Anish Bir was born in the city of Allahabad, known as the ‘Oxford of the East’.

Refined and cultured, Allahabad, situated by the rivers of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati, is one of the oldest cities in India.

It is home to the Nehru dynasty, a host of academics and writers including Rudyard Kipling and is also the birthplace of legendary Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan.

Anish was born into a wealthy family and sent to boarding school at the age of five.

“I was terribly homesick to start with, but gradually I got used to it and ended up making friends who I’m still close to. You develop a bond which doesn’t break despite being from a different religion and no matter how old you get.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Anish, aged 57, admits he was more into sports rather than his studies, but by the time he finished his schooling he had decided he wanted to go into the hospitality business.

“So I came to England for a six-month crash course in hotel management.”

There was no actual formal course, but Anish was presented with a huge opportunity to buy a hotel in Coventry.

“It was 1983 and I managed to get the money sorted for the hotel which was called The Falcon and based in Coventry city centre.”

Anish refurbished the hotel and managed to sell it four years later for a massive profit.

“My ambition became to build and operate quality hotels,” he says. His next acquisition was to buy a country house hotel, The Glebe, in Barford, Warwickshire.

“I wanted to make this an upmarket 50-bedroom conference hotel with all modern facilities.”

Within 18 months the hotel was fully refurbished and operational.

Anish said: “The rest of the industry was going through a widespread recession and a lot of hotels were closing down, but the hotel I had built was a class apart and stood up tall performing well year on year.

“This gave me the confidence to keep going, so I bought another hotel also in Warwick, called the Globe. Again, I refurbished the hotel, taking it to another level.”

With two successful hotels in the UK under his belt, Anish revisited an earlier ambition – to build a luxury hotel in his home city.

“I have run the Grand Continental Hotel in Allahabad for more than 20 years and it was never my intention to come back to the UK but, as they say, man proposes, God disposes and fate brought me back to the UK.”

His wife, Seema, wanted a holiday home in the UK and Anish was keen to have a quality hotel in his portfolio, which led him to the Holiday Inn in Tong.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Anish said: “As a hotelier you want to be associated with the best and the Holiday Inn is part of IHG group, one of the biggest players in the hotel industry, so here I am.”

He bought the hotel last December and has been working round the clock for the relaunch. There are exciting plans to extend further and build a marquee and orangery.

Within a relatively short time span of 18 months Anish is hoping to have the revamped hotel up and running with a 110-capacity restaurant, a marquee for up to 600 people, three additional function rooms, 60 bedrooms and spa facilities.

“I have been here for three months now and it feels like I made a good choice. The people are very warm, friendly and helpful and I don’t feel homesick at all with all the delicious Indian food, though the weather is a little different.”

With the hotel to refurbish he has little time to relax and unwind especially as he is also father to twin daughters, Anisha and Ayesha, aged five. For the time being he is focused on his goal – to provide the best service possible.

“I am a true hotelier and I want to deliver the best hospitality for the people of this city.”