The Imperial Delhi, an impeccable blend of heritage and modernity

An integral part and witness to the creation of New Delhi, The Imperial Hotel is a true architectural and lifestyle landmark of India’s capital city. The hotel is still owned by descendants of the Late Sardar Bahadur Ranjit Singh, who built the hotel and inaugurated it in 1930. Pandit Nehru, Mahatama Gandhi, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Lord Mountbatten would meet at The Imperial to discuss the partition of India and creation of Pakistan.

The hotel which is a sublime blend of colonian and art deco architecture, has been beautifully preserved and constant renovation and restoration works have ensured time after time its leading position among luxury hotels in Delhi.

Rooms are bright and airy, heigh ceilings instilling a palatial, grand feel. Heritage decor elements such as Persian hand-knotted carpets, Italian marble floors, Burma teak and rosewood furniture are impeccably complemented by the latest modern features such as Bang & Olufsen TV and sound system, high speed internet and individually controlled air-conditioning. Make sure you book a Grand Heritage Room, which is not only grand by size but also features an elegant sitting area, with a couch as well as a larger bathroom fitted with bathtub and separate walk in shower.

Despite a wealth of new hotel openings, The Imperial continues to be Delhi’s hot spot – chic, trendy and elegant at the same time. During my stay, I was impressed with the large number of loyal local customers at the hotel, which frequent the hotel either for an event or to dine at one of the hotel’s fine restaurants. This heightens the ”home feeling” which the hotel excels, as a guest you feel you belong and I think this is the ultimate achievement for a successful luxury hotel. Actually, on all my communications with hotel staff, on arrival, I was met with a warm and genuine ”Welcome home”.

Of the five restaurants of the hotel, my favourite was The Daniell’s Tavern which houses the famous works of Thomas & William Daniells, the uncle and nephew duo, who traveled extensively in India during 1786-1793 and painted its unrivalled scenery. In the process they also discovered the cuisine of India. The restaurant offers Colonial Indian and Continental cuisine complete with a live band and a Bar.

With its museum quality features, The Spice Route Restaurant reflects the journey of spices from the Malabar Coast in Kerala through Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Malaysia, and Indonesia to Thailand
and Vietnam.  From whence came the aromatic gold of the Indies. The restaurant pays homage and  to the painters of Guruvayoor, to the craftsmen of Borbudur and the wats of Kurugehep, now known as Bangkok.

In the busy metropolis of Delhi, whether on a business or leisure trip, The Imperial provides a unique oasis, featuring a beautifully landscaped private garden, a serene pool and a lavish SPA. The SPA was inaugurated this year and provides a wealth of treatments from Ayurvedic, Asian to Western. The SPA is a perfect ending of a day, which can also include a shopping incursion to CHANEL boutique, which the hotel houses. It is the first and to date, the only boutique of the French luxury fashion house.

Oliver Petcu