Varun is Mr. Luxury Travel. What he doesn't know about private jets, personal butler service and the best of the best isn't worth knowing.
He caught the travel bug from his parents. Every summer while growing up, they used to pack up an estate car and drive round Europe taking in the sights, sounds, smells and hotels.
Varun's journalistic flair and magnetic personality were spotted early on by the BBC, when he was selected from several thousand media hopefuls to join the BBC National News Scheme working on BBC television's Business Breakfast, Working Lunch, World Business, Newsround and Political Units.
After editing a luxury lifestyle magazine for the spa brand Ligne St. Barth - he presented the new television travel series Inside Luxury Travel which was launched in 2006. It now airs in over 160 countries and into over 390 million homes!
Happiness for Varun, is a hip-flask of single malt and a fine cigar on a golf course, accompanied by his pooch Gemima.
How did you get into journalism?
Completely by accident! It was because of a girl...the prettiest girl on campus...who happened to be editor of the university student newspaper. I wanted a date so she set me a challenge - if I got an interview with David Bowie, she would let me take her out to dinner. Bowie was playing in Manchester with his punk band Tin Machine and I begged and got the interview. The rest, as Miss Piggy would say, is "l'histoire".
I was lucky enough to get on the BBC's News Trainee Scheme, and while my colleagues went off to high-brow programmes like Newsnight and Today on Radio 4, I got seconded to Newsround and Newsbeat. It was the best fun of my life...interviewing pop and film stars, very late nights and having a wild time.
How did you get into travel?
As a child, every year we took a major multi-week trip somewhere, usually Europe. I still get a thrill just getting on a plane or taking a road-trip...it's in my blood!
The new series?
Well, we are in the third series now and we have got the right mix of fabulous hotels & resorts and interesting features from amazing locations...we are already looking forward to 2011! I am also enjoying my "Culinary Travels"...food, wine, whisky...and more food! It's great fun!
How do you choose the hotels/resorts?
I do not use the word "luxury" lightly. The hotels and resorts certainly have the official "5-star" status...but they all excel in the service they provide. In the travel industry, service is "king" and the properties featured are the best in the business.
You like animals!
Oh yes! I have a dog (Gemima), 2 kittens (Maisy & Mittens), 2 sheep (Bert & Ernie) and 5 fish at home so when I travel, I always like to film animal feature. I have filmed with dolphins, seals, penguins, kangaroos, orangutans, Tiger Sharks, elephants...oh and a cassowary, which I didn't play with, but was extremely frightened by! My favourite episodes are when I am on safari - naturally!
Notable other features?
Sky-diving, car racing at Circuit de Catalunya, golf, aerobatics, flying in a fighter jet ... and just so much more!
Finally, you seem to love cooking...
I love eating, but even making toast is a feat! I am lucky in that I have cooked with quite a few "Michelin stars" this year...and although I have tried my hand at some of the recipes at home, I can honestly say that I haven't a culinary clue!