Story of Sarovar How it all began

Hospitality Talk|January - February 2020

Story of Sarovar How it all began
Ajay Bakaya joined Sarovar Hotels in 1996. Ever since, the group has come a long way with 86 hotels globally. We trace the journey of the brand right from the beginning.
Anupriya Bishnoi

Can you explain your Africa story?

Our Africa story happened fifteen years ago. I knew nothing about Nairobi and its hotel market. But someone was opening a hotel then and was looking for an Indian hotel management company and we grabbed the opportunity. That’s how Nairobi story took off for us.

Something interesting that I would like to share is- we cannot use the Sarovar brand in Kenya because the latter has a company named ‘Sarova’. We just use our ‘Infinity’ symbol there and mention ‘operated by Sarovar Hotels’ under it. There is a tremendous amount of potential in this part of the world and Sarovar is growing strong ever since.

Which country has been on your list?

I want to be in the UAE for sure. We were there a couple of years ago and our hotels went from two to three and then we were going to graduate to the four-star hotel category. But that didn’t work out and we pulled out. But, every time I look at the Middle East, people have always asked for a lease model, which we don’t work on or financial participation, which we won’t do outside the country. But Dubai/ Middle East will certainly be the next thing for us for the simple reason that I can source business and talent from both Africa and India.

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January - February 2020