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Business Traveller India - May 2018

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INDIA
M A Y 2 0 1 8 `150
A NORTHERN AFFAIR
Exploring France
A HERITAGE ODYSSEY
Chennai’s cultural
establishments
THE WINE EXPLORER
Choosing the right label
PLUS
Tried and tested • Barbados
• Mayfair's boutique hotels
S I M P L I F Y I N G
TRAVEL
Services at Indian airports
CONTENTS
INDIA
MAY 2018
ON TH E C OVE R
20
INDIA
M A Y 2 0 1 8 `150
A NORTHERN AFFAIR
Exploring France
A HERITAGE ODYSSEY
Chennai’s cultural
establishments
THE WINE EXPLORER
Choosing the right label
PLUS
Tried and tested • Barbados
• Mayfair's boutique hotels
S I M P L I F Y I N G
TRAVEL
Services at Indian airports
R E GU L AR S
10
F E AT UR E S
26
UPFRONT
Hollywood and other businesses here
Business travel news from
around the world
38
18
INBOX
Your posts from our
online forum
Faster processes at
Indian Airports
47
40
48
52
SHOW STOPPER
60
TRIED & TESTED
FLIGHT
SMART TRAVELLER
DUTY FREE
Turkish Airlines B777300ER business class
Understanding Customs rules
and airport limits
TRIED & TESTED
HOTELS
78
InterContinental London
Park Lane; Novotel Goa
Donna Sylvia Resort;
Shangri-La Hotel
Bengaluru
TRIED & TESTED
R E S TAU R A N T S
81
82
80
GOA PORTUGUESA
Traditional restaurants in this coastal state
Columns on long-haul lowcost airlines, and inventive
in-room charges
77
SUN-KISSED
Kicking back in Barbados
OPINION
TH E R EP OR T
A H E R ITAG E O DYS SE Y
Chennai’s cultural establishments
Anaconda Loop Bag by
Bottega Veneta
4
A NORTHERN AFFAIR
Exploring France
TIMESTOPPER
Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual
Calendar by Vacheron
Constantin
71
FOUR HOURS IN ZURICH
A quick jaunt in the Swiss capital
SIMPLIFYING
TRAVEL
59
LA STORY
64
74
NO EXCESS BAGGAGE
Tips for packing smartly
THE WINE EXPLORER
Choosing the right label
THE HIGH LIFE
Mayfair’s boutique hotels
32
Kazahana, Tokyo;
Progressive Oriental
House (POH), Mumbai
M AY 2 0 1 8
business traveller india
ENJOY THE
PRIVILEGES
WHERE
BUSINESS
MEETS
BENEFITS
To become a member and start receiving
benefits of Turkish Airlines Corporate Club,
please visit corporateclub.thy.com
Mumbai - 022 61997900
New Delhi - 0124 4193000
WELCOME
W
e recently met with the country’s Minister of Tourism, who in
conversation, lauded the Indian airports. He spoke about their
ongoing refurbishments in small and large cities, with focus on
making airports smarter. In fact, many Indian airports have even
won the Airport Service Quality award for customer experience in 2017.
The most noticeable airports, four to be precise are in Bengaluru, Delhi,
Hyderabad and Mumbai. On page 20 we have listed existing services and those
in trial at these airports – not forgetting their green initiatives, including those
at Cochin International Airport.
Chennai as a city is doing, or rather its artists are doing a good job at
keeping alive the state’s languishing art forms. From Bharatnatyam to
porcelain sculptures, institutes mentioned on page 48 hold regular shows to
feed your cultural interests.
On page 40 you’ll find a nicely outlined route taking you to through the
north of France. It’s not just wines and cheese here, but surprisingly is a lot
about beaches and beer. Talking about wine, flip over to page 64 for a look at
the new “premium” wines on the market. Thankfully, these needn’t necessarily
come with a heavy price tag.
And going back to beaches, you will find our recommendations for Goa’s
authentic eateries (page 60) to be a succulent treat.
There is a lot to explore for the summer in this issue. And on page 74 you’ll
find a few handy tips on how to pack smart.
Happy Travels!
6
Neha Gupta Kapoor Editor
IN THIS ISSUE
CORRIGENDUM
A NORTHERN AFFAIR
A HERITAGE ODYSSEY
GOA PORTUGUESA
Touring the French region
(Page 40)
Preserving arts in Chennai
(Page 48)
Eateries along the state’s coastline
(Page 60)
M AY 2 0 1 8
Last month we erroneously
stated on page 42 of
Innovation Nation that
Aishwarya Nair was
instrumental in bringing
Le Cirque and Megu
(The Leela Palaces, Hotels
and Resorts) to India.
We regret the error.
business traveller india
CONTRIBUTORS
JAMES HENDERSON
JENNY SOUTHAN
James Henderson has written about the Caribbean for the
past 30 years, in guidebooks, online and in the national press,
but predominantly for The Financial Times and its luxury
magazine How To Spend It. He has also competed in some of
the world’s most demanding multi-sport challenges, including
Eco-Challenge and the Marathon des Sables. He recently
visited New Zealand to race the Coast to Coast (bike, kayak
and run). He writes about Barbados on page 52.
Former features editor Jenny Southan has been a member of
the Business Traveller family for ten years. Now freelancing,
she writes for publications including Mr Porter, Daily
Telegraph, Forbes and City AM, and also runs her own
online travel trend forecasting magazine Globetrender
(globetrandermagazine.com). She recently spent a month
living in Los Angeles, which allowed her to research our story
on the City of Angels on page 26.
7
7
SHARMILA CHAND
PETER MCCOMBIE
Sharmila Chand is a freelance journalist and author, based
in Delhi. Her passion for exploring lesser known Indian
destinations drives her, where she indulges in local food,
music and culture. Her extensive travels took her to
Chennai recently, where she explores its languishing art
and culture establishments. (see page 48)
Peter McCombie is a New Zealand Master of Wine, based in
London. A co-chairman of the International Wine Challenge,
the world’s best wine competition, he also judges wine around
the world. A respected commentator and lively speaker he also
consults for hotels, restaurants and clubs around the world. He
advises on how to pick good wine on page 64.
business traveller india
M AY 2 0 1 8
INDIA
Publisher & CEO Ravi Lalwani
Managing Director Julian Gregory
Editorial Director Tom Otley
Executive Director Meena Lalwani
EDITORIAL
Editor Neha Gupta Kapoor
Deputy Editor Akanksha Maker
Production & Design Head Amit Chavan
Proofreader James Mathew
Contributors Sharmila Chand, Jazreen Deboo, James Henderson, Ravi Lalwani, Peter McCombie,
Derek Picot, John Strickland, Jenny Southan
ADVERTISING
Business Head Khursheed Mistry
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Email editorial@panaceapublishing.co.in
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Facebook.com/BusinessTravellerIndia
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Email info@panaceapublishing.co.in
8
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M AY 2 0 1 8
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business traveller india
MAKE IN INDIA:
INDIA’S FIRST
HIGH-SPEED,
ALL-ELECTRIC
TRAIN
10
LAST MONTH, Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off India’s first 100
per cent electric high-speed train from Madhepura, Bihar. It is part of the first
iconic Make In India project and is the first FDI project of this magnitude for
India’s railway sector.
The total cost for the project is €3.5 billion.
Each of the 12,000 horsepower locomotives is built to pull 6,000 tonnes at a
maximum speed of 120 kmph – twice the existing maximum capacity and speed
of Indian Railways. They’re designed to function using eco-friendly LED lighting
and low voltage cables for reduced carbon footprint, as well as bring down Indian
Railways’ operating costs.
In November 2015, Indian Railways signed a contract with French company
Alstom to manufacture and deliver 800 such trains over the next 11 years.
During this decade-long period, Alstom will also be involved in the maintenance
of the locomotives.
To facilitate this, a manufacturing plant at Madhepura in Bihar and two
maintenance depots at Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh and Nagpur in Maharashtra
states are set-up.
Henri-Poupart Lafarge, chairman and CEO at Alstom said: “This project
stands as a shining example of Alstom’s commitment to Make In India. Apart
from creating thousands of jobs directly and indirectly, we have created a strong
localised supply chain for this project, with 90 per cent of the components
sourced locally.”
As per the contract, parts of the first five trains are manufactured at Alstom’s
factories in France and assembled here in India. The remaining 795 trains will
be manufactured locally in India, in step with the government’s Make In India
campaign. Of these, 35 trains will be delivered in 2020, 60 in 2021 and thereafter
100 per year until the order of all 800 trains is complete. alstom.com
M AY 2 0 1 8
Airbus and Zodiac reveal
lower deck sleeping berths
AIRBUS AND ZODIAC have revealed designs for
lower deck sleeping berths on the A330 and A350
family aircraft.
The modules, which would fit inside the aircraft’s
cargo compartments, would allow the airlines to sell
additional sleeping seats to passengers.
The new passenger modules are intended to be easily
interchangeable with regular cargo containers, possibly as
quickly as during a typical turnaround, Airbus says.
The aircraft’s cargo floor and cargo loading system are
not affected, as the passenger module sits directly on it.
“This approach to commercial air travel is a step
change towards passenger comfort. We have already
received very positive feedback from several airlines
on our first mock-ups. We are pleased to partner
with Zodiac Aerospace on this project which will
introduce a new passenger experience and add value for
airlines,” said Geoff Pinner, Head of Airbus Cabin and
Cargo Programme.
The companies say that airlines will initially be able to
choose from a catalogue of certified solutions by 2020
on A330 for retrofit and line-fit markets. Offerability of
sleeper compartments on the A350 XWB airliner is also
being studied. The innovation builds on both Airbus’
and Zodiac Aerospace’s experience in producing and
integrating lower-deck crew-rest facilities.
The sleeping berths are a similar concept to the crew
rest sleeping berths currently in place on the A380 which
can also be removed when not needed for shorter legs.
The sleeping berths have an emergency exit. From a
passengers’ point of view, sitting in this seat is a good
option because of the extra leg room. airbus.com
business traveller india
UPFRONT
The Leela wins contract to manage Mahatma Mandir
THE LEELA PALACES HOTELS AND RESORTS,
commonly known as The Leela, has won the competitive bid to
manage the 34-acre Mahatma Mandir Convention and Exhibition
Centre in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
Mahatma Mandir is one of the largest convention centres in the
country – an “environmentally-responsible complex” that can
hold a total of 15,000 people. It includes a convention hall with a
capacity for 6,000 people, as well as multiple exhibition centres and
seminar rooms.
At a distance of 400 metres from Mahatma Mandir, above the
city’s railway station, the homegrown luxury hotel brand is building
The Leela Gandhinagar that is expected to open in January 2019.
Both buildings are a 25-minute drive from Ahmedabad
international airport.
The contract for the government’s project to build a 5-star
hotel above Gandhinagar railway station was signed by The Leela,
Gandhinagar Railway and Urban Development Corporation
(GARUD), a special purpose vehicle formed by the Government of
Gujarat with the Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation
Ltd (IRSDC).
Commenting on the development, Vivek Nair, chairman and
managing director at The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts said:
“The addition of Mahatma Mandir and The Leela Gandhinagar to
our MICE portfolio reinforces our plans to expand further into the
international conferences and events space, and underscores our asset
light growth strategy. The projects combine grand space with global
standards of service and cater to the growing demand for world-class
venues. Together with the Government of Gujarat, our endeavour is
to help transform Gandhinagar into the convention capital of India.”
On completion, The Leela Gandhinagar will be the first luxury
hotel in the country to be built over a railway station, 25 metres
above ground. Its three wings with ten floors and two eight-storey
wings will hold 300 rooms and suites, two restaurants, a lounge and
boardroom, and 800 sqm of meetings, conventions and event space.
R.K Beniwal (IAS), MD of Gandhinagar Railway and Urban
Development Corporation said: “We are very confident that
The Leela Gandhinagar and Mahatma Mandir Convention
and Exhibition Centre will be ably managed for a wider global
distribution and accentuated positioning in the international and
domestic MICE market.”
With The Leela Gandhinagar, the hospitality group now has ten
properties across India. Upcoming projects include a resort in Jaipur,
a palace hotel in Agra where every room will face the Taj Mahal, and
business hotels in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. theleela.com
11
TAJ HOTELS PALACES RESORTS
SAFARIS ANNOUNCES
PARTNERSHIP WITH DIVERSEY
TAJ HOTELS PALACES RESORTS SAFARIS has announced a strategic
partnership with sustainable solutions company Diversey.
In line with Taj’s commitment to preserving the environment, its modern laundry
system helps conserve water and electricity, and improves productivity.
This programme was pilot tested at five Taj hotels and resulted in significant
savings in man hours, electricity and water. About five million litres of water, 26,000
kilowatts of electricity, 1,47,000 kilograms of steam and 1,800 man hours have
been saved.
The positive results of the testing have encouraged the group to introduce
programme at five more Taj hotels by June 2018, and to 30 hotels by March 2019.
“We are committed to being a responsible citizen on this planet. We integrate
sustainable development into our business practices and this initiative will help us
conserve our natural resources,” says Ashish Seth, vice president materials, Indian
Hotels Company Limited. tajhotels.com
business traveller india
M AY 2 0 1 8
→
India's tourism fabric
K.J. Alphons is the Minster of State (IC) for
Tourism and Minister of State for Electronics and
Information Technology, Government of India
12
How well is Indian Tourism doing in 2018, with
regard to business travel and leisure?
In terms of numbers, last year we grew 15.6 per cent more than
in the previous year. In terms of revenue, compared to last year
we are up by 20.5 per cent. We hope to do much much better!
Do you think you have got enough depth in the
hospitality industry in India?
We are short on the US$100/`6,542 per night model segment,
which has typical business hotels. We’re constantly looking
for ways and means to provide incentives for them to come
and open. One possibility is ensuring that land comes at an
affordable cost so the room tariffs can be affordable. We’re
working on such options.
And how do you get the message to the world that
things are improving?
We have India Convention Promotion Bureau that has been
tasked to bid and get more conferences to India. Secondly,
we are focusing on specialised MICE properties. We are
restructuring our work fundamentally; India Convention
Promotion Bureau is the national body, but there will soon
be state chapters at local levels so that it becomes a robust
mechanism.
How are we doing with the airport infrastructure?
Our airports in Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai
are of world-class quality with amazing infrastructure. Out of
50 airports in India, 20 are international airports. We want
to either upgrade or develop around 150 more airports in the
next five years. By
2020 we are projected to become the third largest aviation
market in the world. We have opened out the rural areas in the
really backward regions of the country by giving licence to 363
persons to operate flights right up to the village level. I think
these are fantastic moments.
M AY 2 0 1 8
SPICEJET ADDS
ADAMPUR AS ITS
SIXTH DESTINATION
UNDER UDAN
SPICEJET HAS ANNOUNCED the launch of its
operations for the un-served market of Adampur (in the
state of Punjab), starting May 1 onwards.
It will deploy its Bombardier Q400 aircraft on the
route. SG 8731 will take off from Delhi at 1530 and
reach Adampur at 1645. The return flight, SG 8732, will
take off at 1705 and reach Delhi at 1815.
SpiceJet was awarded Adampur under the first round
of UDAN. This low-cost carrier is the first and only
airline to connect Adampur to Delhi with direct flights.
This marks SpiceJet’s sixth destination under the regional
connectivity scheme. Last year, the airline had launched
services on the Mumbai-Porbandar, Mumbai-Kandla,
Jaipur-Jaisalmer and Hyderabad-Puducherry routes
under the UDAN scheme.
SpiceJet also recently announced the Hubli-Chennai
and Hubli-Hyderabad UDAN routes which will be in
operation from 14 May.
“SpiceJet has been among the pace-setters for UDAN
which we believe has the potential to democratise and
broaden air connectivity to the last mile in a country
where flying is still beyond the reach of most. We are
proud to add Adampur on to our pan-India network.
We expect businesses and industrial trading to receive
an immediate boost from the direct connectivity while
promoting medical tourism and strengthening the
economy of the city. Our flight will also offer immense
flexibility and convenience to frequent NRI travellers
residing in this region,” says On the occasion, Shilpa
Bhatia, chief sales and revenue officer, SpiceJet.
Travellers would have to travel to Delhi via
an Amritsar flight, since Adampur lacked direct
connectivity. Adampur houses a large number of nonresidential Indians from Doaba, the NRI belt of Punjab
and is the second largest military airbase of India.
spicejet.com
business traveller india
UPFRONT
W E I R D W E AT H E R
CLOUDS
WATERSPOUTS
NAVRANG INDIA
Every year, more than 400 waterspouts appear in the seas around the Florida
Keys. These funnel-shaped clouds form above the surface of the water and
spin upwards in a vortex towards the cumulus clouds above. Sometimes
more than 600 metres tall and tens of metres in girth, they normally last only
20 minutes. Waterspouts have been known to suck fish up from sea, rivers or
lakes into the clouds. Last summer, children at a school in northern California
found dozens of tiny fish scattered across their playground and school roof.
Waterspouts were deemed the culprits.
TO GO OR NOT TO
GO…HISSSTORIC
SNAKE VILLAGE
“OPHIDIOPHOBIANS” (THOSE WHO FEAR
SNAKES) must stir clear of Maharashtra's Shetpal
village. It is a sanctuary for the slithering reptiles. The
inhabitants of this village don’t find it unusual to have
stray snakes curled up in their homes or even classrooms.
In fact, snakes are worshipped here and every home has
a designated place for them called Devasthan, which
translates to resting place of the Gods. Children playing
with cobras is a common sight in the sleepy town. They
assure hesitant tourists that snakebites haven’t been
reported so far, but who is to say.
13
Never been to… Ranikhet
SITUATED IN THE KUMAON HILLS
of Uttarakhand in North India, Ranikhet
is an idyllic hill station with views of the
Himalayan peaks. It is believed that when
legendary queen, Rani Padmini from the
14th century was captivated by the town’s
beauty and decided to live here, the denizens
named it Ranikhet. It literally translates to
“queen’s meadow”.
The nearest airport and railway station
are in Dehradun (315km) and Ramnagar
(97km) respectively. It is well-connected by
road though to the rest of the country.
An ideal time to visit Ranikhet is during
the monsoons – June to September. This
is when the hillside is covered with a plush
carpet of greenery. Apart from simply
enjoying the tranquillity of nature here,
visitors sign up for a safari at the Ranikhet
Reserve Forest or go for a boat ride on the
Rani Jheel lake.
business traveller india
→
M AY 2 0 1 8
HOW MUCH DO
PLANES COST?
Airbus has published
its average aircraft
list prices for 2018
A318
US$77.4m
A319
US$92.3m
A320
US$101m
A319NEO
US$101.5m
A320NEO
US$110.6m
A321
US£118.3m
A321NEO
US$129.5m
A330-200
US$238.5m
A330-800NEO
US$259.9m
A330-300
US$264.2m
A350-800
US$280.6m
A330-900NEO
US$296.4m
14
A350-900
US$317.4m
A350-1000
US$366.5m
A380
US$455.6m
M AY 2 0 1 8
MARRIOTT OUTLINES PLANS FOR
MERGING OF LOYALTY PROGRAMMES
MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL has
unveiled plans for the merging of its three loyalty
programmes over the next six to 12 months, with
members able to combine their accounts under one
platform starting August.
Members have been able to link their accounts,
transfer points and status match since 2016, but this
goes one stage further, combining accounts under
one as-yet-unnamed platform.
The Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards and
SPG brands will continue to exist until early 2019,
when a new single name will be announced for the
unified scheme.
Members of all the programmes – a total of 110
million across the three schemes – will be emailed
over the course of the next few months, explaining
how they can combine their accounts in August.
At this point all members will be able to book
reward stays across Marriott’s entire portfolio of
29 brands (there are in fact 30 brands, but Bulgari Hotels and Resorts do not participate in
any of the schemes) at marriott.com, spg.com, the Marriott and SPG apps, or by contacting
customer service centres.
