In the world of luxury hospitality, few names resonate as profoundly as Prithvi Raj Singh Oberoi, the Chairman Emeritus of the Oberoi Group. His recent passing marks the end of an era for an industry he helped shape and elevate. In 2002, PRS Oberoi, fondly known as such, took the reins of EIH Limited and proved to be not just a hotelier, but a visionary who dared to dream big for India’s hospitality sector.
What to know? Educated in India, the UK, and Switzerland, Oberoi’s global perspective was instrumental in putting the Oberoi Hotels on the world map. His belief that “people are the most valuable asset” was more than a motto; it was a guiding principle that led to the establishment of The Oberoi Centre of Learning and Development in Delhi in 1967.
Numerous awards have recognized Oberoi’s contributions to the industry, including the Padma Vibhushan in 2008 and the Businessman of the Year 2008 title from Business India magazine. His commitment to excellence saw him receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards and the 2010 Corporate Hotelier of the World award by HOTELS magazine.
But beyond the accolades, it was his risk-taking ability and belief in India’s potential that truly set him apart. Thirty years ago, when the idea of world-class luxury in India seemed far-fetched, Oberoi envisioned creating the best hotels in the world right here. He faced immense challenges, from non-existent airports in key tourist destinations to building world-class facilities in a market where luxury was undervalued. Yet, he persevered, and today, Oberoi Resorts is not only a testament to Indian hospitality but also among the most profitable in the country.
A symbol of resilience: His resilience was further exemplified in the aftermath of the terror attacks on The Oberoi, Mumbai. Determined to rebuild, he envisioned the hotel rising like a Phoenix, a symbol of defiance and excellence.
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PRS Oberoi’s legacy is not just in the bricks and mortar of the luxurious properties he created but in the indomitable spirit and vision he instilled in the Indian hospitality industry. His journey, from envisioning to realizing these iconic hotels, is a reminder of the power of conviction and the enduring impact of a visionary leader.
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