Inspiring stories of three luxury brands that were born out of insults!

Taj Lake Palace

2. Jamsetji Tata’s Taj Mahal Hotel sign
Another Tata who made it to our list is Ratan’s great grandfather Jamsetji Tata. As the story goes, Jamsetji was on a trip to London when he tried to check into a luxury hotel (the family was quite wealthy even at that time). Supposedly he was denied service at the establishment because he was a native. The allegedly hotel had a sign out front proclaiming that entry was forbidden to dogs and Indians. Now there is some confusion about which hotel it really was Dr. Sat D. Sharma writes in India Marching: Reflections from a Nationalistic Perspective that it was the Apollo Hotel and that Jamsetji’s white friend was welcomed there. The Guardian’s Suketu Mehta believes that it was actually Mumbai’s once famous Watson’s Hotel (known today as Esplanande Mansion).

Taj Mahal Mumbai

Angry and humiliated, Jamsetji Tata decided to build a luxury hotel of his own and so Mumbai’s prestigious Taj Mahal Hotel was born. Some have even written that Jamsetji retaliated by posting a sign outside his own hotel that refused entry to Dogs and the British.

Umaid bhawan Jodhpur

The authenticity of this story is difficult to ascertain, many have dismissed the whole thing as an urban legend. Others claim that Tata’s experience of racism definitely pushed him to build the hotel, but he certainly never refused entry to anyone at his luxurious hotel. Perhaps the story should be taken with a grain of salt as we can’t separate fact from fiction so many years later, but the spirit of the tale is certainly worth holding on to. Jamsetji Tata’s hotel today a historic and iconic symbol of the city of Mumbai. Today, Taj has a global presence with properties in the USA, UK, UAE, South Africa, Maldives, Malaysia and other destinations besides their numerous hotels in India.

And it’s not just about quantity, Taj’s Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodphur, India was named TripAdvisor’s Number 1 Hotel in the world for 2016. Nine Taj Group hotels have also received EarthCheck Gold accreditations with other properties increasing their dedication to sustainability. In 2014, three Taj properties received global awards with the Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai and the Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad making it to the top 5 hotels on the list of World’s Best Hotels in Asia & India at Conde Nast Traveller UK Readers’ Travel Awards 2014. This year Jamshetji Tata’s hotel hosted the world’s most famous Brits: the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge a.k.a. Prince William and Kate.

How’s that for a comeback?

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