One currency will be created, with SPG Starpoints multiplied by three during conversion.
Going forward members will earn ten points for every US$1 spent at hotels (five points per
US$1 spent at extended stay brands).
Also to follow in 2019 will be peak and off peak reward night pricing, with off peak rates
to be set around 20 per cent lower.
There has been much discussion on travel forums over the last couple of years as to how
the Marriott and Starwood programmes would be combined, and which members might lose
out as a result, but Flueck attempted to assuage these concerns.
“There’s been a lot of anxiety from members, and a lot were concerned that when we
combined the programmes we would make it less rich,” said Flueck.
“In fact we’re making the programme more rich which is going to be incredibly exciting
news for our members. On average our members are going to earn 20 per cent more points
on their spend in our hotels, we’ve brought the very best of our lead benefits together, and
made elite status easier to achieve. We continue to have no blackouts, and as we go to one
awards chart we actually have more hotels that are going down in cost than up in cost.”
A new awards redemption chart was set to go live as we went to press on this article,
although it will be a few months before all 6,500 properties are assigned to the chart.
“To give members the confidence that in fact hotels aren’t going up in price, we’re showing
five key cities and the top redemption hotels in New York, Paris, Bali, Dubai and Caribbean
and Mexican resorts,” said Flueck.
Note also that Marriott confirms that “members who have achieved lifetime status will
continue to have their status recognized”, and the free breakfast for Platinum Elite tiers and
above will be expanded to 23 brands.
It’s not clear what will happen to the co-branded Starwood SPG credit card in the UK
once the merged loyalty programme name is unveiled (and the SPG name presumably
disappears), but for now at least Flueck says that the Starwood Amex card will remain, with
members earning a tripled rate of points to reflect the 1:3 conversion rate outlined above.
Finally Flueck said that the Marriott Moments experiential platform will continue
to grow.
“We know that when our members travel they want to explore the area – they want to
go zip lining in the Costa Rican rainforest, or explore Paris like a local, so we are expanding
moments – we’re bringing in 110,000 experiences in 1,000 destinations – and then we have
8,000 Moments which are for members only to redeem their points, from attending world
class sporting events, going to the F1, going to the World Series, to private concerts for our
members, or attending shows – we have VIP seats at the O2 London as well as Madisson
Square Gardens in New York.” marriott.com
business traveller india
UPFRONT
Luxury online
AUDEMARS PIGUET launched its first online pop-
up boutique in partnership with Chinese online retailer
jd.com. With this, the 143-year-old Swiss watchmaker
has for the first time entered the e-commerce space.
Through the partnership, visitors will have access to
a specially curated selection of the latest Audemars
Piguet timepieces.
SCENT OF
SUCCESS
MOMENTUM UNLIMITED IS THE
NEW FRAGRANCE from luxury car
brand Bentley, aimed at world travellers.
Scent designers have combined “crisp
fruit” with notes of “smooth leather” to
create a fresher interpretation of its existing
Momentum range. bentley-fragrances.com
LIGHT
CHOICE
15
NOW THE
WEATHER IS
WARMING UP, it’s
worth considering light
but smart clothing for
your travels. The BOSS
Menswear Collection
has a range of suits in
garment-dyed cotton,
constructed with
breathable fabrics and
given a subtle nautical
theme appropriate for
foreign travel. The
soft-washed linen designs
are well suited, excuse
the pun, to business
casual or evenings out in
sunny climes. Prices start
at 55,335. hugoboss.com
→
business traveller india
M AY 2 0 1 8
FIRST LOOK:
HOLIDAY INN
DUBAI FESTIVAL CIT Y
16
THE REGION’S LARGEST Holiday Inn, towering over
Dubai Festival city with 510 rooms, opened its doors on
April 18.
To the right of the spacious lobby, topped with colourful
ball chandeliers, is a small meeting area with natural light
which will targets training sessions and discreet events
and more meeting space is upstairs on the Mezzanine
level, including a boardroom beyond glass doors with prefunction space.
To the left of the lobby, Zest serves as a ‘lifestyle’ café space
and beyond is the large Sirocco all-day diner which is lined
with comfortable seating and can hold up to 240 guests. A
lounge bar will open at a later date on the 19th top floor.
One key feature is the walkway connecting the hotel to
the mall, providing shoppers with a convenient passage and
a seamless link with InterContinental and Crowne Plaza
hotels. Holiday Inn guests can sign their bills to their rooms
when eating in the upscale and five-star hotels. An outdoor
pool offers Festival City and Burj Khalifa views and inside is a
decent sized gym with treadmills and weights.
Solar power accounts for around a third of energy
consumption at the ‘Green Engage’ property. holidayinn.com
HOTEL CHANGES ON BOTH
SIDES OF SHEIKH ZAYED ROAD
DUBAI IS POISED to open a new super high-rise hotel, Gevora
Hotel Dubai, which at 356 metres high is believed to be the world’s
tallest stand-alone property – a metre taller than the JW Marriott
Marquis Hotel Dubai.
The 528-room hotel, towering over the heart of Sheikh Zayed
Road, targets the GCC market with bold gold décor and, since it
was originally designed as residences, rooms have a studio feel with
kitchen facilities, making them suitable for long-stay guests. The
open-air apex contains two pools and wrap-around terracing suitable
for events and shisha, and a linear pool (above) is also available
via a 12th floor skybridge at the rear. F&B includes a speciality
Mediterranean, all-day dining (mezzanine), coffee shop and poolside
venue (note venues don’t serve alcohol).
General Manager Jairaj Gorsia said its proximity to DIFC and
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Downtown will appeal to corporates and GCC guests. “We are
coming in with a four-star price and averaging AED500/550 a night,
which is about 10 to 15 per cent lower than closest competitors. It’s a
pre-opening rate and as we near Expo 2020 rates will climb.” Gevora, from Al Attar Group, is also planning a 750-room, fivestar hotel which is due to open near Dubai Media City in 2019. Across the road, the Millennium Plaza Hotel Dubai has unveiled
its new lobby, which is flanked by a 24-hour Costa Coffee outlet and
Copper Chimney (Indian restaurant), which will open in the coming
months. Four marble check-in desks are to the side, and beyond is
a Concierge desk, opposite the back entrance, and small lounge.
Attractive photo-art pieces on a UAE cultural theme are dotted
around, celebrating the Year of Zayed.
gevorahotels.com, millenniumhotels.com
business traveller india
UPFRONT
Bold Trend
THE SERPENTI COLLECTION BY BULGARIA was
launched in 1960 with colourful, enamelled snake-inspired
necklaces and watches. The 2018 collection includes the
Serpenti in a skin of pavé diamonds
and white gold, with emerald
eyes. The distinctive appeal
of this collection comes
from the unique layered
design to emulate a
snake’s scales. They’re
carefully hinged
together giving
each piece the “lifelike pliability of a
snake”. The collection
includes a necklace,
ring, pendant and
earrings. bvlgari.com
Wifi above Indian skies
IF YOU’VE FOUND yourself frustrated at online blackouts over
Indian airspace, then some good news from Telecom Regulatory
Authority of India (TRAI), which has announced that voice
and data connectivity will soon be allowed on-board domestic
and international flights. The Minister for Civil Aviation Ashok
Gajapathi Raju confirmed this on Twitter.
The implementation could take six months and TRAI still needs
to work out details with licensing, security, spectrum related issues
and other conditions. A mechanism will be put in place for lawful
interception and monitoring of wifi for security reasons. Once the
policy comes into play, airlines will partner with service providers to
set the new scheme into motion. In-flight connectivity already exists
worldwide on aircraft managed by non-Indian airlines.
• A number of Chinese airlines have begun to allow passengers to
use smartphones during flights, following a loosening of the Civil
Administration of China’s (CAAC) restrictions on in-flight mobile
device usage.
business traveller india
BRITISH AIRWAYS REVAMPS
WORLD TRAVELLER FOOD
BRITISH AIRWAYS HAS revamped its World
Traveller catering, which will provide long-haul
passengers with “more quantity and quality”. The move
follows the carrier’s recent revamp of its Club World
dining service and forms part of a wholescale £4.5
billion investment programme.
New options include pretzels with the welcome
drink, four-course meal with starter, main, dessert, and
cheese and biscuits, and a second meal “or substantial
snack” depending on the length of the flight. On flights
to the Middle East (Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai, Kuwait,
Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia,) passengers are served
chicken in spicy Arabic sauce.
The second meal on shorter daylight long-haul
flights, such as Dubai and New York, will consist of a
sandwich (eg egg and cress) and a chocolate or Nutri
Grain bar. britishairways.com
PARK HYATT INTRODUCES
F&B QUAYSIDE CHANGES
A CASUAL WAVE has broken over the quayside of
Park Hyatt Dubai, with The Terrace rebranded Noépe,
which has been designed as a Cape Cod-style al
fresco venue with fresh salads and BBQ grills. Traiteur
next door is being rebranded Brasserie du Park as
the hotel, which marks its 13th birthday in August,
embarks on F&B upgrades. hyatt.com
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17
Join the debate
READERS SHARE FIRST-HAND KNOWLEDGE, EXPERIENCES AND TRAVEL SOLUTIONS
BUSINESSTRAVELLER.COM/FORUM
DISABLED PASSENGERS –
WHICH AIRLINES TAKE BEST
CARE OF THEM?
P O S T J O N AT H A N C O H E N 0 9
18
Good afternoon all.
This is an area that I have recently seen a
lot of negative publicity with regard to the
way that certain airlines treat passengers
with varying degrees of disability who
nevertheless are able to fly either on their
own or with carers.
I have chosen not to post links about
specific airlines as I do not want it to turn
into one of those threads that relentlessly
beats up one or two airlines and rather
than focus on the bad I am hoping that
this thread can bring out the good
by giving details of carriers who are
good at and go the extra mile for
disabled passengers.
From some of the reading I have done
it seems to me that some carriers go out of
their way to make things difficult enough
that you would think that they would
prefer not to carry those passengers.
I look forward to reading the comments
of my fellow posters as I value your input
on what is an important topic.
Safe travels,
JC
➜ SCOTISHTAFF Y
I have to say that I have used three
airlines in recent months, British Airways
from Glasgow to London Heathrow, I was
able to check-in at the business class
counter and was then escorted to the
gate and boarded first. From Terminal 5
my wife and I had a mini bus take us to
Terminal 2 for our connection.
All Nippon Airways from Heathrow to
Haneda and then Japan Airlines from
Haneda to Sapporo. They were absolutely
spot on. I am a wheel chair user, I’m
unable to walk long distances. ANA
checked us in at the first class counter,
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I was collected by assistance and taken
straight to the gate and boarded first. The
crew could not be any more helpful and
kept checking on me during the flight.
On arrival I was escorted by a member
of the crew to the front of the aircraft and
waiting for me was assistance and they
took me into the terminal building where
I received my own chair. I look forward to
my trip to Montreal from Glasgow with BA
and my flight to Toronto with Air Canada
in June.
➜ NOGBAD01
I was very impressed with EasyJet a
couple of years ago, who had a large
group of people with varying degrees of
disability on the same flight. The crew
were very helpful and respectful
to everybody and it seemed this
was genuine.
➜ DNADAMS
My husband is severely sight-impaired
and our experience has been very poor
with EasyJet. They expect us to pay
for our seat allocations if we want to
guarantee that we sit together. We cannot
use the free seat allocation at check-in
as there is a risk that we are not sitting
together which is not acceptable or safe
for someone with less than ten per cent
sight. This means that the experience
can be very different for someone with a
disability than without. They also make
the boarding scrum very stressful as they
often do not pre-board or acknowledge
passengers needing special assistance.
Surprisingly, BA perform much better
at this. They allow us to choose seats free
of charge at the time of booking and are
very attentive on board especially if your
BA Executive Club profile shows special
requirements. Most of the time they also
personally ensure my husband is aware of
the location of exits, seat belt, life jacket,
etc without asking, something EasyJet has
never done. ➜ BMJ
In the EU it is the responsibility of the
airport operator to cater for disabled
passengers. There is liaison with airlines
who act as intermediary and gather and
forward information to the nominated
operative for the airport.
At Heathrow it is BAA who outsource
the activity to Omniserve. Bluntly in my
experience they are incompetent and
totally disorganised.
I do not know if it is the fault of
management, a lack of staff and/or
equipment, or inadequate funding from
BAA to undertake the tasks. Having
completed all the protocols for arrival
at Terminal 5 and departure from
Terminal 3 (BA in both cases) we were
not met from the aircraft, left waiting
in a passage, ignored and generally
sidelined. We arrived at T5 at 0559 but
did not reach the departures lounge in
T3 until 0944. I wondered if the clocks
had sprung forward whilst in transit
but on checking I realised that BST had
started two days earlier.
BA were extremely sympathetic but
said that there was nothing that they
could do other than file a report. In this
instance, and probably on most other
occasions it is not the airline that is at
fault. They are a hostage to fortune
and without some considerable
effort are not able to make adequate
representations to the airport operator
and the service provider.
Brian Jones
ARE AIRLINES TOO
SENSITIVE?
P O S T N E H A G U P TA K A P O O R
Recently in India, IndiGo Airlines
offloaded a passenger alleging he used
the word “hijack”. The passenger said
he only complained about mosquitoes
in the aircraft. Two years ago a man was
offloaded from a Southwest Airlines
flight for saying “Inshallah”.
business traveller india
INBOX FORUM
Do you think airlines are being too
sensitive/intolerant? ➜ CANUCKLAD
I’m actually surprised there’s not more
reported evidence of these incidents!
In Scotland there is a saying – “Don’t
get your knickers in a twist”
As a regular traveller, the people who
I observe twisting their own knickers
to a point of high pitched octave
whines are those personnel who have
an Everest high opinion of their own
self-worth, including on (un)reasonably
regular basis.
Check-in staff insisting that cabin
bags are tagged with useless under the
seat labels.
Surly security officers nit picking on
the quality of how transparent a clear
bag is to what’s a shoe and what’s
a sandal.
Gate staff demanding hand luggage
for the hold.
Cabin crew getting uppity at the
minutest request above the norm
And I could go on, and on, and on,
and on. In most cases, the common
denominator is an individual, not
being too sensitive, rather not
sensitive enough.
The people on the receiving end of, all
of the above, invariably are the elderly,
the plainly inexperienced traveller or
have some other type of vulnerability.
Rarely do I see experienced middleaged travellers getting trapped into
negative interactions. And I’m surmising
that’s because we have learnt coping
strategies to navigate a travelling
experience that’s become so bad it
would drive most people to drink, which
is another subject altogether!
➜ FLIGHTLEVEL
Such events take place in all walks of
life and transport incidents are most
common. I personally have problems
with Virgin trains.
Put a person in a uniform and
sometimes they think they are corporals
in the army, like an historical character –
don’t want to mention the nationality!
➜ NELSON
Personally, It would be just wise to
mind what you say. As the airlines have
the right to bounce you from a flight if
they find travellers to be disruptive or a
possible concern. One might think they
are a bit sensitive, but sometimes there
are travellers who are a bit overbearing
and add that behaviour to a two-hour
flight. It could make for uncomfortable
flight, which translates to not the best
flight experience. BA AT ITS FINEST
POST FDOS_UK
Took a flight from Jeddah to
London, the series of cock-ups was
rather funny
 1. At check-in – “I’m very pleased to
inform you that you have been chosen
for an upgrade and you are now in seat
7A – enjoy your trip in Club World"
(hint, I’d booked Club World and
checked in online to 7A).
 2. Nearing London – “Would
you like some afternoon tea?” – “yes
please” – “unfortunately we cannot offer
you any tea.” (Afternoon tea, without
tea, only on BA)
 3. Next, a very full explanation,
over the PA, as to why they ran out of
water, because water in Jeddah is unsafe
for people to drink and they cannot
upload any there. (When your aircraft
is half full of Saudis, this is really a very
uninformed thing to say, as they do not
like to lose face, so telling them their
water is third-world quality – even
though I wouldn’t drink it myself – is
crass and not the way to win friends,
much better to quote ‘a technical
problem with the water supply’.)
The crew in my area were nice and did
a very decent job – plus a gold star for a
clean aircraft, but the memorable things
were the three above.
automated machines, they are usually
charming, which must be hard considering
the low morale that Cruz has inflicted on the
company.
Last time I was on a BA CPT flight, I
asked for rooibos tea (horrid stuff but I
wasn’t feeling well) and was told they don’t
carry it, which is daft on ZA flights. A few
minutes later another FA came and said
she had some of her own in her bag and
she would make me a cup. A very kind and
appreciated gesture but that type of thing
shouldn’t be necessary if management
thought about customer satisfaction rather
than cost cutting.
My wife likes BA as much as I don’t,
and we rarely travel on the same flights
as I refuse to travel BA unless there is no
realistic option.
➜ ESSELLE
Recently flew LGW AGP in CE paid for with
Avios. I wasn’t expecting much, but I have to
say I don’t think there was anything which
disappointed. Whilst we know the hard
product isn’t up to much, the crew, food,
wines, service levels and attention to detail
were very good indeed. They even sent
people who popped through the curtain to
use the loo back with good grace.
➜ CATHAYLOYALIST2
My wife has just returned from a trip to see
our daughter in Singapore. She flew BA
Business ex-Europe to LHR and then onto
SIN and back. Why BA? She said
the staff were friendly, helpful and
delightful – a throwback to the '50s, The
seat was fine. It helped on both long haul
sectors she had window seats with aisle
access without having to climb over anyone.
She preferred the A380 over the B777. Only
let down, one of her two bags did not make
the connection at LHR. BTI
➜ CAPETONIANM
With BA, often the case is that when
you can actually talk to them and
they haven’t been replaced by Cruz’s
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19
20
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business traveller india
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WORDS NEHA GUP TA KAPOOR
Indian airports are breaking away from the image of being behind time. The country’s five
public private partnership airports are catching up to international standards
TRAVEL
I N S I D E AV I AT I O N
21
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O
nce fully-government owned
airports, those in Bengaluru,
Hyderabad, Mumbai, New
Delhi and Kochi are now
operated under a public
private partnership with
the government. Bengaluru
and Mumbai are managed
by GVK, while Hyderabad and Delhi by
GMR. Kochi, however, is run jointly with
the public, wherein passionately patriotic
residents pooled in money for its upgrade.
This is perhaps why its expansion is not as
fast as its counterparts.
Let’s take a look at how these airports are
making travel easier for their passengers.
BANGALORE
INTERNATIONAL
AIRPORT/KEMPEGOWDA
INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
22
Some two months ago, Business Traveller
India reported about HeliTaxii, a helicopter
taxi service in Bengaluru. Operated by
Thumby Aviation, it carries passengers
between Bangalore International Airport
(BIAL) and Electronic City in a six-seater
Bell 407 helicopter.
For the 15-minute journey, a ticket
price of `3,500 (plus taxes) per person,
sounds steep. But a chat with Govind Nair,
director of business development at Thumby
Aviation reveals that the service doesn’t have
a niche audience after all.
“We were quite surprised to receive
bookings from families and foreign tourists
too, apart from the usual VIPs and HNIs,”
he said when chatting about Bengaluru’s
unpredictable traffic being one factor to
launch this service. By road, the journey
between the two locations lasts two hours
if not more. The second reason for the
launch of HeliTaxii, as Nair simply puts it is:
“Skyways are the future of travel.”
At the time of its launch, Jayant Sinha,
Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation
said: “Following the example of BLR
Airport, we would like to see similar services
being introduced at other airports in the
country that will make travel simpler
for passengers.”
Bringing another service to the airport
is Flybus (run by the state’s KSRTC). The
luxury Volvo has an “in-bus” chemical toilet,
live display of flight timings, and reclining
seats. This service is convenient to travellers
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who, at the time of booking flight tickets,
can book a seat (`800 onwards) on the bus
from BIAL to Karnataka’s smaller towns.
