Sajeev Nambiar Kulangarath: A Visionary GM, Leading with Passion and Purpose in Hospitality

Sajeev Nambiar Kulangarath: A Visionary GM, Leading with Passion and Purpose in Hospitality


Published on August 4, 2023

Sajeev Nambiar Kulangarath has an impressive portfolio of experiences in the hospitality industry, particularly excelling in front-office management and general management roles. His journey in hospitality continued with notable roles as Assistant Manager in Front Office/Duty Manager at Holiday Inn Bloomsbury in London, UK, and later as Assistant Manager of Front Office at Holiday Inn Resort in Goa, India. He then joined Marriott Hotels in Chennai, India, as a Front Office Manager. He assumed the role of General Manager at Speke Hotel in Kampala, East Africa. Returning to India, Sajeev held the position of General Manager at Spree Hospitality in Bangalore, Karnataka, and now, he is the General Manager at Clarion Hotel President.

How long have you been a GM?

I have been working as a General Manager (GM) for the past 8 years. My journey as a GM started in Africa, where I had the responsibility of managing a sprawling five-acre resort. I am proud to say that I ran the resort successfully during my time there. However, due to the challenges posed by the COVID pandemic, I had to return to India.

What do you enjoy the most about being a GM?

I have a true passion for the hospitality industry. As General Manager, I handle multiple aspects, including revenue management, guest relations, and ensuring smooth customer interactions. Interacting with both guests and employees fills me with happiness and satisfaction. I aspire to be a leader who can inspire and be a role model for my team. I firmly believe in the power of teamwork, where everyone collaborates to achieve shared objectives. Being the General Manager, I see myself as the captain of the ship, leading with dedication and enthusiasm. This passion continues to drive me, and I always set clear goals for the next five years, and I consistently achieve them.

What are the key responsibilities and challenges you face as a GM daily?

In the hospitality industry, handling complaints is one of the challenges we constantly face. However, complaint handling is an integral part of our industry, so we always strive to ensure our guests' happiness. Our ultimate goal is to make sure no guest leaves the hotel with any complaints in mind. Instead, we want them to leave with wonderful memories of their stay.

Another challenge we currently face is staff attrition. After the impact of COVID, the hospitality industry was significantly affected, leading to hesitation among youngsters to enter this field. As a result, we are facing difficulties in finding properly qualified staff at the moment. Staff attrition has risen above 10% as well.

Despite these challenges, the essence of the hospitality industry lies in serving our guests and meeting their needs. Whether they visit for leisure, comfort, or business, we take every guest's satisfaction seriously. If any issues arise, we promptly address them, going above and beyond to ensure our guests have a delightful experience and leave our hotel with smiles on their faces.

How do you manage a diverse team under your belt?

In each department, we encounter employees with different personalities and skill levels. Some may be well-trained, while others might still be in the process of learning. If they have any knowledge gaps after recruitment, we make sure to fill them through training. We also provide them with thorough knowledge of the hotel's Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). We recognize and leverage the individual strength and skills of each team member. And we foster an inclusive environment where all team members feel valued, respected and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives. And we celebrate milestones of our team, reinforcing the importance of our teamwork. It is hardly a task to manage a team that understands and respects different backgrounds. 

What strategies or techniques do you personally use to de-stress and maintain a positive mindset?

Being self-confident and maintaining a positive mindset without dwelling on negativity are key qualities that can make you a successful leader. I always focus on the positive aspects, which helps me steer clear of stressful situations. Additionally, practising activities like meditation and regular exercise aids in reducing stress.

Furthermore, it is crucial never to speak ill of others. Instead, always think positively about them. If any staff member lacks certain skills or requires guidance, we believe in offering support rather than dismissing them. By providing the necessary assistance, we help them grow both as employees and individuals, fostering a supportive and nurturing environment here.

What is your vision for this hotel?

Currently, we have a total of 130 rooms, and our occupancy rates have been consistently around 80% until now. However, I have set a goal to increase our occupancy rate to a remarkable 95% and above. I aim to raise our Average Room Rate (ARR) by a minimum of 20% to enhance our revenue.

To ensure our guests' comfort, we have plans for renovations to improve our facilities. Looking ahead, in the next five years, I envision achieving substantial revenue growth of 60-70%. I am confident that with the dedicated support of our staff and our commitment to providing exceptional service standards, we will be able to accomplish these targets.

Tell me about your biggest accomplishment as a GM.

When I was managing my previous property, even during first-wave COVID times, my occupancy rate was above 80%. Guests continue to stay in my hotel. I was able to deliver the best services to my guests despite those trying times. It is something I always remember. Whenever you give the best services to any client, they never go out of your property. They always stay by the hotel and support you. I also received positive reviews from TripAdvisor. I always make sure to have proper staff engagement activities. If you have proper staff engagement activities and provide good remuneration as per the market standards, the staff will be less likely to leave your establishment. Currently, Clarion Hotel President’s staff attrition rate is below 6%, and I intend to keep it that way.

