Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Oberoi Delhi

1 Sep 2005 by business traveller
What's it like? First impressions were disappointing. I expected elaborate Indian architecture and the hustle and bustle of Delhi life outside the hotel door. But The Oberoi's dull cream exterior and location on the edge of a road intersection meant there were none of these. Once inside, however, I was won over by the sleek, dark marble and fountain scattered with rose petals. An immaculately dressed doorman, head to toe in white, offered a hearty welcome and helped with my bags, and reception staff were equally obliging, confirming my Air India flight on my behalf. Where is it? New Delhi, the less frenetic part of the city, which was built by British imperialists. It has wide tree-lined avenues, roundabouts and large colonial houses. The hotel is about 30 minutes from the airport and close to the Delhi Golf Club and Humayun's Tomb, a popular sightseeing monument. By taxi or motorised rickshaw it's a few minutes to Connaught Place, the hub of New Delhi with banks, airline offices and businesses. How many rooms? 287 including 144 deluxe rooms, which have DVD players; 16 executive suites, with separate living room and golf course view; eight deluxe suites with separate living/dining room and whirlpool bath; and five presidential suites with views of both the golf course and Humayun's Tomb, a grand living and dining room, small kitchen and whirlpool bath. The top suite is the Curzon Suite, which has a private study and promises the best views in the hotel. Room facilities My room on the sixth floor overlooked a main road. But it was quiet, and sleep was aided by blackout curtains and wooden blinds. Rooms have dial-up wired and broadband wireless internet access and a selection of international power sockets. Wifi is charged at Rs150 (£1.90) for 30 minutes, Rs200 (£2.50) for one hour and Rs800 (£10.15) for 24 hours. Wired access costs Rs225 (£2.85) per 30 minutes. There's also a safe, minibar, satellite TV, tea and coffee-making facilities and a bottle of water by the bed each day. Bathrooms have a large bath/shower and Kama Ayurveda toiletries. Deluxe rooms and suite rates include complimentary breakfast and return airport transfers. Business centre Open 24 hours with internet access, fax and printer. Six meeting rooms can seat 24-80 people in a theatre-style layout and a ballroom large enough for 400 people. Restaurant and bar Threesixty restaurant serves an excellent breakfast spread, including fresh fruit and yoghurt, cereals, freshly baked bread, pastries and cooked food. There's also a choice of Indian cuisine and an a la carte menu of American dishes such as pancakes and waffles. The restaurant overlooks the hotel's beautifully manicured garden and the modern decor is a contrast to the hotel's otherwise traditional lavish interior. For the rest of the day, Threesixty serves international cuisine. Other options are Italian restaurant Travertino, Kandahar, which is only open for dinner and serves North Indian cuisine with live music, or Taipan, which serves Chinese food. The Club Bar has comfortable but dull chairs and sofas in a cheap-looking grey fabric and serves tea and coffee as well as alcohol. For an informal meeting try the lobby, where antique sofas and chairs are arranged on elaborate antique rugs. Leisure facilities The outdoor swimming pool is overlooked by tropical shrubbery inhabited by the odd monkey and bird of prey. Within minutes of sitting down on my lounger I was brought an ice-cold bottle of water, which to my relief didn't appear on my bill. There's a steam room, sauna and gym, which were all empty when I used them. The spa is operated by Banyan Tree and features Thai treatments alongside traditional Indian therapy such as the Ayurvedic massage, which leaves you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. Verdict The Oberoi lives up to its reputation as one of Delhi's top hotels and a Business Traveller Asia-Pacific award winner (2001). There were no signs of the hotel resting on its laurels, with no wear and tear and efficient service throughout. Price Rack rates are from $250 (£138) per night for single occupancy in a standard room, from $300 (£166) for a deluxe room and from $450 (£249) for a suite. Contact The Oberoi, New Delhi, 110003, India, tel +91 11 2436 3030, oberoidelhi.com.   Ginny McGrath
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