HTLS 2021: Hotelier Sonu Shivdasani explains how Covid-19 changed luxury travel

Sonu Shivdasani created a stir last year by setting a new world order of his own. He promised Indian travellers a private jet, to fly directly into an airstrip closer to his resort, bypassing the busy airport at Male and avoiding any unnecessary contact.
Maldives-based hotelier Sonu Shivdasani speaks on Hindustan Times Leadership Summit. (HT Photo)
Maldives-based hotelier Sonu Shivdasani speaks on Hindustan Times Leadership Summit. (HT Photo)
Updated on Dec 04, 2021 01:22 AM IST
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By | Written by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The coronavirus disease (Covid-19) has changed luxury travel in India as well as the world, hotelier Sonu Shivdasani said. He was speaking to Brunch Editor Jamal Sheikh on the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit (HTLS).

“We see Indian guests staying for longer duration and really enjoying it. In India, life is quite stressful, especially if you are very successful. You really have to put in the hours. Then there’s pollution as well. There’s a lot of background noise and friction - to achieving your goal. And it takes a few days for you to decompress,” said Shivdasani.

The Maldives-based hotelier said that the pandemic has changed the entire luxury travel landscape. Shivdasani said the guests, surprisingly, are more open to talk to other guests.

“They are more sensitive as human beings. They are more engaged and they thrive social interaction. What we found is with ‘no news no shoes and no mask’ – when we were testing everyone in our Covid-free environment – guest loves to talk to other guests. Such environments have like-minded people from all over the world. And it’s in a casual setting. It’s not like the situation at other hotels where you have to dress up in formal attire for dinner.

“We have seen that people create amazing bonds from all over the world. Post-Covid, that has increased. More people are going and having dinner with other guests because they can’t do that back home. They can have a laugh together; give a hug and they engage more with the property. They want to learn and evolve more,” he added.

Shivdasani created a stir last year by setting a new world order of his own. He promised Indian travellers a private jet, to fly directly into an airstrip closer to his resort, bypassing the busy airport at Male and avoiding any unnecessary contact.

He also promised his prospective guests that if they contract Covid-19 while staying at his resort, it will host you free of cost till they have recovered. Talking about it on HTLS, Shivdasani said that kickstarted the travel.

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