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Kochi: Truly incredible! The journey of CGH Earth Group cannot be described otherwise. Beyond hospitality business, what they practice is a unique philosophy – to extend the luxury of being local to the core. A really difficult idea to comprehend, but for members of the first family of hospitality in Kerala, it is in their blood.
The story began way back in 1988. While on a holiday in Lakshadweep, the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi decided to privatise the picturesque Bangaram Island. Leading hotel brands submitted proposals quoting crores of rupees to develop the Island as a destination in a phased manner. But, in October 1988, the authorities gave the go ahead to a proposal which said: “Keep the Island as it is; don’t spoil it with a hotel.”
Of course, responsible tourism was something unheard of in this part of the world then. The term luxury soon got a new definition in hospitality industry. The tariff of the hotel matched the premium price in India at that time. But, its marketing brochures proclaimed: ‘There are no telephones, TVs, newspapers, air-conditioning, hot water, room service, multi-cuisine restaurants or swimming pool.’ Apparently, it was trying times for the Group. What gave them confidence to move ahead with their ethos was the response of the people who came back after their first visit: “Keep the property as it is, even if the price is increased.”
The rest is history (see timeline). Now, after 27 years, the industry is emulating what CGH Earth Group has stood for in different ways. For CGH Earth, the journey continues strictly adhering to its core value of ‘being with nature.’ It now owns 17 eco-luxury properties – nine destination hotels in Kerala, two in Pondicherry and one each in Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep and two wellness centres each in Kerala and Karnataka. With an inventory of 350-plus rooms, CGH Earth has a turnover of Rs. 110 crore and staff strength close to 1,300.
Into its 61st year in hospitality industry, CGH Earth Group is now in the process of restructuring the family business under a mother group to be called ‘The Dominic Brothers.’ In an exclusive interview with Destination Kerala, members of the second and third generations of the renowned Kuruvinakunnel family field questions on the imminent business expansion, their future roles and responsibilities and how to sustain the unique hospitality model they pioneered in the changing times.

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