Gaurav Sekhri is the Hotel Manager of The Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa. With an extensive work experience spanning more than 17 years in the hospitality industry across national and international hotels, Gaurav is not just a dynamic leader but an industry visionary with his roots in the traditions of hospitality. Before joining The Westin Pushkar Resort and Spa, Gaurav was the General Manager at the Corporate Office of MGM Muthu Hotels in Europe. He started his successful career with Hilton London Hyde Park in 2006 and has worked with hotels such as Hilton London Green Park, Hilton Cobham in England, Hilton Mumbai International Airport and Hilton Jaipur.
He is a graduate in Bachelor of Commerce from College of Commerce and Economics, India. Later, he specialized in Hotel and Tourism Management by enrolling for a diploma from the Isle of Man in the United Kingdom. He has been recognized for his efforts and talent with prestigious accolades such as Food and Beverage Manager of the Year- 2013 by Hilton Hotels- UK and Ireland.
What makes Westin Pushkar stand out from other properties you’ve worked in?
With Westin Pushkar, I was introduced to my first luxury resort property with as many as 80 villas and 18 deluxe rooms. Most importantly out of these 80 opulently and exquisitely designed villas almost 44 of them have private plunge pool facilities that add charm to the accommodation.
With a sprawling area of more than 15 acres, Westin Pushkar is a breath-taking serendipity waiting to be discovered by the travelling soul. With it’s extensive flora and fauna that defines the beautiful resort premises along with a host of activities and experiences that each member of the Westin team strives to curate for guests, Westin can be easily described as a haven of peace and beauty amidst the rest. With it’s scenic landscapes and open spaces, Westin Pushkar is also one of the most favoured spaces for destination weddings.
Who is your typical customer?
Westin believes in the value of ‘Wellness to life’. It believes in creating an experience that is truly rejuvenating and propagates the concept of ‘wellness’. Westin Pushkar with it’s scenic vistas and picture-perfect spaces is also the perfect spot for destination weddings. Firstly, it is leisure guests who have a penchant for wellness and seek to escape the hustle and bustle of the city life to find tranquility and a moment of peace and solace amidst nature. Our typical customers are guests who are ready to drive down a couple of hours and experience a world of luxury with Westin. At the same time, our typical customers also consist of wedding aspirants and are seeking to celebrate with a destination wedding ceremony. They are usually the ones travelling from the metro cities to Pushkar to finalize their wedding destinations.
If you could plan a one-day itinerary for guests looking to explore Pushkar, where would you send them?
A one-day itinerary at Pushkar includes a host of activities and opportunities to explore the lanes and by-lanes of the city. Thereafter a typical one-day itinerary for the guests will include the following places to visit:
- Pushkar lake or the Brahma Sarovar’ hailed as one of the most beautiful, poignant yet deeply traditional temples that one should certainly visit
- Rope climbing or tracking till the Savitiri temple. According to the local lore, a visit to the holy city of Pushkar is usually incomplete without a quick visit to the Savitri Mata Temple
iii. Explore the architectural delights of the Varah Temple and the Rangi temple
- Be awed by the spectacular beauty of the Man Mahal in Pushkar
- Explore the sights and sounds of the desert land with a camel ride
- Experience the city with a jeep safari
vii. Breathe in the exhilarating beauty of nature at the Rose Garden
What is the USP of your hotel?
According to me, one of the most unique selling propositions of the hotel is it’s majestic presence itself. Spread over a massive 15 acres of land, the hotel beholds exquisite luxury in terms of it’s physical appearance. Coupled with breathtaking villas and their indulgent private pools, the hotel is a redefinition of the ambient luxury that forms it’s USP. Furthermore, there are a lot of fun and engagement activities to offer our guests with memorable experience during their stay. The resort is set up with beautiful landscaping and open spaces for wedding events.
What is the one dish that guests have to try when at your hotel?
Rajasthan is known for it’s culinary delicacies and most unique, yet sumptuous cuisine defined by the spices of the state. So, it comes as not much of a wonder, that the most preferred culinary preparations when it comes to our hotel is Rajasthani dishes like Daal Baati Churma and Laal Maas!
2020 was a challenging year for the hospitality industry. In your opinion, how will travel trends change in the second half of 2021?
2020 was a challenging year indeed for the entire travel and hospitality industry. But we have seen the indomitable spirit of the service industry emerging victorious through this long struggle as panic has slowly given way to determination. A lot of changes have taken place in the meanwhile. A lot of new trends have emerged which shall redefine the industry. Most importantly amidst them is the surge in terms of domestic leisure travel segment as compared to international travel. And this is certainly a trend that shall be further, instated in the second half of 2021. With travel restriction being enforced and still practiced, people are trying to discover new places to visit in their vicinity which is leading to such a surge. The wedding business shall also witness an upward surge in the second half of the year. Since the wedding restrictions are being levied with a much safer space, there has been a gradual increase in the trend to go for destination weddings within the country. The increase in our own occupancy and enquiry rates in recent dates have been an attestation to this.
Was a career in hospitality something you always dreamt of? What is your advice to aspiring hoteliers?
I have always aspired to be a part of the hospitality industry as the very core concept has been something that has always intrigued me. Belonging to humble Indian origins, I have experienced how hospitality and being hospitable is essentially a part of our daily life and our nature in general. My advice to aspiring hoteliers is to stay focused, work hard and be honest to your work.
Which cities are your favourites for: 1) food 2) history 3) fashion?
For food, it has always been Mumbai whereas for history, I have always been inclined towards Jaipur and London. Again, Mumbai has been my favourite in terms of fashion.
You have worked in several cities, which is your favourite city for work and play?
Mumbai without a doubt.
When are you happiest?
Staying close to nature and travelling to scenic places makes me the happiest