We were invited by Aloft to check out their new property at Ahmedabad, by staying as a guest for two days, along with more folks from the industry and media. Here’s what happened.
0710 – Reached Terminal 1D at Delhi and was amazed by the crowds clustered around the entry gates. I was looking forward to a breakfast of bacon, eggs and butter slathered toast with hash browns at Fresc Co. Didn’t look like that was about to happen. Once inside, the crowds were even more threatening, with a collective conspiracy actively working against my dreams of a piggy breakfast followed by a leisurely cup of coffee accompanied by the morning paper. I love airports, and look forward to flights with breaks in between, trying to schedule loads of time between connecting flights, wandering around the premises. Yup, me and Tom Hank, both.
0735 – Checked in, security checked and tried hard to visualize gobbling rashers of bacon, gulping the coffee, paying the bill and leaving within ten minutes. Sighing, I accepted the inevitable and proceeded to KFC, coming away with a packed Zing Kong box (fried chicken, chicken burger, coke, fries) and made a beeline for the smoking room. A chap asked if he could bum a cigarette. I held out the pack, telling him anyone in the room would be happy to help him out; after all what right did he have to live any longer than the rest of us?
0830 – Ate cold, oily chicken, tough, leathery chicken burger and limp, soggy fries. This stuff wasn’t meant to be eaten cold. Tried hard to sleep. Tried.
1030 – Reached Aloft after being promptly picked up at the airport by a friendly Aloft driver who was kind enough to find me a matchbox. Shared the ride with Michael Swamy, a very quiet man with an unassuming manner and a lovely smile. We agreed it bored our knickers off when people insisted on talking only food around us. A chilled, damp towel later, as we signed pre-filled registration forms, I noticed a signature area labeled ‘Talent’. I asked the lady at the counter who was busy checking in another guest. To my surprise, the chap who was handing out chilled towels, who I can only assume was a very junior member of the staff, answered, “That’s for a staff member’s signature Sir. At Aloft, all staff members are designated as talent”. Suitably impressed, both by the young man’s quick response and the Aloft orientation programme, which I assume exists, I collected my room keys and Starwood Preferred Guest card (loyalty card) and reached my second floor quarters.