Set in the heart of Bangalore, India’s IT capital, the sleek Sheraton Grand Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway is the preferred place to stay for busy business travelers.
Whether they are long-staying guests or on a whirlwind official visit, assistant Manager and Concierge In-Charge Rahul Mohan knows that his guests are almost always pressed for time.
Anticipating requirements and incorporating personalized touches that often surpass standard service expectations, Mohan and his team ensure that guests make the best of their precious free time in Bangalore.
Originally from Kerala and raised in Tamil Nadu, Mohan has worked in the hospitality industry for seven years. He started at the Sheraton Bangalore in July 2016 and has been in his current position for a year now.
Mohan took a break from helping his guests to speak with Marriott TRAVELER about his work at the property, and the city he’s grown to care deeply about.
As concierge in-charge, what inspires you to continually impress your guests?
“We always have to be on our toes and expect the unexpected … it’s our responsibility to ensure our guest’s well-being. What I love here is that we [can offer] a personal touch when interacting with guests. This makes the guests happy, me happy and keeps the team inspired.”
You must receive some rather unexpected requests. Do you ever exceed guests’ expectations to create special memories for them?
“All the time. We once had an elderly couple from Brazil staying with us on their India tour. They were really adventurous and did not have an itinerary, not even a return flight booked! A day before they checked out, they asked me to draw up a Kerala itinerary for them.
They left it up to me to even tell them where to go [in the state]! This was a lot of pressure, because if I make suggestions, I have to ensure it’s a 110-percent safe and to their taste. Since I’m from Kerala, I contacted my friends. We made hotel bookings for them and conveyed all their preferences. We also organized a trek near Munnar.
A concierge team member contacted one of his best friends from school, who’s a local guide there, to lead them on the trek. Since it was a personal connection, we could be sure it was a safe and reliable plan.
We made a special reservation for them on a boat with a romantic set-up. It was difficult to do all this at short notice, but they called me later to thank me in a very emotional conversation. I’ll never forget that!”
You mentioned forming personal connections with your guests. Could you share some stories of how you extend the regular employee and guest relationship?
“It’s about empathizing with our guests and understanding where they’re coming from. We have a long-term business guest whose mother stays on the outskirts of town. I’ve come to know him personally.
Because he’s so caught up with meetings, he’s not able to visit his mother often … We decided to send a box of chocolates to his mother with a note saying ‘Love you Ma. Miss you,’ on his behalf. He doesn’t know it yet. I think he’ll appreciate the gesture.”
You must get a lot of business clientele who are pressed for time. What do you recommend they do at the hotel to make the most of their stay?
“Our first priority is to understand the guests’ interests. We ask their plan and read their body language. If they want to unwind on a Saturday night, we make them a reservation at High Ultra Lounge. We manage this rooftop club on the 31st floor of the World Trade Centre, just across [from] the hotel.
We do a great Sunday brunch at Feast, our buffet restaurant. For something special, I recommend our dinner restaurant Persian Terrace. It’s a romantic Arabian-style rooftop spot with specialized Mediterranean cuisine.
A new offering we have is the Art Café. It’s located in the sky bridge that previously linked the hotel to other buildings in the Brigade Gateway complex. I would recommend it to anyone interested in art as it features works by up-and-coming Indian artists in a cafe. Guests can even buy pieces if they’re interested.
We also suggest the signature service at [the] Spa if guests are looking to just relax.”
What are your favorite Bangalore must-do recommendations for guests of different interests?
“Many guests want to do something spiritual. The nearby ISKCON temple is really peaceful with bhajans (prayer songs) playing.
For authentic Bangalore food, [the restaurant] CTR is famous for the benne dosa (butter dosa) — it’s delicious. For a local wholesale-market experience, I suggest Chickpet for traditional clothing and fabric.”
Any Bangalore insider secrets you’re willing to share?
“Not many people know about Channapatna, around 37 miles from Bangalore. Artisans make handmade wooden toys in workshops there. Nearby there’s also Grover Zampa Vineyards. Many of our Indian guests are interested in seeing the wine-making process.
If you enjoyed learning about this local experience, we invite you to visit us at Sheraton Hotels. At destinations around the world, our associates welcome you and seek to deliver the highest standard of service with style and local flair, ensuring you experience the best stay possible.