Famous faces at Faletti's
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Since 1880 thousands of well-known persons have passed through Falettis’ Hotel. From the great poet Iqbal to the statesman Quaid-e-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, to great sportsmen like Sir Garfield Sobers to legendary jazz musicians like Duke Ellington, to beautiful actresses like Ava Gardner and film heroes like Marlon Brando and Stewart Granger, and in relative recent time the well-known politician Z.A. Bhutto, all of them preferred Falettis’ to any other place.

But then in the colonial era nearly all the Nawabs and Rajas who did not own their own houses, all of them enjoyed the majestic hospitality of Falettis’. Probably the most romance is attached with Ava Gardner, the heroine of the famous film ‘Bowani Junction’, made in 1954 based on the John Masters classic by the same name. She stayed in Room 55, which is now named after her, a luxurious suite fit for a diva of her stature.

But then she was followed by the great film actor Marlon Brando, who came to Lahore in 1967 to enlist Pakistani artistes to a United Nations fund-raising gala.

Probably the most famous resident of this great hotel was the former Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mr. Justice Cornelius, who with his wife moved into the hotel in the early 1980s and stayed there till his death in 1991. His room, Number 2, has now been named after him.

In 1929 the Father of the nation, Muhammad Ali Jinnah stayed in Room 18, when he came to argue the famous case of Ghazi Ilmuddin Shaheed. It is said that in the evenings he would have a black coffee and a cigar in the restaurant before he moved to his room to prepare his case. Today that room is named after this great statesman. In those very days the great poet Allama Iqbal also moved in there for a short period.

Over the last century all the great sportsmen who came to Lahore stayed at the Falettis’. All the Test cricket teams from England, Australia, the West Indies, India, New Zealand and Sri Lanka have stayed here. Great cricketers like Sir Garfield Sobers and other greats all stayed at Falettis’. Then also did the great American basketball wizards ‘the Harlem Globetrotters’ stayed here. They also played a match with the hotel staff in the car park makeshift court. The score, as an old employee recalls, was 110 - 3. Obviously the visitors were kind enough to allow a consolation throw to the manager.

The hotel remained for years the favourite haunt for famous politicians, like the former Pakistani Prime Minister, Mr. Z.A. Bhutto, as well as the great Sindi leader the Pir of Pagero and the Frontier Gandhi Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan. But probably the greatest Indian politician to stay in the Falettis’ was Pandit Nehru, who was to write of his stay: “I have never had such well-brewed tea anywhere”. Pandit Nehru preferred to stay here even though his in-laws, Raja Nirander Nath, had a magnificent house on Lahore’s Waris Road.

During the colonial era invariably all the delegation of top officials and MPs stayed at Falettis’, where in the slow progress towards Independence a lot of ground was covered in the rooms of the hotel. During the bloody riots of 1947 the hotel was a safe haven and remained free from the terrible events that were happening all around.

With the hotel now back to its glory of old, famous faces keep coming to enjoy its unique hospitality. In the glory of famous faces that are no more, the newer ones blend in comfortably, making history as time flies. The constant comfort to all is the hotel famous for its excellence and hospitality.