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Hotelier passes away

C.P. Krishnan Nair

Hotel Leelaventure founder C.P. Krishnan Nair today passed away after a brief illness. He was 92 years old.

Captain Nair — also known as the grand old man of Indian hospitality industry — was born on February 9, 1922 in the small town of Kannur in Kerala. He received his early education in his native village. He participated in the freedom movement from Kerala and later became an officer in the Indian Army.

In 1951, he resigned his commission, ventured into textiles and helped set up the All India Handloom Board. He was instrumental in developing and marketing the “Bleeding Madras” fabric — a hand spun yarn that fades when laundered — in the US.

His frequent business trips overseas to Europe and the US inspired him to foray into the luxury hospitality segment. In 1986, he set up his first hotel in Mumbai, named after his wife Leela, and signed a marketing alliance with Swiss hospitality firm Kempinski.

Nair stepped down as the chairman of Hotel Leelaventure in February last year, passing the baton to his sons — Vivek and Dinesh Nair. While elder brother Vivek is now the chairman and managing director of the group, Dinesh is the co-chairman and joint managing director.

A recipient of the Padmabhusan award, Nair was recognised as a visionary, environmentalist and a hotelier extraordinaire. He was conferred the Global 500 Laureate Roll of Honor by the UN Environment Programme for his efforts in environmental conservation.

Nair is survived by his wife Leela, two sons and their children. A statement by the Leela group said his last rites would be performed tomorrow in Mumbai.

 
 
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