What is one piece of advice you would give to youngsters aspiring to join the hospitality industry?

For any young person considering a career in the hospitality industry, passion is the key. It's essential to view it as a fulfilling career choice, rather than just a job. When you're genuinely passionate about your work, the hospitality industry offers incredible opportunities for growth and success.

I, too, entered this industry driven by passion. It became my true calling, and I embraced it wholeheartedly. My strength in people management played a significant role in my journey, allowing me to achieve great heights and become a General Manager.

During my early days, I eagerly stayed back in the hotel to learn and improve my skills. I firmly believe in setting goals and striving to achieve them. The hospitality industry opens doors to wonderful opportunities, and when you approach it with passion, it becomes a truly rewarding path, not just a profession.

Digital Detox: Helping Guests Unplug and Relax this Summer Season

Digital Detox: Helping Guests Unplug and Relax this Summer Season

Shreenidhi Jagannathan

Published on May 20, 2024

This summer, Nisha Sharma, Operations Director – India at Eight Continents Hotels & Resorts, delves into the growing trend of digital detox vacations. In her insightful article, "Digital Detox: Helping Guests Unplug and Relax this Summer Season," Sharma explores how hotels and resorts are offering innovative packages to help guests disconnect from their devices and reconnect with what truly matters. Read on to learn how stepping away from your screens can lead to a more balanced, rejuvenated, and fulfilling summer experience.

Read the full article below.

In our hyper-connected world, the allure of a digital detox is becoming increasingly compelling. As summer approaches, many hotels and resorts are seizing the opportunity to offer guests a chance to unplug, unwind, and reconnect with nature, family, and themselves. These digital detox packages are designed not only to provide a break from the constant barrage of emails, notifications, and social media but also to foster a deeper connection with the environment and personal well-being.

The Concept of Digital Detox

A digital detox involves refraining from using electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers. The goal is to reduce stress, improve mental health, and enhance the quality of life by disconnecting from the digital world and reconnecting with the physical one. For many, the incessant need to stay connected has led to burnout, anxiety, and a sense of constant distraction. Hotels and resorts that offer digital detox packages aim to combat these issues by providing an environment that encourages relaxation and mindfulness.

The Rise of Digital Detox Packages

The trend of digital detox vacations has been on the rise as people seek refuge from their demanding digital lives. Leading the charge are luxury hotels and resorts that offer bespoke packages tailored to help guests disconnect. These packages often include a mix of activities designed to engage guests physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Activities Promoting Mindfulness and Well-being

Central to these detox packages are activities that encourage mindfulness and present-moment awareness. These activities often emphasize the importance of being present and appreciating the natural world. Popular options include:-

  • ·         Nature Walks and Hikes: Guided tours through scenic trails allow guests to immerse themselves in nature, promoting physical activity and a sense of tranquility.
  • ·         Yoga and Meditation: These practices help guests center themselves, reduce stress, and improve mental clarity.
  • ·         Art and Craft Workshops: Engaging in creative activities like painting, pottery, or knitting can be therapeutic and foster a sense of accomplishment.
  • ·         Culinary Experiences: Cooking classes and farm-to-table dining experiences not only educate but also connect guests with the local culture and cuisine.
  • ·         Wellness Treatments: Spa treatments, including massages and aromatherapy, offer deep relaxation and rejuvenation.

The Benefits of Digital Detox

The benefits of a digital detox are manifold. Physically, guests often report better sleep and less eye strain. Mentally, they experience reduced stress levels, improved mood, and a greater sense of well-being. The absence of constant notifications allows for uninterrupted thoughts and deeper, more meaningful conversations.

Socially, guests find that they connect more genuinely with those around them. Without the distraction of devices, there is more room for eye contact, active listening, and heartfelt interactions. Additionally, being in a serene, natural setting often leads to a greater appreciation for the environment and a desire to protect it.

Encouraging Digital Detox: Tips for Hotels and Resorts

For hotels and resorts looking to implement digital detox packages, here are some tips:-

  • ·         Create a Device-Free Environment: Encourage guests to hand over their devices at check-in and provide a secure place for storage.
  • ·         Offer Engaging Alternatives: Design a variety of activities that cater to different interests and promote relaxation and engagement.
  • ·         Educate Guests: Provide information on the benefits of a digital detox and how it can improve their stay.
  • ·         Train Staff: Ensure that staff are supportive and knowledgeable about the digital detox concept, helping to foster a device-free culture.
  • ·         Promote the Package: Use marketing channels to highlight the unique benefits of a digital detox vacation, attracting guests who are seeking respite from their digital lives.


