Amol More is no stranger to Indonesia. He was stationed in Jakarta for four years, before returning back to his home country of India to serve in its top properties. Now, as the general manager of JW Marriott Hotel Surabaya, Amol More shared to us about the vibrant hospitality in India and Surabaya, as well as his plans for the future.
Q: Can you summarise your journey so far in the hospitality industry?
A: I’ve been working in the hotel industry for 25 years, 18 years of which have been with Marriott International. I have worked in India and in Indonesia before, and my current position is my second time in the country. During my first spell, I spent four years in Jakarta. I’ve worked with three JW Marriott’s properties: JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu, JW Marriott Hotel Jakarta, and now JW Marriott Hotel Surabaya.
Q: You began your hospitality career in the kitchen, and later the F&B department. What made you decide to pursue a career in higher management?
A: As the kitchen leader, I was always passionate and very involved in doing a lot of events. That pushed me to get into event operations, which led to me becoming the director of that department. The new position gave me a lot of space to curate my ideas, stitch stories and execute events at the hotel. From events, I went to the food and beverage department, where I started curating restaurants and their programmes. Of course, with my culinary background, it gave me a good basis to propel my career further. The journey has been in stages, from culinary, events, food and beverages, to operations and then finally the general manager.
Q: A big part of your career was spent in your home nation of India. Can you tell us the biggest difference between working there and in Indonesia?
A: I really don’t see much difference in India and Indonesia, because I think culturally, both countries are pretty similar – they share common culinary and cultural habits. Although, through the hospitality point of view, the industry in Indonesia has a more vast variety of offerings. For example, if I have to compare Bali to Goa in India, they both are similar destinations with pristine beaches and sunset views, but Bali has got more properties, ranging from smaller stars to luxury resorts. I think that’s how I see the difference in hospitality between both of them.
Q: What is it from JW Marriot Hotel Surabaya that attracts you and made you decide to join the property?
A: When I worked at JW Marriott Hotel Jakarta between 2014 to 2018, we were definitely sharing best practices between Indonesia’s three JW Marriott properties. I was always aware of JW Marriott Hotel Surabaya, but when I actually came and saw the hotel, I was amazed. The size of the hotel, in terms of the room inventory, is one of the largest in the city. At 407 rooms, this is slightly more than my previous posts, and the largest number that I have ever worked with. I have always preferred to enjoy the quiet city hotel with a high volume of rooms. Also, the property has so many dynamic offerings in food and beverages, from Japanese to Chinese outlets, to the all-day dining and steakhouse.
Q: Can we expect exciting new developments in the near future for the hotel?
A: We are planning to focus on activating our weekends, especially for leisure and family guests. We have plans to do promotions and packages with local venues around Surabaya, where guests can travel, visit, learn and enjoy. It’s going to be a JW Marriott weekend, emphasising leisure alongside the business travel. Apart from that, there will always be projects on enhancing the food and beverage programmes – having a lot more guest chefs at the restaurants, having takeovers and pop-up events. We just finished off a Janice Wong event, where we had a painting workshop with chocolate, in which guests and visitors were really mesmerised by the activity. We had a chef from JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok who travelled for a Thai food festival at our Pavilion Restaurant, and we received a great response for our dining promotion. Look forward to more activities with our Chinese, Japanese and steakhouse restaurants in the coming future.
Asia Dreams Volume 48