These are turbulent times in Britain, and London is currently the centre of frenetic activity surrounding Brexit. But for those who love the city and have been regular visitors there, Brexit is just a little blip, of little or no relevance to what is otherwise a hard—almost impossible—habit to break. I count myself among those for whom a visit to London is something of an annual event,something which has been a part of my calendar for quite some years now. And each year, despite the several times I have walked in Hyde Park, taken a stroll on the Mall, listened to the street musicians at Leicester Square or watched the ducks on the lake at St. James’s Park, the urge to return to London grows stronger. It’s as if the city beckons you to immerse yourself in it and each time you do so, you discover parts of it you didn’t know existed. That, in essence, is what London means to an ordinary person like me. But then, this issue of Fortune India is not about people like me. This year’s Luxury Issue is about the charm of London and what makes the British capital a second home to India’s über-wealthy and famous. For years, Fortune India has been of the view that a luxury issue is not about expensive things you can buy. It’s not a catalogue of products that have hit the market and the reader can splurge on. At Fortune India, we believe luxury is a way of life for the truly wealthy, who buy things or indulge in experiences because for them it is the way they live their lives.
In this year’s Luxury Issue, our editor-at-large Hindol Sengupta, who is somewhat of an in-house expert on all things London, takes you on a fascinating journey of the many aspects of this wonderful city which make India’s richest return there again and again. As Sengupta explains, “True luxury is not checking into a hotel but a hotel so intimate and so personalised—and,therefore, luxurious—that it merely feels like coming home. To the rich, London is coming home.” And so Sengupta takes you to Hyde Park, where some of the richest walk along unobtrusively while striking billion-dollar deals, even as ordinary people are taken in by the 350-acre park’s general warmth and beauty. He introduces you to areas like Knightsbridge, Belgravia, and Chelsea where the rich from the world over—and India—often descend to become Londoners and marinate in the London way of life. My personal favourite is the piece in which Sengupta helps you plan your day as you explore the best of London—a juice bar complete with meditation pods, breakfast at The Wolseley, lunch at Bellamy’s, drinks at the Fumoir bar at the Claridge’s at Mayfair,and some of the best places to dine in, including three of the finest Indian restaurants London has to offer. As you read these essays, you will realise why wealthy Indians flock to London as if by habit.
This issue also has two other interesting stories. Associate editor Anshul Dhamija meets billionaire B.R. Shetty who runs the U.A.E.-based NMC Healthcare and gets to understand,first hand, his ambitious plan to set up 20,000 hospital beds in India over the next 10 years. Elsewhere, associate editor Abhik Sen brings you the story of how iconic Finnish mobile phone brand Nokia is crafting its second innings in India,clearly one of the most attractive markets. Whether Nokia manages to wrest back the position it once held will be a fascinating story to track.
(The Fortune India September 2019 special issue is on stands. Subscribe here)
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