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Booking a luxury hotel for your big day? Here’s all you need to know

Dubai-based Ankush Kaul, a Hotel Operations Manager at The Canvas Hotel says, “From texture to colour, everything matters”



Ankush Kaul is the Indian example of ‘The Suite Life of Zack & Cody’. For the uninitiated, the American sit-com aired in the 2000s showcased a set of twin brothers who lived in a hotel suite in the charming city of Boston. Similarly, Ankush too spent most of his childhood staying in hotels, observing his father who worked with many luxury chains as a General Manager. What more? He later grew up to become one of the youngest Hotel Operations Managers in the glitzy city of Dubai. At present, he leads The Canvas Hotel. Read on, as he shares more about the top trends in the Hospitality sector.  

Please tell us more about your educational journey.

I completed schooling from Apeejay School, Mahavir Marg, Jalandhar in 2005. The institution made me what I am today. The experience was simply incredible and I wish I could relive those days again!

I graduated from Institute for International Management & Technology (IIMT) in Gurugram. It used to be affiliated with Oxford Brookes University back then and is now called Vedatya. I opted for a B.Sc Honours in Hospitality and Restaurant Management there from 2005 to 2009.

Why did you choose Hospitality?

I picked the sector after my father. Growing up, I have always seen him dressed in formal suits. We even used to live on the hotel property where he was working.

So by 2009, I started at the Radisson Hotel Group as a Management trainee. Since then, there have been many luxury hotels across countries. Some of these include The Leela Palace, New Delhi, Melia Hotels International and Park Hyatt. Since March 2022, I am heading an MGallery Hotel by Accor Group as the Hotel Operations Manager. Overall, it has been almost 14 years in the industry.

Very interesting! So, how were childhood days for you?

*Laughs* The hotel lifestyle got onto me early on. It was a way of life. When I finished schooling, I was very attracted towards the profession to not give it a try and I chose it whole-heartedly. I really think I have made the right choice. Hospitality has brought out many different and unique aspects of my personality. It has further made me an extrovert.

Picture courtesy: The Canvas Hotel, Dubai
Picture courtesy: The Canvas Hotel, Dubai
Picture courtesy: The Canvas Hotel, Dubai

What does your role entail at The Canvas Hotel Dubai – MGallery Hotel Collection?

There are of course various functions that contribute towards the smooth functioning of a hotel such as Finance, Sales, Front Office, Food and Beverage, Kitchen, etc. All of these combined make the hotel work real-time. So, I chose the Food and Beverage, Banquets segment initially. Then, I grew within the ranks and now my role is to overlook all functions in tandem with the Head of Departments.

A regular day starts at about 9 in the morning. First thing, I just take a quick tour of the hotel and see what’s happening. Then, we have meetings with all function heads where we discuss the events, situations, issues, and feedback regularly. We also look into our reviews and strategise accordingly. We organise the business on books and our upcoming plans.

During the course of the day, I meet each function head to see what can be improved upon, what talent we have or require, how the training sessions are panning out, etc. By 6:30 to 8 , I usually call it a day. Sometimes, I tend to stick around just to see what’s up and coming. Of course, the days where some events are lined up can look different.

What’s the most fun aspect of your job?

Well, I am living the life most people aspire to have. For me, it is fun to just meet and interact with new people every day. I also maintain and plan my work-life balance by managing the hours. So, every day is learning on the job.

How do the trends change country-wise in the field of Hospitality?

I would say that more than the country, it is about the people and their preferences. From the Middle-East to Europe or East Africa, it is always the people who make it different. In East Africa, the attitude of people and how they prefer things is diverse. In the Middle-East, it is varied too.

Let’s take an example of Dubai, a city where people from countless nationalities visit, work and stay. So, in that kind of a mix, individuals come from various countries, belief systems, values and morals. They broadly have an expectation of luxury and service-quality. So, we cater to them accordingly. So, if I have to entertain a French guest and I don’t have a French language speaker in the hotel, then there is no point. Dubai is a place where people travel from across the world without knowing English. So, we should ensure to provide them the same experience and comfort. There could also be a scenario where someone has a health condition or is differently-abled. We must ensure we have the amenities to cater to their requirements.

In my view, cities alter the perceptions of people. Their expectations are defined by that.

What makes Dubai so special?

The city caters to all in terms of its affordability, experience and accessibility. If one really wants to see the world, they should come to Dubai because everything from across the world is here.

How has Hospitality changed due to Covid-19?

During the pandemic, everyone realised the value of travel. And that, many professions are dependent on it. It was definitely an eye-opener in terms of getting business and sustaining it. In the field of Hospitality, things changed on multiple levels as to how we think as hoteliers, maximise profitability and the kind of impact we can have on a person to become a returning visitor.

Since people haven’t travelled for two years, they have a lot of places to explore. Post the pandemic, travel needs are purely business and leisure. The instances of unplanned travel have altered. People have become more responsible now be it the guests or staff. Everyone has learnt to value things and appreciate the efforts that one puts in to get the food on the table or get a room cleaned.

Your experience at Apeejay School, Mahavir Marg?

That’s where all the traits and qualities that I have were built. Through mentorship of teachers and fellow batch mates, I learnt a lot in the school. Also, my teachers/Principals were always there for me. Some crucial lessons learnt were how to build good relationships, staying true to oneself and accepting mistakes.

Mrini Devnani is a Senior Correspondent and Marketing Coordinator at Newsroom. She covers student achievements, interviews and contributions for the website. She was a former Correspondent covering Edutech for the India Today Group, and has passion for Social Media and Digital Marketing. You can reach her at [email protected]