Posted in People on 2 May, 2024

Miiro is a new lifestyle hotel brand launching a characterful collection of individually designed hotels, located in the heart of Europe’s most vibrant cities. In conversation with SPACE Miiro CEO, Neena Gupta discusses the ambition and the inspiration behind the brand.

Born and raised in Delhi, like many people, Neena Gupta’s passion for travel began as a young child on family holidays. “Air travel was very limited and considered to be a luxury, so instead, we explored the country through its extensive, more affordable road and railway network –travelling to the hills as well as the beaches of Goa.”  Fuelled by her love of music festivals and concerts, her teenage years were spent discovering more off-the-beaten-track areas of India. It wasn’t until her twenties, when she joined Indian travel conglomerate, InterGlobe, that she began to travel internationally – and the rest, as they say, is history.

Please tell us a little about your role prior to the launch of Miiro?
I’ve been at InterGlobe since 2008, marking almost 16 years with the company. I am currently the Executive Director of Group Strategy and International Hospitality and sit on both the Leadership Team and the Executive Committee, alongside my role as Miiro CEO.

Throughout my career, I have been involved in numerous strategic initiatives across the InterGlobe portfolio of businesses, spanning aviation (IndiGo – India’s foremost airline), hospitality and travel services in various positions. This has included acquisitions, divestments and managing joint ventures, as well as the strategic development of new businesses. These experiences have shaped my professional trajectory and deepened my understanding of the intricacies of businesses, all of which have given me invaluable insights for developing the Miiro brand – which is a venture from InterGlobe Enterprises.

Borneta Hotel, Barcelona, Spain. Bar

What was the initial vision when creating the Miiro brand and has this changed along the way?
The vision for Miiro was to capitalise on the iconic locations and the rich history of our properties to deliver exceptional and meaningful travel experiences.

As we embarked on the journey of developing the brand, we quickly realised that there was so much character and storytelling surrounding our hotels, and that each Miiro hotel should be an authentic reflection of its local neighbourhood, community and history. By integrating the global perspective of InterGlobe and the local nuances of each property, as well as a sense of wonder for our guests, we knew we could create something really special.

Today, our goal with Miiro is to create Brilliantly Considered Stays that encourage guests to pause, reflect and savour every moment, in top locations like Paris, Barcelona, London and Vienna with more to be announced soon. We want to bring them closer to the neighbourhoods they visit in a truly authentic way, and we do that through thoughtful partnerships and programming that support local businesses and encourage community engagement.

What are the biggest challenges when creating a new hospitality brand?
Creating a new brand definitely has its challenges, but it is also a huge opportunity for everyone involved. I’ve loved every step of the journey so far!

I would say that our main focuses have been differentiating Miiro from larger, well-established brands, and carving out a unique identity for Miiro in a crowded market space. We have been working hard to develop distinct guest experiences that resonate with our ethos and target guests, to help deliver high-quality stays and promote brand affinity.

Secondly, developing and launching multiple hotels within a short timeframe is hugely demanding for any brand, especially a new one. In addition to managing several renovation projects across different cities, we are also recruiting industry-leading talent for our on-property and cluster teams, as well as building websites, social pages, booking engines, internal processes and more.

Templeton Garden, London, United Kingdom. Restaurant

Which of your previous roles do you believe prepared you best for these challenges?
My time as a corporate lawyer was a fascinating experience. Through interacting with interesting individuals and accomplished professionals on a regular basis, I was fortunate enough to develop deep emotional intelligence, which I’ve carried with me throughout my career. It also demanded expert negotiation skills, attention to detail, perseverance and adherence to tight deadlines, which have all been invaluable in my subsequent roles.

These skills have led me to be involved in diverse roles at InterGlobe. Notably, restructuring the company’s global hospitality businesses and my representation on the board, as well as leading the acquisition and strategy of hotels in Europe to create the first hospitality brand for InterGlobe, as part of my new role as Miiro CEO.

Most people don’t know this about me, but I also have a creative side… I have trained in opera and love to travel, read and paint in my spare time. I lean into this side when developing new ideas or for troubleshooting problems.

