Pinky Reddy is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, the former national president of FICCI Ladies Organisation, and an art connoisseur. Along with her husband GVK scion Sanjay Reddy, she has played a big role in promoting Indian art and heritage. In an interview with Travel+Leisure India & South Asia, Reddy reveals what makes India a unique luxury destination and how her fondness for travel landed her one of her biggest appointments. By Chirag Mohanty Samal
Excerpts from the interview with Pinky Reddy:
T+L India: When we talk about India as a luxury destination, what aspects of our country do you feel need to be showcased?
Pinky Reddy: We have such hidden jewels in our country, we need to really reveal them. It’s sad that we haven’t yet been able to really show them to the world. Rajasthan and its palaces are beautiful, but everyone knows about them. There are other beautiful places and homes in Goa and Kerala that no one knows about. I am glad now a lot of people are offering their homes to guests. This way one gets to sample local food, culture and also experience the luxury of a five-star hotel. Big hotels [chains] are passé now.
T+L India: You have travelled all over the world, what is it about India that makes it unique?
Pinky Reddy: It’s our culture, clothes, and food. For instance, if you go to France, you get the same food everywhere, it is the same with Italy. But in India, every region has its unique food. India is also picking up the world’s cuisine. Our chefs are creating interesting fusion cuisine by adding nuances of Western dishes into Indian food. Also, no one can match up to Indian hospitality.
T+L India: In an interview, you had mentioned that you initially joined FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO) so that you could go on a trip to Istanbul. How fond are you of travelling and how does it impact you as a person?
Pinky Reddy: I am very fond of travelling. I went to Istanbul because a group of my friends were going. They told me I should go on the trip as I just became a member of FLO. I never imagined I would end up becoming the president. I was based in Delhi and my husband was busy with the airport in Mumbai. My parents and kids were all were in Hyderabad. It was quite a challenge to strike a work-life balance. I took 140 planes that year. I travelled to most of the FLO cities. It was a lovely experience as I got to experience small towns like Baroda and Lucknow and I loved the hospitality of these places.
T+L India: Tell us about Redd Villas and Resorts that aims at developing a chain of unique luxury, boutique, and environment-friendly resorts. What was the idea behind it?
Pinky Reddy: I like hospitality and wellness fields. Through Redd Villas, we try to fuse the two together. We have taken up an old house in Goa and are re-doing it. We plan to get more such properties and run them like homestays. We want to create an experience for people who come and stay there. Post COVID-19, everybody wants to stay home and be together. At these homestays, we will have wellness spas and chefs to cook healthy food. People won’t need to step out.
T+L India: You also founded Lotus House to promote Indian art and craft. What is it about Indian art that fascinates you?
Pinky Reddy: The love for art came from my husband. When I was working with my husband at the Mumbai Airport art programme, I travelled all over the country and realised that the craftsmen were in dire financial straits. So, I decided to start Lotus House to promote these artisans. There’s so much diversity in Indian arts— from miniatures to marble inlays, each part of the country has something to offer.
T+L India: Which are the top Indian destinations for art connoisseurs?
Pinky Reddy: One should come to Hyderabad and see the iconic Jagdish Mittal collection at the Jagdish and Kamla Mittal Museum of Indian Art. Besides that, Kerala, Rajasthan, Kashmir, Gujarat, and Tamil Nadu have so much to offer.
T+L India: What does your travel bucket list include?
Pinky Reddy: Next year, I’m planning to go to Antarctica with my husband.
T+L India: You love India because…
Pinky Reddy: It’s home. There is no country that can match India’s diverse culture and food.