A hospitality executive based in San Diego, Bharat Lall works as the president and CEO of Pinnacle Hotels USA. Aside from his professional responsibilities with Pinnacle, Bharat Lall engages with the community as a member of the San Diego Indian American Society (SDIAS).
Dedicated to serving those in need and sharing Indian culture, SDIAS organizes a number of cultural events. In March 2017, the society held its 14th annual Unity in Diversity Festival of World Dances at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts. Each year, the festival presents a different theme, with the 2017 show celebrating 25 years of diplomatic ties between India and Israel.
Performances included intricately choreographed dances from India and Israel, as well as Egypt, Spain, and Japan, replete with detailed costuming and vibrant music. To honor the India-Israel relationship, the festival welcomed Shanee Zamir, a soprano from Israel, and the TNUA Israeli Dance Troupe, who performed the traditional song “Abba Sipur” (Dad, Tell Me a Story) through music, movement, and sign language. Also performing were members of the Ken Jewish Community, a San Diego-based group of Latin Jewish families.
In addition to Israeli dance and music, the festival showcased flamenco-Bollywood fusion dance, Japanese taiko drums, and Israeli-Moroccan dance. In all, more than 200 performers took part in the event, and among the approximately 700 spectators were diplomats from both India and Israel.
Bharat Lall owns Pinnacle Hotels USA, company he established in 1998 after a decade of strategically purchasing, renovating, and reopening a succession of mid-scale or dilapidated properties. Born in East Africa to parents originally from the state of Gujarat in India, Bharat Lall personifies the Indian American immigrant success story. Pinnacle Hotels now oversees a total of nine hospitality properties, all situated in rapidly developing regions of Texas and Southern California that attract both business and leisure travelers.
Immigrants from Southeast Asia today own tens of thousands of hotel properties in the United States, many having overcome severe obstacles in order to do so. Close to one-half of all American motels are under the ownership of Indian Americans.
The Asian American Hotel Owners Association lists more than 16,000 members, and in fact is the largest hotel owners’ trade group in the world. Its membership supports hundreds of thousands of jobs and makes a vital contribution to the overall American economy.
Pawan Dhingra, a sociologist at Tufts University, even devoted an entire book to the subject, publishing Life behind the Lobby: Indian American Motel Owners and the American Dream in 2012.
Despite recent economic achievements, Indian Americans have often faced severe patterns of discrimination. For example, the Immigration Act of 1924 was also known as the Asian Exclusion Act for its exclusion of Southeast Asian people, who were largely barred from entering the country. In 1965, the new Immigration and Nationality Act abolished restrictions based on national origin.
Bharat Lall directs the California-based Pinnacle Hotels USA in investing in underperforming hotels in three states. Beyond his responsibilities as president and CEO of Pinnacle Hotels USA, Bharat Lall supports Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID). The nonprofit organization will host the 2017 AVID National Conference in December.
The AVID National Conference brings together educational leaders from across the country to discover the latest innovations and best practices for closing the opportunity gap among students. Discussions will focus on expanding access to rigorous curriculums and promoting career readiness for all students. Designed for AVID members, school faculty, and district personnel, the conference also offers a variety of networking events where educational thought leaders can share their experiences.
Programming will consist of an assortment of concurrent sessions targeting the areas of leadership, culture, systems, and institutions. Topics explored range from digital and technological innovations to schoolwide strategies that support students and increase rigor. In addition, the conference will cover the success of AVID systems such as advanced programs and the AVID College Readiness System (ACRS).
To increase affordability, AVID has introduced a number of special incentives to the 2017 National Conference. Incentives include 50 percent off registration for demo school participants and $100 off registration for teams of three or more from the same school. District superintendents and college and university presidents will receive free registration.
The 2017 AVID National Conference will take place on December 7 through December 9 at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek in Orlando, Florida.
Bharat Lall is the president and CEO of Pinnacle Hotels USA. Pinnacle Hotels offers over 1,700 rooms in nine locations across the United States, including multiple offerings in Southern California. Bharat Lall accordingly keeps a watchful eye on national and regional trends in hotel development.
In Southern California, one new trend is reshaping the hospitality industry. Hotel companies have increasingly been joining forces by combining two brands in one building. Leading examples of this growing pattern in Los Angeles include the combination JW Marriott/Ritz Carlton and the Courtyard/Residence Inn, both on West Olympic Boulevard.
This new arrangement saves on operating costs for both brands. Some companies share operations or management staff, and many combine back-of-the-house operations for efficiency.
For buyers and investors, this trend has been lucrative. Blending brands or offering them side-by-side brings in more guests and can eliminate some degree of local competition. This brand diversification remains appealing to investors, and brands like Marriott continue to seek out dual-brand opportunities in major cities.
As president and CEO of Pinnacle Hotels USA, Bharat Lall oversees nine popular hotels in California and Texas. Bharat Lall’s hotels feature the latest and most sought-after amenities, including state-of-the-art fitness centers and heated outdoor pools.
Less persuaded by mini bars and in-room bathrobes, today’s travelers are increasingly interested in more modern services. Across the board, the amenity that is most popular with hotel guests today is free wireless Internet. Guests want to be connected constantly, and they expect to be able to get online easily and for free. For many, lack of this amenity is a deal breaker.
Guests are also demanding spa-quality toiletries. Luxury hotels already offer top-tier bath and beauty products, and many boutique-style hotels offer interesting local products. Even at three-star hotels, consumers are increasingly looking for appealing toiletries that don’t dry out their skin or hair.
Like the demand for toiletries, the demand for fitness centers has spread across all sectors of the hospitality industry. Guests are no longer satisfied with an aging treadmill and elliptical machine in a small room. Instead, they want high-quality fitness facilities with a range of cardio and weight equipment. These amenities go hand in hand with hot tubs, saunas, and upscale spa services, which are also in high demand these days.
Bharat Lall has served as president and CEO of Pinnacle Hotels USA for more than a decade, leveraging his experience to renovate distressed hotel properties and transform them into profitable ventures. Outside of his professional life, Bharat Lall supports Indian awareness groups such as BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha.
Last April, the Swaminarayan Akshardham, a spiritual complex based in New Delhi, played host to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who was escorted through the grounds by Narendra Modi, who serves as India’s Prime Minister. They kicked off their tour by stopping by the Swaminarayan Akshardham Mandir to pay reverence to the Bhagwan Swaminarayan, a revered Hindu teacher. During their time there, they took in the architecture around them, commenting on the location’s unique combination of history, technology, and spirituality.
During the trip, they also visited the Gajendra Pithika, a collection of stone elephant sculptures, and the Sanskruti Vihar exhibition, where they experienced a first-hand look at the cultural history of the country, as well as the unique spiritual significance of the locations. Turnbull ended the trip by writing his own personal entry in the site’s visitor’s book.
Based in San Diego, Bharat Lall serves as president and CEO of Pinnacle Hotels USA. When he isn’t working, Bharat Lall supports numerous causes, including the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), formerly known as Hare Krishna.
In response to the growing divorce rate in many countries, ISKCON recently rolled out an original digital platform that offers premarriage counseling services based on the philosophy of Srila Prabhupada. The new program, titled “Getting Ready for Married Life,” begins by offering two different learning tracks, one for each gender, to help couples adequately prepare for the challenges that come with marriage.
Throughout the classes, individuals are given the tools to examine their reasons for wanting to marry and Srila Prabhupada’s teachings on how to build successful and lasting marriages. The program also offers courses designed to help couples who are already married improve their relationships and bring more harmony into their lives.