Currently, the bus connects the airport to
Mysuru, Madikeri, Mangalore, Kundapur,
Coimbatore and Salem, and has additional
services from other parts of the city.
For those who choose taxis intead, BIAL
was the first to allot designated parking slots
and pick-up areas for taxi aggregators like
Ola and Uber within the airport premises.
It helps when passengers no longer need to
cross over the airport boundaries and onto
the road for a taxi, or be restricted to take
the more expensive pre-paid taxi service.
On the digital front, BIAL is in the
process of implementing the Aadhaar-based
identification. At the time of booking your
flight, your Aadhaar number is paired with
your air ticket, so you can walk through
security check points instead of waiting
Cochin International
Airport (CIAL) is India’s
first greenfield airport
and the first in the world
to operate entirely on
solar energy
in queue for a security personnel to
physically screen you. Details of how it
will work will be revealed on finalisation,
just before implementation. What has
been confirmed though is that with
Aadhaar-based identification, security
checks from check-in to boarding the
aircraft can be completed in ten minutes,
which is 15 minutes less than the time
it currently takes. BIAL says, “We are in
the process of identifying a partner for
execution. Once implemented, we
will be the first airport in the country to
verify passengers through the Aadhaarenabled entry.”
Another process under trial is Smart
Security Lane. The integrated system
combines cabin baggage X-ray machines,
an automated tray return system and
an intelligent image screen on which
handbags’ items are examined for threat
by a security personnel. Through the use
of advanced computer technology and
with the aide of CISF (Central Industrial
Security Force) – India’s law enforcement
civilian agency, hand baggage screening
time will be reduced by at least 60 per
cent per hour. Details and when it will
be implemented are unknown, but we do
know that the idea is to reduce waiting
business traveller india
I N S I D E AV I AT I O N
PREVIOUS PAGE: Kempegowda International
Airport, Bengaluru
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Rajeev Gandhi International
Airport, Hyderabad and e-boarding gate there; and
self check-in kiosk at Indira Gandhi International
Airport, Delhi
time in the already crowded airport, well
before the new Terminal 2 will be partly
ready for use in the first quarter of 2021.
COCHIN INTERNATIONAL
AIRPORT
Cochin International Airport (CIAL) is
India’s first greenfield airport and the first in
the world to operate entirely on solar energy.
Another feather in its hat of “firsts in India”
is the direct waterway connectivity that is
on its way to implementation. The project is
a joint venture between Kerala Waterways
and Infrastructure Limited (KWIL), a
special purpose vehicle, floated by the State
government, jointly with CIAL. It aims
at making 610km of Kerala’s waterways
navigable by 2022. One of the boat
terminals between Kovalam and Bekal via
Kochi will be at CIAL, in addition to two
other airports in the state. The committee
has already initiated cleaning of the canals
in certain areas to facilitate this service, thus
reducing time on the road during traffic and
enhancing airport accessibility locally. Once
active, hopefully by the second half of 2020,
passengers can board a solar-powered boat
service at Kochi marine drive for the airport.
DELHI INTERNATIONAL
AIRPORT/INDIRA GANDHI
INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
The media has been abuzz with news on
business traveller india
Delhi International Airport’s (DIAL)
expansion plans for Terminal 1; although
not necessarily always for the right reasons
with budget carriers resisting (in vain)
the pressure to move operations to T2.
What has been well understood through
this is that T1 was handling 20 per cent
more than its full capacity of 20 million
passengers per annum. International
operations at DIAL run out of T1 and
T3 both, the latter too running to its full
capacity. By moving a third of budget
airlines’ domestic operations to underutilised T2, load on T1 reduces, allowing
expansion work to begin for doubling
its capacity.
DIAL is working on three more services
to reduce crowding at the airport. Under
trial is the bag-tag service. This benefits
passengers who have checked in online or
at DIAL’s self-check-in kiosks, but have
check-in baggage. Self-service counters just
like the manned ones allow you to scan
your boarding card for a bag tag before the
machine accepts the check-in bag. It is still
under trial and particulars such as what
happens if the passenger has excess baggage
(perhaps sent to the manned counter) are
being worked out.
Also under testing at security check, the
18-metre long Automatic Tray Return
System will reduce the time spent waiting
for a personnel to collect empty trays
from one end of the belt to the other. The
mechanised system automatically collects
and delivers empty trays like clockwork
between passengers.
At the boarding area, it is unlikely one
will face human interaction in the future.
“Flap gates” or automated kiosks will open
only after scanning your boarding card.
These too are sensitive to the time and area
you’re in. If the kiosk allows access to gates
one to ten, those boarding from any other
gate will be denied entry. Even if you’re at
the right gate, but boarding doesn’t start
until after a few hours, you may not be
let through.
23
HYDERABAD
INTERNATIONAL
AIRPORT/RA JIV GANDHI
INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
GMR Hyderabad International Airport
(GHIAL) sees benefit in employing
“helpers” for an easier passenger experience.
It launched Passenger is Prime (PIP) last
year in April with the aim to provide them
assistance anywhere in the airport for
whatever their needs may be. To facilitate
this, GHIAL has deployed a team of
Passenger Service Associates or PSAs,
clothed in turquoise green T-shirts for easy
identification, primarily in the check-in,
security check, transfers and security hold/
boarding amongst other areas.
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→
LEFT AND RIGHT: Chhatrapati Shivaji International
Airport, Mumbai and its self baggage drop kiosks
24
SGK Kishore, CEO, GHIAL said:
“Many travellers, especially those who are
not frequent flyers or those with special
needs, sometimes find it challenging to
navigate through the many steps involved
in modern air travel and they often
encounter moments of anxiety during
their journey. Keeping this in mind, we
have inducted a team of highly motivated
trained professionals (PSAs) who are
intuitive, empathetic and willing to go
the extra mile for making our passengers’
journey through our airport a pleasant
and hassle-free experience. Going forward,
we will collaborate with other key
stakeholders such as airlines, Customs,
CISF and Immigration to launch more
such initiatives designed to make the
passengers’ journey through our airport a
more safe, secure and pleasant experience.”
With CISF, GHIAL has earmarked
a dedicated pre-embarkation area at
the domestic terminal’s entry gate for
those travelling with only handbags. On
printing their boarding pass from the
self-service kiosks outside the terminal
building, passengers can walk through
the Express Security Check lane. They
altogether skip the check-in area and
head straight towards the boarding area,
through the exclusive security check point
for such passengers.
In case you’ve checked into Hyderabad’s
Airport Novotel Hotel, you can also
check-in for your flight at the Common
Use Self Service (CUSS) machines at the
hotel – a first of its kind in India. This is
subject to having a confirmed outbound
ticket for domestic travel. The CUSS
machine prints out the boarding card for
you. Basically, it works just as any online
self-check-in service would, only, you can
leave flight details with the hotel to help
you check-in for your flight ahead of time.
Supplementing this service is the selfbaggage drop centre at the airport, which
is in the pilot phase and initially for
domestic passengers.
GHIAL will eventually catch up
with international airport standards. Its
e-boarding facility does away with the
mandatory stamping of the boarding
pass at security check, as is the continued
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practice in the rest of India. Instead,
electronic gates let you through on
sliding the boarding card over them.
It speeds up the security check process
by not having to individually walk to a
personnel for stamping.
For those needing assistance with their
bags, GHIAL has 12 paid porters in
bright orange uniforms available round
the clock at both departures and arrivals
of the integrated, singular domestic and
international terminal. The service starts
from `200 and is charged as per the size
and number of bags.
On printing their boarding
pass from the self-service
kiosks outside the terminal
building, passengers can
walk through the Express
Security Check lane
MUMBAI INTERNATIONAL
AIRPORT/CHHATRAPATI
SHIVA JI INTERNATIONAL
AIRPORT
Common Use Self Service (CUSS)
machines at Mumbai International Airport
(MIAL) are already in place at domestic
and international check-in areas. A few
airlines have integrated with this service.
Here, passengers can check themselves in
for their flight, print their boarding pass,
weigh their own bags and get baggage tags
that track checked in luggage. This reduces
their wait time, especially during peak
hours, thereby avoiding serpentine queues.
A smartphone app available on iOS
and Android platforms is equipped with
augmented technology. Allow it access to
your phone’s camera, hold it up to see what
you’re seeing and it will tell you exactly
where you are or what the shop, eatery or
business is about. On entering flight details,
it leads you to your desired destination
business traveller india
I N S I D E AV I AT I O N
within the airport, updates on real-time
information such as flight delays and tells
you how far you are from the boarding gate.
List of services at the airport amongst others
can be accessed through the app.
The job of an Automatic Tray Return
System is currently being done by an
appointed person who collects all empty
trays and brings them to those waiting
in queue at security check and handbag
screening. The service is not yet available,
but is in its final testing. It will not only
reduce the number of airport staff, but will
also eliminate chances of waiting for an
empty tray, thus holding up the line.
There is one more service for passengers
worth mentioning, though it isn’t
technology related. It involves three
Golden Retriever dogs. From FridaySunday, in the evening until midnight,
the canines make rounds of domestic
arrival and departure areas to comfort
nervous flyers. BTI
GREEN INITIATIVES
BIAL, with a LEED Gold certification
has a solid waste management plant
that produces, per day, 25 tonnes
of sustainable bio-energy that can
generate electricity to power about
5,000 households each year. The
installed solar power plants generate
3.6 megawatts, reducing carbon
emission by 3,125 tonnes per
annum. Other initiatives include
battery-operated vehicles and
rainwater harvesting.
DIAL is a LEED Gold certified green
building. Some of its initiatives include
a 7.84 MW solar PV plant installation
in the airside. The “zero discharge”
sewage treatment plant treats all waste
water generated at the airport, which
is reused for horticulture and to flush
toilets. The airport's carbon emission
has been reduced by 55 per cent in
2017 as compared to emissions in 2010.
GHIAL has a “green” passenger
terminal building with a LEED Silver
certification, a ranking by the US Green
Building Council. It is on its way to
becoming an airport with 100 per cent
LED lighting. Halogen lights hemming
the taxiway have been replaced by
energy efficient LED lamps. The 10
MW solar power plant feeds GHIAL’s
daytime energy requirements. Water
harvesting is practised on a large scale.
business traveller india
MIAL has a LEED Platinum certification.
The terminal is designed to receive plenty
of natural light. The solar panels generate
2.56 MW of solar energy. MIAL treats its
waste water in Sewage Treatment Plants
(STPs) and reuses it for flushing toilets
and cooling the terminal building. It has
implemented a Green House Gas (GHG)
management system to keep its carbon
and greenhouse gas emissions in check.
NAVI MUMBAI AIRPORT
The GVK-led Navi Mumbai International
Airport (NMIA) is finally on its way to
being constructed. After innumerable
delays due to several reasons ranging from
land acquisition to receiving permissions,
there is hope that operations at NMIA will
begin by the end of 2019. City Industrial
and Development Corporation (CIDCO)
officials have stated that by December,
the first phase of levelling the Ulwe hill,
NMIA’s building site, will be completed.
Nothing about what technology will
be implemented within the terminal has
been revealed yet, but we do know who
is designing the airport. London-based
Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) will design
NMIA’s Terminal 1 and ATC Tower. ZHA
is known for designing Beijing’s new
Daxing Airport terminal, which is currently
under construction. Past projects include
Olympic Aquatics Centre in London,
MAXXI Contemporary Arts Centre in
Rome and Guangzhou Opera House
in China.
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25
LA
STORY
ISTOCK
26
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business traveller india
D E S T I N AT I O N S
T
As the entertainment industry evolves, Tinseltown
is in a state of transformation. We look behind the
scenes of the USA’s creative powerhouse
WORDS JENNY SOUTHAN
he prop house at
Warner Bros Studios has
four floors, each the size
of an American football
field. It’s said to be the
largest prop house in
the world, though.
There’s one under
construction in China, by Wanda Studios
that may soon surpass it. From Tiffany
lamps and presidential desks to oil paintings
and telephones from every era, there are
almost half a million items available for
rental. It’s like walking through an antiques
shop on an industrial scale, with all manner
of curiosities to catch the eye along the way.
Here’s a gold ladder signed by Lady Gaga,
an Iron Throne from Game of Thrones, a
cobwebbed skeleton from Pirates of the
Caribbean, the piano from Casablanca.
Outside, huge trucks are loaded up with
eclectic hauls of cargo to be delivered to the
many sets and studios located across the city
of Los Angeles and beyond.
According to Film LA (the official film
office for LA), California spent US$30
billion on film and TV production in 2016,
with the average movie budget being just
over US$75 million. Along with Paramount,
Universal, 20th Century Fox, Disney and
MGM, Warner Bros has been at the heart
of filmmaking in Hollywood for decades.
Today, it has 35 cavernous sound stages and
14 exterior sets, including a New York Street
complete with fake subway entrances, shop,
hotel, theatre, diner and residential facades
ready for dressing. “If you have the dime,
we have the time,” says my guide, explaining
that movies and shows don’t have to be
Warner Bros productions to shoot here.
Long-standing TV shows that have been
filmed in this location include Ellen and The
Big Bang Theory.
ONLINE STREAMING
Employing more than 1,41,000 people,
entertainment is the most important pillar
of LA’s “creative economy”. Last year it
generated US$190 billion and employed
one in eight people. Consequently, Los
Angeles has been dubbed the most creative
city in the US. But, disruption is afoot.
The industry is changing, with online
streaming shaking up Hollywood in a way
it’s never experienced before. Even social
media companies such as Facebook, with
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27
SHUTTERSTOCK
28
a new campus in LA’s Playa Vista, are
investing heavily in bespoke video content
(Facebook’s Watch video-on-demand
platform launched in the US in
summer 2017).
In 2017, Netflix spent US$6 billion on
original programming, and is reportedly
planning to plough another US$7-8
billion into dramas and documentaries in
2018. You only have to drive down Sunset
Boulevard to see the literal rise of extended
format programming, with huge billboards
advertising The Crown (Netflix),
Big Little Lies (HBO), The Problem
with Apu (TruTV) and The Marvelous Mrs
Maisel (Amazon).
“There aren’t enough sound stages in
LA to cope with demand,” says Chris
Rico, director of innovation at the Los
Angeles County Economic Development
Corporation. Competing with Hollywood’s
traditional studios, Netflix has now signed
a ten-year lease for 52,000 sqm of space
from Hollywood’s Sunset Bronson Studios
(the original Warner Bros location and
where 1927’s The Jazz Singer was filmed),
including sound stages, production studios
and a shiny new 14-floor Gensler-designed
office. Amy Dee, Netflix’s director of global
real estate, workplace and procurement
told the Los Angeles Times: “We wanted
to be where Hollywood came to life. Even
though we’re a cutting-edge tech company,
we take very seriously the history of the
entertainment industry and its roots
in Hollywood.”
Meanwhile, Amazon is moving from
Santa Monica to Culver Studios (near Sony
Pictures in Culver City) where films such as
Citizen Kane were once made. Apple, too,
is keen to muscle its way into Hollywood
production and is apparently on the lookout
for a permanent studio base to create
original content (it plans to spend US$4.2
billion on programming by 2022). Over
the next year, Google’s YouTube is funding
more than 40 movies and shows for its
site, which is a state-of-the-art production
facility in Playa Vista. It occupies a former
aircraft hangar once used by legendary
film director and aviator Howard Hughes,
but now refurbished with giant green
screens. Buzzfeed Motion Pictures has been
entrenched in Hollywood’s Siren Studios
for the last couple of years as it looks for
somewhere bigger, while, conversely, famed
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director James Cameron is renting studio
space 25 miles away in Manhattan Beach,
where he is filming his Avatar sequels.
BILLION DOLL AR BABIES
There have been all manner of bankruptcies,
mergers and takeovers in Tinseltown, and
new deals are being forged all the time. But
the most headline-grabbing deal in recent
times was the announcement in December
2017 of a planned US$52.4 billion sale
of the majority of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st
Century Fox empire (including the movie
and TV studio) to the Disney Company. If
it happens, by 2019 Disney will have added
two new streaming platforms – one for
business traveller india
D E S T I N AT I O N S
The average
movie budget
in California is
just over US$75
million
sports and one for entertainment. Disney
will also be gaining control of homegrown
LA streaming (video on demand) company
Hulu (Fox, Comcast and Time Warner also
have stakes in it), which spent an estimated
US$2.5 billion on original content last year.
A report from the Otis College of Art
and Design predicts that, over the next
business traveller india
four years, employment in LA’s creative
economy will grow by more than five per
cent across sectors including entertainment,
fashion, printing and publishing,
architecture, interior design and digital
media (the fact box overleaf gives details).
It’s easy to believe when people speak of the
flood of New Yorkers, for example, moving
here for more opportunities, cheaper rents
and sunnier climes.
Rico says: “I find that if you asked New
Yorkers ten years ago if they’d ever live in
Los Angeles, they would have said ‘No
way, New York is the place to be, I would
never live in LA, it’s too big, there’s too
much traffic’.
But relative to Manhattan it’s a bargain.
Whereas they will have been living in a 300
sq ft apartment there, for a comparable
amount of money, here they can have 1,000
sq ft. I think for people who are artistic,
being in a place that’s conducive to being
in a good mood can be beneficial for their
work. After getting used to a frenetic pace of
life, they come to LA and it’s as if they have
excess bandwidth. It’s infused new energy
into the city.”
The lifestyle is, of course, very different.
I overheard two New York expats getting
heated about how spontaneous (or not)
you can be in LA. “In New York you could
leave the house at six and walk to the theatre
for a show,” said one. “That would depend
where you live,” said the other. “In LA, I love
being able to jump in my car to visit a friend
whenever I like.” The fact is, you do have to
drive everywhere here, and there is no true
centre; rather, as someone witty once said,
“72 suburbs in search of a city”.
PREVIOUS PAGE: Hollywood sign at sunset;
PICTURED: Hollywood Boulevard
29
→
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CREATIVE ECONOMY IN NUMBERS
US$190.3
4,29,400
US$56.9
BILLION
BILLION
Financial output of
the creative economy
1 IN 8
Source: Otis report on the creative economy for the LA region 2017
30
Total wages earned from the
creative economy
US$2 TRILLION
Ratio of people in LA working
in the creative economy
(both freelance and salaried)
4 MILLION
Total economic output of California
Population of LA
(New York has 8.5 million)
12 SECTORS
1,41,400
Percentage of economic output from
creative economy in California
Jobs in entertainment
87,600
33,800
SIXTH IN THE
WORLD
7,59,000
5.1%
NUMBER ONE
Total jobs (direct, indirect
and induced) in the
creative economy
Many people have dismissed Los Angeles as
a vapid place to live, but its growing status
as a cultural capital is gaining respect. It’s
much deserved, when you consider it has
some of the best museums and galleries in
the country, including the Getty, The Broad
and LACMA, which will be expanded
by 2023 thanks to a US$600 million
investment that will see its campus extended
over Wilshire Boulevard with the addition
of the LACMA Building for the Permanent
Collection. (The new nearby Wilshire/
Fairfax subway station will open at around
the same time.) Running from September
2017 to January 2018, “Pacific Standard
Time LA/LA” was an ambitious fourmonth exhibition of Latin American and
Latino culture with works by 1,100 artists
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11%
The creative economy
includes: entertainment,
fashion, architecture, interior
design, art galleries, digital
media, furniture/decorative
arts, communication arts,
industrial design, toys, visual
and performing arts, and fine
and performing arts schools
TINSELTOWN GE TS
CEREBRAL
JENNY SOUTHAN
Direct salary/freelance
jobs in the
creative economy
(4,89,500 in New York)
Jobs in fashion
Jobs in printing
and publishing
Predicted creative industry
employment growth over
the next five years
If California was a country,
it would be the world’s sixthlargest economy
California’s ranking
among US states for number of
people working in the
creative economy
from 45 countries displayed across more
a health-conscious city for decades, but
than 70 venues in LA
it’s amazing to see the
and the wider state. It’s
number of juice bars,
endeavours like these that
Over the next four organic supermarkets,
are inspiring an influx
shake stands
years, LA's creative protein
of talent.
and vegetarian/vegan
economy will grow restaurants. Stop by Cafe
With a growing
by more than five
community of creatives
Gratitude, for example
comes innovation,
(there are four outposts
per cent
which means LA is also
in the city) and you
leading the way when
can order beer-battered
it comes to everything
coconut “calamari” and
from food trends to the
blue algae superfood
experience economy
smoothies; Gracias
(Airbnb Experiences lists
Madre on Melrose, which
dozens of activities you can
has a Mediterranean-style
book with a local, such as
garden, serves “crab” cakes
vinyl record shopping with
made from hearts of palm,
a Grammy award-winning
Mexican quesadillas slathered
artist). Los Angeles has been
in cashew cheese and “high vibes”
business traveller india
D E S T I N AT I O N S
It’s not without its challenges, though,
Biancaniello says. “Since I have been
living here, so many places have opened
and LA seems to be so fickle when it
comes to longevity. Rents are high and
it is increasingly difficult for restaurants
to maintain themselves. There are too
many options available and people are
constantly looking for the hottest spots.
