Luxury Hotels

Latest luxury inside-titbits, hotels, dining and private jet cards

Ian Carter was one of the first hoteliers to realise that luxury properties can tie in with major sport. He signed a partnership for his company, Hilton, with McLaren’s F1 team about ten years ago – Girlahead still wears the appropriate cap whenever she is out running! Ian Carter was CEO of Hilton International, and when it merged with Hilton USA, he evolved to head the company’s global architecture, design and development portfolios. Now it has just been announced that he will leave Hilton December 2020. (We hate that modern-craze term ‘step down’, we prefer ‘leave’.)


Modern luxury consumers expect frictionless user experiences, the ability to personalise, and they want great content that inspires, says Renu Basu, who heads Sales & Marketing for Taj’s umbrella company, IHCL. She finds that, today, hyper-connected consumers are engaging across multiple channels, often simultaneously rather than sequentially. This convergence has led to Omni-Channel Integration, Content Marketing and Social CRM, with the world having shifted from mass segmentation to intimate personalisation. Technology is, indeed, a game-changer, as it bridges the offline and online consumer world, leading to faster marketing processes, smarter marketing decisions and richer customer engagement. However, it is in digital and non-digital categories that they want to access companies in the most convenient way possible, regardless of the channel. Finally, underlying all of the above is a constant need for speed and agility, in a world of instant gratification.

Renu Basu is the ‘face of Taj’ at such prestigious luxury events as the annual ILTM in Cannes, every December. She always stands out, not only for her beautiful saris but for her charm. Where did she learn all this? “My father motivated me to give my best, no matter how challenging the situation, while my grandmother taught me to simply be a good person. My first boss, Pheroza Bilimoria, taught me the importance of always responding and being customer-focused, while the iconic hotelier and Taj veteran Camellia Panjabi set the standards on being astute and having a deep understanding of the customer. From R Krishna Kumar I learnt to appreciate the power of relationships, while from Ajoy Misra, I learnt the importance of empowering people”, she confesses.


Paris’ historic dining venue, Restaurant Allard (above), has been operating since 1932, and today it is one of Alain Ducasse’s luxury jewels. When it re-opened on 16 June 2020, it had added a unique air system that has been verified by Stéphane Pimbert, Director General of  Institut national de recherche et de sécurité INRS. The system consists of vertical glass screens between tables but also, and notably, a ceiling-hung system of metal pipes to circulate the air. See the image above.  This means that ‘social distancing’ is taken down to about 32cms. The team involved in this great idea includes architect Patrick Jouin and his father, engineer Jean-Claude Jouin, plus Paul Champs, Arnaud Delloye, and Pierre Tachon.  See the photo above, which shows table, and customer, screens, plus the ceiling-hung circulation system, image ©philippe vaures santa maria


There has been a huge increase in interest for private aviation solutions, much of it from first-timers as commercial airlines reduce the frequency of flights and markets served, and consumers look for ways to avoid exposure to COVID-19,” says Doug Gollan, Miami-based Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Private Jet Card Comparisons. “We want to provide those new to the industry with information that will help determine the best solution for their needs, including things to consider before contacting companies.” See his new guide, below.

Private Jet 101: First-Timers Guide