On September 13, the Ramada Powai Hotel, Mumbai sent out a mass text message that said: “Ramada Powai has been awarded the prestigious international award for being THE FIRST TO SERVE ZERO TRANSFAT FOOD.” Very post-worthy is what I thought so I set out to find out more. Anand Sarode, Director Sales and Marketing said: We haven’t prepared the official press release actually. We didn’t expect anyone to respond to an SMS. We’ll be ready in two days. A week on and, for reasons best known to them, the Ramada Powai Hotel is still hiding the name of the mystery health award and the awarding organisation insisting instead that I come down so that he can show me the restaurant and write about that first. Bizarre? Read the rest and then decide…

The hotel front desk said that they “think” the health award was given by Indian Hospitality – an obscure B2B ezine. Certainly not something I’d call “prestigious” or “international.” Or is everything on the web international by default?! They sent me to the Food and Beverages Manager who forwarded my email questions to Anand Sarode.

So the Director of Sales and Marketing at the Ramada Powai called me and said that he obviously didn’t expect anyone to respond to an SMS. They’re so cheap so they get sent out without any real thought or planning. This award is a big deal for them so he can’t just give the name out over the phone. I told him I didn’t care to get the news from the newspapers to which he said he’d definitely get back to me in 2 days with all the information. He then said I should come down to the hotel, the restaurants and he would “show me around” and let me “taste the food” and I can “write about that.” I reminded him that I’m a blogger and not a newspaper or TV journalist and while a profile might or might not happen, I’m quite keen on the health award post. He promised me: 2 days.

Today was 7 days later: Called him as a follow up. His reply: He was out of town so they didn’t get around to doing the press release. So when can I expect the name? Now? Maybe? Pat comes the reply: But you were supposed to come down and see our restaurant and write about that first. First? Who said anything about first?

So there you have it: What started as an effort to congratulate a major Bombay hotel for focusing on health eating and ended with the realisation that this mystery health award looks like nothing more than a marketing scam. You might see a few inches in the newspapers soon and a fresh page on the Ramada Powai website but that’s about it. Thanks Ramada Powai for all your help.

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