For the past five years, as president of Rosewood Hotels, Radha Arora has overseen the luxury hospitality group’s ambitious expansion plans — including the opening of Rosewood’s lauded London property in 2013 and its management of the magnificently restored, soon-to-relaunch Hôtel de Crillon, Paris.
Though he lives in laidback Los Angeles — where he formerly served as GM of Four Seasons’ Beverly Wilshire — Arora is certainly no SoCal slouch; the man is famously as fastidious about his attire as he is when it comes to curating outstanding hospitality experiences. (Arora says he favours soft-shouldered Neapolitan tailoring and, since Rosewood’s acquisition by a Hong Kong-based firm, has become a regular customer of HK bespoke shirtmaker Ascot Chang.)
These are the ten key style rules this dapper hotelier abides by.
10. “If the eyes are the window to the soul, then a gentleman’s shoes are the window to his taste, style and character. A man wearing bad shoes isn’t going to order good wine.”
9. “As someone who travels a lot, I’ve realised it’s important to remain true to your own sense of style wherever you go. Don’t feel that you have to change the way you dress in an effort to fit in or to impress someone.”
8. “My heritage means I’ve inherited the Indian fearlessness of colour but it’s tempered by the more restrained British side of my DNA. As a general rule, if you’re wearing one brightly coloured item, you don’t need another.”
7. “Avoid the ‘must-have’ items of the season. Why would you want to wear something that everyone else is sporting?”
6. “When travelling on business, I try to just take hand luggage packed with a few carefully chosen items. It takes advance planning but this leaves me free to focus on business and also means I’m not wasting time waiting at a luggage carousel. In addition, most five-star hotels now offer a great laundry service — take advantage of it. You don’t need to lug around two weeks’ worth of clean clothes.”
5. “I am disappointed when confronted by the ‘expected’ in all areas of life including work, style and interiors. Sometimes it’s good to surprise people — although it should be done in subtle, tasteful and memorable ways.”
Scarfe's Bar at Rosewood London — an excellent illustration of Arora's Fifth Commandment (above).
4. “As someone who lives in LA, I am very familiar with the concept of dressing casually. But dressing informally can be trickier than wearing a suit. My advice is to keep things simple, classic and tailored. If in doubt, look to the Amalfi coast and Capri for inspiration.”
3. “There’s never a valid reason to wear a novelty print.”
The elegantly novelty-free lobby of Rosewood's iconic Carlyle Hotel, New York.
2. “My father was a diplomat and from an early age he taught me the importance of good grooming, a well-tied half-windsor knot and a firm handshake.”
1. “My house is furnished with antiques and art that I’ve picked up on my travels. Each item means something to me rather than merely being selected from a catalogue. I spend a lot of time on the road so when I’m home I like to be surrounded by pieces that bring me happiness and people that bring me joy.”
Visit their website to browse Rosewood’s 18 existing hotels and resorts, plus the 16 more set to open in the next three years — see what we mean by “ambitious expansion plans”?
Hôtel de Crillon, Paris (where Arora worked in his youth) will reopen shortly under Rosewood's management, following an extensive restoration.