Surinder Arora is a Punjabi English businessman whose hotel business is believed to make him worth £225 million. He concentrates on hotels near airports, making a specialty of providing rooms for aircrew, and has close links with British Airways and a strong personal interest in aviation In 2009 he was ranked at 388 in The Times list of the richest people in the UK with a net worth of £140 million. In 2013, The Sunday Times Rich List estimated his worth to be £356 million.
Arora was born in the Punjab in 1961 to parents who had been displaced from the India/Pakistan border town of Fazilka and were about to emigrate to the United Kingdom. Arora was left with an aunt and uncle whom he believed to be his parents until he re-joined his real parents in the UK at the age of thirteen. Arora's family had a strong work ethic and he has described his mother as being very ambitious for him.
Arora spent 11 years working as a customer service officer for British Airways. During this time he took private flying lessons, which he paid for by working as a waiter in a hotel he was later to own.
In 1988 Arora became a salesman for the Abbey Life insurance company, becoming a sales manager and achieving a rating as the company's second best salesman after one year.
In 1993 Arora left Abbey Life to develop a "B&B" (Bed and Breakfast) to serve airline staff at Heathrow Airport. The hotel that replaced the B&B won a contract from British Airways in 1999.
In 2004 Arora won the franchise for the upmarket Accor Sofitel brand and bought the 500-bedroom Le Meridien London Gatwick hotel to rebrand as the Sofitel London Gatwick. Sofitel London Heathrow, a £180m 600-bedroom sister hotel was announced in the same year. Today Arora owns hotels that provide a total of over 5500 bedrooms including franchises from Hilton and Holiday Inn.
Arora has a reputation for valuing long-term business relationships. He stresses that he has consistently used the same lawyers and a single bank, the Allied Irish Bank, throughout his career. .
Arora also has a reputation for being extremely people oriented and tends to refer to members of his business as "being like family". Turn over of staff, especially maids, is much lower than the high hotel industry average.
Politics and public life
Arora was a strong public supporter of the Labour Party Tony Blair but against the 2003 Iraq War. . Despite his previous support for the Labour Party he is now a member of the New Enterprise Council, a group of entrepreneurs that advises the Conservative Party on business policy.  He is also a member of the London Skills And Employment Board  and deputy chairman of Wentworth Golf Club.  Arora is married with 2 children and lives in Wentworth, UK.