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After graduating from hotel management college in Kerala’s scenic Wayanad district, Shekhawat joined Oberoi Udaivilas as a Front Office Associate. On his very first day at work, a royal from the Middle East was departing with a few truckfuls of Louis Vuitton bags. “I was impressed by my ability to transform into a mule,” says Shekhawat. Unsurprisingly, he went on to become baggage-in-charge. Post that he handled the concierge—which he loved—before launching up.
What’s a day as GM of Aman like?
To be a GM at Aman is to live and be at home every moment in time. As I live in a tent at Aman-i-Khas, I sleep with my walkie-talkie radio, listening to the sounds of the jungle, sometimes waking up to join the party in escorting the dominant species out of camp. I wake up to the sounds of birds, do yoga to soothe my aging back, and start working at 8am with meetings and guest activities. Post breakfast, it’s creative time in which sustainable, organic farming or asset-improvement tasks are undertaken or reviewed. Afternoon is for follow ups and emails. By 3pm it’s time for adventure, either off to the jungle or work on sustainability and colleagues’ skill development. Evening is for time with guests around the fireplace, dinner at 7.30 and in bed by 10.
What do you like most about your work?
The people at Aman make it special and it all starts with Aman empowering local communities. Looking at creativity coming out of every single employee helps the organisation adopt and work towards creating unparalleled experiences.
You look after two properties. What is the USP of each?
Amanbagh, with its at least a few thousand palm trees, is an oasis to unwind and reflect. Aman-i-Khas is just 10 tents, and our connection with wildlife and working with Ranthambore legends like Daulat Singh is our USP.
If you weren’t in hospitality, what would you be doing?
I would have loved to be a farmer.
How do you unwind?
Mountains are calming and that is where we spend our me-time. Wildlife and farming are passions and I wish to continue working for or around them. Cooking for family is what I love most, but always end up making a mess!
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