An artwork can make a traveller feel at home. This Valay Shende sculpture of a Mumbai dabbawala lunchbox man is outside 361, sic, the all-day dining at Oberoi Gurgaon – the even-more-so luxury hotel of the Oberoi pair, the side-by-side Oberoi Gurgaon and Trident Gurgaon. The dabbawala is so funny it makes the gal laugh every time she sees it. Hard to imagine that this 202-room hotel celebrates its fourth birthday in April 2015. The $110 million project was so long in coming, while expectation mounted, but now, looking at it, you can see why it was a complicated project.
Looking from the main gate, you see an enormous decorative pool, with a six-floor block at the far end. To get to this block you then drive up through a forest atop a man-made slope, which takes you up to the fifth floor, which is the lobby (get it?). Back at the main entrance, one of the two, two-floor glass boxes that stand as entry sentinels is now Gucci, in big letters – they are still trying to decide which is the best brand for the other ‘box’. They already have all the top brands, anyway, in the retail gallery below the man-made mountain.
Oberoi knows how to welcome (what did I say earlier? Yes, an artwork makes one feel at home, quickly). I am in suite 6120, memorable because I think, in all my experience, that it is the only presidential suite that has a 60-foot private pool cantilevered to the side of the top floor of the building. Let me think further: Grand Hyatt Tokyo‘s presidential suite‘s pool is also outside, but it is not jutting out… I also have a gym, so handy to save time, and plenty of space, and books that include a 570-page tome, The Spirit of Indian Painting, by B.N. Goswamy.
This luxury hotel, like all in the Oberoi portfolio, is masterminded by the Oberoi family, with the help of such ‘adopted family’ stalwarts as the company President, Kapil Chopra. I was having a drink with Kapil Chopra when we heard that the Oberois, in the form of Chairman Biki Oberoi and his son, the COO of the company, Vikram Oberoi, were passing by. Yippee. For them, and only for them, I even went into the Cigar Bar, which is fortunately incredibly well insulated. And then I went on to dinner, to taste the gorgeous Pavilion 2008 Shiraz, from the Chinkara winery in Victoria, Australia, run by the elder Oberoi daughter, Natasha Oberoi.