Speaking at the recently concluded Global Hospitality Conclave 2018, Aman Nath, co-founder and co-chairman of Neemrana Hotels asked large hotel chains with deep pockets to do more to preserve India’s heritage structures. He also urged hoteliers to not ape the western concept of luxury in India where stark difference between haves and have nots was so apparent.
Aman Nath, in yet another passionate speech, raked up often less discussed issues, and asked large hotel chains with deep pockets to do more to preserve India’s heritage. He suggested that the time had come when the world must want to become like India than otherwise.
Sharing his thoughts on trends in the Indian luxury space, Aman Nath was quick to note that speaking of luxury in a nation where fourty percent of all children were malnourished was a “bit jarring”. He blamed selecting “wrong role models” for having a skewed understanding of luxury, indicating that Indian hotels had aped western definition of luxury.
Delving deeper in to the problem, he stressed that India’s problems emanated from “either having too much wealth or having none of it” and the stark difference between the two made it imperative to look at luxury differently from how it was viewed in the rest of the world.
Aman Nath said that India needed to work on authenticity and simplicity to attract tourists and maintain its unique stature on the global platform.
He clarified that “he was not a hotelier and none of his properties were actually supposed to be hotels”. “All our hotels are forts and forts are supposed to keep people out, quite the contrary to hotels – where you welcome people in,” he said.
He mentioned that all his properties were relics of Indian heritage, representing distinct cultures and regions. He shared that an abandoned 18-century Danish colonial house named ‘Bungalow on the Beach’ in Tamil Nadu was lying in tatters, before it was carefully restored to its former glory by his hotel group. “We were hounded by the Tamil Nadu government who wanted to know why we built the structure so close to the ocean. I took us some effort to made them understand that it was already lying there neglected” he said, suggesting that governments needed to do more to aid to such efforts of restoration.