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Meet the Boss: Amrit Singh, TransIndus

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Each week at 101 Holidays we interview one of the people behind the UK’s most prestigious travel companies. This week we meet Amrit Singh, founder and director of TransIndus, which specialises in tailor-made tours of Asia.

• Where are you planning to go on holiday this year, and why?

As a family we take our vacations very seriously and democratically choose a destination in rotation, with the rest of us respecting and enjoying each other’s choice. This summer it’s my turn and I have opted to return to Burma, the place of my birth, of countless stories of my childhood and simply the calmest, most gloriously beautiful place.

• What is your favorite getaway in the UK, and why?

Edinburgh. The attraction for me is its architecture and the cobbled streets, where turning each corner brings you face to face with yet another historical oddity. Two minutes out of town the wide open spaces leading to lakes, castles, country houses, the open sea and of course the breweries. Travel from London is straightforward, an easy train journey from Kings Cross to Waverley, where just pulling into the station you know you have left the stresses of the big city behind.

• If you could spend a long weekend in any city abroad, which would you pick, and why?

Delhi – my favourite city. It encompasses many different cities in one, each with a unique identity. Many long weekends could be spent discovering the ancient religious sites of the city, the struggle of the Mughal Kings to establish home away from home, the strategic grandeur of the British reign, and of course modern Delhi with its massive population. Eating out in style is both exciting and inexpensive, the shopping’s great and the service in hotels is unmatchable.

• Please tell us three items that are always found in your luggage.

Sadly, the first is a Blackberry. Remaining connected and knowing what’s going on at home and at work is essential for me to be able to relax. The second is a good-quality digital camera with plenty of spare memory cards. I like to make a visual record of the people I meet, places I visit and things I see. Lastly, a tape measure is invaluable for all the shopping I do when travelling. For some reason it seems to amuse people when I pull a tape measure out of my Gucci handbag.

• What one thing would most improve people’s overall holiday experience?

If airlines could retrain their staff NOT to look straight through passengers as they pass though the cabin, it would make all us paying customers feel much better about flying with them.

• What has been your worst holiday experience?

Grasmere, a short break in the Lake District, where despite the spectacular views and amazing walks we have on more than one occasion come away feeling less than content. The food in hotels and restaurants can be uninspired and basic, with little or no choice.

• Tell us your favourite hotel: in the UK; in mainland Europe; in the rest of the world.

In the UK, it’s the Sheraton in Edinburgh, with its incredible spa and rooftop hot tub that overlooks the city’s skyline. With some of the friendliest and most helpful staff behind reception, it ticks all the boxes.

In Europe, I would have to say the Corral del Rey in Seville, a tiny house with three or four meticulously furbished rooms and a brilliant restaurant hidden among the cobbled streets of the old city just a few minutes walk from the Cathedral. It’s owned and run impeccably by two young brothers.

In the rest of the world it is Samode Bagh, a gem of a palace hotel tucked away in the village of Samode some 40km from Jaipur. The accommodation is incredible, either in their individually-styled rooms, which I love, or in the tented camp among the Mughal gardens. Perfect for relaxation. I often feel a hint of guilt for not taking up the options to go horse riding, bird watching, walking into the hills or joining the young royal family that own and run the property for a game of tennis.

• What is the most exciting project your company is working on right now?

I’m heavily involved in the writing of a new software business management programme.  Based on cutting edge technology using artificial intelligence, it promises to transform all our processes. We can’t wait.

• Thank you, Amrit.

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