New Delhi Travel Guide
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Just a week after we reported that the New York Edition would open a year early in 2014, we have more good news: Marriott has announced that it will introduce its Ian Schrager designed Edition in New Delhi within "the next few years."
Despite the Istanbul Edition being the brand's only open hotel (remember, the Waikiki Edition became the Modern Honolulu), you wouldn't know it from all the press and activity of late thanks to its eight properties in the pipeline: London (2013), Miami (2014), New York (2014), Bangkok (2015), Abu Dhabi, Gurgaon, Sanya, and New Delhi.
Back in October, we gave you the scoop on the London Edition, which is supposed to be the brand's big relaunch this year. The Miami Edition, unfortunately, just had its opening date pushed back by a year.
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Aman New Delhi
As of February 1, Aman New Delhi will be rebranded as The Lodhi, leaving the Aman brand behind. You wouldn't expect it perhaps based on the hotel’s exterior, but the nine-story building contains just 31 rooms and eight suites, all in a very contemporary and subdued style. Each room comes with its own private terrace, while suites sprawl out over 1,800 square-feet. A lower structure contains an additional 14 Lodhi suites, and Lodhi Pool suites, with up to three bedrooms, have access to their own private pool (prices for these come with the label "on request").
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It must be very good indeed to be Tom Cruise (your feelings about Scientology aside.) That's because while in India promoting his latest "Mission Impossible" movie, Tom stayed at the country's newest and most expensive hotel, The Leela Palace New Delhi in the city's diplomatic enclave of Chanakyapuri. And of course, he wasn't sleeping in a standard room.
No, Cruise rested his head in the hotel's Maharaja Suite which is billed as a "palace within a palace" and has six rooms, 24-hour butler services, spa rooms, a Jacuzzi, walk-in wardrobe and a private gym. The suite is also equipped with bullet proof glass and a private elevator, making it a Mission Impossible indeed to break into this hotel suite. Oh and the suite also comes with the use of a Rolls Royce Phantom. Some guys have all the luck.
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This is one way to get attention for your hotel opening. The brand new Leela Palace New Delhi Hotel is sending out press releases attesting that it is the "most expensive hotel ever built in India." It's also the first hotel built from the ground up in the city in nearly 30 years.
So naturally, we're dying to know what's inside:
The 11-story, 260-room hotel features some of the city’s largest guest rooms, beginning at 550 square feet in size, dazzling Murano chandeliers from Italy, hand-woven carpets from Turkey and a $5 million collection of traditional and contemporary Indian art....
The 260 guest rooms include 18 spacious suites and the six-room Maharajah Suite, which includes its own private elevator, gym and spa room and use of a chauffeured Rolls-Royce Phantom. All rooms and suites are equipped with Bose iPod docks; Sony high definition LCD TVs with Blu-Ray compatibility; mirror television sets and spa mood lighting in the bathrooms.
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The talking heads may still be yapping about how much President Obama's trip to India is costing, but the locals are loving it, with the ITC Maurya giving the President and First Lady a lavish welcome today.
The hotel not only spruced up its gardens and filled its lobby with flowers for the Obamas' arrival--it also organized a traditional 'Brides of India' ceremonial welcome.
"Insider City" is a promotional service of Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts. In conjunction with their stay, hotel guests receive "off-the-beaten-track" private tours and personal guides to events or attractions. It's Intercontinental's way of bringing a sense of authenticity to the luxury vacation so often criticized for its removal from the less-opulent surrounding urban life.
Those paying a visit to The Grand New Delhi have access to a personal concierge who will guide them on a trip through the streets of New Delhi and into the palaces of the Mughal empire in Old Delhi. Lest they bargain unsupervised, the guide helps visitors navigate through the spice markets.
Back at base camp, guests can unwind from a long day of mingling with the commoners by checking in for a treatment at the hotel's Spa Oasis, which provides therapeutic massages, yoga classes, and meditation techniques.
The hotel is undergoing renovation and the old-style French decor is being dismantled. The new deluxe rooms feature flat screen TVs, a complimentary bottle of wine, as well as mood lighting.
Pat+ has another photo of the yellow mood lighting in the pool along with other great pics from htoels. We are still in shock that a room like that exists in New Delhi, even without the mood lighting.
If you want your hotel photos published, drop 'em in the HotelChatter Flickr Pool. Be sure to include some descriptions too!
We thought our baby bro, Jaunted's nickname for Vikram Chatwal, (Whiskey Vik) was pretty clever but the New India Press has already bestowed a nickname upon the hautel couture hotelier--Turban Cowboy. So from now on Vikram and Turban Cowboy shall be one and the same.
Speaking of India, what hotel does Vikr...er...the Turban Cowboy recommend for travelers? The Imperial in New Delhi. Also a member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts group that TC's hotels belong to, the colonial-style Imperial was built in 1936 with the goal of being the most luxurious hotel in New Delhi. Today, the place still stands as the city's landmark hotel, close to shopping (like India's first Chanel store) and city attractions but secluded from the not-so-pretty city sights.
