We don’t need statistics to tell us India has a voracious appetite for luxury. We can see it on the superbly-styled Sonam Kapoor, darling cover girl of magazines; in malls like DLF’s super-luxe Emporio in Delhi or the Ruias’ Pallidum in Mumbai; in the opening of stand-alone luxury stores and with the burgeoning number of websites that offer discerning Indians a range of exclusive services.
What’s more intriguing is the fact that so many of these initiatives are being spear-headed by smart, ambitious women; women who understand what the increasingly globalised Indian is looking for.
If you’re running a highly specialised travel agency, it’s a given that you’ve been bitten by the wanderlust bug. Living, studying and working on three continents convinced Taruna Seth she’d found her true calling as a travel expert. She founded Pearl Luxe in 2009 with the aim of creating super-luxury holidays for travellers who’d already done it all. “Our aim is to create a whole new experience for our clients. After all they’re HNIs (High Networth Individuals) who have already been there and done that. So how do you give them that little extra? Luxury is a very loaded word,” says Taruna, who specialises in creating bespoke vacations for the well-travelled India.
She describes creating a vaction for a Delhi businessman’s 60th birthday. “It was a 3-day gala birthday in Turkey, so we had to create an itinerary that would work for a mix of people who had been there and for those it was a first trip. We organised a party at the palace in Istanbul, a cruise on the Bosphorus and had to make sure the shopping list had enough to keep even those who’d been there, interested.”