Mukund Goyal, Chairman, Ananta Hotels & Resorts

Mukund Goyal, Chairman, Ananta Hotels & Resorts is a true visionary. In an exclusive interview with Travel+Leisure India & South Asia, he speaks about the premiering edition of SOUL Festival scheduled for March 2023 at Ananta Udaipur, the future of the brand, and what still keeps him going in his 80s. 

Excerpts of the interview with Mukund Goyal:

T+L India: What made you launch Ananta Hotels, especially Ananta Udaipur after being in the garment business?

Mukund Goyal

Mukund Goyal: God inspired me to start Ananta, and it was a conscious inner call to create something unique and timeless. My first hotel was Radisson Jaipur, followed by Ananta Pushkar, and then we started Udaipur. Everyone at that time were [focussed] on Lake Pichola. The area was congested and spoiling the beauty of the lake. I saw there was nothing on the hills, and wanted to create something in the beautiful Aravalli. We needed contour for that. We were searching for land, and by the grace of God, I saw this land, which had a horizontal contour, and we were lucky to be able to buy it. We launched Ananta Udaipur in 2014.  

T+L India: What is the design ethos behind Ananta Udaipur?

Mukund Goyal: My first design inspiration was from Bali. I wanted to have a bit of [Bali] here in Udaipur. My architect, Mukul Goel from Jaipur, and I sat for hours discussing how to build this place, what should the cottages be like, as I wanted to make something different and unique. All the materials used here are locally sourced. We built the rooms in such a way that it’s cooler in summer, and warmer in winter. The cottages have high roofs, and the ceiling is made of natural materials. Each cottage has privacy, and each one [is surrounded] by the beautiful Aravallis.  

T+L India: So what would you say is the USP of Ananta Udaipur?  

Ananta Udaipur.
The premiering edition of SOUL Festival will be held at Ananta Udaipur.

Mukund Goyal: Our USP is the environment—it’s different from others. There are plenty of trees, the aroma, it’s pollution free and very peaceful. 

T+L India: From garments to hospitality business—how has your entrepreneurial journey been? 

Mukund Goyal: While I was into garments, I did a lot of travelling. We were exporting to the US, Europe, Australia, New Zealand. I used to travel a lot and stayed at different kinds of hotels, and I could see the glamour in the hotel industry. Hospitality [also] generates a lot of employment, and it was in my mind that if I really wanted to start something, it would be in the hotel business. 

T+L India: How does travel inspire you and what are your favourite destinations? 

Mukund Goyal: Travel [helps] you with new ideas, new thoughts. You see so many new things, and meet new people. My favourite travel destination is London. We did a lot of business in London. 

T+L India: What do you think is the future of Ananta? 

Mukund Goyal: I am very confident about my third generation. My son, Sanjay Goyal, the leader of the team is looking after the administration and management, and I have three grandsons. Mohit is the eldest, then Ashutosh, and Raghav. They are very capable, and I am sure they will do a great job.  

T+L India: What are the future Ananta projects in the pipeline?

Mukund Goyal: We have started construction in Ajabgarh, near Sariksa. Khush Shah is our architect for the Ajabgarh project. In Ajabgarh, there are a lot of undisclosed interesting places, which we want to popularise with a holistic approach of wellness meets spirituality. We have a [property] in Jaisalmer coming up that’s being designed by Sanjay Puri. There are also discussions for Rishikesh, Shirdi, and Goa.  

T+L India: What is the vision behind the Soul Festival scheduled between March 3-5, 2023, in Ananta Udaipur?

Mukund Goyal: We have heard of literature and music festivals all the time. But we wanted to do a festival for the soul—something that allows you to rejuvenate, give time to yourself, and your inner feelings, and connect with your soul in the midst of nature. You can simply relax for these two days.

Related: Ananta Hotels & Resorts Team Up With BurdaLuxury For The First Edition Of The Soul Festival

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