Luxury Hotels

INDIA – 1

It was not only the full-A350 from London Heathrow to Delhi that was tiring, it was the entire day of departure, with ‘things’ cropping up. On arrival at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi airport, therefore, Girlahead was just a wee bit below par. But that was soon overcome.

First, The Imperial New Delhi can arrange plane-door meeting, which is much to be recommended. Having someone to take one’s carry-on baggage immediately, and escort the one as swiftly as kilometres of shiny marble will allow, is a magnificent welcome. Fortunately the pre-arranged visa worked (warning, India now requires all foreigners to do everything online and unlike most other countries opting for this, Mr Modi’s bureaucrats seem to have made this as difficult as possible).  Through immigration and the baggage hall, another hotel team member waited, to escort to a waiting Mercedes, black with Champagne interiors. At the hotel, elegant ladies in saris waited.  After a nap and a few spoonfuls of granola and blueberries, the spa waited

The Imperial Spa is GORGEOUS, elegance and refinement. In 2011 the Akoi family, owners of the 1931-vintage hotel, literally dug a big hole in some of the eight acres of grounds. The result is a 1,200sq m subterranean space with plenty of skylights to give natural light. Down there it’s all marble, white, with some honey-marble giving a three-D Escher effect along corridors. There’s an impressive gym, with latest Technogym bits, and a yoga studio that used to be a racquets club – this space can, by the way, be turned into After Party Perfection as it is sound-proof. And the spa, with ten enormous treatment suite.

See a corner of one suite, above. Two beds. a double daybed, sauna and steam, changing room… and the central ceiling has an elaborate circular arabesque of thekri work, applied silverwork, also on some vertical wall panels. It’s just so beautiful one has to smile. Ladies in flowing saris, predominantly red and black patterns, waft around the whole public area but the actual treatments were skilfully managed by a succession of ladies in work-like taupe jerkins and trousers. First came a firm back massage that sent Girlahead to sleep. Next came a delicate-touch Skeyndor facial, from Barcelona, that evoked a continuing doze while magic was being manipulated. 150 minutes, total, of such sybaritic post-flight activity was enough, hopefully, to repel jetlage. It was certainly a great start to the return to Incredible India.  See a bit of The Imperial’s garden, below