Much has been changed in last five years or so and Delhi has evolved as a global metropolis from a set of urban villages. The rajdhani enjoys a unique stature being on the focus of political theatricals, social uprising, economic and commerce hub providing regional and international connections, artists hub, cultural mixed bag, a food lovers paradise, shopper’s dream destination and so on. But what sets apart Delhi from rest of the cities in India are the eclectic blend of high-end urban villages surviving in close-knit relationship with the rising slums, a feature that is so characteristic of bustling Asian cities, the dingy streets of old Delhi, the broad shaded green avenues and remnants of bygone Mughal era that haunt the city everywhere.
Whether you love to spend your days at Old Delhi, streaming your ways through the historic roads and claustrophobic narrow lanes and let yourself soaked in the history of its numerous Quilas, Mosques, Fort and Bazaars or trail your way through the city following Dalrymple’s “City of Djinns” Delhi will keep you enchanted.
For every budget Delhi offers numerous kind of accommodations from guest houses, youth hostels to homestays, havelis, boutique and ultra luxe 4 star hotels Delhi, we outline here some of the highly recommended places to stay at Delhi. The upmarket chic Delhi hotels fills up in no time, so an advanced reservation is absolute necessary plus it will save you from the harrowing touts.
1) Guest Houses, Youth hostels and backpackers den – staying in Delhi on a shoe string budget is difficult, gone are the days when you can book a room for just 100 INR, unless you are willing to compromise on cleanliness, hygiene and safety. Paharganj comes first in the mind, with its dilapidated buildings, narrow unclean streets and rows of hotels and guest houses one after the other, each claiming to offer the best value. Rooms here are usually rated between 800 – 1500 INR and are often dingy without any views. But it gives a sense of community among the backpackers, mutual exchange of India stories, the weird experiences and tales, shoddy scams and like.
Few recommendations are like International youth hostel at Chanakyapuri, Hotel Bloomrooms on Arakshan road, Raj hotel and Ginger yatri nivas by Taj group of hotels.
2) Homestays or B&B – If travel means experiencing the local culture to you, then homestays or B&B are perhaps the best option available to you. Walk into an Indian home, regale in typical Indian hospitality and savour the sumptuous home cooked Indian food. Above all you will get the safety and protection of having stayed with a family, the boarding expenses will be light on your pocket plus the benefit of striking up a friendship with new people. In short a ‘feel of home away from home ‘ and the best way to absorb the local culture, the experience that will leave an indelible mark on your memory.
Some of the recommended ones are – Delhi Bed and breakfast, Saubhag B&B, Thikana, Tree of life. For more recommendations you can check the tripadvisor forum.
3) Boutique Hotels – If you are like me who love to cling to the past than staying in a modern swanky plush hotels, if old colonial bunglaows and Havelis keep you captivated boutique hotels are just the perfect place for you.
Then do consider these options – eye-popping color with eclectic mix of regional decor at Amarya Haveli at Hauz Khas enclave ; Colaba House at leafy Safdarjung enclave which was decked up with generous French white interspersed with warm Indian color palette. Both the boutique hotels are run by the expats. Opulent Visaya run by mother – daughter duo, Amber which is more business like, seeped in Indian tradition with opulence of modernity is Shanti Home at Janakpuri and there are few more options available.
4) Serviced Apartments – These are comparatively new breed of accommodations with rising in service sector, globalization and need to stay in foreign country for long-term, either for work or for pleasure, service apartments provides the best accommodations available to you in terms of value for money, security, feel of home. These apartments are usually fully furnished, equipped with kitchenette /or a modular kitchen, closet space, laundry room, wi -fi enabled and a caretaker and cook to look after the guest. If you are lucky enough and love to indulge yourself in extra luxury, some serviced apartments also comes with private butler and spa.
Do have a look at these options – Leela residences kempinski in Gurgaon with 90 apartment equipped with modular kitchen and spa ; Svelte suites at South Delhi with roof top pools , Ahuja Residency at Golf links ; and Fraser suites at Mayur Vihar.
5) Classic luxury hotels – Where modernity interspersed with age-old traditions, where you can soaked yourself in the ultra luxury suites, remain spellbound by the grandeur and opulence of its architecture, and where business and art intersects.
Some of the all time favourite that stood the test of time are –
Taj Mahal hotel -an ode to Mughal-era with timeless hospitality. prominence of old – world charm complementing with ultra modern amenities and the cuisine that is inspired by culinary innovations.
The Oberoi – a New Delhi icon that reflects the capital city’s spirits, epitomizes the ultimate sophistication with a personal butler service for every guest, most loved place for business travellers. Delhites are however obsessed with its state of the art gourmet store and exquisite cuisines from around the world and its vast patisserrie and delicatessen.
Imperial hotel – this legendary hotel is an art deco jewel in itself, white columns and rococo interiors reminds of colonial past. Its Royal Imperial suites is Asia’s largest luxury suites and are adorned with every imaginable luxuries. However the high point for me, being a women traveler myself is the Eliza suites that caters to the needs of single women traveller along with all the feminine luxuries that it comes attached with it. Not to mention the security camera attached outside the rooms for added safety.
6) New age hotels – There are numerous swanky plush hotels each vying with ultra luxuries, impeccable service and the best cuisines that the country can offer.
Trident Hotels – voted as best business hotels with interesting beige domes and deep blue pools, decked up in contemporary style with resort like ambience.
Shangri-la – an innovative luxury hotel with Asian inspired themes decking up the huge ceilings and the vast and exquisite chandelier is very eye-catching.
The Aman – also known as The Lodhi is luxury resort known for the extravagance, with private plunge pools and Turkish steam baths and enjoys the proximity to Humayun tomb and Lodhi gardens.
Le-Meridian Delhi – Outstanding food though expensive (Eau de Monsoon) , excellent location, fantastic service, most loved venues for event management companies, and disabled friendly not a common trait in Indian hotels.
***Views expressed here are discretely my own.***