Not having my own laboratory to really
build upon what I am doing is difficult
too. Eventually, I would very much love
to open my own tasting menu bar in Los
Angeles or have a travelling one that goes
around the world.”
WHERE THE COOL
KIDS ARE
ABOVE: LA street art
cocktails infused with cannabidiol CBD oil
(marijuana use is now legal in California).
At another restaurant called Ysabel,
I find it has given over its bar for a
few nights to local cocktail maestro
Matthew Biancaniello, who specialises in
savoury and edible drinks. He begins by
enthusiastically serving new arrivals cups
of alcoholic French onion soup made with
ingredients from the local farmers’ market.
After spending four and a half years
bartending at the Hollywood Roosevelt
Hotel’s Library Bar, he is now focusing on
popups such as this, where he can be truly
inventive, mixing the likes of Ogo seaweed
tequila with lemon guava, curry leaves and
fresh chamomile; and shiitake mushroominfused bourbon with bergamot vodka,
blood orange, smoked jalapeño and arugula
(rocket) blossoms.
business traveller india
There are lots of trendy hotspots such
as Abbot Kinney, Echo Park, Silver
Lake and Los Feliz emerging across LA
these days, but one area that has seen
significant change in terms of the creative
economy is Downtown. It’s impossible to
miss, being the only cluster of high-rise
buildings in an otherwise low-rise city.
Essentially the central business district,
its make-up has been changing. It’s
become more residential and, over the
past five years or so, the old warehouses
and lofts have been taken over by artists.
Gentrification has swiftly followed and,
now, beyond the apocalyptic border of
Skid Row, where desperate drug addicts
and homeless people live in tents on the
pavement (outrageous to see in a state
as wealthy as California), you’ll find the
full fledged Arts District and some of the
most expensive real estate in LA.
The Arts District has the familiar feel
of New York’s Brooklyn or London’s
Shoreditch with murals on the sides of
buildings, hipster boutiques, neon sign
workshops, cold-brew coffeehouses, ice
cream parlours, breweries, distilleries,
concept stores, co-working spaces and
galleries such as Hauser & Wirth, which
also has a chic bistro called Manuela
next door and a mini urban farm with
chickens. As artists are evicted or forced
to move on because of inflated rents,
corporates are taking the opportunity
to reap the benefits of this new walkable
neighbourhood. The Hyperloop
World Headquarters has moved to the
Arts District; there’s the Los Angeles
Cleantech Incubator; and Warner Music
will be relocating from its headquarters in
Burbank. Designer Phillip Lim and Dover
Street Market will be opening stores later
this year.
Chris Rico says: “I left LA for San
Francisco between 2010 and 2014 because
I got tired of the fact that the only thing
anybody ever talked about was ‘The
Business’. It was always what sucked the
oxygen out of the room – even in the LA
Times, the whole business section was about
Hollywood. So I went to San Francisco
seeking a place where there was a diversity
of thought and ideas, and in the time I
was there, LA and San Francisco switched
places. With the arrival of Dotcom 2.0,
San Francisco became a one conversation
town – all anyone talks about is what app
they are building. LA, meanwhile, has this
complement of new technology, aerospace,
autonomous vehicles, fashion, digital media
and art. Movies are not the only thing that
people talk about now.”
He continues: “If you think about
Charlie Chaplin, Howard Hughes and
Walt Disney, people like that were what
defined Los Angeles as this place for
dreamers. Enter the present day and you
have new dreamers such as Elon Musk
[founder of Space X, Tesla and Hyperloop]
and Evan Spiegel, who created Snapchat
and decided to keep it in LA because of the
creative economy and how integral that
was to its offering, even though many of its
venture capitalists were desperately trying
to get him to move to Silicon Valley. I think
what is happening in LA right now is you
are seeing that convergence, where you
have all of these artists and new technology.
When you get into designing rockets and
imagining future modes of transportation,
for example, it’s very creative.”
By the time of LA’s Olympic Games in
2028, Rico predicts the city will look very
different. There will be a new light rail and
metro system (public transport is severely
lacking right now). Meanwhile Musk’s
Boring Company has already started
digging tunnels beneath the city for a new
kind of transport system in which cars are
shuttled beneath the roads on drive-on,
drive-off “skates”. There will probably be
self-driving cars too, so instead of getting
angry at being stuck in traffic, you can sit
back and enjoy watching Avatar 4. BTI
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31
ALEX
32
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business traveller india
I N S I D E H O S P I TA L I T Y
THE HIGH
LIFE
Boutique hotels in one of
London’s most exclusive
vicinities - Mayfair
WORDS JAZREEN DEBOO
33
business traveller india
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M
GRAMROAD
34
ayfair has maintained its
status as one of London’s
most elite zones since
before World War II.
After the War, it did lose
some of its allure, only
to regain it around the
mid-1990s, thanks to
refurbishment of the buildings here.
Ironically, this sophisticated area gets
its name from “May Fair” that took place
from 1686 to 1764, where the peasant class
enjoyed all sorts of dance and music. The fair
was later moved to Fair Field in Bow because
the affluent residents felt it diminished the
appeal of the neighbourhood.
Over the years, Mayfair has evolved
from being just an expensive collection of
residential properties to including offices
by noteworthy brands, high fashion stores,
Michelin-starred restaurants and luxury
hotels. It covers the entire area between
Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch, Oxford
Circus, Piccadilly Circus and Green Park.
While five-star properties at Mayfair
continue to attract leisure and business
travellers alike, a number of boutique hotels
have upped the charm of this uptown area.
With innovations in their offerings, these
boutique hotels break from conventional
hospitality concepts and create a fresh travel
experience for their guests.
Here are five boutique hotels you
could consider as options in London’s
exclusive postcode.
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45 PARK L ANE
“You’re our guest, not a room number,” reads
the 45 Park Lane hotel’s website elaborating
on its unique butler service. The hotel assigns
a “host” for every room who acts as a round
the clock concierge and bank of knowledge
on London.
Part of Dorchester Collection, a luxury
hotel operator, 45 Park Lane has an
interesting backstory. About five decades
ago, the building housed The Playboy Club
and was nicknamed “the hutch on the
park” – a to-be-seen-in hangout in the ‘60s
for those with deep pockets. On acquiring
the property, Dorchester Collection
designed the hotel to replicate a cosy house.
Every now and then it showcases works by
modern artists, also on sale, at any of its inhouse venues.
Each of the 45 rooms and suites have “a
1920s heart, dipped in ultimate comfort”,
and overlooks Hyde Park.
CUT, its in-house American restaurant
is popular for its range of steaks amongst
other offerings. The menu created by chef
Wolfgang Puck also includes dishes like
pan-roasted lobster, burgers and risotto. Bar
45 is the property’s chic drinking hole, which
serves seasonal hand-crafted cocktails and
“ROUGH CUTS” – a bar menu of finger
foods like Wagyu sliders, Dorset crab rolls
and grilled Steak fries.
A one-night stay in June is upwards of
£750/`70,000. dorchestercollection.com
PREVIOUS PAGE: The Beaumont
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: a room in Artist Residence
London; The Beaumont's sitting room; and 45 Park
Lane's exterior
ARTIST RESIDENCE
LONDON
As the name suggests, Artist Residence has
a high design quotient. It is one of the five
properties in England by the chain, which
describes itself as “eclectic luxury”. This
hotel is situated on Cambridge Street near
Mayfair in Pimlico. Breaking away from the
conventional interiors of most hotels, Artist
Residence London embraces abstract design
sensibilities – think, old style iron beds
with clean, straight lines, otherwise plain
wall mirrors with one distinctive feature,
and washbasins with separate hot and cold
knobs for the faucet.
It all started in 2008 when Justin and
Charlotte Salisbury invited artists to
decorate rooms in return for boarding
at their bed and breakfast in Brighton.
Hundreds of artists transformed the
place with praiseworthy works and Artist
Residence was born as a concept hotel
brand. In 2014, they brought their chain
to London.
This stylish property has just ten rooms
(with free wifi and a Nespresso coffee
machine), a cocktail bar and an all-day
dining restaurant. Each room is uniquely
business traveller india
I N S I D E H O S P I TA L I T Y
exposed brick walls, red bar stools and
dim lighting. Its in-house restaurant, the
Cambridge Street Kitchen has a transitional
seasonal menu. The head chef curates new
fusion dishes from available local produce.
A one-night stay in June is upwards of
£245/`22,865. artistresidence.co.uk
THE BEAUMONT
As the name suggests,
Artist Residence has a
high design quotient. It is
one of the five properties
in England by the chain,
which describes itself as
“eclectic luxury”
designed with contemporary urban,
graphic or street art on all or any of the
walls, ceilings, rustic wooden floors, and
continues in its vintage furnishings.
The highlight of the hotel is its soughtafter Clarendon Cocktail Cellar that
was once an old Victorian pub in 1872.
Considered quite the gem in London’s
exclusive nightlife scene, it features
The debut hotel of Chris Corbin and Jeremy
King, restaurateurs who own the Wolseley,
the Delaunay and other gourmet eateries in
London, The Beaumont opened in 2014.
Accommodation at the 73-key property
includes three, two and four room, studio
and suite categories respectively.
The Art Deco-styled rooms are
punctuated with black and white
photographs, original paintings, antiques
and books. Windows overlook Mayfair
or the garden court. The plush marble
bathrooms are fitted with floor heating.
Recommended is the “ROOM” suite
(£1,278/`1,19,299 onwards per night),
which is in a “giant semi-abstract” sculpture
by Antony Gormley. It is designed as a dark,
mysterious wood-panelled space for guests
to achieve a meditative state of tranquillity.
Included in the room rates, across all
accommodation categories are tea,
coffee, juices and baked goods in The Cub
Room, which is The Beaumont’s lounge
bar. This is in addition to the free in-room
minibar that excludes alcoholic beverages.
A vintage Daimler is available on request for
free drop-offs within Mayfair.
Try the recommended lobster à la Russe
or New York hot dogs at The Colony Grill
or enjoy a bourbon at The American Bar.
The white marble Art Deco spa offers
Hamam treatments, in addition to a steam
and sauna. The gym is open round the clock.
The Lotus Room is its glamorous space for
intimate events for up to 60 people.
A one-night stay in June is upwards of
£495/`46,206. beaumont.com
35
THE L ANESBOROUGH
The Lanesborough is a part of the Oetker
Collection, a German hospitality company
that owns ten luxury hotels. Following a
refurbishment project, the 93-key hotel
relaunched in 2015.
Rooms and suites are decorated in
beautiful pastels and colonial style
furnishings. Each room has an entrance
business traveller india
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I N S I D E H O S P I TA L I T Y
36
foyer for added privacy, writing desk,
separate seating area and underfloor
heating in the bathrooms. The in-room
tablet can be used for housekeeping,
room service, restaurant reservations
and to browse the internet. On request,
complimentary tea or coffee is served with
the wakeup call.
The hotel tailors three-day itineraries
for guests (on request), which includes the
Tower of London, St. Katherine Docks,
Regent Park’s open-air theatre, Carnaby
Street, Soho and ends with a performance
at the Royal Albert Hall and dinner at the
hotel’s Michelin-star restaurant Celeste.
At Celeste, special menus paired with
bespoke wines are the norm. It is managed
by four Michelin-starred executive chef
Florian Favario and three Michelin-starred
chef Eric Frechon. The afternoon tea here,
though extravagant is worth the experience
with soft piano playing in the background
of The Lanesborough’s rich ambience.
Guests can also relax with beauty and
wellness treatments at its Club and Spa.
If visiting on business, the seven event
rooms are offered for either a cocktail
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The afternoon tea here,
though extravagant is
worth the experience
with soft piano playing
in the background of
The Lanesborough’s
rich ambience
gathering, private sit-down dinner or a
boardroom meeting.
A one-night stay in June is upwards of
£650/`60,660. oetkercollection.com
THE LEONARD BOUTIQUE
HOTEL
Situated in the heart of London’s luxury
shopping locality in Marble Arch, it enjoys
scenic views of Hyde Park. Accommodation
in the 49-key Leonard Hotel ranges from
single and double rooms, to spacious suites
and family rooms. The brand also offers
serviced apartments for extended stays.
It has a dedicated theatre desk where
one can book tickets to plays and musicals
TOP: The Lanesborough's lobby
in the city, as well as sightseeing tours
and lunch and dinner reservations at any
London restaurant. There is a Classic
Parade service that offers the likes of
Ferrari, Lamborghini, Mercedes and
Bentley for however long you wish to rent
the supercar during your stay for travel
anywhere in the UK.
The afternoon tea at the only dining
option here, Seymour’s Restaurant, takes
you back to the Victorian era with its
traditional British menu. It has a selection
of tea and coffee alongside scones, cakes,
clotted cream and sandwiches. You can
also order the Royal Afternoon Tea that
is served with a glass of champagne. This
restaurant and bar creates a homely vibe
with plush sofa chairs, rich drapery and
soft carpeted floors. Antique artwork and
real fireplaces fill the place whose signature
dishes include Scottish smoked salmon,
lamb cutlets and mixed berries crumble
with custard.
A one-night stay in June is upwards of
£153/`14,284. leonard.com BTI
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A NORTHERN AFFAIR
Exploring North France
A HERITAGE ODYSSEY
Chennai’s cultural
establishments
THE WINE EXPLORER
Choosing the right vino
PLUS
Tried and tested • Barbados
• London's boutique hotels
S I M P L I F Y I N G
TRAVEL
Innovations at Indian airports
37
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38
WORDS JENNY SOUTHAN
Famous for
banking
and
frequently
top-ranked
for quality
of life, this
cultural,
compact
city is also
a pleasure
for leisure
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1
Clouds Kitchen at
Prime Tower
Begin your four-hour walking
tour of Zurich West in the former
Industriequartier at the mirrored
36-storey Prime Tower. It was the
tallest building in Switzerland
until 2015 when the Roche Tower
was unveiled in Basel. For visiting
businesspeople this may well be a
venue they find themselves having
meetings in. Take the lift to the
35th floor and you will find Clouds
Kitchen, a restaurant, bistro and bar.
There’s also a smokers’ lounge where
you can enjoy a cigar. Whatever time
of day or night you visit, the views
are impressive, and give you a great
opportunity to see Zurich West and
the train lines that run alongside
up to the main Hauptbahnhof
station. Visit for a coffee or cocktail.
Hardstrasse 201; clouds.ch/en.
Zurich
2
Freitag store
Cross the road (Hardbrucke) and walk
a short way down Geroldstrasse to
another, smaller tower, this time built
out of colourful shipping containers
stacked on top of one another. This
unusual construction houses the
four-floor Freitag store, a brand that
has carved a niche in “upcycling” old
truck tarpaulins and turning them into
one-of-a-kind, highly durable bags and
wallets. The concept was launched in
1993 and has since been so successful
that the homegrown Swiss company
now has 18 outlets around the world,
as well as 450 resellers. The Zurich
West flagship store is well worth a visit,
and is a good place to buy a souvenir.
It’s possible to apply for a tour of
the factory in the Noerd industrial
complex 6km away. Open MondaysFridays 10:30am-7pm, Saturday 10am6pm. Geroldstrasse 17; freitag.ch/en.
3
Frau Gerolds Garten
Next door to the Freitag store is fiveyear-old Frau Gerolds Garten, a beer
garden strung with lights. During the
warmer months between April and
September, enjoy gravel walkways,
trees, potted plants and herbs, murals
on walls, bars, food stalls and some
quirky outdoor sculpture. Head up to
the terrace (again built out of shipping
containers), which is a perfect vantage
point for trainspotting, and order
a cold brew. If you come in winter
(October to March), it will probably
be too chilly to sit outside; in which
case, head for the giant wooden yurt in
the middle. Inside is a cosy restaurant
furnished with throws and cushions;
if hungry, order the fondue. Open
Mondays-Saturdays 11am-12am,
Sundays 12pm-10pm (summer),
Mondays-Sundays 6pm-12am;
Geroldstrasse 23/23a; fraugerold.ch.
business traveller india
4 HOURS IN...
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5
Im Viadukt
At the heart of Zurich West is Im
Viadukt, a 500-metre-long warehouse
that sits beneath the arches of a
19th century railway viaduct. Under
every arch (there are 36 in total) is
a different boutique, interior design
store, café or concept shop, on both the
Viaduktstrasse side and the other side
where there is a park. Only a couple
of minutes’ walk from Frau Gerolds
Garten, it’s an interesting place to
browse ateliers such as Timetunnel
Living, Klangwandel, Kitchener Plus,
Brankob and Street Files. These brands
sell everything from stylish trainers,
watches and jeans to hand-woven
throws and headphones. There’s also
the cavernous Markthalle, stocked
with sausages, deli goods, bread,
pastries, flowers and vegetables. Open
Mondays-Fridays 11am-7pm, Saturdays
10am-6pm; im-viadukt.ch/en.
business traveller india
5
Schiffbau
Complete your tour at the Schiffbau,
a ten-minute stroll from Im Viadukt.
Once used for shipbuilding, this
imposing brick structure has been
turned into a theatre with three
stages (visit schauspielhaus.ch/en/
for more information); there is also
a jazz club and restaurant La Salle.
Set to the left of the great entrance
hall, the restaurant is an ideal place
to come for lunch or dinner, either
with clients (it’s popular with
professionals) or a companion for
something less formal. The modern
cuisine takes influences from French
and Italian cooking with dishes
such as veal cutlet with herb butter,
horse fillet with garlic, or ravioli
of the day. Open Mondays-Fridays
from 11am, weekends from 5pm;
Schiffbaustrasse 6;
lasalle-restaurant.ch.
JENNY SOUTHAN
4
ZURICH
5
4
1
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NBRYANT
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business traveller india
business traveller india
WORDS AKANKSHA MAKER
AFFAIR
Exploring the French region with Belgian influences
D E S T I N AT I O N S
A NORTHERN
41
M AY 2 0 1 8
I
t’s fascinating how different, yet
similar each region of Europe can
be. Last year, I boarded an SNCF
(sncf.com/fr) train from Charles
de Gaulle airport to Lille, the
capital of the Hauts-de-France (the
northernmost region of France). It is
near the border of Belgium. The drive
to my hotel, past quaint buildings, reminded
me of my brief visit to Brussels. In Europe,
a city’s culture is heavily influenced by the
weather, and its neighbouring countries.
Since Lille shares the border with Belgium,
there’s a notable Flemish influence in all its
aspects – ranging from weather, food and
architecture to culture.
