MT Business Travel: Room Service - Where Shiv Khazanchi Stays ...

FOR BUSINESS: Having been in banking for a long time, I've travelled vast tracts of the globe, but the Lanesborough in London always catches my attention.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

We run courses for the kids of business clients there. From a business standpoint, the hotel is quite professional and friendly, without being over-familiar. The food has always been excellent. When you're catering for individuals, that's one thing, but when you have to provide food for 30 or so 18 to 24-year-olds, you expect a hotel to make compromises, but this has never been the case. The dedication of the people who work there is palpable, and their attention to detail is brilliant. The hotel really is the best of British. There is a very cosy kind of feeling there, but it is married to a very modern kind of efficiency. The ornate breakfast room is beautiful; it makes you feel very calm as you listen to the trickling fountains. It's an ideal way to enjoy your breakfast before you get your brain messed up the rest of the day.

FOR PLEASURE: My first encounter with the Oberoi Maidens in Old Delhi was while I was a student at Delhi University. I spent my university years close to this hotel, as I was always going to its disco. This was at the height of the disco craze between 1969 and 1974. I have an intimate connection with the Oberoi hotel chain, and the life story of MS Oberoi, India's most famous hotelier, is fascinating. He had a very humble start in life as an accounts clerk in Simla, working for a British hotelier. He bought the Calcutta Oberoi Grand just before World War II for a very small amount of money. It was then used to billet American and British soldiers. He made a lot of money because he bought the hotel in a recession and ran it at full occupancy for years - he was the ultimate hotelier. The Old Delhi hotel is now a franchise of the Hilton Group, but it has managed to retain its identity and essential character. It's unique. It has a very colonial style of architecture and environment - like stepping back 50 years. It's in the old part of town, which adds to its character. For me, it will always be associated with my younger days.

- Shiv Khazanchi is senior director of American Express Private Bank.

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