Priya Paul of Park Hotels says there is something special in each hotel of theirs
By the end of this year, Cochin will see a new addition to its hotel line-up. “The Park Hotel in the city will be ready and I am excited about it. Besides travelling on business meets and work to various parts of the country, I have been making frequent trips to Cochin. It is a beautiful place,” says Priya Paul president of The Park Hotels and a director of the Apeejay Surrendra Group. Priya was in Hyderabad to address a group of women on work, life and health. But she confesses to being more comfortable talking about work. “I hardly talk about my personal stuff. It is mostly about quarterly turnovers, targets and hurdles,” she laughs.
Priya joined her dad’s business armed with a bachelor’s degree in economics from Wellesley College, USA. She started as the Marketing Manager of The Park in 1988 and climbed up the ladder soon. Finally in 1990 she was made the Director, Apeejay Surrendra Group, and President, The Park.
Looking back, does it seem to be exhausting for Priya? “Not at all. Every achievement of my team counts and yes, work can be hectic at times but that’s what business is all about,” she says. Citing the example of the times The Park was opened in Hyderabad, Priya says, “We opened The Park in Hyderabad against all odds. Like all businesses, the hotel too went through its share of initial hiccups. But it is all set now. Every staff member worked towards making it successful.”
But unlike most businessman and women who say they want to lead a stress-free life, recipient of the Padma Shri award says, “Stress is a part of life. It has to be handled and dealt with. A little stress is necessary to push ourselves to commit better personally and professionally.”
Ask Priya which is her favourite hotel and she laughs, “I love each one of them. Every hotel of ours has something which I like about. Also if I name one hotel, the others will not spare me.”
Besides being a big collector of ancient Indian art, Priya also loves to sample food and says every kitchen in her hotel has something different and special to offer. But would her love for food send her sampling chaats and pani puri? “All the time, when in Delhi. When The Park Hyderabad was getting ready I made the best of the time going to every nook and cranny. I love street food,” says Priya.