Founding the Chaudhary Group in 1968 in Kathmandu, Binod Chaudhary followed in the footsteps of his entrepreneurial father and grandfather, who helped lay the foundations for the distribution, retail, leisure and manufacturing company. Now the wealthiest man in Nepal, Chaudhary’s company has spawned multiple divisions over the past five decades, including CG Hotels & Resorts which founded luxury wellness resorts like The Farm at San Benito. A passionate philanthropist and adventurous traveller, Chaudhary’s interest in the world of wellness began long before the inception of The Farm. Compare Retreats speaks with the businessman on healthy habits, doing good, and how he transforms weakness into a strength.
The Farm at San Benito is one of the world’s best wellness resorts. What was the incentive behind opening this resort? As a wellness traveller and nature lover, I have visited countless locations that satisfy both these passions of mine. I first visited The Farm as a guest back in 2007, and it was a life-changing experience for me. I recognised the uniqueness of the place and its offerings and knew it could still be so much more. For example, it is no longer just a place for internal detoxification and holistic healing, but has extended its offerings to external beautification procedures. The philosophy is still the same, so the procedures are minimally invasive. We have other plans for The Farm, and one of these is to make it a global brand.
CG Hotels and Resorts operates properties around the globe. What sets hospitality at CG Hotels & Resorts apart? There are three things. First, we practice what we preach. Our brand is about concern for the environment and we demonstrate our concerns right from Projects to Practices while operating the hotels. Second, we strongly believe in incorporating sustainability in all our services, particularly in our hospitality services, where we emphasise sustainability—reduce, reuse and recycle—which makes our travellers appreciate our hotels. The Green team of our 66 hotels and resorts have a yearlong programme and they are all responsible for sustainability and making our properties appeal to eco travellers in India. Finally, all our business hotels and resorts are equipped with state-of-art-facilities to serve the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) segment, which has proven to be a paramount sector of the hospitality business. These days, corporate prefer to go to different destinations to conduct various meeting and conferences. The fulfilment of corporates regarding MICE is well addressed by our hotels.
What kind of person would The Farm suit? The Farm offers a wide range of holistic wellness services that address various health concerns today. The property also focuses on preventive health care, which is why there are licensed doctors and field experts available for assessment and advice. Guests even have the option to participate in complimentary classes for vegan food preparation, so they can enjoy these healthy dishes at home.
So, anyone who is looking to take a break from their busy life, seeking relief from body pains, looking for ways to manage their weight, diabetes, hypertension, stress, or is just concerned about their health, would benefit from spending time at The Farm. We also have an Aesthetic Center, where people who wish to enhance or improve their looks through non-surgical procedures.
What do you hope guests will take away from their stay?I’ve always believed in balance, which is what the holistic treatments at The Farm are also aiming for. And this, I hope, is what guests ultimately realise and appreciate during their stay.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? There are two pieces of advice that have helped me as a businessman. The first is from my grandfather who started the company by importing fabrics from India to Nepal. He’d always believed that “a good businessman doesn’t wait for people to come to him, he reaches out to them.” And the second is from my father, who took a huge risk by undertaking a project that neither he nor his forefathers had done before. “You learn by doing a job, not by watching it being done,” he said. This is what pushes me to keep raising the bar.
We saw social health and giving back to the community highlighted as an important and often overlooked area of wellness at the Global Wellness Summit. You and your company do a lot of philanthropy work—can you tell us a little bit about this, and how you’ve integrated it into your business? The Chaudhary Foundation was created in 1995 as part of our CSR initiative to give back to the community that helped us become who we are now. We try to work in all development sectors, but two of our major areas of concentration are disaster reconstruction and economic improvement. We believe in valuing the environment that our employees and customers live in. The less negative impact we have on the environment, the happier the local community is.
One example is the Chaudhary Group’s Industrial Park, which we built in Southern Nepal in the 1990s. Most of the area was conserved as a forest, and the factories we built were designed so that they emit as little emissions as possible. We treat its wastewater in-site so that it doesn’t harm the environment when we release it back. At our headquarters in Kathmandu, we started an E-waste recycling programme. In terms of livelihood, we make sure to provide employment opportunities to the local people. In most of our hotel properties, more than half are local residents from the area.
How do you integrate wellness into your lifestyle? When I visit The Farm, I don’t just go as an owner making the usual assessments, I also experience the place with everything it has to offer. Whenever I can, I also go for treks in the mountains.
What daily habits set you up for success? I always wake up early: when I get up in the morning, I always do so with positivity. Some people wake up with the mindset that it’s just yet another day, and this hinders them from evolving. For me, enjoying what I do has helped me have a positive outlook and plans to take our business to the next level. I also read all daily local and International newspapers so I can keep abreast of what’s happening in the world and the current trends. When I’m in Kathmandu, I incorporate two hours of gym and yoga in my daily habits.