Le Meridien New Delhi is in for some trouble…

Summer is boring. I have work to do so the times I post new stuff on this blog makes me seem like a Seattleite (to be honest I’m still in Hong Kong and most of my posts are published between 11pm and 12am nowadays), but pretty much writing up stuff here is the only fun thing I do these days. So while I really don’t have much to add about this incident, I decided I’d add it into the blog to share my thoughts.


Pretty much right after I started a post about comparing hotel chain brands and was getting to writing about Le Meridien (that post will take a while, unfortunately), I received news about a Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder being crumpled by a valet parking officer at Le Meridien New Delhi.

lambor_0_0

Via the Sydney Morning Herald:

A valet at a five-star hotel in the Indian capital caused $335,000 worth of damage to a Lamborghini Gallardo after crashing it into a concrete wall in front of horrified guests, the hotel and a report said Thursday.

A photograph of the aftermath at Le Meridien hotel in New Delhi, published in the Times of India newspaper, showed the severely crumpled front end of the sleek white supercar with its bonnet forced up.

“We get all kind of luxury cars, important guests and hold outstanding events and this was something completely inadvertent,” a hotel spokeswoman said, saying the accident occurred last Thursday.

She said the valet had been working for 10 years and appeared to have lost control of the Italian speedster on the slippery forecourt after an early afternoon rain shower.

CCTV footage shows the valet bring the car from the parking area to the porch of the multi-storey hotel, which hosts several glitzy restaurants and a bar, and then briefly get out, the Times of India said.

After climbing back behind the wheel, he then lurches forward inexplicably, sending a colleague diving for cover before piling head-on into the wall.

I’ll sum up the background of the car in my own words: The car was a borrowed car from a Mumbai businessman/millionaire and was driven to the Le Meridien by a cousin. Apparently, according to a friend of the owner, the car had been parked by many valets before. So the owner filed a police case against the hotel and the valet, which have both refused to accept responsibility. The damage the incident caused was worth an estimate of HK$2.58m, which I’ll admit is an appalling mess.

The rear-wheel-drive Gallardo, named after a type of fighting bull, is capable of a top speed of around 321 km/h and has an engine packing more than 550 brake horsepower.

It sells in Europe for around $250,000 but import duties on supercars normally double their sale price in India – not enough to deter New Delhi’s growing band of millionaires.

The valet was taken to hospital for treatment for head injuries but was discharged the same day. The hotel said he was currently off work.

“We have given him leave until such time that he recovers psychologically and till the time that the insurance claim and other processes clear through,” the spokeswoman said.

“We may not put him back on valet. We will give him time because he may get nervous initially,” she added.

I’ll throw in a couple of thoughts:

  • Admittedly the more expensive the car is (which usually means it’s a more stylish car like a Lamborghini or a Ferrari), the harder it is to drive, so you can’t really blame the valet for actually crashing it.
  • The biggest problem is that the hotel and the valet are refusing responsibility for the crash. I mean, even offering a partial refund is better than defending yourself if, after all, it is the valet’s fault and he must admit it.

Does anyone have any specific thoughts about the incident? It has to be the hotel’s fault, but what do you think they should do? Feel free to share them below.

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