A ten-part series on Discovery Travel and Living tells you what makes a Taj hotel tick
You know what they always say about restaurants — never peek into the kitchen, not even that of the very best. Either the guys at Discovery Travel and Living don’t believe in it or they are ready to take on this long-held notion and prove it otherwise. For, beginning October 26, the channel brings us a ten-part reality series on the behind-the-scenes at the globally recognised hotel — The Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, Mumbai. And it’s not just scrutinising the kitchen, but the rooms, the bathrooms, and everything in between. As they promise, it’s going to be the good, the bad and the ugly.
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So what does it really take to run a hotel? And when you are the Taj, how do you keep patrons (rock stars, royalty, Bollywood personalities and international celebs), who may be ready to blow up dough but are so demanding that your neck is forever at the guillotine? Karambir Singh Kang, manager, The Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, says that it’s nothing short of high voltage drama. “We know that our guests expect a certain level of finesse and warmth when they come to us. We are there to make their dream stay, real. Now, how do we do that is what you will get to see,” he says.
From chefs to housekeeping to room service, chauffeurs and butlers — their systematic planning and patience while handling customers, to setting right goof-ups and unexpected situations and the training that goes behind it — all of it has been packaged into ten half-hour episodes.
We caught a sneak peek into the show which had the room service staff on their toes, as a certain tough-as-nails Kacker was expected to arrive, the F & B department was preparing for an Indian banquet for royal guests from Denmark, and chef Hemant Oberoi’s staff was almost going berserk over his demanding nature.
Well, so we saw certain blemishes being covered last minute such as the Tata suite’s chipped ceiling being given a quick touch up, and the sous chef Diana almost losing it after five straight rejections of her dish.
Rahul Johri, senior vice-president and general manager – India, Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, says that the show which has been shot over a period of a year-and-a-half has long been on the agenda of the channel. “The show talks not about just one property, though the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower has been chosen. Shooting at the Taj was a unanimous decision as it really is a globally recognised hotel,” he adds.
While the management was sceptical about having the crew shoot at the property and letting them in on their personal space, Kang says that they went ahead with it so as to let the world know “what makes a great hotel great”. Let’s wait and watch.
Show: Hotel By The Bay; timings: Sunday, 8.30 p.m.; begins October 26.