India Travel Guide
Let's all say "namaste" to Tune Ahmedabad, the first-ever Tune Hotel for India. Located in the "Science City", the hotel officially welcomed its first guests but not before hosting a colorful ceremony blessing the new building with flowers and other offerings.
Keeping with the Tune model of pay-for-what-you-use, a Comfort Package is available now for about an extra $9, which gives a full 24-hours of wifi, TV, and air conditioning access. If you're looking to dive into some vindaloo to start your day, for just over $3 you can tuck into breakfast in the lobby's XO Cafe.
The hotel is perfect for travelers looking to save a few rupees and still get a full Indian experience with some shopping and sport. Along with being annexed to the city's newly developed 4D Square Shopping Mall, Tune is also a short walk to the local cricket stadium, after all this is 'cricket country'. (the sport, not the insect)
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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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We’re used to seeing fab hotels open the world over (and don’t get us wrong –- there’s still a thrill with every one) but not many can boast being blessed during their opening by the Buddhist spiritual leader and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Well, the Kempinski Ambience Hotel Delhi can make that claim for their newly-opened modern property in east Delhi's Shahdara district.
Literally meaning “door of kings” in Urdu, Shahdara is on the banks of the Yamuna River and was established in the 16th century. It’s the second oldest locality of Delhi after Chandni Chowk and is home to the popular Chhota Bazaar, the second oldest and one of the busiest markets in the city known for its spicy street food, if you dare to try it. Many attractions are found nearby including the Akshardham Temple, the Buddh International Circuit F1 Grand Prix Track, and the National Gallery of Modern Art.
The hotel has a substantial 480 rooms and suites in two towers that are connected by a sky bridge. Each tower has a dedicated entrance, pre-lobby, main lobby ('cause you can never have too many lobbies), concierge and fitness center. Décor is a calming up-to-the minute palette of greys, browns and whites with shocks of color thrown in for good measure.
Our resident celebrity hotel hopper, Josh Flagg, star of Bravo's Million Dollar Listing recently completed a trip to India. One of the stops on his luxury hotel itinerary? The Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai which has rebounded incredibly well after 2010's terrorist attack. Here's his elevator review of the place:
If the English dictionary had one picture to describe the word sophistication, The Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai would be upfront and center. Few hotels in the world really hit that nail on the head. The George V in Paris, The St. Regis in New York, The Peninsula Hong Kong all have it down, and now that I have stayed in the Taj Mumbai, I realize why it has stood the test of time.
Our resident celebrity hotel hopper, Josh Flagg, star of Bravo's Million Dollar Listing recently completed a trip to India. And of course, there were amazing views from his hotel rooms. Here's one of them:
By far, one of the most beautiful pools I have been to was found at The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra. The hotel also boasts one of the best views I have ever seen... That of the Taj Mahal. Every room looks out onto the pool, grounds and the magnificent Taj Mahal. Watching the sun rise and set from your room is one of those moments you have to experience in your life. Eat in the Indian restaurant for a wonderful experience.
Rates at the Oberoi start at 34,000 Indian rupees a night or about $640 USD. If you want to travel like Josh, you better get to selling some luxury real estate in Beverly Hills then!
We thought we'd covered it all when it came to the Swissôtels brand. Apparently not. Somehow the snuck in and added another hotel to their ever increasing portfolio and will be opening a resort hotel in the popular Indian coastal state of Goa this spring.
Unlike the business-centric aura that the brand is known for, The Swissôtel Goa is definitely aimed at the leisure set, with its location and layout. The town of Calangute is a popular year-round vacation spot in North Goa, just a one hour flight away from Mumbai and Bangalore and two hours from Delhi.
Instead of a regular tower, the 135 guestrooms and suites will be spread out among eight three-level buildings which will be set in a tropical garden filled with lily ponds and a courtyard pool. The lobby and rooms will also be designed using colorful works by the Indian artist Krishna Mehta. This reminds us of the lively patterns seen in the Swissotel Dresden property, which also broke away from the mold (just a bit) and gave some pizzaz to the Swissôtel name.
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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").
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times: being the tallest or highest hotel in the city / country / world is a much coveted label (hello, JW Marriott Marquis Dubai!), and if that means killer views can be had, we’re not complaining.
This time next year, Mumbai will have a new contender for its highest hotel title, when The Aayu Mumbai opens on the top five floors of Kohinoor Square’s Central Tower, the tallest commercial building in the city.
You guys are way too good at this! Here we were thinking we’d pick a more difficult to identify hotel, but no: both in the article comments and on Twitter (@HotelChatter) several of you got it right in no time, so we couldn’t wait until next week for our reveal.
The hotel we were hinting at was Wildflower Hall, an Oberoi resort in the Himalayas. Located in Shimla, in the far northwest of India, with Tibet and Nepal to the (south)east, the hotel sits at an altitude of 8,250 feet (2,500 meters) in 22 acres of forest. Formerly the site of Lord Kitchener’s residence, the current six-story building was constructed after a fire in the early nineties.
Those visiting the Indian city of Jaipur have even more reason to stay a little longer after a tour of Nehru Garden or the countless surrounding palaces and forts. Fairmont has just cut the ribbon on their first property in India and has payed a great deal of respect to the local flare.
The 'Pink City' of Jaipur plays a significant role in creating a luxurious feel anyone walking into the hotel. The design of the 5-star property is borrowed from classic Mughal Dynasty features that speak to the culture's opulence and extravagance. From the rooms to the bathrooms and back to each of the four dining options, the decor is a sensitive re-design of the traditional Mughal palace.
Each of the 255 rooms and suites feature hand-painted artwork and traditional Rajasthani decor. Now it may seem like the luxury might end there, but each shower and bathroom is a whole new world. Over-sized with a grand entryway, they can make any guest feel like Indian royalty, down to the traditional diamond and star patterned floor.
Looks like the old and new worlds are getting along just fine in India where ITC, India’s second-largest hotel chain, has just launched the Grand Chola in Chennai. This new hotel was designed and inspired by the architecture and traditions of the Chola dynasty, Southern India’s greatest maritime power of all time (interesting considering the hotel isn't on the water).
Towering columns and stairways, granite carvings and vast spaces are meant to make visitors feel like they’re in the presence of something bigger than themselves. It's a place that embraces the cultural traditions of the region’s past and sets out to transport guests back to a time where size and grandeur was a direct indication of wealth and power. The dramatic staircase at the entrance seems to scream "cash money millionaires", no?
Perhaps best known for its historic Canadian hotels like the Royal York in Toronto, The Plaza in New York and Savoy in London, there are a number far-flung places where you can find Fairmont as well, including the Fairmont Norfolk in Nairobi, or the Fairmont Zimbali in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
And from next month, it's adding a 255-room hotel in Jaipur, the capital of the Indian state of Rajasthan, southwest of New Delhi. Dubbed "the Pink City", Jaipur is a planned urban development dating back to 1727, and particularly famous for its architecture, with a number of spectacular forts and palaces that remain today. Its nickname originates from a visit by the Prince of Wales in 1876, for which the city was painted pink in celebration (no, really).