Dr. Anmol Ahluwalia, Area Director, Operations is responsible for overseeing operations of IHCL hotels in Goa. The experienced hotelier began his journey in hospitality with studying at IHM Bombay and then Oberoi Management School, Delhi. After working with Oberoi Hotels for 5 years, he moved to Goa, to begin his first assignment with Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa, Goa, and has been with the company for 19 years. Here he shares updates on the hospitality major's journey in Goa, embracing inclusivity.

Could you share a little about the evolution of the Taj in Goa over the years?

The Taj has been instrumental in shaping tourism in Goa. Opening its doors in 1974, Fort Aguada Resort & Spa was the first 5-star hotel in Goa. Celebrating 50 years in 2024, the hotel was seen as a beacon of hope in the state, which put Goa on the global tourism map. Believing that Goa is a draw for all segments of tourism, over the years, IHCL has grown its portfolio to 30 properties in the state. We have almost every vertical present in Goa - Resorts, Ama, SeleQtions or Vivanta, Ginger, Taj Sats and Qmin. So, IHCL offers a slice of Goa for everyone, at various price points and local ethos available for guests to choose from. So yes, it has been a huge journey of evolution in terms of accommodation and also in the culinary space.

Speaking about the culinary space, could you tell us about Taj's unique dining options of various established as well as newly opened outlets?

In the last 2 years especially, Goa as a state has evolved as a culinary destination. Along with this evolution our dining spaces have also been reimagined and reinvented. In 2022, the iconic Taj Fort Aguada partnered with Ristorante Paper Moon S.R.L to bring the first Paper Moon outlet to India, which was only the and 7th in the world. Taj Holiday Village boasts outlets like House of Nomad, an award winning cocktail forward bar and Seven Rivers, a one-of-its kind microbrewery which not just brews regular beers but offering flavours of Goa like the Kokum Gose, Poi Lager or the Mango Blonde when in season. Our endeavour is to share a slice of Goa with guests, whether they enter a beautiful location like Taj Fort Agauda to have their first Italian experience overlooking the sea, or whether they visit the micro-brewery and taste Goa in their first sip of beer.

What is the inspiration?

I think it's always Goa – that remains the first and the foremost inspiration and everything else revolves around it. Goa becomes an emotion and an experience in terms of accommodation and food. If one considers the many examples across the group, there are various hotel brands and various restaurants that are small-end, high-end, middle-end. So as for a customer there is a lot of choice and our approach is very well balanced for those who are looking to indulge in a memorable stay or culinary experience.

Tell us about your experience at Purple Fest 2024: 

The Goa Government recently organised Purple Fest 2024. This was a first-of-its-kind festival in India with a goal to embrace, express and celebrate persons with disabilities, encouraging citizens to come together to create a welcoming and inclusive world for everyone.

Resonating with this ethos, we felt the importance of offering such services to the differently abled. We curated a Braille menu for all our in-house restaurants in Taj Goa, and are also in conversation with National Book Trust of India, Ministry of Education to make available story books and novels in Braille for guests staying in our resorts in Goa.

This in an initiative that speaks to IHCL's core philosophy to lead positive change with Trust of all stakeholders, Awareness around the needs of our ecosystem and Joy at heart.

Taking this a step further, this year the General Managers of all our properties along with the Head of the Departments sang the National Anthem on 26th Jan in sign language.


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