As the demand for mindful travel experiences grows, digital detox packages offer a refreshing way for guests to disconnect from their screens and reconnect with what truly matters. By promoting such initiatives, hotels and resorts not only enhance the well-being of their guests but also contribute to a more balanced, mindful, and connected world. This summer, embracing a digital detox could be the perfect antidote to the stresses of modern life, offering families and individuals a chance to recharge and create lasting memories.

Discover Tranquility at The Brigadiers Cottage: Your Ideal Summer Retreat

Discover Tranquility at The Brigadiers Cottage: Your Ideal Summer Retreat

Nishang Narayan

Published on May 4, 2024

This summer, as the bustle of city life grows ever more demanding, find your sanctuary in the tranquil hills of Mussoorie at The Brigadiers Cottage. Known as the Queen of the Hills, Mussoorie offers a refreshing retreat with its cool breezes and misty mornings, setting the stage for a perfect getaway at one of India’s most unique homestays.

The Brigadiers Cottage is not just a place to stay; it’s a journey into a slower, more thoughtful way of life. Owned by Neetu and Aseem Varma, former corporate professionals who traded city life for the mountains, this cottage offers guests a rare blend of luxury and natural beauty. Their commitment to sustainable living is evident in every aspect of the cottage, from its organic farms to the free-roaming poultry and the melodious sounds of a nearby brook.

Guests at The Brigadiers Cottage can experience the joys of farm life with a modern twist. Imagine starting your day collecting fresh eggs for breakfast or taking part in milking the cows. The farm’s produce, including fresh milk, ghee, and honey, is not only organic but also embodies the essence of Himalayan purity.

For those looking to explore beyond the cottage, the Varmas suggest delightful local excursions. Whether it’s enjoying a picnic by the Yamuna River, with tables set up in the shallow waters, or exploring the vibrant Sainji village, known as the corn village of India, there is something for everyone.


The cottage itself, nestled in lush greenery and designed with an eye for elegance, has hosted a variety of distinguished guests, from diplomats to Bollywood stars, each seeking a slice of peace away from the public eye. Its exclusivity and personal touch make it a preferred retreat for those in the know.

If you're seeking a summer escape where you can unwind, explore, and reconnect with your loved ones, The Brigadiers Cottage in Mussoorie offers an unmatched experience. Plan a stay of at least three days to fully embrace the serene surroundings and the vibrant life of Mussoorie.

Call to Action: Ready to experience the serene beauty and organic luxury of The Brigadiers Cottage? Visit our May issue of the e-magazine for a closer look at this enchanting destination and start planning your perfect summer escape. For more details and bookings, follow us on Instagram @brigadierscottagemussoorie or visit

This article aims to entice readers with the charm and unique offerings of The Brigadiers Cottage, encouraging them to explore further in your e-magazine.

Sweetening the World: Shwetha Rajashekar’s Vision at India Sweet House

Sweetening the World: Shwetha Rajashekar’s Vision at India Sweet House

Nishang Narayan

Published on May 4, 2024

Meet Shwetha Rajashekar, a dynamic entrepreneur who has transitioned from a successful corporate career to revolutionising the desert landscape with India Sweet House. With over a decade of experience at prestigious companies like Goldman Sachs and Tesco, Shwetha brings a wealth of knowledge to her latest venture, aiming to make India Sweet House a globally recognized brand for authentic and sustainable Indian sweets.

In an exclusive interview in our May e-magazine, Shwetha shares her inspiration for starting India Sweet House. The idea was born from her desire to celebrate and preserve India's rich culinary heritage by bringing traditional sweets made with organic ingredients to a broader audience. India Sweet House stands out for its commitment to quality and sustainability, sourcing ingredients from its own organic farm, Karma Farms, ensuring that every bite not only tastes good but also contributes to a healthier planet.

Shwetha discusses the significant role of Karma Farms in maintaining the purity and freshness of their products, from dairy to ghee. This dedication to organic farming highlights a broader commitment to environmental stewardship, which is woven throughout their operations.

Empowerment is also at the core of India Sweet House’s ethos. Shwetha proudly leads an all-woman team, ensuring that the company not only produces delicious sweets but also champions gender equality in the workplace. This empowerment extends to nurturing their talents and fostering an environment where women can thrive and advance.

The article also touches on how India Sweet House balances tradition with innovation. While they cherish traditional recipes, they are not shy about introducing modern twists to suit contemporary tastes, ensuring their delights meet the palates of today’s diverse clientele.

Curious about the blend of tradition and innovation that Shwetha Rajashekar brings to the table with India Sweet House? Learn more about her unique approach to preserving culinary heritage while advancing sustainability in our exclusive May feature. Discover the full story and get inspired by her vision in this month's issue of Hospitality News e-magazine. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram at @indiahospitalitynews to stay updated with the latest trends and inspiring stories from the world of hospitality.