What’s it like? This new hotel opened its doors in April, and when you arrive, the first feeling you get is of spaciousness and calm. The lobby and public areas are large and contemporary in style, with high ceilings and plenty of light. Numerous art pieces are on show in the hotel. At the moment only Phase 1 – the main hotel – has opened, with Phase 2 – a second tower – due to open next year. There are currently 150 rooms and suites open, with 287 in total when the next phase opens. The main hotel is situated around an open courtyard with seating and a synchronised fountain set to music and light.
Where is it? South of Delhi, 22km from the airport, which is between 45 minutes and an hour and a quarter’s drive depending on traffic. The city takes a similar amount of time to reach depending on where you want to go, unless you are going to South Delhi, which takes about 30 minutes. The area is home to many engineering businesses.
Room facilities There are two room types, Deluxe (37 sqm) and Claridges (46 sqm), as well as three types of suite – Executive, Deluxe and Presidential. All rooms are similar in style. Some Deluxe rooms (those on the higher floors) are larger, at up to 46 sqm. The Deluxe suites are very large and are essentially Claridges rooms with considerable space for resting, entertaining and working. Within the categories there are different rooms such as Courtyard view, Atrium view (a mid-range hotel next door) and Ridge view. Courtyard rooms are the best because they also overlook a green area of countryside to the front of the hotel. The new tower will have an entry-level category with rooms measuring 33 sqm.
I was staying in a Claridges room overlooking the courtyard. It had an airy feel with cream marble flooring in the bathroom, a lobby area and a walk-in wardrobe containing a safe, slippers, bathrobe and mirror. I was out of my room during turndown service but when I returned I was surprised to see some clothes and a jacket I had left on a chair hanging in the wardrobe. There was also a small piece of chocolate cake left, which was superb and very moist.
The bathroom was large with an oversized bath, separate large rainshower, and two basins built into a black marble and wood unit. The bathroom is separated from the bedroom by a sliding wall. Toiletries are provided by Cornelia.
The bedroom had a large bed with a duvet and both man-made and down pillows. At the foot of the bed was a sofa and table, at which you could sit and watch the 32-inch multimedia television. The TV had many channels from around the world, movies on demand, world radio, a USB port to connect to a computer or MP3 player, as well as internet access and a selection of games. Also in the bedroom was a desk with a lift-up vanity mirror and a drawer containing multi-region power sockets and network plugs. There was also a minibar and tea and coffee-making facilities. The room had a good-sized balcony with chairs, a table and a futon.
Wired and wifi internet access cost Rs 250 (£3) for an hour or Rs 800 (£10) for 24 hours. I had a few problems getting internet access and within ten minutes of calling for help, an engineer was in my room with his own laptop resolving the issue.
Restaurants and bars The hotel is not yet fully open so not all restaurants are in place. At the moment there is one main restaurant – Oasis, on the ground floor. This is an all-day diner with Italian, Chinese and Indian open kitchens. I had a Chinese meal, which was very good, but the menu also offers a wide variety of dishes from pizza and pasta to burgers and fish and chips. Service was swift. Breakfast is served here from 7am for Rs 500 (£7). During the week the restaurant serves à la carte but at the weekend there is a buffet.
The restaurant also has a walk-in wine library which can be hired for functions, but most nights it offers guests free wine tasting with cheese. If you want to compare Indian wines with more established wines, this is your chance without buying a bottle. It also has two private dining areas and an alfresco dining area in the courtyard, where you can eat or drink overlooking the synchronised fountains.
The art lounge is situated close to reception and is open from 9am-9pm for drinks and snacks. In the evening there is live piano music. The Bluebar is open from 6pm-1am serving a variety of drinks, including a range of blue cocktails and grilled vegetable and fruit cocktails. There is also a snack menu of mainly finger food. It is a lively bar with a DJ. All these places are light and spacious and overlook the central courtyard.
The next restaurant to open will be Dhaba on the first floor, sister of the renowned Dhaba restaurant at the Claridges in New Delhi (for a review of this hotel click here).
Business and meeting facilities The business centre is located on the ground floor but was not fully equipped during my visit. It has a small meeting room for six people and a number of Mac workstations. The hotel has a excellent purpose-built suite of meeting rooms, all named after herbs, ranging from a couple of boardrooms for ten people (equipped with video-conferencing facilities), three rooms for up to 50 people, one for 90 people and a ballroom for up to 700 people, with a flexible pre-function and buffet space that can be split into three smaller areas.
Leisure facilities At present there is a small gym with four machines on the sixth floor, but this will be replaced in early 2010 by a large 1,440 sqm spa and gym with Technogym equipment. The swimming pool is open and is next to where the gym will be. It is large with a pool bar and a sunbathing area, where you can lounge under a cabana.
Verdict A modern, spacious hotel with good service. A great place for a meeting or to stay, especially if your meetings are in south Delhi.
How many rooms? There are 150 rooms over six floors, increasing to 287 rooms next year.
Room highlights The space, the rainshower and the interactive TV.
Price Internet rates for a midweek stay in October started from Rs 7948 (£104) for a Deluxe room.
Contact The Claridges, Surajkund, Delhi, NCR; Shooting Range Road, Faridabad; tel +91 129 4190 000; claridges-hotels.com