Mithun Rao is the General Manager of DoubleTree by Hilton, Arpora – Goa. With over 22 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Mithun has been spearheading the team at DoubleTree by Hilton, Arpora – Goa for the last 5 years. Starting his career at the Grand Hyatt Delhi as an Operations Trainee, Mithun has worked with leading hotel groups like Marriot, IHG, Hyatt and Hilton. He has been a part of 5 pre-openings in different capacities.
Previous to joining the team at DoubleTree by Hilton, Arpora – Goa, Mithun was leading the team at The Galaxy Hotel & Spa, Gurgaon. He has also worked as the Front Office Manager at two key Hilton properties that include Hilton New Delhi Janakpuri and Mayur Vihar. His great experience in the hospitality industry and his innovative strategies has made Mithun a strong personality in the sector. Mithun is an avid art collector, a passion he picked up quite early in life. He is also passionate about food and loves to explore local cuisines wherever he is travelling.
What makes DoubleTree by Hilton Goa stand out from other properties you’ve worked in?
DoubleTree by Hilton, Arpora – Goa is a resort that is unique and distinct in its own accord. The location is key as the hotel is at the centre of everything. You may access most of the popular beaches and party hotspots in Goa from the resort in about 15 minutes. The architecture and the open style construction of the resort makes it charming and suave at the same time. This along with the natural landscape consisting of a lagoon at the edge of the resort makes DoubleTree by Hilton, Arpora – a different property from any of the modern city hotels or resorts that I have worked in the past.
Who is your typical customer?
At DoubleTree by Hilton – Arpora, Goa; we welcome everybody who is keen on enjoying a well-deserved break. Our customer base is primarily the leisure segment with travellers from all over the country whilst also having a fair share of foreign travellers. We also host a lot of corporate and social events that include business conferences and weddings.
If you could plan a one-day itinerary for guests looking to explore Goa, where would you send them?
Goa has a place for everyone. Everybody can find what they like and delve into. From the lush green landscapes to serene valleys and from areas with significant historic importance to beautiful beaches and from numerous eateries to watering holes, Goa never disappoints anybody.
While Old Goa is the place to explore the churches and chapels; a walk down the Fontainhas area in Panjim gives you a glimpse of history with beautifully painted Portuguese era houses that are over a century old. There are restaurants and cafes offering varied culinary experiences while also promising a feel of the old times in all its simplicity.
I would also recommend a visit to the 450 year old Menezes Braganca House which is still inhabited by the 16th generation of the family.
Building the right team is crucial for a property’s success. What are the key skills you look for when hiring new employees?
I believe that in union there is strength and with team work and collaboration wonderful things can be achieved. Skills can be thought and engraved into people but what is important is the attitude and the willingness to learn, accept and explore. I look for team players and people who are solution driven and who can think out-of-the-box.
What is the USP of your hotel?
DoubleTree by Hilton, Arpora – Goa is located in the quaint village of Arpora. The location is at the centre of everything yet a little away from the hustle and bustle. Our large well-appointed rooms have a splendid view of the lagoon/pool making the stay scenic and relaxed. The open corridors and the spacious setting of the whole resort makes DoubleTree by Hilton a preferred place for a holiday, away from the city life.
The Saturday Night Market that is a stone’s throw away, comes to life from November to March every year giving our guests an opportunity to explore and discover everything local while staying with us.
What is the one dish that guests have to try when at your hotel?
My favourite would be the Konkan Prawn Curry which has a perfect blend of local chilies, coriander seeds and rich creamy coconut milk. This Malwan inspired dish is a must try at Flame (our all-day dining restaurant).
2020 was a challenging year for the hospitality industry. In your opinion, how will travel trends change in the 2nd half of 2021?
The pandemic indeed was a huge setback for the hospitality industry. However, we have come to terms with it and have now identified innovative and safe ways to ensure guest experience is never hampered. The travel trends for the second half of 2021 seems to be very promising for leisure destinations like Goa. The industry is experiencing good traction and I strongly feel that the domestic market is going to play a key role in uplifting travel and hospitality in 2021.
Was a career in hospitality something you always dreamt of? What is your advice to aspiring hoteliers?
Hospitality has always fascinated me. There is something new and interesting every single day at work. From the daily operations to revenue management, hotels are dynamic in nature letting one to adapt and innovate as per the guest needs.
Hospitality is meant for people who have a people centric mind set and approach. It is important for one to be ready to embrace change as change is the only constant. Be innovative, solution driven and most importantly be ready to accept change.
Which cities are your favourites for: 1) food 2) history 3) fashion?
Food – Goa, Delhi & Mangalore
History – Prague
Fashion – Goa (as one does not have to think what to wear every time he/she steps out)
You have worked in several cities, which is your favourite city for work and play?
Goa is the best place for work and play. Having lived and worked here for most of my life, I believe that there is no other place as beautiful and charming as Goa.
Delhi is another city which I love to visit and catch up on the fabulous food that the city is known for.
When are you happiest?
I am the happiest when I am with my family and friends.