Hotels Are Frightfully Over-Priced’
37, Nirvik Singh is the youngest managing director of one
of the top 10 advertising agencies in India - Grey Worldwide
(formally known as Trikaya Grey). He delves into his journeys,
in conversation with Poonam Rathore
such a high-pressured job, which is your favourite city to
Undisputedly London, I love the city for its unique melange
of culture, sports, shopping etc. The shopping on Oxford Street
is mind-blowing, it is a dream come true for any shopaholic.
Besides, London is also a very safe city. I make it a point
to go at least once a year on a holiday.
With your hectic pace of life, which is the finest getaway
With plenty of corporates frequenting London, I would suggest
the Runnymede Country Club and Spa. It is conveniently located
outside London Heathrow airport and is irrefutably one of
the best spas that I have stayed at. It is ideal for a long
weekend. Summer, I feel, is the best time to go to London.
Being a hard-core sports addict, it gives me an opportunity
to indulge in a variety of my favourite sports. I get to catch
Wimbledon, racing and cricket. Its fun all the way.
Which is your favourite airport and name one highlight
that you do not miss each time you are there?
Some of the trendiest airports are undeniably Singapore Changi,
London Heathrow, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong. Changi offers
the most elite business class and first class lounges, besides
some amazing shopping. It stocks a number of international
alcohol brands contrary to other airports. It also has an
interesting collection of cigars and a cute toy store for
kids. At JFK, the pre-flight dining facility offered by BA
is exceptional. I think more airlines should introduce this
How would you compare the business class offerings of various
I fly Indian Airlines, while internationally, it is Singapore
Airlines (SQ ) to the East and British Airways to the West.
SQ offers the best in-flight entertainment especially their
choice of movies, quality cuisine and hospitable staff. As
compared to Jet Airways, I prefer IC because of its larger
aircraft, more legroom and better frequent flier programme.
Comparing the business class of various airlines is not possible
because British Airways business class from London-New
York has a sleeper and the Mumbai-London British Airways business
class has no slumberette. These discrepancies do not allow
for a comparison.
With business travellers and companies in a dilemma on
who the frequent fliers miles should accrue to, what is your
opinion on this issue?
I personally think that it should accrue to the individual
because travelling is certainly not fun and you are spending
time outside away from your family.
How would you rate the services on offer in India as against
hotels internationally for businessmen?
The service standards in India are on par internationally,
but I must say that Indian hotels are frightfully over priced.
Within India, I stay with the Taj group. Internationally,
I dont stay with a particular chain. In Hong Kong, its
The Excelsior, Ritz Carlton in Singapore and St James Court
Which is the best resort for an ideal getaway?
The Hilton Colombo is simply outstanding and offers fabulous
service. Some of the other exotic resorts are, undoubtedly,
Exotica in Colombo, Westin Golf and Country Club in Macau
and Beaufort Singapore in Sentosa. Port Douglas in Australia
is one of the most beautiful places for a leisurely getaway.
As a business traveller, what are some of the absolutes that
you are looking at to make your travel and stay more pleasant
My vital criterias are punctual flights, 24-hour laundry service
and Internet connectivity at hotels.
Any interesting travel experiences (humourous or troublesome)?
One unusually memorable experience was with SQ. It is a lesson
to learn on how a crisis can be turned into a fabulous moment.
During the ATC strike some years ago, my family and me were
off-loaded by SQ on our holiday to Hong Kong. But they turned
this bitter experience into an extraordinary one. They checked
us into The Leela Mumbai, arranged for our to and fro transfers,
put us on the next earliest flight with permission for late
check-in, besides upgrading us and giving us a free voucher
worth S$ 200 for duty-free shopping at Changi airport. When
we reached the Hong Kong airport, we were pleasantly surprised
by the meet-and-greet service who apologised for the mishap
and presented us beautiful watches and gifts to make up for
the inconvenience, besides complimentary transfers to our
tortuous incident that comes to mind is when I was taking
the Bangladesh Biman flight to Mumbai from Dhaka (Dubai being
its final destination). The flight took off at 6 pm, and ideally
if all had gone well, I would have easily been home by 9:30
pm. But suddenly the pilot informed us that we would be taking
a detour via Delhi. The flight finally landed in Delhi at
9 pm. Finally after a never-ending wait (close to three hours)
at the Delhi airport, we were informed that due to some technical
glitches there was an indefinite delay. And if the problem
was not solved immediately, the flight would directly head
for Dubai. A few passengers and myself got our act together
and actually urged the engineers to fix the problem asap.
After much deliberations, I finally arrived home at 2 am.
To say the least, it was unmistakably a nightmare.