Keshav Suri was just 21 when his hotelier dad, Lalit Suri passed away. The executive director of the Lalit Group of Hotels recounts the challenges he faced. “It was difficult to come to terms with reality. The best way was to immerse myself in my studies and learn the ropes of the trade, so I could help mom. My parents made sure that my siblings and I had a great education and were exposed to different cultures. So when the need came, after my father’s demise, we were able to take charge as a family. It was daunting to step into my father’s shoes. My mother, is my pillar of support. I hope I am the one to realise my father’s dreams,” says the charming 32-year-old who has grown up in an all-women household.
“I never looked at it is as an all-women household. My sisters and I were treated equally by our parents and ‘respect for individual’ was one of their main teaching to us. There has been no gender bias in the way we were raised or in the way we work. My mother, Dr Jyotsna Suri, is the chairperson and MD of the Group. The three of us siblings, are the executive directors, wherein we shoulder responsibilities as per our choice and forte,” says Keshav, who is swarmed with meetings when he is not travelling constantly. In between his hectic schedule, he finds time to ponder about his journey for this interview.
Keshav has a string of prestigious degrees, which didn’t stem from a confused mind but more of a quest for education that would stand him good in his future ahead. “My parents ensured all of us completed our education before entering the family business. I thought it will be myopic to study hotel management as it is already in my DNA. I studied law and management to broaden my horizon. I graduated in law and business from the University of Warwick, and followed it up with a master’s degree in international management from King’s College, London and a law degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London,” he reveals.
Like his socially popular late dad, Keshav also enjoys his nights out and is credited to have brought to India, the first pop up party concept. “I do have his genes as far as living the high life is concerned. That’s why I started the pop up party. I created the brand out of my own selfish interests. It is the kind of place I would like to party at. As a city, Paris continues to remain my favourite destination. We successfully launched the concept in Mumbai and Chandigarh. Soon after that we started monthly pop ups in Bengaluru, Kolkata and Jaipur that have been immensely popular,” says the hands on hotelier, who takes pride in the well established and responsible team he has created. “I trust them and believe in an open door policy. Therefore, I prefer to delegate, but at the same time I do to keep a close watch,” he adds.
Keshav also oversees F&B for the hotel group. Despite being a vegan, he is passionate about food. “I like to offer world class culinary delights to our guests. We recently hosted a Michelin star chef to train our chef and give a fine dining experience to our guests. I like trying different venues that are experimental in approach and treat food like art. Gaggan in Bangkok, El Bulli in Spain, Le Chateaubriand in Paris are some of my all time favourite restaurants,” says Keshav, who is also considered one of the most eligible bachelors in India. “Really! I am flattered to know this and my regards to everybody who thinks so highly of me,” he responds.