I checked into the charming Hotel
L'Arbre Voyageur (hotelarbrevoyageur.com)
that takes pride in its quaint décor –Baroque
touches, avian patterns and bold colours. It
is located in Boulevard Carnot, close to the
city centre.
After a quick nap and coffee, I headed
down to the reception where a vintage
red 2CV vehicle was waiting for me. I had
signed up for a driving tour of this BelgianFrench part of Europe in a vintage car that
can be booked on lilletourism.com (a one
hour guided tour in a convertible 2CV for
one person is priced at €67/`5,349). My
tour guide drove us through the narrow
by-lanes of Lille that are lined with little
houses that dating back to the 17th century.
Most of these golden sandstone buildings
built in the neo-Flemish style of architecture
have now been converted into boutiques
and cafes, creating an idyllic ambience that
amalgamates the old with the new. One of
the most notable buildings is L’Hospice
Comtesse, an erstwhile 13th century
charitable hospital that is now a museum
with a collection of paintings, tapestries,
wood sculptures and porcelains from
the region.
My old school 2CV drove through
Lille’s alleys, towards the Grand Place –
the mid-point of the city and the Grand
Square. It’s dotted with gabled edifices and
the Chamber of Commerce that boasts of
the 76-metre high belfry – a symbol of the
city’s commerce. While Lille is small in size,
it impresses the architecture and history
aficionado with its striking structures such
as the Lille Palace of Fine Arts (a municipal
museum dedicated to the arts) and the
neoclassical Opera House of Lille. Designed
by the architect Louis-Marie Cordonnier,
its grand facade emanates elements from
ancient Greek and Roman philosophy,
culture, and art.
AKANKSHA MAKER | MYLÈNE FARGEOT
42
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D E S T I N AT I O N S
PREVIOUS PAGE: Bay of Somme
FAR LEFT: a building in Lille's Grand Place
THIS PAGE: vintage 2CV tour in Lille
An appetite built up after the tour
and I headed to Le Barbue d’Anvers
(lebarbuedanvers.fr), an estaminet (small
café in French that serves drinks and
food) close to the town square. Actually,
most places are within proximity to each
other in Lille. Since it is in the relatively
colder area with Belgian nuances, its
diet is heavily dependent on meat and
fish. The menu of this dimly lit, wooden
estaminet includes sautéed cat tongue,
beef tartare, pork ribs and salmon fillet.
I chose a fillet of plaice – a flatfish – that
was served with egg and mustard sauce.
The restaurant’s speciality is its Flemish
carbonade flamande, a traditional Belgian
sweet-sour beef stew prepared with beer.
Speaking of beer, another interesting
facet of Lille is its love for it. While the
rest of France is known for its exceptional
wine, Lille prides itself on its beer (just
business traveller india
As the name suggests,
this "beach of
Paris" serves as the
playground for affluent
Parisians who come
over for their weekend
breaks and holidays
like Belgium). Its microbreweries date back
to before World War I when families began
investing in the business of beer. Post-war
rationing of daily supplies heavily reduced
the number of breweries. However, only a
few survived in this part of French Flanders.
I visited one such microbrewery called
Célestin where I met a fifth generation
member of the family that began the
business in 1740. Here you can find more
than 400 different regional and international
beers and also their in-house La Dix Biére
Blonde. Some of the other beers you can try
here are Ch’ti (a person from north France is
called Ch’ti) and Vedett (a Belgian beer but
widely available in Lille).
While driving through the city during
the tour, I had crossed a pastry shop called
Meert (meert.fr). Its mannerist-style front
with arabesques medallions stood out,
beckoning me to visit. I learnt that this
patisserie was founded in 1761 and is known
for its waffles layered with Madagascar
vanilla. The waffles’ recipe has stayed the
same since its creation and is known to have
caught the fancy of many a French diplomat
including Charles de Gaulle – a Lille
resident – who continued to order for the
sweet even after he moved to Paris for his
presidency. I enjoyed jasmine tea alongside
these famous waffles and a rich chocolate
pastry in its tea room that’s decorated with
chandeliers and black and white portraits
of dignitaries.
After spending the night in Lille, the
next day I drove through Boulogne-sur-Mer
(the city of Boulogne) to Le TouquetParis-Plage. As the name suggests, this
"beach of Paris" serves as the playground
for affluent Parisians who come over for
their weekend breaks and holidays. This
commune is less than a three-hour drive
from the French capital and is lined with
extravagant properties that are much adored
by their regular visitors. I was staying at the
art deco Hôtel Barrière Le Westminster
(hotelsbarriere.com) that reminded me of a
Wes Anderson movie with its old school lift,
artwork and the very English lobby bar.
Later I rushed to Le Touquet Golf Course
where reservations for lunch were made at
its restaurant called Spoon. Facing the golf
course, I enjoyed an elaborate three-course
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43
→
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: a street in
Saint-Valery; Amiens Cathedral; a
fisherman's home in Saint-Valery;
Amiens' Floating Gardens; and sand
yachting in Le Touquet
AKANKSHA MAKER | NBRYANT | DRAUX | JDHESTIN
44
lunch in the company of fellow Parisians
and travellers who were perhaps visiting
for a round or two of golf. I began my meal
with marinated salmon, remoulade celery
and green apple and followed it with a
fillet of salmon, smoked sausage and red
wine jus. During my meal, I decided that to
experience Le Touquet like a true Parisian, I
must hit the beach later – even though the
temperatures were still quite low. It turned
out to be quite an adventure as I tried my
hand at an alternative adventure sport called
sand yachting.
Since many travellers visit this town
during cooler months, there are a few winter
activities that have been set-up on the beach
like this one. While sand yachting looked
simple, it was definitely not a piece of cake.
The manoeuvring of a sail pushes a wheeled
vehicle ahead without the power of an
engine. Driving over sea shells with the wind
blowing in my face with occasional splashes
of salty water was quite thrilling. A windy
day is essential for this activity because after
a point my sail refused to move in still air.
Next morning, with a jam-packed
schedule, I left rather early to drive 65km
to the medieval seaside city by the Bay of
Somme – Saint-Valery. A fisherman’s town
until as late as the 1980s, Saint-Valery is one
of the most unique and charming places I
have visited in France. It is modest and not
very commercial, but its colours, rich history
and quaintness appeal extensively. Walking
through its maritime quarter – also known
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business traveller india
D E S T I N AT I O N S
Walking upwards
on its winding alleys
brought me on a cliff
at the entrance of an
erstwhile walled city
as Le Courtgain – that has old homes of
fishermen and their families was an exquisite
experience. Houses are painted in the most
vivid colours and fresh flowers decorate most
of its porches. People are friendly and their
warmth captivated me, even though language
was a barrier. A lot of facades to date emanate
the naval heritage of the town with evocative
paintings and flags. Each house is different in
terms of design, shades and shape from the
other, making the entire town of Saint-Valery
seem like a colourful odyssey.
Walking upwards on its winding alleys
brought me on a cliff at the entrance of an
erstwhile walled city. It is from here that
I soaked in panoramic views of the Bay of
Somme. Saint-Valery has been through a
tumultuous past through years of war and
has served as a landing port of the Celts,
Romans and the Vikings, as well as the
hiding place for Joan of Arc when she was a
prisoner of the English. The French Wars of
Religion in the 16th century damaged the
fortifications and as of today, its remnants
make it an interesting place for history
buffs. That’s all there is to this small town.
In the evening, I took a walk on its seaside
promenade before driving to my next
destination – Amiens.
The capital of Picardy (a historical
region of northern France, stretching
from the suburbs of Paris and vineyards of
Champagne to the beaches of the Bay of
Somme on the English Channel), Amiens is
a 50-minute drive from Saint-Valery. Amiens
already gave me a feel of a much bigger city
than those I had visited – but it still carried
business traveller india
the charm of a small town. This could be
attributed to a few things, the fact that it’s
mostly pedestrianised and that it’s lush
with greenery almost everywhere. There are
several canals that intersect plots of lands
that are populated with residences, cafés and
universities (Amiens is a student town as
well because of the number of colleges here).
A fascinating way to begin your trip in
Amiens is by visiting the iconic Floating
Gardens or Hortillonnages (hortillonnagesamiens.fr) here. Once a market garden,
leeks, cabbages and carrots used to be grown
here. Now a popular tourist spot, these
small floating islands built on reclaimed
marshland are dotted with flora and jointly
span almost 742 acres between the Avre
and Somme rivers. I opted for a boat tour
(€6/`478) that lasted 45 minutes as I sailed
through the winding canal. Ducks, swans
and other waterbirds swam beside us, and
plants with flowers of brilliant colours
outlined this boat ride. Some islands had
camping homes and residences and others
were plots used for gardening purposes.
The canals effortlessly teleported me into a
wonderland of nature and serenity.
After this rendezvous with nature,
I walked through the city to its most
significant point – the Amiens Cathedral.
An admirer of architecture, I can never get
enough of the structures in Europe – and
was excited to learn that the largest Gothic
cathedral in France was in fact in Amiens.
Also called the Notre-Dame d’Amiens or
the Cathedral of Notre-Dame of Amiens,
its exterior looks uncannily similar to its
namesake in Paris. It is notable for its two
unequal towers, Medieval wall paintings
inside and Gothic sculptures that adorn the
west facade. Larger-than-life sculptures of
kings, 22 of them, decorate the lower gallery.
In the nights (every day from June 15 to the
third Sunday in September), the sculptures
on the west facade are lit up for a striking
light show. The cathedral was added to
the UNESCO list of World Heritage
Sites in 1981.
Having visited contrasting destinations
in northern France made for an interesting
few days. Each place stood out because
of its distinctive characteristics, striking a
chord within me effortlessly. Much is left
for another northern affair in this exotic
region – one that impressed me with its
unconventional elegance. BTI
M AY 2 0 1 8
45
UP YOUR ST YLE
Couture
Culture
French fashion for the label
conscious
2
46
1 J12 watch by Chanel; ₹3,58,902; chanel.com
2 Couvertures Nouvelles scarf by Hermes; ₹50,859; hermes.com
1
3
3 Gentleman Givenchy Eau de Parfum; ₹4,650; givenchy.com
4 Voltaire Derby Shoes by Louis Vuitton; price on request; louisvuitton.com
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business traveller india
TIME STOPPER
OVERSEAS ULTRA-THIN
PERPETUAL CALENDAR BY
VACHERON CONSTANTIN
47
A new addition to the Overseas
Travellers Collection, this
ultra-thin timepiece features a
perpetual calendar and moonphase indications. Its 4.05mm thick movement
comprises 276 parts that keep
track of calendar irregularities
with no need for correction
until the year 2100.
Beating at a frequency of 2.5
hertz, it drives the hours and
minutes, perpetual calendar –
day of the week, date, month
and leap year – on a 48-month
counter as well as moon-phase
functions. It is powered by
calibre 1120 QP/1.
Its sapphire crystal case back
reveals 22k oscillating weight
adorned with a wind rose.
Secured by an18k 5N pink
gold folding clasp, it can be
interchanged with a dark
blue alligator leather or a
rubber strap.
vacheron-constantin.com
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M AY 2 0 1 8
REKHA VIJAYASHANKAR
48
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business traveller india
business traveller india
Institutes in and around Chennai make an effort to revive
the region's languishing art and culture
ODYSSE Y
D E S T I N AT I O N S
A HERITAGE
49
WORDS SHARMILA CHAND
M AY 2 0 1 8
L
50
ocals say, if you visit Chennai
and leave without trying the
idlis at Murugan Idli Shop, your
trip is incomplete. I couldn’t
agree more. The taste, texture
and flavour of the idlis (savoury
rice cakes – a staple of South
India) here are entirely different
in comparison to what one may have tried
elsewhere. They’re softer and fluffier,
and served piping hot, fresh out of the
steamer and on the banana leaf that is your
dining plate.
Though the idlis are served with chutneys,
one could eat them plain as well. On
ingesting the last bite, I see Brahma, my
guide in Chennai, bringing me a glass of a
pinkish drink topped with ice cream. “This
is jigarthanda, a speciality of Murugan,” he
tells me. Jigarthanda actually originated
from Madurai, an ancient city in Tamil
Nadu, about 450km from Chennai. The
drink, quintessential to the state intends to
cool you down. In fact, the name literally
translates to “cool heart”.
Brace yourself when ordering it because
it is quite heavy – prepared with milk,
Walking around them felt
a lot like a stroll through
a scene out of a history
book – it was green and
serene, away from the
chaos of city life
almonds, rice and ice cream. Thankfully
Murugan's idlis aren’t heavy on the stomach,
and so I had enough room to polish this
dessert-drink.
Much to my dismay, Brahma tells me with
a grin, “Our meal is not complete without
filter coffee, madam.” Any Indian who has
frequented South Indian restaurants knows
that filter coffee marks the end of your meal,
irrespective of what you have consumed
earlier. It is prepared by beating coffee and
sugar with hot water to make a somewhat
thickish paste. Hot milk is poured into it
before serving it in a stout steel glass placed
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in a shallow steel bowl. This is so you can
toss the coffee between the glass and the
bowl to cool it down, before slurping it.
Thus, began my wonderful weekend
exploring Chennai’s culture, a city of warmhearted people who take pride in being
the custodians of heritage, art, tradition
and music.
DANCE
A reflection of Tamil Nadu’s art and culture
is Kalakshetra Foundation (kalakshetra.
in) that has been around since 1936. It was
founded by classical dancer Rukmini Devi
Arundale. In 1993 it was recognised as an
Institute of National Importance by the
Government of India. The visionary had setup this institute to keep alive the languishing
art form of Bharatnatyam that originated in
Tamil Nadu. The building itself has a rustic
charm to it. It resembles an ancient Tamilian
home with a terracotta roof, patterned floor
tiles and modest wooden and cane furniture
within. There is a beautiful courtyard with
a large tree under which students dressed
in cotton South Indian saris or pavada
(blouse, ankle-length skirt and a long scarf )
practise Bharatnatyam to the beats of Indian
percussion instruments. When it gets too
hot – April-June – the class moves indoors.
Chennai is known for pleasant weather
for most part of the year. At least twice a
month, modestly priced tickets
have appreciators of classical dance
and music fill the partially open
air auditorium.
business traveller india
D E S T I N AT I O N S
Another open air centre for arts is
DakshinChitra. It overlooks the Bay of
Bengal at Muttukadu, on the East Coast
Road leading to the ancient temple town
of Mahabalipuram. This living museum
opened to the public on December 14,
1996. On its land, there are 18 heritage
houses, purchased from other locations,
PREVIOUS PAGE: Traditional performers at DakshinChitra
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Dancers at Kalakshetra;
a weaver weaving a Kanchipuram silk sari;
Mahabalipuram's relics; and idli and filter coffee at
Murugan Idli Shop
business traveller india
often at the open air theatre here. Interesting
pieces of terracotta and batik, to name a
few are available at the village shop. I for
one enjoyed touring homes of the
artists – it’s interesting to watch them
transform raw materials and empty canvases
into masterpieces. For long stays, a house
can be rented here too. Open daily 10am7:30pm; +91 44 2449 0092.
ART
Kanchipuram was the capital of the Pallava
dynasty. This is where kanjeevaram (type of
silk) saris come from. Some of the shops have
a workshop at the back; most of them usually
allow you to watch their workers spin a good
sari. Kanchipuram too has an impressive
collection of ancient temples from Pallava,
Chola and Vijayanagar dynasties.
About halfway between the above two
centres is the charming Cholamandal
Artists’ Village. It actually has a
heartwarming story to its origin. The
principal of Government School of Arts
and Crafts (India’s oldest art institution in
Chennai), K.C.S. Paniker brought together
and encouraged artists specialising in various
mediums to form Artists’ Handicrafts
Association. The group of 30 artists worked
on wood, ceramic and leather amongst other
materials to create varied art forms including
jewellery and sculptures. Their sales helped
raise enough money for the group to
contribute `4,000 each to purchase ten acres
on April 13, 1966.
Today, each of the 30 plots is a studiocum-home for the artists, some of whom
are award-winners – P.S. Nandan and M.
Senathipathi. Over the years, a few artists
have passed away, their homes occupied
by the next in kin or purchased by nonartists. The village itself is equipped with
art galleries showcasing contemporary
works of modern artists and beautiful
gardens displaying alluring pieces created
from granite, wood, copper and bronze. I
bought a few to take home – or at least the
more affordable ones. Performances, poetry
reading sessions and dance recitals take place
OUTSKIRTS
Mahabalipuram is about a two-hour drive
from Chennai and is a small coastal town
known for century-old temples. The seafront
Shore Temple reflects the glory of the Pallava
dynasty from the 7th and 8th centuries
through intricate carvings with spectacular
detailing on its facade and in sculptures
within. Krishna’s Butter Ball is another
attraction here, a massive boulder appearing
precariously balanced on a small hill slope.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a
collection of spectacular ancient monuments
and temples, definitely worth a visit.
51
GE T TING AROUND
Cabs and auto rickshaws are easily available
in the city and run by the metre. BTI
ARCHITECTURAL
ATTRACTIONS





Higginbothams bookstore,
built in 1844, Palladian
architecture.
Madras High Court, built in
1892, Indo-Saracenic
architecture.
Thousand Lights Mosque,
built in 1810, medieval
architecture.
National Art Gallery, built in
1906, Indo-Saracenic
architecture.
St Andrew’s Church, built in
1821, Georgian architecture.
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KALAKSHETRA | REKHA VIJAYASHANKAR | THE HOUSE OF PIXELS | MURUGAN IDLI SHOP
CRAF T
dismantled and reassembled here to
showcase the lifestyle and architecture of,
for example, a Syrian-Christian, Calicut,
Chikmagalur or Ilkal Weavers’ household.
Walking around them felt a lot like a stroll
through a scene out of a history book – it
was green and serene, away from the chaos
of city life. Except for cars in the distance,
there is little evidence of modern life glaring
at you. Artisans were happy to feed my
curiosity while they weaved a basket, beaded
a necklace or knitted a stole. All these
items are available at the on-site bazaar to
encourage the artisans’ growth with the
help of NGOs who educate them on how
to expand their businesses. The overall
atmosphere here is friendly, mainly because
interaction seems to be important to its
members. Visitors too can participate in
activities such as competitions, volunteering
and workshops to acquaint themselves with
almost forgotten skills. (Open WednesdayMonday 10am-6pm; `100 for Indians, `250
for foreigners; dakshinachitra.net.)
52
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business traveller india
D E S T I N AT I O N S
SUN-KISSED
It’s easy to see why Barbados has long been
favoured as a summer destination
WORDS JAMES HENDERSON
ISTOCK
53
business traveller india
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D
54
rop a regular Caribbean
In the 1980s, as package tourism arrived,
traveller blindfolded onto a
Barbados was quick to respond and less
Caribbean island here and
expensive hotels began to appear along the
they will know which one
south coast. The two coasts still retain their
they are on. Each has its
distinctive feel: the south coast easy, upbeat
own distinctive traits and
and unpretentious, the west more mannered
atmosphere. Barbados has a
and glitzy.
gentler landscape than the
Meanwhile, in the 1990s Barbados
raging Windwards (Dominica and Grenada
discovered fine dining. According to one
among them) and a slightly balmier climate,
chef, in the early days, salmon would arrive
with some 3,000 hours of sunshine each
“deep-frozen, with the elasticity of a cricket
year. The island is entirely coral-based,
bat”. Nowadays, fish comes packed for sousgiving it more of the Caribbean’s white sand
vide cooking, and local fishermen phone in
and lustrous blue sea. And the Bajans are
their catch by mobile.
extremely welcoming – gracious and polite,
The villas took a new turn too, as visitors
even a mite reserved (for the Caribbean,
fell in love with the island and invested.
that is). The island has always had a special
Properties started to appear on estates,
place in British hearts. So how did this
each of which has a speciality. Royal
come about?
