The Kamat Legacy: A Father-Son Duo Redefining Indian Hospitality

14/06/2024

Father’s Day, an occasion to celebrate the unique bond between fathers and their children, and more so when their shared passion leads to remarkable achievements. In the realm of Indian hospitality, the inspiring story of Dr. Vithal Venkatesh Kamat, Chairman, Kamat Hotels India Ltd (KHIL) and his son, Vishal Vithal Kamat, Executive Director at KHIL, stands as a testament to the power of mentorship, tradition, and innovation.

Dr. Kamat is a multifaceted personality embodying the roles of Green Hotelier, Environmentalist, Entrepreneur, Educationist, Antiquarian, Ornithologist, Author, Globetrotter, and Black Belt Karateka. His remarkable journey began in a modest vegetarian family restaurant and has since led him to become the Chairman of The Orchid – Asia’s first award-winning ecotel hotel. Dr. Kamat’s diverse expertise and dedication to both hospitality and environmental stewardship make him a distinguished figure in his fields.

Today, as Vishal Kamat continues to lead the Kamat legacy, he does so with the profound understanding that his success is intrinsically tied to the values instilled in him by his father. The wisdom, guidance, and unwavering belief of Dr. Kamat in his son’s potential have shaped Vishal into the visionary leader he is today, embodying the timeless principles of integrity, innovation, and compassion that define the Kamat legacy.

This Father’s Day, we celebrate the dynamic duo, whose remarkable journey exemplifies the profound impact of fatherly guidance and the enduring power of shared dreams.

“Like any great relationship, there are lots of ups and downs. There can be differences in opinion, not differences in goals and vision. That is something I cherish with my father: our wavelengths match on many decisions, work or personal because of the values he has imbibed in me, which have come from my grandfather,” Vishal shares.

Under Dr. Kamat’s guidance, Vishal has spearheaded many initiatives to streamline operations, enhance customer service, and introduce new ventures under the Orchid brand, such as IRA by Orchid Hotels. They are now foraying into the luxury wellness segment with Toyam by Orchid Hotels.

Their collaboration reached new heights with the establishment of iconic heritage properties such as Fort JadhavGadh near Pune and Mahodadhi Palace in Odisha. These visionary projects not only showcased Vishal’s ingenuity and Dr. Kamat’s foresight but also underscored their

shared commitment to excellence and sustainability. Together, they redefined the hospitality landscape, setting new standards of luxury, authenticity, and environmental stewardship.

Beyond their professional achievements, the Kamats’ legacy is defined by their dedication to social responsibility and community empowerment. Inspired by his father’s philanthropic spirit, Vishal has championed initiatives to support local artisans, preserve cultural heritage, and promote sustainable tourism practices. Together, they have left an indelible mark on society, enriching the lives of countless individuals and communities across India.

“There are countless lessons I have learned from my father, both personally and professionally. His influence has shaped my approach to relationship building, and I credit my nature, which mirrors his, to his guidance. His dedication, determination, and discipline—his guiding principles that he shares with others—are qualities I continually strive to embody,” Vishal reflects.

Vishal has many fond memories of growing up with Dr Kamat. He fondly remembers the growing up years when Dr Kamat would take him wherever he would travel for work. “Just being around him taught me a lot, even indirectly watching and listening left a mark on me till date.”

“Ours is not a mere partnership; we are friends together. The best part is that he has also become more open-minded and willing to see things differently. This adaptability is why you see The Kamat Group, The Orchid Hotels, and IRA Hotels in a state of constant positive change and growth. We blend old-world values with new ideas, building on a foundation of modern technology and contemporary ways of working,” Vishal adds.

Vishal and Dr Kamat’s favorite father-son time is when they head out exploring different places and enjoy the food together. “I enjoy having food at unique places with Papa. It’s not fancy or famous places but awesome food with a cozy local touch. And a Bar always helps!” he quips.

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