M.S Oberoi

Rai Bahadur Mohan Singh Oberoi was born on 15th August, 1898 in a small village, Bhaun, in district Jhelum, now in Pakistan. M.S Oberoi’s father died when he was six months old . M.S Oberoi got his primary education from Rawalpindi and a Bachelor’s degree from Lahore .In 1922 he fled the ravages of a virulent plague and went to seek some fortune in Shimla. He found a job at a monthly salary of INR 50, as the front desk clerk at the Cecil Hotel. The enthusiasm and intelligence displayed by M.S Oberoi impressed the manager of the hotel , Mr. Grove .A few years later, when Mr. Clarke acquired a small hotel he asked Mr. Oberoi to assist him. It was here, at Clarkes Hotel, that Mr. Oberoi gained first hand experience in all aspects of operating a hotel. In 1934, M.S Oberoi acquired The Clarkes Hotel from his mentor, by mortgaging his wife’s jewelry and all his assets. In 1938, he signed a lease to takeover operations of the five hundred room Grand Hotel in Calcutta, which was up for sale following a cholera epidemic. With his customary confidence and sheer determination to succeed, he was able to convert this hotel into a highly profitable business venture.Mr. Oberoi had purchased shares in Associated Hotels of India (AHI), which owned Cecil and Corstophans hotels in Shimla, Maidens and Imperial hotels in Delhi and a hotel each in Lahore, Murree, Rawalpindi and Peshawar. In 1943, M.S Oberoi acquired controlling stake in AHI. He thus became the first Indian to run the country’s largest and finest hotel chain.just prior to Indian independence, M.S Oberoi met and intimately interacted with the would-be leaders of Free India, all of whom were, at one time or other, guests at his hotels.In 1959, The Oberoi Group became the first group to start flight catering operations in India. In 1965, M.S Oberoi opened the first modern, five star international hotel in the country, The Oberoi Intercontinental, in Delhi. In 1966 he established the prestigious Oberoi School of Hotel Management, recognized by the International Hotel Association in Paris. In 1973, The Oberoi Group opened the 35 storey Oberoi Sheraton in Mumbai. Rai Bahadur M.S Oberoi was the first to employ women in the hospitality sector.Mr. Oberoi realised that the hotel and hospitality business is greatly dependent on travel agents, a vital element in the distribution chain. Therefore, he decided to establish his own travel agency. Mercury Travels, part of The Oberoi Group, ranks amongst the leading travel agencies in India.With vision and imagination, M.S Oberoi converted old and dilapidated palaces, historical monuments and buildings into magnificent hotels such as The Oberoi Grand in Calcutta, the historic Mena House Oberoi in Cairo and The Windsor in Australia. It was, in fact, in the face of severe opposition that the State Government of Victoria awarded Mr. Oberoi the lease of The Windsor, a heritage building in Melbourne. He personally supervised the restoration of the hotel to its original grandeur and later acquired it. The Oberoi Cecil in Shimla, built in the early 20th century, reopened in April 1997 after extensive and meticulous renovation.In 1943, Mr. Oberoi was conferred the title of Rai Bahadur by the British Government in recognition of his services to the Crown. Thereafter, M.S Oberoi won acclaim and received several national and international awards including admission to the Hall of Fame by the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and Man of The World award by the International Hotel Association (IHA), New York. He was presented the Order of The Republic, First Class by the President of Egypt. He got an Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration from the International Management Centre, Buckingham, UK. In 2001, the Government of India accorded him the Padma Bhushan.To place The Oberoi Group on the world map, Mr. Oberoi exported management expertise to Australia, Egypt and Singapore, where The Oberoi Group took charge of the management of existing luxury hotels.Today, Oberoi Hotels & Resorts in Indonesia, Egypt, Mauritius, Saudi Arabia and India add value and distinction to their host countries.Under M.S Oberoi’s dynamic leadership, The Oberoi Group introduced its second brand of hotels, ‘Trident’. Trident hotels are five-star hotels that have established a reputation for excellence and are acknowledged for offering quality and value. These hotels combine state of the art facilities with dependable service in a caring environment, making them the ideal choice for business and leisure travellers. Presently there are nine Trident hotels in India located in Mumbai at Bandra Kurla and Nariman Point, Gurgaon , Chennai, Bhubaneshwar, Cochin, Agra, Jaipur and Udaipur. The Oberoi Group also operates a Trident hotel in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah.In the luxury category, The Group opened The Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur; The Oberoi Cecil, Shimla; The Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur; The Oberoi Vanyavilas, Ranthambhore; The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra; Wildflower Hall, Shimla in the Himalayas; The Oberoi, Lombok, Indonesia; The Oberoi, Sahl Hasheesh, Egypt; The Oberoi, Mauritius and The Oberoi Zahra, Luxury Nile Cruiser, Egypt.The Group employs more than 12,000 people worldwide and operates 28 hotels and three cruisers in five countries. M.S Oberoi’s achievements and successes did not, however, take from his simplicity and old-fashioned charm. He retained, until his death in May 2002 at the age of 103, a unique humility. M.S Oberoi can rightly be called as the ‘Father of the Indian hotel industry’

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