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A 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II. Photo: Arvind Vijaymohan
A 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II. Photo: Arvind Vijaymohan

A gentleman’s indulgences

If wishes were horsepower, I would be chauffeured to The Peninsula in an impeccably restored 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II

Hotels play a staggeringly vital role for human beings like me who find themselves on different continents on far too regular a basis. I’m often asked what I look for: Personal butlers, pillow menus and plunge pools are the vanilla norm as I see it.

While I’m ever appreciative of hotels that display careful precision in identifying their guest’s predilections, the one detail that powers an establishment into top gear is the hotel’s house car. Warmth and comfort should be extended from the earliest minute possible.

Hotels that have gone that extra mile in selecting their house cars will always race past the chequered flag faster than the rest in my rear-view mirror. I’m landing in Hong Kong in a short while, hoping to be greeted by perhaps the finest house car that exists. While the cabin crew prepares for arrival, I have enough time to rev up my all-time favourite line-up.

The smashingly chic 137 Pillars in Bangkok introduced me to Louie, a classic London cab all kitted out with its own champagne bar, which, though far removed from Tower Bridge, is perfect for zipping around Thonglor. When it comes to style, it’s hard to beat the Italians. And within their order, the Milanese rule the deck. Case in point, a Maserati is your ride around Milan if you are a guest of Excelsior Hotel Gallia. If you prefer a spot of skiing, the Carlton hotel in St Moritz is my preferred pick—more so on account of the Bentley Mulsanne that’s available in the likely event of a sudden craving for some streusel cake. The only other contender in that region of the Alps is a horse-drawn sleigh. I’m told the St Regis in New York City also has a Mulsanne with its Bentley suite, though I’m yet to experience the Big Apple in it.

Sometimes, dreams do not come true and my ride in Hong Kong was not the one I was hoping for. If wishes were horsepower, I would be chauffeured to The Peninsula in their impeccably restored 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II in the hotel’s signature green. Shattered as I was, I consoled myself patiently as we wove through busy Kowloon traffic in the car they had sent instead: an Extended Wheelbase Rolls-Royce Phantom.

The one I really want to be driven around in is the Ambassador at Andaz in Delhi—a hotel round the bend from home. I feel a staycation coming on.

Arvind Vijaymohan is CEO, Artery India.

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