Yes, it is possible to bring an Indian tuk-tuk home, you just need to know who to ask.
Sound far fetched? Well this was the request from a guest to the Concierge at one of Asia’s most luxurious hotels, The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai (Bombay), India, the largest and most luxurious hotel in Asia.
Satish Gaikwad has been a concierge at the hotel for 18 years and shared a coffee with me at the hotel last month. He has worked with some of the world’s highest profile people in his job, including John Lennon, Oprah, and Obama.
“I grew up in Mumbai, and the best part of my life has been in the hotel. I aspire to come to this place , it is most amazing institution ever,” Satish reflected.
“From a young age, 20 years ago, I would sit and wonder & how it would be (in the hotel) with 550 rooms and 42 suites in both the palace and tower sections.
“My first question in my mind was how much would a tea cost in a hotel like this? I then got an opportunity working here before Concierge serving pastries, chocolate & cakes in La Brasserie, at age 18 years of age. The coffee shop here opened in1973 and was the first 24 hour coffee shop in Mumbai.
“I was the only one ( of my friends) working & making money. My lifestyle changed & things changed. It’s a different thing, how to talk to people in a hotel like this, but that’s the culture and I have learnt on the job.
“Being a concierge we also learn from our guests, it’s as Elon Musk says -artificial intelligence. That’s how our knowledge increases”
There are 5 concierges at the expansive, luxurious hotel, who work around the clock.
“Concierge are friends forever, it’s not just service – it’s friendship,” he explains. “We see a lot of Americans, Europeans, Chinese, and the Arab community. We regularly talk to concierges from other hotels around the world, but it is a very discreet code we maintain.
Satish said they often receive unusual requests but the strangest was from a Shiek who wanted a tuk tuk to take home.
“We receive all sorts of requests, but that was an odd one. We had to get creative and worked on it and managed to make it happen for her and she took an Indian tuk-tuk home on her private jet.
“I suppose somewhere in the middle east it is being driven around.
“Another time, a regular client here called us at the Concierge desk from Singapore saying they couldn’t get into Raffles Hotel to have a look, so we contacted the concierge at Raffles immediately and the situation was fixed an the guest was given access to look around.
“Others may call it a Hotel, but for me, it has a soul & will be around long after we are all gone. We are custodians of it. I always respect that.”