Have you experienced sensational surprising smiling service before? 

Let me share with you some of my most surprising and sensational service that I have been experiencing on my Global Nomadic Travels this week to Mumbai.  These stories I believe speak to the qualities of The Nomadic Mindset.

Service can be hit and miss when shopping, staying in different categories of hotels or eating in restaurants – you name it.  Sometimes, if you are like me, I feel deep inside that I somehow automatically ‘expect’ great service (very subjective for sure) pretty much a majority of the time no matter what culture, location or situation I am in.  Wrong perception for sure. I have come to realize this is not a given and expectation is really something I want to throw out the window and just be surprised, excited and be grateful when service goes beyond and makes you feel special.  When it is not, definitely speak up!

Let me share with you my recent stories from Mumbai.  I first stayed at the Hyatt Regency near  Mumbai International Airport while I was delivering a Storytelling Workshop for Givaudan India just around the corner at the Hilton International Airport.  A lovely designed hotel and really great service that simply floats around you and doesn’t intrude on your movements, thoughts, conversations and more.  I love service when it just surprisingly appears out of nowhere and takes you off guard.

Bad Service Turned Surprisingly Sensational

This one dinner I was not impressed – at the start anyway. I ordered a veggie burger as it looked interesting and different than I’ve had before.  Yes, weird eating a burger in Mumbai when I could eat all the scrumptious Indian food.

The kind waiter took my order and when the burger arrived, it was cold and felt like it has been in a freezer even though the cheese was melted on top.  I told the waiter about it and asked to see the F+B Manager.  The Manager, Faisal, came by and I told him about this.  He whisked it off from under my nose and was incredibly apologetic.  A little later a new burger arrived and it was cooked to perfection and the apologies continued even prompting the chef to come out.  I asked the manager what was he going to do for me. He promptly said that he would not be charging me for this nor anything else I wished to eat that night. From that day onwards whenever Faisal was on duty, he would make a very unobvious beeline towards me and offered a world of food suggestions, pleasantries and service to me. Respectfully, not overdoing it.
Learning Point:
Speaking up in a gracious manner is a good thing without a tone of anger or arrogance. This will take you a long way and bodes well for future encounters.

‘The highest distinction is service to others.’

King George VI

Sensational Surprising Service

I moved from there to have three nights of a mini-retreat at the Trident Bandra Kurla in the new CBD district of Mumbai. I have stayed here once before and loved it. I love the design and sensational surprising smiling service! Here are some of those experiences.

  1. I had copies of my book, ‘Aha, Mothers Pearls, sitting on a side table. Arpan, the Housekeeper, saw them sitting there.  He took it upon himself to get me a personalized Pierre Cardin fountain pen and left me a most sweet handwritten note to go with it.  Yes, handwritten in today’s world.  I was surprising astonished and taken aback that someone would be so observant, put two and two together, and then listen to himself asking what service could he provide. I have since presented him with my book.
  2. The next day, Ida, the Housekeeper, recognized what lovely shoes I had. I was happy someone did besides me. Haha. She observed that I didn’t have shoe bags and again left me a handwritten note sharing this with me and left me shoe bags. She observed this, then listening to herself she provided an extra service that was sensationally surprising.
  3. I shared the Arpan event on Linkedin and one of my contacts introduced me to, Supratim Paul, Corporate Director Sales at the Oberoi Group. I asked him if he was working so that I could meet him and congratulate him personally.  Sunday was his day off.  I also, asked him if he could help me to get a late checkout til around 11pm because my flight back to Singapore was after midnight.  He said he heard the hotel was full.  Yet miraculously he connected with his people and they got me a late check out of 11pm and just a half day’s fee.  I am again sensationally surprised and overjoyed.
  4. Other little gestures that made the difference were the generous smiles from all levels of the employment from guards, to front desk, to restaurant to housekeeping – you name it; the salute from the security guard when you passed through the metal detector; the little candies when you exited the metal detector; the lovely flower arrangements; the graceful silence from the well-dressed staff that float around as if on a magic carpet.

Learning Point:

Do not expect anything even from 5 star hotels, just be one with the environment; Be grateful; Speak up and ask questions without judgment or expectations; Recognize humanity; Reward great service with a smile, a comment, a little money, a book in my case, and/or sharing on social media.  It makes a difference economically and most of all, recognizing and seeing humanity at it service best. Service is one of the great qualities of The Nomadic Mindset.


I started my journey to Mumbai with not much excitement and I am leaving overjoyed and sensationally surprised at the continually smiling service that I have received.  This was definitely service that appeared to me out of nowhere and created significant value to my stay at the Trident.  I shall return and invite you to try it out when in Mumbai.