In part two of our series on making the most of your business trip to New Delhi, Carolyn O’Donnell introduces us to the top 5 hotels for business travelers in India’s Capital
- The Imperial
The Grande Dame of Delhi hotels has the charm (and large rooms) of a hotel constructed in 1936. But the spa, shopping and restaurants are graciously modern. More importantly, its semi-separate business complex, which opened October 2011, has the latest technology, support staff and a choice of meeting rooms ranging from intimate four-seater to space for 20 overlooking the pool. Charles Korth, Director of the Business Center, was imported from Las Vegas where he managed hotel business facilities for a total of 6,000 rooms. Now he looks after The Imperial’s clients in addition to providing Indian office space for companies such as GE and UBS. “Clients like being associated with the Imperial,” Mr Korth said. “When they come here, my services are theirs.”
- The Leela Palace
Surrounded by embassies in the exclusive diplomatic enclave of Chanakyapuri, the Leela is a new addition to Delhi’s hotels, having opened just 18 months ago. With a lofty atrium full of colonial gold embellishments and Murano glass, the Leela sets out to impress. Amongst its restaurants are two statement eateries for wooing contacts, with bold contemporary decor in Japanese Megu, and an Asian incarnation of the timeless New York institution where Truman Capote dined with his “swans” with award-winning Le Cirque. It has a business centre, along with the self-contained Royal Club, which features its own reception, meeting and entertaining facilities. The rooftop pool area offers 360-degree views of the consular area.
- Hyatt Regency
Many guests here are business travelers on a tight schedule who never go into central Delhi, and find this hotel, within 15-20 minutes of the airport, and a short distance from the embassy district and business area of Bhikaji Cama, a convenient base. With five restaurants including the award-winning China Kitchen, and leisure facilities to keep family members happy, this was the first Hyatt in India and a flagship for the brand. Wifi is free across the hotel to satisfy business travelers’ need to stay connected, and service is efficient. There is a Business Center, along with Regency Club Lounge floors where rooms also come with access to Club Lounge facilities including snacks, meeting rooms and secretarial services.
- The Taj Mahal Hotel
Not the newest or flashiest, but it has a solid track record for service. At 34 years of age it was a pioneer in Indian luxury hospitality and can count Hillary Clinton, Tony Blair and Lady Gaga amongst its guests although up to 80% of its clientele are business travelers. It’s close to the business and retail center of Connaught Place, and is walking distance from Khan Market, which offers arguably the city’s best shopping and cafes. The hotel’s Japanese restaurant, Wasabi, is popular, there are the benefits of The Taj Club, and The Chambers on the highest floor offers exclusive hospitality and meeting rooms for residents and their guests.
- The Oberoi
Less central but right next to The Delhi Golf Club, this hotel is glossy contemporary luxe inside a prosaic exterior. There is a business center downstairs (near the pool) with meeting rooms and a “library”. There is a receptionist and secretarial services can be provided. It offers everything you would expect from this brand, although one business traveler I spoke to said she found the hotel rather noisy – it is also right next to a large intersection.
Once a comedy critic and features writer, Carolyn now focuses her attention on travel writing. She uses her talent for frequently being hot, dirty and itchy to find the entertainment and instructional value of being acutely uncomfortable for the benefit of the journeying multitudes.