BRAIN FOOD: Room service - Where James Strachan stays

BRAIN FOOD: Room service - Where James Strachan stays - For business: The Copthorne Tara in Kensington. It's neither hip nor overpriced, just thoroughly welcoming and dependable. The key for me when I come back after an exhausting day of meetings is calm,

by JAMES STRACHAN, chief executive of RNID, the charity fordeafness and hearing loss, and was formerly MD of Merrill Lynch
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

For business: The Copthorne Tara in Kensington. It's neither hip nor overpriced, just thoroughly welcoming and dependable. The key for me when I come back after an exhausting day of meetings is calm, good service - efficiency with a smile. As a disability rights commissioner, I am always looking to see what adjustments hotels have made to meet the needs of disabled people, and the Copthorne has won awards for its disability awareness.

Invariably, the hotels that plan for the needs of their disabled guests think very carefully about the needs of all their customers. This is not just about disability, it is an attitude of mind. Away from home, we all have special needs, and if they are catered for, our stay will be more comfortable.

For pleasure: India is my idea of heaven. To escape the pressures of urban life I go to Rajasthan. Two hours' drive from Jodhpur, in a barren plain, is a little jewel called Deogargh Mahal. Run by the local thakur (baron) and his family, it is one of best of the converted forts and minor palaces springing up in Rajasthan, now that the big palaces have been overrun by package tours. After squeezing up the narrow, winding streets of the town, you emerge on a promontory to find a palace fort with a series of courtyards cascading down the hillside. Perched by the battlements with a sundowner in hand, you look out across a mauve-tinted lake, watching the squadrons of geese drifting home in the twilight.

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