to beat London’
Chougule, Director, Indage Group, waxes eloquent about his
favourite destination to Achal Dhruva
destinations, international and domestic, feature predominantly
on your travel itinerary?
London is the prime destination and my favourite. The city
is our primary export market and also the hub of our European
operations. I travel to London once every month, sometimes
even twice. Since I grew up in London, the business trips
also double up as opportunities to catch up and chill out
with friends. We have collaborations with France, Germany,
Australia and Chile. Since I am in charge of France and Germany,
I travel often to Paris, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Stuttgart.
Recently I have been travelling to New York, Miami and Los
Angeles quite often while exploring possibilities of expanding
our restaurant chain. Domestically, the main business destinations
are Bangalore, Delhi and Goa, the major wine markets. We are
opening our restaurant Athena in both the cities in the near
How long are your business trips and what are the factors
which influence your choice of hotels?
A typical business trip lasts not more than four to five days,
though trips to London can run into a couple of weeks. I try
not to travel more than 20 days at a stretch. As far as choice
of hotels go, I prefer ones with a lot of style, mostly boutique
hotels. They sport an individual and contemporary look and
cater to individual needs much better. In a way they reflect
your personality. I am a big fan of W Chain and make it a
point to stay there when I am in New York or at the Mondrian
owned by Cindy Crawford while in Los Angeles. I have a house
in London but always make it a point to visit Ian Schragers
Sanderson Hotel. In India I would rate the Leelas in Bangalore
as the best and of course the Oberoi and Taj chain.
favourite carriers, international and domestic, and why?
As I travel to London very often, my favourite airlines on
that sector are British Airways (BA) and Emirates though I
prefer BA since it has a direct flight. Both have great business
class, good service and are punctual. Emirates scores over
BA and its stiff upper lip since the formers
style of service is much better. I look for a bit of flair
in service and during flights one likes to be pampered. Among
the domestic carriers there is not much to choose though Jet
Airways has a slight edge with its punctuality and service.
How do you cope with the stress and hectic pace of travel?
Which are your favourite destinations for a holiday?
A hectic schedule does not permit me the luxury of a leisure
holiday and the honeymoon has been the only exclusive leisure
trip. Generally, I fit in a couple of days on my business
trips for sightseeing and relaxation. Miami and Florida are
my favourite cities as they both have a plethora of attractions.
when I am in New York I love to unwind in Central Park for
the sheer pleasure of watching others rushing for appointments
while I am chilling out under the shade with a beer. I
also visit Las Vegas at least once in three years. Its
a fascinating and vibrant place, just one main street but
yet so alive. I
never had a problem with jet lag and I work out in a gym wherever
I am to keep in shape.
kind of cuisine appeals to your taste buds?
Mediterranean and South East Asian would be on top of my list.
My favourite restaurants in London are Ivy and Hackisor. Both
have a new contemporary design and excellent South East Asian
cuisine. In New York its Tao. In Mumbai obviously its
Athena but I also like Olive and Indigo. I-Talia, the Italian
restaurant at Park Hotel Bangalore is yet another favourite.
Which city has the best night life?
London wins hands down as it has got something for everybody,
right from plays/musicals, great pubs, hip night clubs etc.
Los Angeles also has some great bars and clubs but they are
all spread out.
Any tips for business travellers visiting your frequent
In London for leisure its best to find local help and
visit the less touristy spots. The other trick which works,
especially in an unfamiliar city, is to ask the salesperson
of the local designer store. They know the best pubs and hippest
clubs. Did that in Prague and Oslo and had a whale of a time.