Power List 2017, Arun Saraf, MD, Juniper Hotel
They are the ones who are omnipresent in the hospitality industry but rarely seen on the covers of glossies. Hotel brands and property owners are equally keen to meet them, but they like to stay discreet.
It is not that they like to wear a cloak of secrecy; it is more that they like to let their work speak about their reputation and renown. Take the case of Arun Saraf, MD, Juniper Hotels. Fairly reticent as an individual, he was recently present during the opening of the 401-room Andaz Delhi, which is a joint venture between a subsidiary of Hyatt Hotels and Juniper Hotels Pvt Ltd (JHPL). Hyatt’s subsidiary owns 50% of the hotel, while Arun Saraf and family own the other 50%.
Incidentally, this is the third hospitality business venture that JHPL has entered into with Hyatt. The other two properties that JHPL owns include Grand Hyatt Mumbai and Hyatt Regency Ahmedabad. JHPL is part of Saraf Hotel Enterprises, which is the parent company of Asian Hotels, Robust Hotels, Unison Hotels, Chartered Hotels, etc. Radhe Shyam Saraf is its group chairman and he is ably assisted by his sons, Arun and Umesh along with his grandson Varun in leading and managing his hotels and companies subcontinent-wide.
The company traces its origin to 1975, when it started its first property, Yak and Yeti Hotel in Kathmandu, Nepal, which finally came up in 1977. It is a primarily a hotel development and owning company. The one thing that sets this company of self-made entrepreneurs apart is the willingness to take risks – but calculated risks as that. While they have forayed into the development of resort and convention centre in Bodh Gaya, the grandfather-sons-grandson trio make it a point to work in sync and gather enough market information before taking on any project. And despite the age gap, there is no generation gap that exists in this family.
By Vinita Bhatia