I always feel extremely elated after each Connections event. The adrenaline, the joy, the feeling of a job well done by every single member of my team.
But there was something particularly special about Connections Luxury in India.
Each destination brings a different atmosphere to Connections Luxury. This time, not only did we have the colour, the bustle and the vibrancy of Hyderabad. We had the setting of Taj Falaknuma Palace: ethereal, opulent and a destination in itself.
Walking between the wood panelled rooms of the palace – past antique books and other precious possessions that once belonged to the Nizam, formerly the richest man in the entire world – it was like being in a museum. Only we were allowed to sit on the furniture, play croquet on the lawn, have meetings while using the enormous billiards table. It actually started to feel like home!
To be able to visit a property like Taj Falaknuma Palace felt like such a privilege, let alone to host an event there. And it would not have happened without Delna from Taj Hotels, Palaces, Resorts and Safaris. Delna, working with you has been a pleasure from start to finish. It’s your hard work and vision that brought Connections Luxury to Hyderabad – thank you so much for believing in the Connections Way!
And Ritesh, general manager of Taj Falaknuma Palace, thank you for being an exceptional host. You and your devoted staff pulled out all the stops – from the impeccable service at the closing dinner, to the falling petals that showered every single guest when they arrived and departed the hotel. You brought so much magic to Connections Luxury in India.
I also have to thank once again everyone from Distant Frontiers, our official DMC for the event – Karan, Lovleen, Manu, Bibin, Jonty… Not only did our ground transfers and experiences at Chowmahalla Palace run like clockwork, but you were all such smiley, gracious and helpful people. I know the Connections team will miss working with you!
And to the Telangana State Tourism, who sponsored our delicious dinner at Chowmahalla Palace, and presented each delegate pearl necklaces and earrings – a souvenir from the City of Pearls. Your generosity and hospitality was outstanding, thank you so much!
What else happened in Hyderabad? Well, we had our newly-launched roundtable discussions sponsored by our media partner, The Telegraph. From Snapchat Spectacles to myth-busting about travel to India – we certainly covered a lot of ground! I look forward to reading the findings of the discussions written up in our Connections Luxury Digital magazine and in our upcoming industry report in association with Amadeus, our technology partner.
My personal highlight of Connections Luxury in India? I have three, sorry!
First of all, the session on “couture culture” from fashion designer Tarun Tahiliani. His wit, his unique experiences and his ability to draw parallels between the worlds of couture fashion and luxury travel was enlightening – and his show-stopping creations modelled by the lovely Maya, left a lasting impression!
Second, it has to be the parrot astrologer! My absolute favourite Connections experience – according to this psychic bird, I’m going to live until I’m 105 years old!
And finally, our closing dinner was at the 101 Dining Hall, at the world’s longest dining table. I was still buzzing from an emotional speech I’d made moments before, and I remember looking down each side of the table, seeing everyone chatting, laughing and taking selfies together and thinking: “job done.”
To those of you who attended the event, thank you so much for your participation, your energy and for the memories! Any feedback you have to share with us is extremely welcome. Enjoy the new friendships you’ve formed, and the long-lasting business relationships that grow from them. And, to the first-timers, thank you for taking a leap of faith, I hope to see many of you again in the future. You’re part of the family now!
I could go on forever about all the things that made Connections Luxury in India so special. But in the end, nothing I write will capture it as brilliantly as this video created by Travizeo, our video sponsor.
Greg, Carole and Marco worked tirelessly throughout the event to film and edit this unbelievable video over the course of just two days. It brought me to tears when we screened it on our final evening together – guys, you did an outstanding job.
I’ll leave you to watch it and see for yourselves.
Does it inspire you to join us at an upcoming Connections Luxury? I’m only a phone call away if so! Connections Luxury in Ireland will take place in a matter of weeks. Would be wonderful to have you there!
Ciao for now,