Westmoreland centres on a golf course,
Partially through an uninterrupted
Port St Charles and, more recently, Port
340-year colonial
Ferdinand on their
connection
marinas, and Sugar
(positioned
Hill on tennis. Apes
Barbados has a
upwind, Barbados
Hill was built around
was difficult to
a polo pitch (of
breadth of
invade). And with
which there are an
appeal for all
the advent of
improbable four on
leisure travel in the
an island of just 21
budgets that few
20th century – a
miles by 14 miles).
islands
can
match
trend that started
Tourism
with the banana
contributes 12 per
boats to Jamaica
cent of GDP, which
(a journey made
stood at US$4.5
by JP Morgan,
billion in 2016.
William Randolph
Around 14,000 jobs
Hearst, Bette
are directly tied to
Davis and Errol
tourism, around one
Flynn) – it became
in ten of the island’s
a natural choice for
workforce. And then
British travellers.
there are dependent
Beach hotels began to
industries, such as
appear on the now famous
tours and activities,
west coast in the 1960s and
food supply and
island regulars built their villas, many
construction.
of which were decorated by stage designer
The best way to get a
Oliver Messel. A winter social whirl began.
feel for Barbados is to take a drive around
Visitors would stay a month or two,
the island, which is about the size of the
avoiding the cold weather. The island was
Isle of Wight (380 sqkm). This comes with
renowned among the horse-racing set (the
a warning: you will undoubtedly get lost,
sport continues here and the island has its
though this is part of the fun.
own Gold Cup). They were followed by
First, cruise along the southern coast
the jet set. Barbados was so popular that
from Bridgetown, through suburbs called
until 2003 Concorde flew directly to it. It
Hastings, Dover and St Lawrence. This
made the Atlantic crossing in four hours,
arriving before it left London. There is now
PREVIOUS PAGES: Bathsheba Beach, Barbados
a Concorde on display at the airport.
RIGHT: lie back and enjoy the view at Cobbler's Cove
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D E S T I N AT I O N S
55
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BOTTOM AND RIGHT: Colourful Speightstown; and St
Nicholas Abbey rum distillery
is the tourist heartland, with hotels and
apartments lining the shore and dotted
along the roads. Just inland from here is
where the majority of new homes have been
built for Bajans, too.
Some of the best beaches are beyond the
airport, cut into the coves in the south east,
all stacked sand and luminous turquoise
sea: Harrismith, Foul Bay and Bottom Bay.
Borrow a cooler and take a picnic from
Cutters Deli. Or mosey up the Atlantic
coast to the Atlantis Hotel in Bathsheba,
whose tables groan twice a week with a West
Indian buffet – pumpkin soup, curried fish
and candied sweet potato. Or head for the
northernmost point, where the restaurant at
the Animal Flower Cave has lovely views.
You will drive between rippling
15-foot-high curtains of sugar cane,
grown since the 1600s to satisfy the
European sweet tooth (and the source
of untold misery to those enslaved to
work it). Today, the sugar industry
is stuttering all over the Caribbean.
However, if there is a maxim in
Caribbean economics, it is that where
one crop declines, another rises.
Currently there is a revival in sugar’s
by-product, rum. Mount Gay, Cockspur
and Malibu are made here. Join the
Bajans in any rum shop (though never
allow yourself to think you might beat
them at dominoes) and if you want to
tour a distillery, try Four Square or the
smaller, delightful St Nicholas Abbey.
Barbados is generally well organised
in comparison to some parts of the
Caribbean – a fact that both benefits
You will undoubtedly
get lost exploring the
island by car, though
this is part of the fun
ISTOCK
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D E S T I N AT I O N S
Bike Caribbean from St Lawrence
Gap will guide you along the east coast
by cycle.
Of course, the crowds shift from bar
to bar just as sand shifts on the tide, but
the epicentre of evening action is still
Holetown (and St Lawrence Gap on
the south coast). This year, popular bars
include Fusion in Limegrove, popular
with Bajans after work as well as with
tourists, and West Bar. After an early
evening drink, people head for restaurants
up and down the coast before returning
to round the night off at the Red Door on
Second Street.
January to April this year saw the Sugar
and Rum Season (which itself forms part
of the 2018 Year of Culinary Experiences)
highlighting everything from local cuisine
to mixology classes, historical lectures and
tours of distilleries and great houses. BTI
INFORMATION
WHERE TO STAY
the island and which causes some ribbing
from other West Indians – and so there
are plenty of things to do and places
to visit. The Bajans love their gardens.
Perhaps it’s another British legacy, like its
parliament and education system, both of
which are built on the British model. Even
a humble yard will have a tree and a line
of plants such as colourfully variegated
crotons, with some hot peppers growing
at the rear. Hunte’s Gardens, which fill
a limestone sinkhole to bursting, and
Andromeda above the east coast display
fantastic collections of tropical plants.
Finally, you will run down the west
coast, with its exceptionally smart hotels,
villas and restaurants, winter home to so
many extremely wealthy British families.
The media moguls and models we hear
about are just the tip of an iceberg.
Barbados may not have the vertiginous
beauty and explosive greenery of the
larger Caribbean islands, nor the bygone
charm found elsewhere. It is more
developed than that. But what the
island sets out to do – to provide a
reliable holiday at all levels, from bucket
and spade to super-luxury – it does like
no other.
business traveller india
WHAT ’S NEW FOR 2018
The most notable arrival is restaurant
and beach club Nikki Beach of Florida
fame, which has moved into Port
Ferdinand, on the west coast north
of Speightstown. The beach bar’s
trademark white parasols and double
daybeds have been laid out around a
pool just above the sea.
Every new restaurant opening is
an event in Barbados. Hugo’s, serving
international cuisine in Speightstown,
has begun to make a name for itself, as
has the nearby Lobster Pot. And the
beloved Bomba’s beach bar is back, now
painted in red, green and gold.
Among the top restaurants, The Cliff
(and The Cliff Beach Club for lunch)
are top of the tree, joined by The Tides
and Cin Cin. The Lone Star is always
fun. On the south shore, Primo in St
Lawrence Gap and Champers continue
to do a fine job.
Elsewhere, a new catamaran is making
waves for its luxury service. The 62 feet
The Cat & The Fiddle offers daytime
and sunset sails up and down the west
coast of the island, with top-notch
meals. If you are the active type, then
Cobbler’s Cove
cobblerscove.com
Colony Club
eleganthotels.com
Coral Cove
chestertonbarbados.com
Coral Reef Club
coralreefbarbados.com
Little Good Harbour
littlegoodharbour
barbados.com
Sandy Lane
sandylane.com
WHAT TO DO
Arlington House Museum
barbados.org/arlingtonhouse-museum.htm
George Washington House
barbados.org/george_
washington.htm
Grenade Hall Forest and
Signal Station
barbados.org/grenade-hall.htm
Harrison’s Cave
harrisonscave.com
Paddle Barbados
paddlebarbados.com
St Nicholas Abbey
stnicholasabbey.com
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PAMPER YOUR SEL F
1 The Ultimate Natural Suncare
Regime by Kama Ayurveda:
₹2,295; kamaayurveda.com
1
58
2 Light Day Lavender and Neroli
SPF25 Lotion by Forest Essentials:
₹1,875; forestessentialsindia.com
3 Precious Light Cream SPF20 by
L’Occitane: ₹4,813; loccitane.com
2
4 Skin Defence Multi-Protection
Essence SPF50 by The Body Shop:
₹1,571; thebodyshop.com
Beach Diaries
Protect yourself from the sun while
making the most of it
4
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business traveller india
SHOWSTOPPER
ANACONDA LOOP BAG BY
BOTTEGA VENETA
59
Bottega Veneta's summer 2018 bag collection features this stylish loop tote.
Crafted from supple hand-painted anaconda leather, the bag has a rounded and
relaxed shape. It is slouchy at the top, unfastened and bonded with soft leather.
The signature element of this trendsetter is the detailing on the handle – oversized
metal loops rendered in dark-gold finish, engraved with the intrecciato (the brand’s
technique of weaving the leather) motif.
The bag is available in two colours – Dahlia and Chamomile. bottegaveneta.com
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TA S T E
Goa
Portuguesa
This coastal state's popular restaurants are known
for serving authentic flavours
61
GOA TOURISM
WORDS NE TR A VENK ATE SHWAR AN
business traveller india
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t is a tiny coastal state, smaller than
some Indian metropolises even,
whose beaches are almost always
crowded year-round (except during
monsoons). Goa has a lot more to it
though than just its extensive sandy
shores. Its food – from the classic
tiger prawns with Indo-Portuguese
xacuti sauce to pork vindaloo – is the
next best offering here. Since its
independence from the Portuguese in
1961 after they invaded Goa in 1510,
there has been a heavy Portuguese
influence on its dishes.
Here is a list of five casual eateries that
have been adored by the locals and regular
tourists since years.
MARTIN’S CORNER
62
Carafina Pereira started this place three
decades ago with just four tables and not
much regalia. Word of her delicious food
spread and the visiting crowd became
larger. Today, with more than a dozen
tables, the ambience is always buzzing
with buoyancy, thanks to the live music
performances by local artists. Its Goan
charm isn’t limited to just food, but also
shows through caricatures depicting local
culture that cover the walls.
Amongst the starters here, crunchy
prawns and calamari sautéed in butter
and spices are must-try simple Goan
treats. The pork or beef assad is equally
recommended for the tenderness of its
spiced meat. Martin’s most favoured
dishes amongst the mains is the spicy pork
vindaloo – cooked in vinegar and chilli
paste. Finish your Goan meal by indulging
in bebinca – a seven-layered, coconut
flavoured, sticky Indo-Portuguese cake.
 Open daily 11am-3:30pm,
6:30pm-11:30pm; +91 0832 2880061;
martinscornergoa.com.
MUM’S KITCHEN
The traditional Goan eatery is a tribute to
“mothers from far flung corners of Goa for
having contributed in compiling exclusive
traditional recipes”. It has a homely feel
that emanates from its decor and reflects
in its food. A narrow pathway that leads
to the door from its gate is flanked by
greenery on both sides. A man-made
pond adds to the aesthetic. Inside, pickle
jars, flower vases, old-styled utensils, and
artificial fruits and vegetables in baskets
add to its vintage appeal.
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The best way to sample
more of its dishes is by
ordering the thali or set
meal with small portions
From the appetisers listed, I would
recommend the fresh pineapple salad, and
for something spicy, try kombdechem
sukhem – shallow-fried chicken marinated
in spices. A typical Goan meal here would
be the chourico chilli fry – pork sausages
in chilli oil – relished with a bowl of rice to
balance out the flavours. Even spicier would
be the lobster stuffed with fiery red Goan
masala. Finally, douse the fire from spices
with Mum’s Kitchen’s signature pancake
stuffed with coconut and jaggery and
topped with ice cream and chocolate sauce.  Open daily 11am-11pm;
+91 982217 5559; mumskitchengoa.com.
SOUZ A LOBO
It is located in one of the most crowded
spots of Goa – Calangute beach. In the
day, fans cool you down from the sunlight
pouring in through its large windows, and
in the evenings, cool sea breeze brushes
past you. Post sunset, Souza Lobo spreads
out onto the beach by adding tables and
chairs on the sand.
The list of starters are nothing special
really, and so skip to the mains that are
large enough to be shared. Start with the
fried masala mussels covered with a batter
of spiced semolina. The pomfret raechade
or stuffed pomfret shouldn’t be missed,
neither should the sausage pulao that is the
restaurant’s own creation.
 Open daily 11:30am-11:30pm;
+91 0832 2276463; souzalobo.com.
SPICE GOA
It is located in a quieter part of Goa, in
Mapusa. The interiors are minimalistic.
Unlike colourful Goan homes or spaces on
a whole, it is pretty much bare, apart from
the few picture frames, and the one odd
business traveller india
TA S T E
THE FISHERMAN’S WHARF
The al fresco restaurant is simple, but
beautifully laid out with mood lighting,
fairy lights, wooden interiors, tiled roof
and brick walls. It is located on the bank
of River Sal, and glows from a prettier
ambience after sunset.
The succulent prawn balchao is an
absolute must-try. Belchao is when seafood
or meat is cooked in a tangy tomato-chilli
sauce, which tastes better if eaten a day after
its preparation. Chicken cafreal (fried and
seasoned with cafreal powder), brought
in by the Portuguese exudes just the right
flavours here. For a spicy twist order the
fiery prawns served with Goan pao – a
type of bread.
 Open daily noon-11:00pm;
+91 90110 18866;
thefishermanswharf.in BTI
business traveller india
63
PREVIOUS PAGE: a beach
in Goa
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT:
Mum’s Kitchen; Spice
Goa; shell fish curry at
Spice Goa; Fisherman’s
Wharf; chicken cafreal at
Fisherman’s Wharf; and
kombdechem sukhem at
Mum's Kitchen
MUM’S KITCHEN | SPICE GOA | THE FISHERMANS WHARF
dull green wall and matching pillar. What it
misses in ambience, it makes up in its food.
Run by a husband-wife duo, it promises
fresh seafood and spices ground in-house.
Feast on what Spice Goa is famous
for – its seafood specialities. The best way
to sample more of its dishes is by ordering
the thali or set meal with small portions.
The Goan Fish thali, for example, comes
with seven dishes that include one large
piece of fried fish, Goan-styled sautéed
vegetables, salad, fish curry and a shell fish
curry. One can even pick the dishes you
would want to see on your thali. End the
course with sera dura (means sawdust in
Portuguese), which is a humble dessert
made with nothing more but sweetened
cream and biscuit crumbs.
 Open daily noon-3pm, 7pm-11pm;
+91 0832 2257148; spicegoa.com
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W
I
N
E
E X P L O R E R
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There are new premium wines on the market. Choosing them can be tricky,
unless you know how to
WORDS PETER McCOMBIE
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66
ine is such a versatile
drink, produced all
over the world, from
hundreds of different
grape varieties, made
in a myriad of styles
and drunk by peasants
and billionaires alike.
The sheer range of styles and prices can
make it hard to know what to choose. If you
want to drink the best wine, it is not easy to
know from where to start.
The quality of wine cannot be judged
until the wine bottle's cork is pulled out,
which is rarely possible before purchase.
So consumers are left to rely on extrinsic
cues, like country, region of origin and
grape variety. Price categories can also help;
although “premium” sounds promising, in
reality that could easily mean a wine costing
US$12/`784, “super-premium” for maybe
US$18/`1,176, and “ultra premium” wines
would start at around US$35/`2,287.
A higher price is of course, not a
guarantee of higher quality; the wine’s
quality reflects a complex set of factors apart
from vineyard origin, such as viticultural
practice and winemaking process amongst
others. After these considerations, the label’s
reputation and the scarcity of the wine
become more important determinants of
price. However, we might presume that over
time, historic pricing is in fact a reasonable
marker for quality.
GRADING
The famous 1855 Bordeaux Wine Official
Classification is probably the oldest wine
ranking system. It was based on the idea
that consumers would pay more for wine
if it was of better quality. It established a
ranking of Crus (or growths) for vineyards
of recognised quality. Bordeaux wines
continue to this day dominate the luxury
end of the wine market. The Liv-ex Global
First Growths classification is a modern
attempt to establish a hierarchy of fine
wines from anywhere in the world, based on
actual trades on the Liv-ex platform over a
year. Currently, France dominates the wine
market with 12 Burgundies, ten Bordeaux,
one Champagne and one Rhone. There are
two Australian reds, one American, and one
each from Italy and Spain.
Such wines are sometimes touted as
investment wines, but what if you want to
just drink them. In the lower tiers of the
classification we still find plenty of Bordeaux
and Burgundy but there is more diversity
and affordability too. By definition, such
wines are usually made in limited quantities,
so not widely available. The wine-loving
traveller may have to actively seek them out.
ALTERNATIVES
Browsing duty-free at JFK or Heathrow
will not set the keen wine drinker’s pulse
racing. Nor can she or he expect much
useful advice from the staff. Amid a fairly
uninspiring wine selection, there is some
high-end red Bordeaux, with a smattering
of Napa wines at JFK and a few Australian
reds at Heathrow. The inquisitive seeker
of fine wines needs to leave the airport
to find excitement and real diversity. In
London, head to Hedonism Wines (open
Monday-Saturday 10am-9pm, Sunday
12pm-6pm; +44 20 729 078 7037;
hedonism.co.uk) or in New York, Chambers
Street Wines (open Monday-Saturday
10am-9pm, Sunday 12pm-7pm; +1 212
227 1434; chambersstwines.com) or
Brooklyn’s Smith and Vine (open MondayThursday 11am-9pm, Friday-Saturday
BOSCHMANN
Bordeaux wines
continue to this day
dominate the luxury
end of the wine
market
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DRINK
PREVIOUS PAGE: vineyards
LEFT AND RIGHT: red wine; and Bordeaux and
Champagne vineyards
until 11pm, Sunday 12pm-9pm; +1 718
243 2864; smithandvine.com). Here are
knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff who
can offer advice on how to choose wines,
from experience.
Hedonism’s Alistair Viner points out
that Bordeaux and Burgundy are “always
going to be the bestsellers,” despite “never
being available in large enough quantities”.
So his customers have had to turn to
alternative options. In the vinous Old
World, Italian classics like Barolo, Amarone
and Brunello are starting to gain in price
as collectors and serious drinkers look for
value and the actual ability to purchase. Yet,
by and large they remain good value. From
Tuscany the so-called “Super Tuscans” are
already established and in some cases being
rebadged (with appellation labels) so they
are not strictly speaking “Super Tuscans”
anymore. These are sometimes Sangiovesebased wines, or often Bordeaux blends. In
Spain there are notable wines in particular
from Ribera del Duero and Priorat, while
Rioja seems to be repositioning itself. Long
dominated by intra-regional blends and a
reputation for affordable, reliable drinking,
there is a growing emphasis on single
vineyards and village status. High scores
from critics are helping to increase prices
and demand, but again most of these wines
represent real value for money.
67
TRENDING
Then there are fine wines emerging from
all corners of the globe, from Bordeauxstyle blends in Chile and Argentina to
Rhone-influenced styles in South Africa
and Australia, and cool climate reds and
whites from New Zealand. Viner observes
an “ever growing demand for the top end
Californian wines, with limited supply and
high scores driving both collectors and
drinkers alike”.
There is a price for every pocket: at
Hedonism prices range from £10 to
£10,000 (927-`9,27,155) per bottle.
From Italy they are selling a large amount
of wine – like Barolo, Brunello di
Montalcino and Amarone della
Valpolicella – in the £200-£500
(`18,543-`46,357 range whereas the
Californian spend tends to be higher.
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Relative values can also be found from
lesser known, or unjustly ignored wine
regions in Europe. There are delicious white
wines from Italy like the serious Soave
Classico for example, and white varietals
and blends from north-eastern Italy’s Friuli
and Alto Adige regions that are very good
but cost less than £100/`9,271. Elsewhere,
old and forgotten areas like Etna in Sicily
are excitingly resurgent, and one-offs like
Tenuta di Trinoro, in an unfashionable
part of Tuscany are wowing adventurous
drinkers. In Germany, new style Riesling and
even Pinot Noir (called Spatburgunder) are
proving very successful.
To help navigate this cornucopia of
choice, good retailers will ensure they have
a diverse team of experts on the shop floor
who have the opportunity to taste many of
their fine wines. Hedonism offers a wide
spread of wines utilising Enomatic machines
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Historically, fine wine
has not been associated
with Indian cuisines,
but in both London
and New York, there
are ambitious Indian
restaurants, which take
wine seriously
(system for preserving and serving wine
by the glass) to allow customers to taste
expensive wines, just for the pleasure of it,
or to help make a purchasing decision.
