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Interview: Ranjit Phillipose on hitting targets at Dubai’s new Taj hotel 

As GM at Taj Exotica Resort & Spa The Palm, Dubai, Phillipose has stiff competition

Ranjit Phillipose joined the hospitality industry as a front office executive at Taj Coromandel in Chennai, India, straight from college. Though it was a bit of an impulsive decision, it’s one that afforded him a rewarding 29-year career in what he describes as an exciting and forever-evolving industry. Today, he is at the helm of the new Taj Exotica Resort & Spa The Palm, Dubai, part of the Indian Hotels Company Limited portfolio. 

“Having worked in some of the best hotels and resorts in the ICHL portfolio, I’m fully immersed in the brand’s ethos and have the expert knowledge to bring it into the region,” says Phillipose, whose experience also spans several countries, from the UK to the USA, as well as the UAE.

Connecting Travel talked to him about attracting staff and guests in order to hit launch targets – something he has so far achieved with a hotel offering he’s exceptionally proud of.

Connecting Travel: Why was now the right time to open Taj Exotica Resort & Spa The Palm, Dubai?
Ranjit Phillipose: The UAE is constantly evolving, the government is creating new concepts, initiatives, and destinations, such as the opening of the Museum of the Future and the transformation of the Expo 2020 site. During these times of booming tourism and innovative concepts set to attract even more global audiences, now is the perfect time to launch a resort in the country.

CT: Congratulations on the launch. How is it going so far?
RP: We have a team of strong, dedicated professionals working across all departments to ensure we start off with high occupancies. A distinctive feature of our brand is our attention to detail and the welcoming of guests as though they’re family. By creating bespoke experiences, and implementing various programmes and initiatives, we’re pleased to have achieved our forecasted occupancy for the first month.

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CT: What is your strategy for attracting and maintaining good staff?
RP: To attract great talent in a competitive hiring environment you need to establish a strong organisational culture, as well as provide employees with opportunities to grow. Looking after the employees’ well-being and providing them with what they need helps you attract and retain top talent.

CT: What are your main source markets?
RP: Key feeder markets are the UK, Germany, the US, GCC and India. With the Taj brand being one of the most recognised and prestigious hotel brands in India, Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, The Palm, Dubai is positioned to attract high business volumes from both our loyal and new guests, across the leisure travel and wedding destination segments. 

Exotica Suite with a sea viewExotica Suite with a sea view

CT: What are the resort’s USPs?
RP: This brand-new distinctive island oasis is located on the East Crescent of the Palm Jumeirah with incredible panoramic views of the Dubai skyline. It’s one of the few resorts that offer views in two directions, really giving guests a full ‘island oasis’ feel.

The resort comprises 258 rooms and 67 suites, all featuring balconies. Guests are taken on a sensorial culinary journey across the resort’s seven dining and bar options. With everything from contemporary Indian fine dining at Varq and a gastropub experience at the Roaring Rabbit, to the stunning lifestyle destination Raia Rooftop Bar & Lounge, offering panoramic views of Palm Jumeirah.

When you step outside, you’re greeted with the largest pool on the Palm Jumeirah, measuring just over 70 metres, which comes complete with not one but two swim-up bars

Guests can also enjoy their own personal paradise on the private 230-metre exclusive beach with pristine golden sands and uninterrupted views of the glorious sunsets and there’s the award-winning spa, Jiva. Inspired by traditional healing methods, the ethos of Jiva is drawn from the rich and ancient Indian wellness heritage. One of the signature treatments is the Imperial Dahab, in which guests indulge in an aromatic foot bath, a scalp massage and a camel milk bath, followed by a luxurious massage using 24k gold oil.

A major attraction for our young guests is the Popsicle Kids club where they can enjoy a variety of activities to keep them engaged and energised. In addition, our Game Room provides entertainment options such as air hockey, board games, billiard and a foosball table.  

The resort also features two expansive Royale ballrooms and multiple meeting rooms for conferences, social events and timeless weddings.

Lime Pool BarLime Pool Bar

CT: Are hoteliers still navigating Covid-19 recovery?
RP: The hospitality industry is flourishing. Within a few years, the region will become one of the world’s most prominent tourist destinations.  As the world transitions from Covid-19, we are seeing lots of new projects, concepts and destinations opening. Governments are creating entire infrastructures to attract tourists, and so this has an elevated effect on the hospitality sector. It’s a great time, and we’re excited about what’s to come.

Taj Exotica Resorts Spa The Palm lobbyTaj Exotica Resorts & Spa The Palm lobby

CT: What’s next for the industry?
RP: Since we are starting to return to normal, the key to tourism’s recovery is to stay agile and responsive to market changes and customer needs. For example, by adopting new technologies, we can ensure better efficiency in solving guest requests and service needs. 

We must also cater to the changing demographics of travel and tourism, and ensure we’re able to stay at the forefront of trends, such as social responsibility and sustainability, and deliver the experience that a guest expects and then go above and beyond. The industry needs to be ready for a new wave of expectations in hospitality.

For more information, visit www.tajhotels.com/en-in/taj/taj-exotica-dubai

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