What can I say as a eulogy for a gentleman who has inspired thousands of hoteliers? I had the pleasure of working for The Leela Hotels & Palaces for over six years between 2002 – 2008 and on several occasions, I was fortunate enough to have had many memorable interactions with this fine hotelier.
His most defining characteristic was arguably his passion for life and hotels… many a time at the Yali Lounge Gazebo at The Leela Goa where I worked as the E.A.M. F&B, he would regale me with incidents in his life wherein he thought larger than life itself and attracted success therein.
One such incident stood out for me: In the 1950’s when India was perceived as an impoverished country, Capt. Nair visited the U.S. of A to promote his company Leela Lace. On checkin into the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, he asked at the reception where the senator who he was to meet was staying. When told that he was in a suite, Capt Nair asked for the next premium category of suites and checked into this superior suite. In the evening, he called the senator who invited him to his room for a pre-dinner drink and business discussions. Capt. Nair instead invited the senator to his suite and obviously impressed the senator with his level of opulence and style in keeping with the superior suite he had selected to stay in. The business was his for the taking thereafter!
To me this story always embodied the spirit of Capt. Nair… today his hotels are a testament to his vision and ‘larger than life’ image.
Thank you Captain Nair!