Shamini Pather, General Manager of The Royal Palm Hotel, speaks about her passion for the hospitality industry and what it’s like being one of the few female GM’s with The Three Cities Group.
The sophisticated Royal Palm Hotel located on the prominent Palm Boulevard of Umhlanga promises sheer luxury and elegance. Situated a mere five minutes from all that Umhlanga has to offer, including the prominent business districts, pristine beaches and the prestigious Gateway Theatre of Shopping – it is the ideal property for both business and leisure travel.
Recently appointed General Manager – Shamini Pather – is excited about her new position and the hotel’s potential. “It’s a beautiful hotel,” gushes Shamini with genuine sincerity, “I want to get the name out there!”
The Royal Palm Hotel was one of the first multifaceted hotel developments to be established in South Africa. The development includes hotel accommodation, a restaurant, conference facilities, corporate offices, retail space and secure underground parking.
The 94 apartment hotel offers accommodation to suit all needs in any of its spacious suites, apartments or penthouses. Textured wallpaper, hot chocolate, signature chairs and a private balcony complete with outside furniture are just a few of the luxurious features that give this hotel its unique personality. Shamini is of the opinion that The Royal Palm’s rooms are the best she’s seen in the hospitality industry.
Shamini has over 10 years experience in the hospitality and leisure industry with the Three Cities Group, having studied Hotel Management right after completing high school. “I was influenced by my brother who is five years my senior and absolutely loved his work in the hospitality industry,” explains Shamini.
She initially started off her career as a receptionist at a Three Cities property and thereafter rose through the ranks steadily as a Guest Relations Officer and then as the Guest Relations Manager. Positions as a Room Divisions Manager and Resident Manager soon followed. Finally, Shamini fulfilled her dream when she was appointed General Manager of The Riverside Hotel and Spa.
Although her positions have not been linear, she has always remained with the Three Cities Group. “I am so thankful to Three Cities for believing me,” says Shamini, “the company invested time and money in my development and it’s a wonderful position to be in.”
“Hospitality is a difficult industry’, says Shamini, “and it is so easily affected by global economic trends.” Shamini is immensely proud of the fact that she makes up an exclusive minority of female general managers. “Women are taking over in this industry”, she enthuses, “so unlike before, when we were expected to stay home to look after the family. We bring the much-needed feminine touch to the hotel industry.”
Shamini favours the open-door policy when it comes to management. She believes in listening to her staff and their suggestions. “I am very straight-forward, decisions need to be a team effort so I try to get the staff’s buy-in as much as possible.” She goes onto elaborate, “In my opinion, the most difficult aspect of being a GM is caring for the staff. People management and staff motivation are of the utmost importance. With a little bit of innovation and forethought, everyone in this industry, from the porters to the upper echelons of management, all have significant contributions to make and no one should ever be overlooked.”
She has the following advice for those wanting to study hospitality and follow in her footsteps one day, “Do some research. You need to have a clear understanding of what you are getting yourself into! Balance is important and always be prepared for the unexpected.”