Hotels have the power to re-energize a city, to become the heart of a neighbourhood, and to transform even the most remote location into a vacation hotspot. We caught up with third generation hotelier Anish Taneja of Palm Holdings to find out more about his fascinating career in the hotel business, what projects he’s currently working on, and where he travels in his down time.
Give us a snippet about you. What should people know?
I always try to remember to say thank you when necessary and to give back whenever I can. I spend as much time with family and friends as possible and I like to learn something new every day. I am very close to both my parents who have made me who I am today. My passions include fashion, cars, restaurants, hotels, and traveling, and I try to enjoy each one of them as much as I can.
Your a third generation hotelier. How would you describe your job to someone unfamiliar with the industry?
Along with my two elder brothers and father, we run a family-owned business that focuses in hospitality, commercial offices, and hotel services. We each have our own role in the business with mine being the Director of Construction and Procurement. My role puts me in charge of any construction-related work such as renovations, interior design, new developments, and purchasing. From inside out, I work with our designers/contractors to make sure all items are procured, installed and up to standards. We franchise brands from Starwood, Marriott, Hilton, and Intercontinental, which we then own and operate.
What hotel project is currently keeping you the most busy?
We currently have two projects we are working on that are set to open in October 2013 and February 2014, respectively. We are also working extremely hard to acquire more assets and explore different investment opportunities. We have a great team at Palm Holdings, and I am excited to work with a great group of people on a daily basis.
What has been one of the most innovative hotel openings in recent history that you’ve been a part of?
I like to think that every hotel we work on is just as innovative as the last. That being said, my first project is one that I will always hold dear to me. This property was a Best Western that we converted to a Marriott Courtyard. We completely renovated the hotel inside and out to bring it up to Marriott’s standards. I learned a lot in the process, and it was a great experience.
When you actually have vacation time, where do you go?
Being in the industry I travel several times a month. While most of my travel is for work, I do spend some vacation time in London, New York, Paris and Miami. All these cities have some of my favourite restaurants, shopping, nightlife, culture and arts.
You’ve lived all over the world, but consider Toronto home. What is it about Toronto that you love?
I find Canadians some of the nicest people in the world. Toronto has been one of the most welcoming and friendly places I have ever been to. No matter how much I may be away, I always am excited to be back when I land at Pearson Airport. Each year I find the city grows and has more to offer. It seems as if every week I hear of a new venue or event that I can’t wait to check out.
What’s your favourite restaurant and why?
There are so many great restaurants in this city. It is hard to pick one. One of my favourites is Barberian’s Steakhouse. The service is always great, and they are the only restaurant in Toronto I know of that has chateaubriand on their menu. When not eating steak, my go-to is usually any Icon Legacy venue. They always do a great job with food, service, and design.
What are three things you couldn’t live without?
Family, friends and good food.
How do we keep up with your travels and projects online?
I don’t use Facebook however I do use Instagram, Twitter and Linkedin. For information on the business, the best source is the website, palm-holdings.com.