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At least three or four times a day someone asks us where should I stay in Bangalore, India... give or take three or four times a day. So maybe the Garden City doesn't make our top ten FAQ but if you ever have reason to visit the Silicon Valley of India and ask us that question, the answer is The Leela Palace.
On a recent business trip we had the pleasure of experiencing a stay at the Leela. The lush grounds and ornate architecture of arches and domes was immediately awe inspiring. There's no need to ask whether this is the real Leela Palace. You just know if there was a real Leela, he lived there.
With rooms starting at $250 per night, is the inside as regal as the out?
"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.
For a while now, there have been reports that the hotel scene in India is getting overheated. But are you ready to pony up $450 a night in New Delhi?
According to an AP article that ran over the weekend, demand for hotel rooms in India has gone from "heavy" to "sold out." This won't come as a shock to anyone who has traveled to underbuilt Bangalore in the past few years, but the problem is now extending to most large cities and tourist centers.
India "immediately needs another 100,000 rooms" -- more than double the current amount -- said Lalit Suri, the chairman and managing director of India's Bharat Hotels. He estimated that would require investment of up to $17.4 billion.
A total of 300 hotel projects have been approved by the government and are in varying stages of development.... Most are likely to be completed in the next three years and should increase capacity by about 75,000 rooms, he said.
Nearly half of the new projects are luxury hotels, and account for about $1.58 billion in investment....
So if you're heading to India expecting to find a bargain--which would normally be logical considering the average earnings here--think again. The average price of a 5-star hotel in India has climbed to $325 a night.
[Photo: Jochen in Singapore]
· Travelers to India's cities scramble for hotel rooms [Sun-Sentinel]
India continues to be the hotspot thanks to Brangelina's recent travels there. Arriving to the curry-country now is Liz Hurley who is set to wed millionaire Arun Nayar (who is half-Indian) there in a Valentine's day wedding.
As if stars like Hugh Grant, Posh and Becks, Sir Elton John, and Pamela Anderson weren't entertainment enough, the wedding will also include camels and elephants because, well, because they can. The ceremony and honeymoon suite will be in the Devigarh Hotel which is more like a principality than a resort. But that doesn't mean the hotel is good enough for Hurley. Nope, she still has to supplement more luxury:
Not content with the hotel's first class reputation for cuisine, she allegedly plans to fly out three specially hired Michelin starred chefs from London to create a series of menus for the wedding. And wary of the notoriously erratic local electricity supply, she is said to have ordered that 'silent generators' be transported from the Indian capital New Delhi - a 14-hour drive away - to ensure the party is not disturbed by Devigarh's own generators, which make a barely audible groan when they re-boot.
We find the need for additional chefs a little curious seeing as the only person who will really be eating at this celebration will most likely be Sir Elton.
Hotels in the area are said to be looking forward to the multi-million dollar deals coming in due to the pre-party and the celebration. We wish them all the best, what with Pam Anderson and Hugh Grant, camels and elephants all under the same roof.
So far this season on Amazing Race, the racers haven't had much time to rest or to luxuriate in any hotels in Asia. Or at least not on-camera.
Last night, the troupe left Vietnam and took off for Chennai, India where their challenge is either to copy a pattern with colored powder made from rice or wrangling a crocodile with the help of some locals.
As usual with these challenges, one is extremely harder than the other but it ain't the croc wresling.The episode ends a little anti-climatically when host Phil tells last-place couple Dave and Mary that this wasn't an elimination round. This just means they will probably get eliminated in the next round.
But onto the hotel scene. We're not even sure we know where Chennai is in India but they do have a Hilton. In fact, the Trident Hilton Chennai is ranked #1 on TripAdvisor as most popular hotel. There's only six reviews but this place has some of the best reviews we've seen about a Hilton practically ever.
Room seemed freshly renovated, with blonde Pergo flooring and newer furniture. Bathroom was older style, but well maintained and with a good supply of large towels. Bed was very comfortable, offering soft sheets and lots of pillows. TV offered several channels (including: CNN, HBO, BBC et al). Most importantly, air conditioning and hot water supply is in perfect working order.
That last bit is some good news because don't you want a hot shower after you hot date with the croc?
For you SPGers, there's also the ITC Hotel Park Sheraton and Towers in town.
Skip on over to Jaunted for the full episode recap.
· Trident Hilton reviews [TripAdvisor]
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.
Nah, not that Eva. She is a nervous wreck somewhere along the Riverwalk in San Antonio. The type of Eva floors we are talkin' about are in India.
'Cuz India is jumpin', jumpin', jumpin'.
Actually it's not really jumpin' but India has become more safer for single ladies to travel to since hotels there have been offering exclusive women-only floors.
The ITC group, which has 66 hotels in 50 Indian destinations designed the floors and rooms with keeping women safe and comfortable in mind.
Seven hotels have currently been outfitted with the 'Eva Floors', as they are called.
At the ITC Grand Central Sheraton and Towers in Mumbai's financial district, there are two "Eva" floors, one for smokers and one for non-smokers. Eva Floor Details Post Break