PAIRING
Another key opportunity to taste is in
restaurants. Historically, fine wine has
not been associated with Indian cuisine,
but in both London and New York, there
are ambitious Indian restaurants, which
take wine seriously. At London’s Quilon,
wines are selected for its wine list, based
on their ability to work across the menu,
rather than as “perfect pairings” with
specific dishes. There are some iconic
wines listed for those guests who want
them, but they are not always successfully
matched with the menu. As Edwin
Davila the head sommelier at New York’s
Indian Accent points out, wines that
business traveller india
DRINK
FIVE TOP “ALTERNATIVE”
WINES TO TRY
‘L A CARRÈRE’ CHARDONNAY PETER
MICHAEL 2014

£117/₹10,850 (Hedonism)
High above Knights Valley in Eastern Sonoma County,
California’s La Carrière is the steepest, rockiest
vineyard on Peter Michael’s Knights Valley estate. La
Carrière offers a lean, citrus-like fruit profile with vivid
“liquid minerality” that speaks of sea salt and wet
stones. It has concentration as well as elegance on
the palate with intensity and richness. It drinks well
now and will continue to develop for a decade.
BAROLO ‘ROCCHE DEL FALLETTO,’
RISERVA GIACOSA 2011

£385/₹35,705 (Hedonism)
One of the great single vineyards for Barolo. Aromas
of blackberries and violets, with a waft of smoke and
teasing herbaceousness. Full-bodied, rich and supple,
yet tight and refined too. Mouth coating yet ultra fine
tannins, starting to mellow. Drink now or cellar.
'LE PERGOLE TORTE' TOSCANA ROSSO
MONTEVERTINE 2013

US$115/₹7,517 (Smith and Vine)
A famous Sangiovese–dominated Super Tuscan wine
from the heart of Chianti. Fresh fragrant cherry and
blackberry aromas, tobacco and dried red fruits, with
cedar and vanilla. Intensely flavoured, complex and
smooth with fine structure that has fresh acidity and
fine tannins. Long, satisfying finish.
ABOVE: a vineyard with
ripe grapes
business traveller india
work well with complex Indian spices are
selections with “less oak influence, lower
to medium alcohol content, concentrated/
fruit forward, and wines with lees contact
giving richer styles”. He finds his Indian
guests, whether expats or travellers, often
opt for “the old standbys” of Riesling
and Pinot Noir, but are also reaching
out to old regions for new wines, such as
Kavaklidere Kalecik Karasi from Turkey
(US$55/`3,595) and Orgo Saperavi from
Georgia (US$70/`4,575). And it turns
out, Madeira is also an “amazing match”
with Indian cuisine.
The lessons are clear: to find great “new”
wines, the wine drinking traveller needs to
get off the travelator and into the city, seek
out retailers and restaurants with keen,
knowledgeable staff and ask for advice. All
the same, not forgetting to think about
what you like and why. BTI
CHARLES MELTON NINE POPES
(300CL) 2009

£310.20/₹28,750 (Hedonism)
Exemplary Australian producer’s homage to
Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In large format: double
magnum. Very complex spicy nose. Sweet “cedary”
notes from the hint of new oak used, mingled with
a hint of liquorice. The mid-palate is plump with
rounded tannins and complex layers of flavour. The
finish is long and rewarding.
DITS DEL TERRA PRIORAT TERROIR
AL LÍMIT 2014

US$85.99/₹5,620 (Chambers Street Wines)
Impressive single vineyard wine from the resurgent
Priorat zone in Spanish Catalunya. Floral spice, wild
herbs and red fruit on the nose, followed by juicy,
lively flavours of cherry and liquorice and a solid
backbone of well integrated tannins and mineralaccented acidity. Structured and serious, layered and
spicy, with a long finish.
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69
GET THE ACCESSORIES
1
Goblets &
Grapes
70
Good wine deserves
the best
4
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2
1 Ivory studded wine set by The Label Life; ₹1,190;
thelabellife.com
2 La Divina red wine goble by Villeroy & Boch; ₹452;
villeroy-boch.com
3 Hexa Coasters (Set Of Four) by Nicobar; ₹1,850; nicobar.com
4 Vinturi red wine aerator; ₹1,986; vinturi.com
3
business traveller india
OPINION
Cheaper by
the mile
Are long-haul low-cost airlines here to stay?
JOHN STRICKLAND
D I R E C TO R O F J L S C O N S U LT I N G
L
business traveller india
France KLM is dabbling with Joon, though
exactly what these “new” airlines will achieve
isn’t clear. Joon is evidently lower cost (than
Air France), but not truly low cost, and is
pitched at millennials; but some French
millennials I spoke to recently said they didn’t
understand what the airline was about.
IAG, on the other hand, has a multi-faceted
response to the LHLCC phenomenon and is
joining the party in earnest by using several of
the airlines in its portfolio. Aer Lingus, a lean,
mean fighting machine, is expanding its North
Atlantic activity out of the Republic of Ireland
with plenty of feed potential to and from
the UK and Europe. It has also introduced
cheaper economy fares with fewer frills – and
it has scored where Norwegian failed, by
reaching a feeder deal with Ryanair that’s to
come into place later this year. This deal will
boost its ability to fill seats on its long-haul
flights. British Airways is also introducing the
no-frills economy fares, bringing densified
Boeing 777s with ten-abreast economy seats
to London Gatwick, but also including more
higher-profit premium economy seats. This
will allow BA to deliver lower unit costs than
Norwegian can on its B787s. IAG has also
established its own LHLCC airline, Level,
which has started services to North and
South America from Barcelona and begins
operations from Paris Orly in summer. Level
can obtain feed from IAG stablemate Vueling
at both airports and uses Airbus A330 aircraft
that consume more fuel, but are cheaper to
buy or lease.
It’s going to be interesting to see how this
plays out in the years ahead. There are going
to be winners and losers, and we could see
some big shocks, but it looks like the LHLCC
model is here to stay. BTI
M AY 2 0 1 8
71
ILLUSTRATION: BENJAMIN SOUTHAN
ong-haul low-cost carriers
efficient, yet expensive, aircraft that airlines
(LHLCCs) operate the airline
such as Norwegian have on order.
business model of the moment.
Using low prices to stimulate traffic results
Some would argue we’ve been
in more reliance on leisure customers, who
here before, with affinity charters
can be easily tempted away by competitors. So
(get a group together and travel cheaper).
LHLCCs are tackling this by offering more
Today’s LHLCC airlines are pricing their
lucrative premium seats with additional space,
fares low to steal traffic from incumbent
meals and added frills.
carriers on existing routes; but more
significantly, they are also stimulating new
NEW STRATEGIES
traffic and opening up new markets.
The seasonality of passenger traffic is another
They are being aided by a new generation
challenge. In many markets, not even low
of fuel-efficient aircraft, such as the B787
fares will fill the aircraft on a year-round basis,
Dreamliner or the A350, both of which
resulting in the need to find other countercarry fewer passengers
seasonal markets. Full service
than previous widenetwork carriers get over
bodied aircraft. Less fuel
this by feeding high volumes
When short-haul
consumption and fewer
of short-haul traffic onto
LCCs began to grow, their long-haul flights at
seats reduces risk when
airlines didn’t take
testing new markets.
their hubs. LHLCCs need
Two companies are
their own feed. Around half
the model seriously
taking the lead: Airasia X
of Airasia X’s passengers
until it was too late
operating out of Malaysia
connect from Airasia
in the Asian markets,
short-haul flights. Outside
and Norwegian in the
of Scandinavia, where
European to US markets.
Norwegian has the density
Being popular and attractive
of short-haul schedules to do
to customers is one thing,
the same thing, it needs to find
achieving profitability and
other solutions. Ryanair would
long-term sustainability is
have made a good partner, but the
another, however.
two airlines have fallen out, so no
To date, Airasia X
deal there.
has delivered limited
If this wasn’t enough of a challenge, there’s
profitability, while Norwegian turned in a
been a response from long-haul network
significant loss for 2017. We are going to see
carriers. When short-haul LCCs began to
more LHLCCs arrive on the scene, but I’d
grow, existing airlines didn’t take the model
be surprised to see the level of success that’s
seriously until it was too late. Lessons have
been witnessed for short-haul LCCs. There
been learned, and that mistake will not be
are many inbuilt challenges to delivering the
repeated. Lufthansa has now set up a longprofit margins needed to pay for the new and
haul arm of its LCC Eurowings, and Air
OPINION
Rise to the
challenge
As guests expect more for free, hoteliers are having to become
increasingly inventive with in-room charges to fill the hole
T
72
imes are challenging for
hoteliers. International business
travellers are pushing for more
and more benefits from their
room rate, while sources of
profit disappear for the hoteliers. First it
was mobile phones decimating the hotel’s
telephone revenues. Then its replacement –
charging for the internet – became more
difficult as travellers demanded it for free.
To put all this in perspective, 20 years ago, a
200-bedroom hotel might comfortably make
as much as eight per cent of its total profit
from in-room services. Now they face a hole
that has to be covered from other sources.
Cunning hoteliers who specialise in the
dark art of making money from technology
and in-room refrigeration were thrown a
challenge. It took a little thought, but there
was a breakthrough.
M AY 2 0 1 8
equipment – a hefty charge if you think about
simple pleasure in drinking the minibar
all those rooms requiring flatscreen televisions
contents and then refilling the bottles with
and connections. The analysis showed there
various similar-coloured liquids (don’t ask).
was a distinct decline in people watching the
The result is that each bar still has to be
movies, though pay-per-view adult movie
checked daily. The key to financial success for
revenues were still strong at weekends with
the savvy hotelier is to persuade the customer
leisure guests. My research revealed that
to steal less and spend more.
there were also certain nationality trends,
Recently, I stayed in a hotel in the States
and demonstrated that while the British may
where, for a premium, the minibar was
follow the general purchasing trend, if there
included. I was disappointed to find that it
was a Premier League football match on, their
was only stocked with soft drinks and a couple
preference was to watch it rather than seek
of beers. The concept had one advantage; it
other entertainment.
was serviced when the room was cleaned and
In search of other ways to reverse the
saved me from the daily visit of an attendant
revenue decline from television and
to check the bar. However, my feeling of
communication services, the focus has
benevolence was diminished by irritation at
returned to the minibar.
having to order my nightcap
As a general rule, greater
from room service. The time
Guests use the
temperance in corporate life
taken for delivery, the tip,
minibar for the
means minibar use is also
tax and charge cost me both
declining – it is a “break
angst and cash. But money
“wrong” reasons –
even” operation at best. The
was being made.
to store medicine,
cost of having a staff member
Now we’ve seen the rise of
cheese and milk
check rooms and replace
the honesty bar. In upscale
glasses every day absorbs
rooms, you can drink as
potential profit.
much as you like from bottles
Readers will have encountered automated
in your room with the cost
bar systems to help inventory control.
assessed at the end of the stay.
These allow automatic billing
It seems to work, but it doesn’t
and also tell staff which rooms
come close to recovering what
need re-stocking and when.
has been lost in profit from the
It doesn’t really save the staff
days of outrageous telephone charges
cost, though. Guests use the bar
and overpriced mini cans of Coke.
for the “wrong” reasons – to
I predict there will be some new ideas. The
store medicine, cheese, milk and a menagerie
note encouraging you to “Save the Planet”, for
of personal items. Inevitably, these get left
instance. Rather than requesting you reuse
behind to the horror of the next arrival,
towels, it will ask that you use them sparingly
who generally takes a dislike to syringes and
or not at all. Perhaps they will offer a discount
curdled dairy products. On top of that there
if you bring a sleeping bag. And as for the airappears to be a breed of guest that takes
conditioning, now there’s an opportunity. BTI
business traveller india
ILLUSTRATION: BENJAMIN SOUTHAN
INTERNET CHARGES
The first was to introduce two internet
speeds. Slow speed for free, faster charged at a
premium. This, of course, came about because
of the realisation that 60 per cent of all
downloads were not for email traffic but for
movie sites, which incidentally means no one
is paying for the in-room films anymore.
A little while back I had to provide an
analysis for a hotel chain to determine the
degree that free internet usage was influencing
the decline of pay-for-movie income. The
client wanted to know how much revenue
could be compensated by offering chargeable
high-speed broadband. Most hotels have
their in-room systems provided free of charge
against commission on pay movie income.
The client’s concern was, if this dropped too
far, they would be expected to pay for the
DEREK PICOT
A HOTELIER FOR MORE THAN 30 YE ARS
A N D A U T H O R O F H O T E L R E S E R VAT I O N S
FASHION ON THE GO
1
4
1 Medium Buckley Duffle by Tom
Ford; ₹2,24,888; tomford.com
2 Picnic Perfect Bee Applique
Passport Holder by Kate Spade;
₹6,393; katespade.com
3 Expandable Organiser Laptop Brief
by Tumi; price on request; tumi.com
2
Travel Well
73
Must-have accessories to
carry on the move
3
4 Leather Card Holder with Money
Clip by Hugo Boss; price on request;
hugoboss.com
business traveller india
M AY 2 0 1 8
ISTOCK
Tips on how to pack for a short or long trip, without stuffing the bag
74
M AY 2 0 1 8
business traveller india
PACK SMAR T
BAGGAGE
B
usiness travellers spend a
good portion of their year
on the road. The biggest
challenge while packing for
trips is carrying the essentials
effortlessly in one bag. The
secret is to strike a balance
between comfort and
convenience. Luckily, there are “hacks”
to fit everything you need and maybe a
little more. 1. BAG
Invest in a suitcase with wheels that glide
smoothly across airport floors (or any
surface in case your hotel is on a no-car
street). Most corporate travellers on short
trips prefer carry-on luggage to escape
unpredictable delays at the baggage carousel.
In case you’re travelling with a laptop bag,
make sure it has a long satchel to hang over
your shoulder, an outer pocket to easily slip
the passport in and out, and isn’t stuffed
with unnecessary items that would make it
heavy to lug around.
proved to be the easiest to pair with many
options. Hold the jacket in your hand
because it will occupy precious space in the
bag. On boarding, the cabin crew will take
it from you, so you don’t have to worry
about stowing it away.
4. SPACE
Stuff socks into your shoes, and ensure the
vanity case is more long than bulky so you
can flatten it out over your clothes. Roll
ties and accessories into the empty gaps
Stuff socks into your
shoes, and ensure the
vanity case is more long
than bulky so you can
flatten it out over your
clothes
Most hotels are generous with toiletries;
all decent ones have the basic shower gel
and shampoo. If you’re particular about
the brand of beauty products, carry
them in 100ml bottles to save space.
These are available in plenty on Amazon.
Additionally, to save time, consider keeping
a toilet kit packed with the basics, including
a toothbrush, toothpaste, and comb.
after you’ve filled the bag. Line leather
belts along the inner periphery of your
bag. Carry no more than two pairs of
shoes – wear one pair on the flight and
when in the room, you’ll be provided with
room slippers anyway. Mix and match
clothing combinations, for example two
shirt options for one pair of trousers. If
you’re staying for three days or more at
one location, don’t hesitate to avail of the
hotel's laundry services. In India, that’s
about `390 for a shirt in a 5-star hotel. A
cheaper option would be one of the many
laundries around.
3. JACKE T
5. GO DIGITAL
2 . TOILE TRIES
If you are travelling to a cold country, it is
advisable to carry just one heavy coat and
build all your outfits around it. Black has
business traveller india
Instead of carrying a lot of printouts, email
those files to yourself or load them on to
a pen drive. An added benefit is having no
fear of losing sheets or spilling coffee over
them. Instead of printing out addresses,
enter them into the map app on your
phone and take screenshots. A visual aide
is always better than textual instructions.
Itineraries can be easily synced into the
phone’s calendar. Even boarding passes
are now emailed to us. Instead of three
different chargers, carry a universal one
with multiple heads and one adapter.
6. GO CASHLESS
Cash is required in emergency situations,
which you must be prepared for. So,
stash a nominal amount in your wallet
or between cards in your money clip.
For payments, use credit, debit or travel
cards. E-wallets are pretty handy too. Just
make sure you choose to pay in the local
currency so you’re not charged exorbitant
exchange rates. In case you must carry a lot
of cash, make sure your travel insurance
covers you for theft and loss of cash.
7. EMERGENC Y
Although the Air Travel Consumer
Report issued by the U.S. Department of
Transportation assures that there is less
than a one per cent chance of a “major
airline” misplacing your bag, one can never
be too careful. Drag a small cabin bag
when you travel. Fill it up with a pair of
clothes, soap, toothbrush and toothpaste.
You don’t want to be caught in a messy
situation should your bag be misplaced.
Throw in a medicine kit too – just the
basics again for flu and food poisoning.
There is no need to carry the entire strip,
simply empty a few pills into a small
ziplock or medicine organiser – because
these are very simply, handy options for
unlikely, but menacing situations. BTI
M AY 2 0 1 8
75
INDIA
76
the
eport
Tried,
Tested,
Tasted.
TRIED AND TESTED
TRIED AND TESTED
SMART TRAVELLER
PLUS
InterContinental
London Park Lane
Novotel Goa Donna
Sylvia Resort
Duty free
Turkish Airlines B777-300ER
business class
77
78
79
82
Shangri-La Hotel Bengaluru
80
business traveller india
Kazahana, Tokyo; Progressive
Oriental House, Mumbai
81
M AY 2 0 1 8
TRIED AND TESTED FLIGHT
TURKISH AIRLINES
B777-300ER business class
MUMBAI-ISTANBUL
multiple items. I placed my cabin bag
in the overhead compartment, purse
and shoes under the bench-like leather
platform below the 15.4-inch screen in
front of me, and mobile phone in one
of the four slots evenly flanking only
the screen for the middle seat. The
remote control is below the armrest, as
are the charging socket, USB port and
headphone jack. The dining table tray is
tucked in the left armrest that also has
the seat controls. A flexible reading light
was folded up beside my backrest.
B E S T S E A T Any of the aisle seats.
Avoid the middle or window seats
because if your neighbour is asleep, and
you need to use the washroom, you’ll
have to climb over her or him.
B A C K G R O U N D Turkish Airlines is the
flag carrier of Turkey. It started operations
in 1933 with just five aircraft. Counting
cargo, passenger and training aircraft, the
strength of Turkish Airlines’ fleet today is
328. It flies to over 300 destinations in 121
countries with 253 international and 49
domestic routes.
C H E C K - I N I arrived at 5am at Terminal
2 of Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji
International Airport. My flight to Istanbul
was scheduled to depart at 6:55am.
There was a separate queue for economy
class passengers.
B O A R D I N G Boarding for the flight
started on time at 6:10am and within five
minutes I was seated in the aircraft.
T H E S E A T There are no first or
premium economy class cabins. The
business class cabin is arranged in a
2-3-2 layout across four rows – all front
facing. There is enough legroom to
stretch out and plenty of stowage for
business traveller india
T H E F L I G H T Shortly after boarding we
were offered drinks; I chose lemon-mint.
Cabin slippers were placed in a cloth bag
on the “bench”, and a blanket on the seat.
About ten minutes before takeoff the
pilot updated us on the journey ahead.
The cabin crew distributed Bentley
Fragrances amenity kits and Denon
headphones in a smart leather case. The
kit had socks, toothpaste and toothbrush,
a hairbrush, an eye-mask, earplugs, a
shoehorn and a Bentley Infinite body
lotion. At 6:55am we started moving just
as the safety video — jolly with a man
doing all sorts of magic tricks – played
on our screens. At 7:05am hazelnuts
were served. With the help of the cabin
crew I was connected to the free wifi
on-board and could surf the internet and
WhatsApp with the office throughout the
flight. The in-flight entertainment (IFE)
movie options were decent – I watched
Murder on the Orient Express, a book
adaptation, which coincidentally my
neighbour was reading.
Once settled in, the cabin crew came
around asking if we would like our beds
made – a sheet on the seat, pillow and
BEST FOR
Easy wifi connectivity, which helps if you want to
work when in the air.
