Sant Singh Chatwal is an Indian American businessman. He is the founder of the Dream Hotel Group and owns several hotels in the United States like The Chatwal, Dream Hotels, Time Hotels, and Unscripted Hotels.
Sant Singh Chatwal was born on Saturday, 18 May 1946 (age 77 years; as of 2023) in Western Punjab in British India. His zodiac sign is Taurus.
Height (approx.): 5′ 7″
Weight (approx.): 65 kg
Hair Colour: Salt and Pepper
Eye Colour: Black
Sant Singh Chatwal belongs to a refugee Sikh family that fled Western Punjab in British India during the Partition of India and settled in Faridkot, Punjab, India, where they became small merchants.
Parents & Siblings
There is not much information about his parents. Sant Singh Chatwal has three sisters and four brothers.
Wife & Children
Sant Singh Chatwal is married to Daman Chatwal. Her father was in the Indian Army. The couple has two sons named Vikram Chatwal and Vivek Chatwal. Vikram Chatwal is a well-known socialite who attracted international attention for his relationship with American actress Lindsay Lohan.
Sant Singh Chatwal follows Sikhism.
At the age of 18, he joined the Indian Armed Forces and served as a fighter pilot on the country’s first aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant. Sant Singh Chatwal left India for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to become a pilot. He started working for the Ethiopia’s commercial airliner. Due to the guidelines, he was asked to take his turban off and cut his hair and beard. He refused to follow the guidelines as he did not want to violate Sikh practices.
Teacher and Restaurant partner
He changed his profession due to the guidelines of commercial airlines and became a teacher in a local public school. During that time he became friends with the owner of the Sangam restaurant in Addis Ababa. He went sick and asked Sant Singh Chatwal to handle his restaurant for a few months. He made a massive profit for the restaurant in those months. Later, the owner asked him to become a partner in his restaurant.
He was a shareholder in Sangam Restaurant in Ethiopia before leaving Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, due to the 1974 revolution. He left with part of his funds to operate a restaurant in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Chatwal started getting involved in the hotel sector in Canada. After a year in 1976, he started making some initial establishments, and in 1979, he launched the first high-dining Indian establishment, Bombay Palace, in Midtown Manhattan.
Soon, Chatwal expanded Bombay Palace and opened eateries in London, Hong Kong, the United States, and Canada before it became a publicly listed corporation. In 1980, he bought a few hotels in Florida, and in 1982, he acquired several properties in New York. In 1986, he owned around 76 restaurants in several countries. In 1990, he suffered the real estate crisis due to which he went bankrupt. By 2006, he had come out of the trap of bankruptcy and become the most significant private hotel operator in the nation’s capital, with 13 hotels and approximately three thousand rooms worth $750 million. In 2001, Sant Singh Chatwal merged all of his properties and the majority of his funds to build Hampshire Hotels & Conventions. Sant Singh Chatwal became a U.S. citizen in 1994. He is the trustee and director of a handful of organizations, including the American India Foundation and the William J. Clinton Foundation. In 2008, Sant Singh Chatwal became a key donor and fundraiser for Hilary Rodham Clinton’s presidential run.
In 2015, the Hampshire Hotels & Resorts rebranded to Dream Hotel Group, featuring 187 guest rooms and suites and other high-end amenities. He is the owner of Hampshire Hotels & Resorts; however, he resigned as the company’s CEO in April 2014 but kept the post of chairman of the hotel. The Times of India In an interview, he talked about this and said,
We’re entering a strategic partnership with the Singapore-based real estate development company Castlewood Group to focus on Asia in a big way and we’re also changing the name and business focus of our group Hampshire Hotels to Dream Hotels, which will now be focussed only on the lifestyle luxury segment with the brands Dream, Time and Unscripted.” The Economic Times
Sant Singh Chatwal pleaded guilty to a straw illegal donor scheme
Sant Singh Chatwal had good relations with Bill Clinton’s family. He was a fundraiser for Hilary Rodham Clinton’s presidential elections in 2008. In April 2014, Sant Chatwal Singh pleaded guilty in Federal District Court in Brooklyn to a straw donor scheme and funnelling more than $180,000 in illegal contributions between 2007 and 2011 to federal candidates, including Clinton. The Economic Times In 2010, due to several legal allegations made against Sant Chatwal, he became the unpopular choice for India’s third-highest civilian honour, Padma Bhushan.
On 26 January 2010, Indian President Pratibha Patil awarded Sant Singh Chatwal the India’s third-highest civilian honour, Padma Bhushan.
- Chatwal has good relations with the former president of the United States Bill Clinton and his family. He has contributed significantly to his presidency bids as well as to many Democratic Party campaigns. He has made trips to India several times to accompany the Clintons.
- In 2015, Sant Singh Chatwal established an educational institution in Delhi to serve impoverished children in the neighbourhood with tuition-free schooling, clothing, food, and medical care on a regular schedule. The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee is in charge of the institute, which includes an auditorium, art displays, a computerized research bookstore, and an art gallery. He revealed the amount of donation in an interview that he made for the institute and said,
I have just made a donation of $1 million to the Sikh Centre for International Studies which is setting up a hi-tech exhibition inside the premises of Delhi’s Rakab Gunj Gurdwara on the holy book of the Sikhs Guru Granth Sahib and Sikhism.”
- Sant Singh Chatwal has strong relations with many prominent personalities like Bill and Hillary Clinton, the steel billionaire Lakshmi Mittal, Barack Obama, and Narendra Modi.
- Vikram Chatwal, son of Sant Singh Chatwal was arrested in 2013 in an attempt to board a plane in April of last year because of his smuggling of marijuana, cocaine, other illicit drugs and prescription medications. He has since spent many days in rehabilitation.
- According to Sant Singh Chatwal, more than 99 per cent of Sikhs appreciate India, whereas only a handful of them favour Khalistan. In an interview, he said that people discussing Khalistan are unfamiliar with Punjab and its culture. Such people are considered in the minority. In September 2023, he complimented Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration and the initiatives done for the Sikh society as a whole, particularly the Kartarpur Corridor’s inauguration in Punjab.
India under the leadership of PM Modi has done a great job. He opened the Kartarpur Corridor for Sikhs. He has done a lot for the Sikhs. We are very proud of what he has done for Sikhs.”
- In 2023, amid the growing Khalistan issues in India and other related countries, Chatwal talked about the issue and said,
There’s hardly anybody who’s supporting Khalistan. There’s some sort of big miscommunication going on…We all Sikhs, everybody, more than 99 percent, we love India. India is our country…Nobody’s interested in Khalistan. I am very clear that there are very, very less people over here supporting Khalistan. I don’t know who’s funding them, they have never been to Punjab. I am proud to be a Sikh. I am in this country for more than 50 years. I am openly saying, there is hardly anybody who’s supporting Khalistan. I am afraid to say the people who are talking about Khalistan, have never been to Punjab. I don’t know what they are thinking about it, they are very less. Whether they are in Canada, or in America, there is no one to support them. Sikhs are in very prominent positions in India.” The Economic Times