Rags To Riches: This Is How The Son Of A Tea-Stall Owner Created Billion-Dollar Chain Of Hotels Worldwide!


Every day, we hear rags to riches stories of people who have fought against all odds and created their place in the world. Today’s story is one such man who left everything behind for his dream and worked to make it a reality.

And this rag is now a billionaire and has hotels in all major cities in the world.

In 1946, in Faridkot, Punjab, Sant Singh Chatwal was born to a small tea-stall owner. Even though his family background was not financially stable, Sant’s dreams in life were high. For him, success was earning money, maybe because he saw his family constantly struggling for it.

When Sant was in STD 5, he dreamt of owning a car and wanted to fly high. However, his father could not even afford a bicycle. Despite this Sant was very determined. Through his hard work, he got a private pilot license at the age of 14 and became a pilot at 17.

After working for a few years in the Indian Air Force, Sant left his job as a pilot. He wanted to be successful in his life. He admired Maharaja Faridkot since he was a child and wanted to be like him. Sant migrated to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with his wife, Daman.

He started working there in a local restaurant where the owner left him in-charge for a few months. Sant turned the restaurant into a sprawling business. After recognizing his flair for business, the owner of the restaurant made him understand his talent. After that, Sant worked hard and ran two restaurants serving Indian cuisine. It was a political change in Ethiopia that changed his life forever.

Sant saved his hard-earned money, fled to Canada, and opened a restaurant. His wife supported him throughout his journey. After a few months, he sold his restaurant and moved to New York. He opened his first Bombay restaurant in the States, and went on to expand his empire, which is now called Hampshire Hotels and Resorts. During the course of time, his sons Vikram and Vivek also joined him in the business.

It was the 90s, and Bill Clinton was in White House. The Clinton couple had extensive food habits and an Indian take-out was never too far away. By the late 90s, the Chatwals and Clintons became good friends. Sant supported the Democrats and started making donations for their election campaigns. He became the trustee of William J Clinton Foundation, a charitable foundation organized by President Clinton focusing on global issues of health security, economic development etc. At that time, his Hotel Pasha was going through bankruptcy because of the real estate crisis.