What’s in a name
Mumbai, 31st January 2011
Ever left one place and come back in another? It has happened to me years back when I left from one home on a business trip to come back in another after we had moved house during my trip. This time I came back to Mumbai today to find my hotel changed from one operator to another. The former Royal Meridien Hotel (Starwood) where I nearly always stay when in Mumbai changed into the Mumbai Hilton Hotel on the 1st January. Everything however is basically the same except signage and stationary, etc, whih all changed to the new name. Even most of the staff is the same. However instead of saying welcome back to the Meridien, Mr Klaasen, they say welcome to the Hilton…..it’s a rather peculiar experience.
What is interesting though is the subtle changes that are the result of different operator standards. Each hotel operator and even each brand has its own operational manual and in this case the Hilton (American) guidelines are slowly being implemented over what previously was the standard for Meridien. I am talking here about lighting specifically. The key difference I noticed straight away on arrival were the lighting levels. Where the Meridien had low, nearly cosy residential lighting levels, the Hilton has turned up the lighting to much brighter and commercial levels. When I entered I thought they were cleaning! Of course my reaction was triggered because I was used to the much lower levels. Over the next few days I may find some more changes like the replacement of some cosy warm incandescent lights to more bland CFL energy savers. The changes are subtle but are significant contributors to the ultimate hotel ambiance…with my before and after experience it is very obvious! What a difference a name makes!
By far one of the most popular movies about India from recent years is Slumdog Millionaire. In Light Watch today one of the great locations, the historic Victoria train station in down town Mumbai, background in the movie to the hit song Jai Ho!
Light Watch 21: Victoria train station, downtown Mumbai