The rooms and suites are spacious with modern furnishings and amenities, there's about 8 restaurants and 1 bar that serve traditional Indian cuisine, and Italian and French cuisine, along with a fitness center, pool area and a soon-to-be-opened spa center.
However, guest reviews on the place wildly differ from poor to amazing. But even when the reviews are good, you have to remember you're in New Delhi. A guest who took this shot above of the back of the hotel says:
This shot actually makes it look remarkably clean but New Delhi is incredibly polluted. Even inside the foyer of this luxurious hotel you can see the pollution in the air.
What is certain is that the hotel was probably once way past its prime but that the new owners are trying hard to keep its wealthy clientele by hiring friendly and helpful staff and instituting modern hotel services like the business center and the spa. And if it's good enough for the Turban Cowboy, then it's good enough for you.
Image via JonandKelly/Flickr
· Imperial New Delhi reviews [TripAdvisor]
· Vikram Chatwal to miss the inauguration of his Dream Hotel [NewIndPress.com]
· Another case of Whiskey Vik [Jaunted]
There's a big difference between good hotel service and great hotel service. So what is it? It's more than the smiles and remembering your name. After reading a travel blogger's hotel experience at the Radisson in Delhi, we realize that great hotel service means going a lot further. We're very impressed with the following display of service:
As to Radisson Delhi, by default you got the superb service that you can expect from a 5 star hotel. But what impressed us more than anything were two things. The first was that given that my son has food allergies, their kitchen was very willing to prepare special meals for him. Secondly, we were scheduled to leave the day after the London Terror threat story broke, so there were extremely long delays and a lot of confusion at the Delhi airport. When the concierge at the Radisson found out that we were flying out that day, he actually came with us to the airport and basically guided and helped us through the checkpoints, the multiple luggage checks and stayed with us until our bags were completely checked and we were ready to go through security! Just an amazing experience.
This goes above and beyond what we expect and that in itself is what defines great service. Now, if only Delhi weren't so far away.
In reality however, we realize that this is just one account and when going over a larger amount one stumbles over reviews of so-so service and then comes back to the great service. Bottom line is if hotels want to pack a punch they should go the extra mile with us--not necessarily all the way to the airport though.
When we think of summer getaways, we don't usually think of the sweltering heat of New Delhi. But when we caught a glimpse of the Oberoi Hotel New Delhi's pool, we started to reconsider this destination.
The hotel is pushing to get foreign visitors interested this summer, by running the "Exotic Vacation Summer 2006 promotion" with steeply reduced rates. A 12 night stay will give you 7 free nights!
But, before you get too excited, the grand total still amounts to $2900 (which leaves us with about two bucks leftover in which to survive off of street-stand curry). For a little less, an 8 night stay will get you 4 nights free and cost $2300.
Aside from the "free" nights, what else will this chunk of change get us? A deluxe room, transfer from the airport or rail station, and 25% discounts at the spa. We probably won't be able to make it to the spa, but a chance to swim in their pool just may be worth the money. Plus the Oberoi Hotels are known for their high-class luxury. The IndUS Business Journal recently reported on the Oberoi's status:
Nine Oberoi Hotels & Resorts are members of The Leading Small Hotels of the World, a select association of international luxury hotels chosen for their extraordinary levels of guest comfort and service. Additionally, seven Oberoi Hotels are also members of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, a collection of exclusive hotels carefully selected for their style, sophistication and the highest standards of service.
So there we have it, major luxury, great pool, and 4 or more free nights--all for the bargain deal of $2300 and up. Sadly, for this price, we may have to throw the towel in on this one and get our dose of Indian culture at the corner curry take-out stand and eat it at the public pool.
Image via ichimusai/Flickr
· Oberoi targets U.S., plays up summer travel to India [IndUS Business Journal]
· Oberoi New Delhi Hotel Reviews [TripAdvisor]
Er...we mean Hotel Vikram in India.
This 3-star hotel is "centrally located" in Lajpat nagar New Delhi. The hotel serves Indian, Chinese and Continental foods but the guest reviews are not-so-kind:
The staff was quick with check-in, but the floor lobbies & rooms had old carpet, which smelled stale and bad. Plenty of hot running water (which leaked through the standup shower door onto the entire bathroom floor), but bed mattresses were old & lumpy. Wouldn't recommend or stay here again.
Ostensibly, Hotel Vikram is in no way related to our favorite Sikh hotelier, Vikram Chatwal. However, these guys seem to have the smells like ass part down, so maybe Hotel Vikram is closer to the Heir Vikram than we originally anticipated. Especially since his new Night Hotel's black and white decor may have been inspired by the photo above.
Unlike North Korea's leader, President Bush lets everyone know where he will be resting, and makes sure they are up to speed on the latest in safety measures.
India's Hotel Maurya Sheraton and Towers employed sniffer dogs, firemen, security officials, and a bomb squad to safe-check the hotel prior to the President's arrival.
The fire engine's sudden appearance-- with a hydraulic lift and a water tanker of 4,500 liter capacity-- and yet no fire, was the talk of the town. Little did the locals know, that President Bush requires red alert-disaster-prevention prior to any hotel stay.