PRICE
Internet rates for a return business class flight
between Mumbai and Istanbul in June 2018 were
upwards of US$2,114/₹1,37,474.
FLIGHT TIME
6 hours 45 minutes.
C ONFIGURATION
2-3-2
SE AT WIDTH & PITCH
21 inches & 78 inches
SE AT RECLINE
177 degrees
CONTACT
turkishairlines.com
There is enough legroom
to stretch out and plenty of
stowage for multiple items
a thicker blanket. Food service was
delayed due to turbulence. From the
Turkish, Indian and continental breakfast
options I chose the omelette. The tray
came with a selection of Turkish cheese,
orange juice, olives, and jalebi that really
looked like a doughnut. Drinks – juices,
tea, coffee, hot chocolate, wines, spirits
and liqueur – were rolled out at 9:10am
and the entire service wrapped up
by 9:30am.
Despite having the galley up ahead,
not once did I hear a sound from the
crew. At noon we were offered a snack
of a vegetable sandwich or a samosa.
A R R I V A L We arrived on time and
doors opened soon after to have us in
the bus and finally at the terminal within
a span of 15 minutes from touchdown.
V E R D I C T A comfortable flight.
Despite having to wake up much before
sunrise for this early morning flight, I
landed well-fed and rested.
Neha Gupta Kapoor
M AY 2 0 1 8
77
TRIED AND TESTED LONDON HOTEL
InterContinental London
Park Lane
BEST FOR
The vast variety of gins
and gin-based cocktails
at The Arch Bar.
DON’T MISS
Views of the royal gardens
surrounding the property.
PRICE
Upwards of £275/₹25,149.
CONTACT
One Hamilton Place, Park
Lane, London;
+44 20 409 3131;
parklane.intercontinental.com
78
B A C K G R O U N D InterContinental
Hotels is a luxury brand in IHG’s portfolio.
InterContinental London Park Lane was
inaugurated by His Grace the eighth
Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley on
September 23, 1975. It is built on the site
of Queen Elizabeth II’s childhood home.
W H A T ’ S I T L I K E ? As you drive up
to the entrance, you pass 19th century
English architect, Decimus Burton’s
Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner. On
entering the lobby, the whiff of a pleasant
scent welcomes you. The main lobby
itself is uncluttered with just one sofa
seating for two by the reception desk that
is manned by three people. Adorning the
black and white space are two crystal
chandeliers. A long corridor leads to lifts
that take you up to the rooms. There is
also a concierge lounge where guests can
personalise their itinerary.
W H E R E I S I T ? It is in the heart of
Mayfair. Heathrow Airport is about 30km
away, Gatwick Airport is at a distance
of 49km, and the nearest train station,
Victoria is a little less than 2.5km away.
R O O M S The hotel aptly describes its
rooms as “a modern interpretation of
traditional English style”. The period style
decor is punctuated with a Bose sound
M AY 2 0 1 8
system and a Nespresso machine. Other
in-room facilities include a flat LED
television, work desk, free water bottles,
minibar, electric water heater and a walkin shower.
I stayed in the Club room on the
seventh floor. Lack of a central unit to
remotely control the room’s lights and
curtains had me walk around to manually
switch off the lamps, ceiling lights and
adjust the room temperature on the
thermostat. Adequate plug points allowed
me to charge my mobile phone and iPad
at the same time by the bed or when at
the desk. The bed itself was comfortable
and I slept soundly in absolute silence,
thanks to the soundproof windows.
Included in the room cost, Club
guests can help themselves to all-day
refreshments, breakfast, afternoon tea,
and evening “drinks, champagne and
canapés” at Club InterContinental. With
clear views of the surrounding parks,
here is where I enjoyed my red wine in
the evenings.
F O O D A N D D R I N K Celebrated
Chef Randall of Theo Randall at the
InterContinental serves rustic Italian
fare. Ella Canta offers Mexican cuisine
by award-winning Mexican chef Martha
Ortiz. Afternoon tea can be enjoyed at
The Wellington Lounge. The Arch Bar has
With clear views of the
surrounding parks, here is
where I enjoyed my red wine
in the evenings
an awe-inspiring collection of gin from all
corners of the world. Club InterContinental
on the seventh floor is restricted to guests
of the suites and InterContinental’s Royal
Ambassador Programme.
M E E T I N G S The Ballroom can hold 1,000
delegates and can be broken down into
three separate spaces. In addition to this,
there are 11 event rooms, all of which have
floor-to-ceiling windows that allow plenty
of natural light. The business centre is
open 24 hours with high-speed internet,
photocopying, printing, scanning and
faxing facilities.
L E I S U R E Spa InterContinental on the
first floor offers treatments using products
from British skincare brand Elemis. In
addition to the five treatment rooms, there
is a VIP treatment suite which can be hired
for private parties. The gym is open round
the clock.
V E R D I C T It is the perfect venue to unwind
after a long day of meetings. Ravi Lalwani
business traveller india
TRIED AND TESTED INDIA HOTEL
Novotel Goa Donna Sylvia Resort
BEST FOR
Proximity to the beach.
DON’T MISS
Water sports.
PRICE
Upwards of ₹7,616.
CONTACT
Cavelossim Beach, Goa;
+91 832 672 7777;
accorhotels.com
I could see the Cavelossim Beach from my
room and could access it through the hotel’s
expansive lawns
B A C K G R O U N D Donna Sylvia Resort
reopened this year on February 27 as
Novotel Goa Donna Sylvia Resort after a
year-long refurbishment. AccorHotels has
partnered with the Alcon Victor Group for
its fourth property in Goa after ibis Styles
Goa Calangute, Novotel Goa Shrem
and Novotel Goa Resort and Spa near
Candolim Beach.
W H A T ’ S I T L I K E ? Its gabbled roof
entrance instantly lends a classic Goa feel
to the property. The lobby is open and
airy with black and white flooring and
spaced out seating. I was welcomed with
Portuguese live music and fresh coconut
water. I earmarked my bag and was
escorted to my room after completing
the check-in procedure. Facing the lobby
is its expansive pool that I passed and
walked on a winding pedestrian pathway
surrounded by rooms on each side.
Swaying coconut trees, colourful flowers
and the occasional statues encompassing
Goa’s Portuguese history marked the
walk to my Superior room numbered 54
that was housed in a cottage along with
another similar room.
business traveller india
W H E R E I S I T ? In south Goa, by the
Cavelossim Beach. The international airport
is about 45 minutes away. This is one of the
cleanest beaches I’ve visited in Goa, lined
with shacks, restaurants and bars.
R O O M S Accommodation is villa style with
a porch attached to each room. I could
see the Cavelossim Beach from my room
and could access it through the hotel’s
expansive lawns. The room is decorated in
dark wood, patterned flooring and a piece
of art is placed on the headboard. It faces
the LCD television, minibar and work desk.
A lounger and table was placed beside the
window. Charging points beside the bed
made it easy for me to power up my phone
and laptop at the same time. A wardrobe
and safe deposit box are placed inside the
marble bathroom with a separate glass
shower cubicle. The decor is simple but
functional. Wifi is free.
F O O D A N D D R I N K Seagull is where I
had most of my meals including breakfast
and buffet-style lunch and dinner.
Interactive live counters serve an array of
cuisines however, there wasn’t much Goan
food on the menu. The chef prepared
some fish recheado (traditional Goan
preparation) on request, which was quite
delicious. Amalia is its bar that’s on the
upper level of the lobby. Mama Mia is its
poolside grill that serves steaks and fresh
seafood by the pool. Kebabs and Kurries
is its fine-dining Indian restaurant.
M E E T I N G S There are four meeting
rooms that span 3,200 sqm. The hotel’s
lawns are well manicured and make for
avant garde meeting spaces with tall
coconut trees and grazing seagulls.
L E I S U R E There is an outdoor
swimming pool, a gym and a spa. The
hotel organises a host of water sports
that include banana boats, jet-skiing and
parasailing along with a local company.
Bicycles can be hired and there is also an
outdoor tennis court.
V E R D I C T There’s no dearth of hotels
in Goa; however Novotel Goa Donna
Sylvia Resort is a good option for business
trips and family holidays on a budget.
Akanksha Maker
M AY 2 0 1 8
79
TRIED AND TESTED INDIA HOTEL
Shangri-La Hotel
Bengaluru
BEST FOR
Excellent dining options
to host informal meetings.
DON’T MISS
Drinks at Hype. It is one of
the better places to be at
in Bengaluru.
PRICE
Upwards of ₹10,000.
CONTACT
56, Palace Road,
Bengaluru;
+91 80 4512 6100;
shangri-la.com
The beige, off-white and subtle golden
interiors make the guest rooms appear larger
than they are (41-49 sqm)
80
B A C K G R O U N D This is the first ShangriLa Hotel to open in the country. It launched
in Bengaluru on September 24, 2015.
W H A T ’ S I T L I K E ? It has an opulent
feel to it. The capacious lobby has a
grand piano on one side, near a cluster of
sofa sets arranged around coffee tables.
This area is also the lobby lounge, and is
dressed in a plush carpet. It exudes colour
tones of beige, brown and royal purple.
Cylindrical glass chandeliers with etchings
add to the brightly lit lobby. Lifts to
the rest of the 19 storeys are beside
the entrance.
W H E R E I S I T ? The hotel is located
on Palace Road, near Bengaluru’s central
business district. Without the city’s
infamous traffic, it is about a 45-minute
drive to Kempegowda International Airport.
R O O M S I stayed on the Horizon Club
floor, on level 17. Levels 15 and 16 too
have this room category. A dedicated
Horizon Club reception desk checked me
into my Horizon Club room from where
I enjoyed unparalleled panoramic views
of the city. Exclusive to Club rooms and
suites is free access to the Horizon Club
M AY 2 0 1 8
Lounge, as well as two hours free use
of the meeting room. The lounge offers
an array of beverages throughout the
day, free breakfast, and high tea and
cocktails in the evenings. Racks provide
local newspapers and magazines. A DVD
player is also available.
The rooms receive plenty of natural
light through a large window that faces
the city. The beige, off-white and subtle
golden interiors make the guest rooms
appear larger than they are (41-49 sqm).
They have a sofa seating and work desk
facing the window, LED television, tea/
coffee making facilities, minibar, water
bottles, shower and free wifi. Except for
the Deluxe and Panorama View rooms,
all 397 rooms and suites (92-274 sqm)
include a bathtub. A DVD player and a
selection of DVDs can be requested for.
Charging points are conveniently placed
by the bedside and beside the work desk.
F O O D A N D D R I N K I enjoyed a
delectable barbecue meat platter at
Shang Palace, Shangri-La’s signature
Chinese restaurant. Other dining options
include Ssaffron for Indian cuisine,
Yataii for Japanese, and Caprese for
Mediterranean cuisine (the sea bass
preparation is excellent here). In the
evening, drinks were at Hype, the rooftop
bar – excellent atmosphere with upbeat
music and uninterrupted views of the
city from its deck. The Lobby Lounge too
serves cocktails and snacks. b Café is the
all-day, multi-cuisine restaurant at the
lobby level with live cooking stations.
M E E T I N G S The Grand Ballroom on
level 1 can accommodate 800 people.
Smaller in size, on level 2, Krishna, Kaveri
and Kabini can hold 320, 150 and 100
people respectively. Pennar that can
be divided into two has a total capacity
for 180 delegates. The boardroom has
12 seats. The business centre’s four
computers have high-speed Internet
access. There is an additional meeting
room here.
L E I S U R E Level 3 is the dedicated
wellness floor. It features CHI, The Spa, a
gym, an outdoor temperature-controlled
swimming pool, steam bath, sauna and
a Jacuzzi. The floor can be likened to an
oasis of tranquility.
V E R D I C T A perfect business hotel in a
convenient location. Ravi Lalwani
business traveller india
T R I E D AN D T E S T E D A S I A N R E S TAU R A N T S
Kazahana, Conrad, Tokyo
Kazahana at the Conrad, Tokyo
is one of the few restaurants
in the city that focus on
contemporary Japanese
cuisine. The restaurant offers
a range of dining options
including a multi-course
kaiseki, teppanyaki and sushi
lunch and dinner menus. It
is decorated with traditional
sumi-e (black ink) paintings
and overlooks sweeping vistas
of the Tokyo Bay. I tried the
kaiseki menu that began with
a tofu appetiser with edible
burdock root and wasabi. A
succulent combination, this
melted in my mouth and
prepared my palate for the
upcoming courses. Next was
a clear soup with scallops
that helped battle Tokyo’s
nail-biting cold weather.
Prepared with Japanese spring
vegetables, I slowly enjoyed
this heartwarming concoction
of Japanese goodness. This
was followed by a sashimi
platter of marinated tuna with
smoked radish, squid with salt
and citrus and sea bream with
salty kelp sauce. The fish was
fresh – sourced from Tokyo’s
famous Tsujiki market – and
dissipated in my mouth. Next,
a well-cooked charcoal-grilled
codfish in soft roe and topped
with maitake mushroom,
grated radish and edible
chrysanthemum was served. It
was evident that the menu was
now moving into mains and up
HOURS
Monday to Sunday,
11:30am-9pm.
PRICE
The kaiseki lunch menu is
priced at JP¥5,800/₹3,510
CONTACT
next was steamed Japanese
rice with the sweet and salty
Teriyaki chicken – not too
overpowering. To finish, I
enjoyed a delectable brown
sugar pudding that was
surprisingly not very sweet.
V E R D I C T The kaiseki
lunch is an elegant dining
option for meetings as the
multi-course menu is well
spaced out and not heavy
despite the number of dishes
served. Akanksha Maker
28F Conrad Hotel, 1-9-1
Higashi-Shinbashi,
Minato-ku, Tokyo;
+81 03 6388 8745;
conradhotels3.hilton.com
Prepared with
Japanese spring
vegetables, I
slowly enjoyed
this heartwarming
concoction of
Japanese goodness
HOURS
Progressive Oriental House (POH), Mumbai
Progressive Oriental House
(POH) is owned by Speciality
Restaurants. Japanese food is
the evident hero of POH, even
though its expansive menu
includes Thai and Chinese
dishes. The space subtly exudes
class with wooden fixtures and
jade-coloured seating. For lunch,
the restaurant has created six
sets that include curry, ramen
and teppanyaki meals. I chose
the zen set’s non-vegetarian
kaiseki (a traditional multicourse Japanese meal) option.
A salad was brought to me as I
waited for my grand Japanese
lunch. Chef Vikramjit Roy has
devised a 20-20 frying concept
that heats up ingredients to a
certain temperature, giving it
a fried texture and flavour. The
dried seaweed added crunch
business traveller india
to the avocado, micro-greens
and arugula leaves tossed in
lemon vinegar. Next, my zen set
was brought in a three-tiered
sphere. Vegetables in a soy broth,
sushi and nigiri and tempura
vegetables were displayed like a
painting. Served along with this
were sharply flavoured Japanese
pickles and an earthy miso soup
that I first ate. Salmon, fatty tuna
and whitefish nigiri and crab-stick
and avocado sushi stood out for
me. I could tell that the fish was
fresh (it is imported from Tokyo’s
Tsujiki market), as it melted in my
mouth after swimming in a blend
of wasabi and soy. To finish, I was
asked to pick desserts from its
specialised Wagashi (traditional
Japanese confections) Studio
menu. I tasted two ice-creams –
peppermint and tender coconut –
Monday to Sunday,
12:30pm-3pm,
7:30pm-12:30am.
PRICE
I could tell that
the fish was fresh,
as it melted in
my mouth after
swimming in a
blend of wasabi
and soy
The kaiseki zen set
lunch (non-vegetarian)
menu is priced at ₹2,300.
CONTACT
Kamala Mills,
Lower Parel, Mumbai;
075068 13554;
speciality.co.in
that were delicately invigorating.
I also tried its dessert – Nuts
and Bolts – that uses 70 per cent
dark Valrohna chocolate. shaped
into nuts and bolts. It’s served
alongside coffee ice-cream and
honey-combs.
V E R D I C T Ideal for a quick
lunch rendezvous with its
compact presentation and
finesse. Akanksha Maker
M AY 2 0 1 8
81
SMART TR AVELLER
Duty free
W
82
hile waiting
for your flight,
you find an
unbelievable
duty-free deal on your
favourite cognac. You eagerly
buy two-litre bottles, only to
find Customs officers at your
arrival destination demanding
an arm and a leg because you’ve
gone over the one litre limit.
Customs regulations vary
wildly between destinations.
Avoid this frustration with this
table of duty-free exemptions
across Asia-Pacific.
TIPS TO GET THE BEST
DUTY-FREE DEALS:
• Do your research and
compare prices between the
airports you’ll be travelling to
for the best deal. Websites like
dutyfreebuzz.com make it easy
to compare prices on specific
products at certain airports.
• Join a duty-free loyalty
programme. For example, T
Galleria DFS has a Loyal T
programme offering points
for purchases made. Higher
tiers offer benefits such as
product delivery to your hotel
or complimentary car services.
Over in Singapore, the Changi
Rewards programme offers
50 points on enrolment, and
Platinum members can convert
points to Singapore Airlines’
Krisflyer miles.
• Utilise your frequent
flyer programme – Emirates
Skywards members can redeem
miles for duty-free products
at Dubai International
Airport and Al Maktoum
International.
M AY 2 0 1 8
Know your limits to avoid getting stung at customs,
plus tips to maximise your bargain hunting
Country
Alcohol
(spirits)
(wine/beer)
Australia
2.25L
*
Cambodia
China
2L
<1.5L
*
*
1L
no import
duty
*
*
2L (wine)
1L (wine under
Hong Kong
Indonesia
Japan (i)
Laos
Macau
Cigarettes
Cigars
Tobacco
25 or
25g
400 or
<400
Equal to
25g or
100 or
<100
400g
<500g
19 or
1 or
25g
200 or
200 or
25 or
50 or
100g
250g
200 or
19 or
50 or
1 or
250g
25g
*
200 or
225g
2L
3 x bottles
of 1.125L
2 x bottles of 1L
1L
1 x bottle of 1L
*
4.5L
400 or
50 or
*
2L
*
400 or
0
200 or
Equal to
225g or
50 or
Equal to
50g or
50 or
0
50 or
1L
1L
*
*
200 or
200 or
450g
250g
1.5L
*
200 or
25 or
Equal to
250g or
100 or
(over 12% ABV)
(over 30% ABV)
1L
3 x bottles
of 760ml
1L
1L
(over 30% ABV)
1L
Malaysia
Myanmar
New Zealand
The Philippines
Singapore (ii)
South Korea (iii)
(not more than US$400)
Taiwan
Thailand
Vietnam
Alcohol
(over 22% ABV)
30% ABV)
(plus an open packet)
250g
50g
250g
0
250g
500g
2L
(below 22% ABV)
ABV = Alcohol by volume; < = Less than; * = Amount in previous column can be used for spirits, wine or beer
(i) Japan also levies duty on perfume over 2 ounces (56ml).
(ii) Singapore allows a combination of 1 litre each of spirits, wine and beer; 2 litres of wine and 1 litre of beer;
or 1 litre of wine and 2 litres of beer. All tobacco products are subject to duty.
(iii) South Korea also levies duty on perfume over 60ml.
• Shop online to maximise
efficiency and avoid queues with
Lotte Duty Free at Incheon
Airport. Changi’s ishopchangi
also allows customers to return
the product within 30 days for a
full refund or exchange.
• Pre-ordering online can also
open up additional deals: For
example, at Narita Airport in
Tokyo, customers pre-ordering
items at the FaSoLa online
shopping platform enjoy a five
per cent discount.
• Look out for vouchers
and promotions – Osaka
Kansai International Airport
currently has a five per
cent discount available for
cosmetics, liquor, tobacco
and souvenirs. BTI
business traveller india
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