Mohan Singh Oberoi, a man with humble beginnings and an indomitable spirit, transformed the face of the Indian hospitality business. The force behind the Oberoi Group of hotels, he started off working as a front desk clerk at The Cecil Hotel in Shimla, India. Born into a Sikh family in pre-partition India’s Jhelum district (now in Pakistan), Oberoi faced early adversity. After his father’s untimely death, he joined his uncle’s shoe factory in Lahore. Riots, however, forced its closure. He then joined The Cecil Hotel in Shimla as a front desk clerk with the hope of a fresh start. Little did he know this role would shape his future, as he displayed dedication and contributed to hotel upgrades.
Mohan Singh Oberoi’s unwavering pursuit of his passion led to the purchase of his first property, The Clarkes Hotel, in 1934. To fund this venture, he mortgaged his wife’s jewellery and every asset he possessed, displaying his unwavering belief in his vision. His perseverance and hard work soon brought results, allowing him to pay off the mortgage in a remarkable five years. Oberoi then bought the Grand Hotel in Calcutta despite its poor condition owing to a cholera epidemic in the region. This project also turned out to be a huge success, solidifying Mohan Singh Oberoi’s position as a visionary hotelier.
Mohan Singh Oberoi’s passion for the hospitality industry drove him to acquire hotel after hotel, both domestically and internationally. The Oberoi Group now owns and runs 31 luxurious hotels and resorts, all of which uphold the greatest standards of luxury and service.
Mohan Singh Oberoi was honoured with the Padma Bhushan in 2001 for his contribution to the Indian hospitality industry.
Also known as the father of the Indian hotel industry, MS Oberoi breathed his last in 2002, leaving a legacy of one of the best hotel chains not just in India but globally. The brand stands tall as an example of what hard work and determination of young man with vision.
With a market valuation of over Rs 12,700 crore, Oberoi Group today has grown into a multi-national empire. The company successfully opened additional hotels in China, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom, expanding its global reach. The organization intends to expand into South America and Africa in the future, further strengthening its position as a market leader in the hospitality industry.