?
Goa has a vast variety of many unexplored destinations that a traveller is always in search of. An avid traveller visits Goa on an average of three times a year. Our suggested one-day itinerary for a guest looking out to explore Goa will be:
An early morning walk through the by-lanes of Candolim and Calangute village on our recommended walking / jogging route or an E Bike tour till Fort Aguada. This tour is followed by an exclusively packed breakfast from the hotel to be savoured whilst on a serene breakfast picnic stop at Candolim beach. During the day, we suggest that one heads out to Panjim for a guided tour of the Fontainhas – an 18th century romantic yet vibrant and picturesque Latin square. Through the tour at Fontainhas, one must not miss out on enjoying delicacies from one of the oldest bakeries of Goa and having a quick drink at Goa’s first licensed bar and witnessing Portuguese artists playing their best local tunes through those lanes. The food in Goa has a strong incline towards two major culinary influenced flavours – Saraswat and Portuguese, thus one must plan on retreating to the hotel for a hearty lunch influenced by local and vibrant flavours at Grok Goa.
For a traveller that visions to explore the history and architecture of Goa, the museum of Goa is inspired by Goan Art and History that shall thoroughly entice one’s taste for culture. Another favourite stop in the itinerary for our adventurous travellers is the scuba dive experience. We have tied up with a scuba diving expert company who train our guests and provide state of the art diving gear. After a beginner’s training, the dive is executed with professional divers and a traveller gets to experience the unknown and majestic water world.
The guests can call it a day and enjoy sundowner cocktails at our open-air terrace Bar ‘Sky Pod’ followed by a scrumptious dinner at our signature restaurant GROK. The day still doesn’t end here, travellers have an option of night markets for shopping, various clubs and casinos at a walking distance from the hotel.
Building the right team is crucial for a property’s success. What are the key skills you look for when hiring new employees?
Instead of looking for long years of experience in an individual, we look out for candidates with the right intent, who are motivated and passionate about what they do and what they want to do. Hiring appropriate candidates with the right set of skills is followed by assisting them with continuous improvement, learning and growth plans. I take immense pride in leading the team at Hyatt Centric Candolim Goa that is quite young, energetic and vibrant. The team’s aura reflects in our unmatched service standards maintaining high scores of guest satisfaction surveys consistently.
What is the USP of your hotel?
The hotel’s location is in the heart of North Goa! The central location of Hyatt Centric Candolim Goa is the key factor that aids our guests to be in the centre of all the action. The hotel’s upbeat playful yet relaxing design and tastefully curated vibrant social spaces gives any traveller an opportunity to be socially connected whilst exploring the best.
Hyatt Centric Candolim Goa’s hotel’s guestrooms are designed with modern touches that align local vibes to sprightly hues which is another USP for the Gen Y traveller. Not to miss out on highlighting the food and beverage trail at Grok Goa, where local cuisines meet artisanal creative craftsmanship by our chefs that ace at winning over your taste buds.
What is the one dish that guests have to try when at your hotel?
Khachapuri which takes it’s origin from Georgia is quite popular with the locals and is now known to travellers across. It is traditionally topped with melted cheese, eggs and butter. Khachapuri is shaped into different forms and baked to serve with muhammara, beetroot yogurt and garlic aioli. Although it is considered as a snack by many, khachapuri can often be consumed as a full meal as well. Staying true to Hyatt’s food and beverage philosophy of ‘Vocal for Local’ – our culinary team makes sure that Khachapuri is curated using locally crafted cheese and this initiative goes a long way in winning appreciation from our guests whilst giving back to the community.
2020 was a challenging year for the hospitality industry. In your opinion, how will travel trends change in the 2nd half of 2021?
Year 2020 was indeed a very challenging year for each and every individual and it was a period of extremely uncertain times for the hospitality industry. Being located at a prime leisure destination, we observed an early trend of recovery in the last quarter of 2020. However, the impact of the second wave of the pandemic was a major setback for us in 2021. The situation still looks gloomy due to the possibility of the virus’s mutations and variants affecting different parts of the world however we are hopeful that leisure travel trends will normalize by end of this year or early next year. We strongly believe that human beings love to travel, dine and connect and they will find an appropriate first opportunity to do so when the situation around us starts to normalize. As hoteliers, we are ready with our offerings and services upgraded in accordance to the new normal and we are waiting to welcome our travellers back into the world of leisure.
Was a career in hospitality something you always dreamt of? What is your advice to aspiring hoteliers?
I personally enjoy travelling and exploring the unexplored and I also thoroughly enjoy interacting with travellers hence I always planned to be a part of the hospitality business and it was indeed my first and foremost career option. Looking back today on the memories I have made and the immense knowledge I’ve earned, I am pleased with my yesteryear’s decision. My word of advice to aspiring hoteliers is to be passionate about what they want to pursue and also to be very patient through the journey – the hard work reaps it’s own fruits in time.
Which Indian cities are your favourites for: 1) Food 2) History 3) Fashion?
Food – For me and many others that savour locally crafted cuisines – Hyderabad is a clear winner, especially for the delectable Biryani. The Hyderabadi Biryani is a, heavenly dish which is also often compared to the way of life in Hyderabad – grand and royal!
History – History for me is the never-ending unexplored treasures of a city that is backed up by an intriguing story and the bygone history of an era. Goa for me is a stellar destination when it comes to history. It has an influential historical background. In the yester years, Goa attracted some of the most powerful traders, merchants, seafarers, dynasties, monks and missionaries as it was one of the major trading centres in India. Through a rapid and continuous plan of transformation in it’s cultural and socio- economic development, Goa has left an unforgettable impression for travellers to be exposed to.
Fashion – Hands down, Mumbai! The city showcases a stellar fashion forward sense of style. From citizens shopping through the streets in Colaba to shopping from top designer boutiques in Pali Hill, everyone displays a collective show of viral fashion trends from across the globe.
You have worked in several cities, which is your favourite Indian city for work and play?
I personally love the buzz and the work-play lifestyle in Mumbai, however nothing beats the Goan culture of both work and play. One can completely switch off his/her complex state of mind and connect with the abundant nature around and imbibe the sussegado vibe after a long day of work. I personally look forward to my running and cycling routine in Goa every day amidst the flora and fauna, it’s more than just a physical activity, it is a deliberate action to connect with nature. As they say, Goa is not just a destination; it’s a state of mind!