The person I chose to interview next was an easy decision- Ravi. He is our Guest Service Manager, one of the most difficult jobs in a hotel and an incredibly funny and kind individual. He is always in a good mood and always chatting up guests and co-workers. Every Friday when I walk in, Ravi and I have our own little “it’s Friday dance” that we like to do.
I was informed yesterday, that Ravi has accepted a new position as the GM at the Residence Inn by Marriott, our sister hotel, as we have the same owner. I know this was sad news for everyone because he is an amazing addition to the Lord Elgin team. His new co-workers will be very lucky to have him!
Before I interviewed Ravi, I was unaware of how wise he is. He has experienced many fascinating things in his life time and he is very inspiring. I’m glad to have sat down and spoke with him before he parted ways with The Lord Elgin Hotel.
-What is your favourite part about your job at Lord Elgin?
What I like about this place is the people that I work with. I think they are awesome. They give the guests the kind of experience that they demand, which pleases me as well as serves the purpose of this business. It is very important to have a happy and motivated team of people. Whether at the front desk or at the valet desk. If I can invoke that kind of motivation in everyone that works here, then I think we have a happy and successful hotel. I believe that the principle I work with is that I have an extremely high level of self -motivation, and look at myself with an inward eye on a daily basis. I show it through other practises as well. This level of motivation is usually passed down to the people who work with me, so overall it serves the businesses purpose. So, that’s the best thing about this place, the team.
-What will you miss most about the lord elgin hotel?
I think the whole experience is something that Ill miss.
-Are you excited for your new job? Nervous?
I am both! I’m extrememly nervous because I am going into an unknown field in a certain manor. I know hotels, but I dare say I know exactly what is being done. I’m excited because it’s a good change for me and I’ve been waiting 10 years for this opportunity. When I last left a hotel it was as a GM in Dubai.
-How many different hotels have you worked in?
Eleven hotels. All in a period of 40 years.
-Can you tell me about a bad experience you’ve had in a hotel? Perhaps a crazy guest or visit?
I’ve had a lot of bad experiences. A lot. I have hundreds of stories. I’ll tell you of my oldest experience when I worked at the InterContinental Hotel in Mumbai in 1975. There was a sooth sayer (like a fortune teller) and she was sitting with her hand under her chin, with her eyes open. She sat there for hours. And… she was dead. She had a heart attack and died in that position.
I originally saw her in the lobby when I left the hotel and I had waved at her. When I returned to work 3 hours later she was still there and I acknowledged her again. Then it was midnight and she was still there in the same position. That’s when I got freaked out. She was in the same position, her legs crossed, hand on chin. I called the security and he tapped her on the shoulder and she just fell over. I had walked by her three times but I was a young guy and just dumb. That was something I will never forget.
-Where were you born and where did you grow up?
I was born in India and grew up in many parts of India. I speak many Indian languages, about six.
-What are the three favourite places you’ve previously traveled to?
Kathmandu in Nepal, I consider that to be a fantastic place. I would say that’s the best.
I also love the Maldives, which is a set of islands south of India, east of Africa- in the Indian ocean. I developed a resort there. It is a fatastic destination, the highest point in all of the islands is 3 feet above sea level and they are surrounded by coral reef. It is extremely beautiful.
Third place I’d say is India. I have very fond memories of India. Most of all the small villages where people are very poor yet extremely hospitable. I find that to be a very gratifying experience to have gained when I traveled there when I was young. Hospitality has no bounderies in terms of rich, poor, black, white, green… it goes beyond that. People who have nothing would share a meal with us because we were travelers and had no place to stay.
-What are three places you’ve never been but would love to go?
South Africa, China and we’ve always wanted to go to Spain. Several places. Oh and especially Brazil, for the jazz music and sambas- and the women!
-What was the happiest moment of your life?
Very difficult question. One happy moment was when I became the GM of a business hotel in Bombay. My goal was to get a job like this within 10 years of graduation. In those days in India, it would take a minimum of 15 years to be a General Manager after finishing school, so I had a real “wow” moment. I decided I was going to work twice the amount of time so I could gain the experience and accomplish that goal. I was very pleased. Of course, marrying my wife in 1977 was also a very happy moment.
-What was the last thing you regret buying?
I don’t buy too much. But a condo in India is the last thing I regret.
-What three adjectives might other people use to describe your personality?
Calm, crazy, and knowledgeable.
-If you were stranded on an island with only one item, what would it be?
-If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?
I would revisit Africa and find ways to sort the state there, in terms of the average people.
-If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be?
I don’t know, but wisdom does come at 50.
-If you were reincarnated as ice cream, what flavor would you be?
I’ve always liked strawberry, but rum and raisin sounds even better.
-If you could develop any talent (ie. Dancing, singing) what would it be?
The most important thing for people is kindness and generosity. I think I am kind but not generous enough. So I’d like to improve on my generosity. Someone with both is someone who can succeed in life because your wants are not important. Other people have less wants and more needs. We have all our needs but have more wants.
-Any last comments or “send-offs”?
I’ll certainly miss The Lord Elgin Hotel and my team. I’ll miss all the people, people really grow on you. I will also miss Brigitte’s hair colour, that changes throughout the season. All of my experiences have and will always be good, and I am grateful for them.