In a busy marketplace, what unique offerings will set Miiro apart from the rest?
We believe that Miiro offers a better way to travel. The stay experience is more thoughtful and personal and the environment we have created allows our guests to recharge in some of Europe’s liveliest cities. Through carefully considered collaborations with local teams and partners, guests can also authentically connect with the people and places they visit.

It’s also important that our guests feel a genuine sense of care from our hosts during their stay. We know that this connection leaves a lasting impression, and we want our guests to feel the same sense of warmth every time they return.

Le Grand Hôtel Cayré, Paris, France. Bedroom

With five hotels in the pipeline, what are the short and long-term goals for the brand?
With just a few months to go ahead of opening Le Grand Hotel Cayré in Paris and Borneta in Barcelona, our short-term goal is to successfully launch both hotels and the brand to the market. I am working closely with the team to oversee all renovation projects and ensure they are delivered on time and to the highest standard.

We are also preparing to open hotels in London and Vienna next year, and are exploring additional opportunities, so in the longer term, our focus will definitely be on establishing and expanding the Miiro brand.

When looking for the perfect property, what takes precedence – the building or the location?
Location is fundamental for Miiro. Our hotels put guests at the centre of Europe’s most interesting, city centre neighbourhoods, from Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris to the cosmopolitan area of El Born in Barcelona. Alongside the convenience of a central location, guests can also connect with the local residents and businesses for a deeper understanding of the culture. We also love that our buildings tell their own story of the area’s history. For example, a plaque in memory of the author and political activist, Annette Kolb, who had called the building her home from 1944 to 1961, can be found at Le Grand Hotel Cayré. Today, she is the inspiration behind the hotel’s new restaurant, Annette.

You have a highly accomplished senior management team on board – what do you believe attracted them to join a new brand?
For a group that have been in the industry for so many years, and that have achieved so much, it’s a new and exciting challenge for us all. It is very rare that one gets an opportunity to be part of something new, building and creating a brand, and this is what the entire team, with all their previous experiences feel, as it presents itself as a unique opportunity. Additionally, the passionate culture that we exuberate and the values that we share at Miiro have also been key in attracting such an accomplished team. We all have a team-first mentality and lean on each other’s expertise to deliver exceptional results, putting Miiro firmly on the map!

Templeton Garden, London, United Kingdom. Bar

I understand that each hotel will be unique in character and design. Does that create a challenge when building a brand identity?
While Miiro hotels have individual design nuances that reflect their local surroundings and the property’s history, all will share the brand’s core values. This includes establishing partnerships and programming with neighbouring partners and businesses, creating spaces that encourage guests to relax and recharge, and offering experiences and tools that promote mindfulness.

There will of course be certain touchpoints and a service code that will be applied uniformly across the Miiro guest journey. For instance one of the uniform features across all the hotels is a high-end Refresh Room, where guests can change, shower and store luggage before check-in or after check-out, making guests feel at home as soon as they arrive or depart.

This is an example of how InterGlobe’s experience in aviation has guided our perspective on hospitality.

Could you tell us a little about the design of each property?
To encourage a connection with the community, our properties all break down the barrier between the street and the hotel, whether it’s with an outdoor seating area, or a coffee shop entrance, it strikes a good balance between public accessibility and a sense of privacy. Inside, the Miiro take on interior design is urban with an understated elegance, resulting in spaces that feel inviting and comfortable.

Our team is working closely in collaboration with like-minded renowned designers in the luxury lifestyle space across the current renovations, including Michaelis Boyd Associates and Thurstan Design.

And finally, what do you believe is at the heart of a successful hotel?
In my career, I have worked with some of the world’s biggest travel and hospitality companies, and my experience has proven that it’s always the people behind a brand that make it a success. So, when building the Miiro team, I knew it was important to invest the time, energy and resources in finding the best talent in the industry, who also share our values. I firmly believe that our team, both at a brand level and at each hotel, will be the making of Miiro!


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