The Art of Hospitality

Iqbal Ahmed


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Coldstream Publishers
27 March 2021
ISBN: 9781527282087
208 pages

From the publisher

Iqbal Ahmed’s fifth book of non-fiction, The Art of Hospitality: A European Odyssey, describes his excursions to four continental countries where he experiences hospitality as it is manifested in differing cultures and conditions. His wide-ranging travels include visits to Milan, Venice, Granada, Paris, Barcelona and Zurich. 

He is responsive not only to how ordinary people live but also to the architecture and works of art he encounters. And having himself worked for twenty years in the hospitality industry, he writes from an unusual dual vantage point: as concierge at a London Hotel, and as hotel guest and cultural observer on his own foreign travels. The book has another dimension: the comparisons made between aspects of the cities visited and the memories they evoke of the town of his birth, Srinagar in Kashmir, where the concept of hospitality is elevated to a high moral principle. 

Interwoven with interesting historical facts, the book provides an informal survey of both the art and business of hospitality while also exploring its more poetic aspects. 

Iqbal Ahmed visited these European cities in recent years but his book is inevitably coloured by the fact that it was written during the Covid-19 pandemic. He addresses related pressing issues of our times such as over-tourism, climate change and Brexit. He also reflects on how the hospitality industry will fare in the post-pandemic future. 

Written from a uniquely cosmopolitan standpoint, this book is a perceptive personal report from the sidelines of a changing international order.