Luxury Hotels

INDIA – 5

Of course there’s art in the re-purposed Taj Mahal New Delhi, Taj Mansingh. Above, GM Satyajeet Krishnan shows off one of the pieces in the gallery off the main lobby. And of course there are flowers everywhere. The hotel botox has been, is, all-encompassing and it is obvious that locals approve. They use the hotel, and not just for special occasions – you can always tell an ‘occasion’ place by the way visitors almost tiptoe over the inevitable acres of lobby marble. At Taj Mansingh, by contrast, people entering the main door stride confidently to wherever they are going.

Perhaps they are bound for the recently opened Captain’s Cellar wine bar. As well as 16 wines in two wall-set Cuvinet dispensers – that generously allow as many complimentary tastings as you like – there are 19 other wines by the glass. The two most impressive local wines, by the way, are Fratelli. Ladies who lunch gather here, to chitter-chat and later impress with growing wine knowledge.

Yes, local customers are happy. They love the spa, with its space, and psychedelic and white recovery beds. Members of Chambers Club can make unlimited use of the expansive Precor gym (also used by hotel guests and those opting to rent long-stay apartments).  And employees, all 475 or so of them, seem really happy too.

Goodness, there’s a day-long crèche, with free supervised care for kids up to six years old. After dark, female staff members are given chaperoned transport home. Just as if in a school with integral ‘houses’, all staff are divided into cross-department ‘teams’ and there are lots of competitions, not only on the sports field but in such skills as bedmaking. Thanks to Taj’s corporate partnership with UNESCO, hotel staff also support skills centres in six villages around the country.

Satyajeet Krishnan likes it when all stakeholders are happy,This is his main purpose in this re-purposed hotel.. You should have seen his reaction when he showed off the Maharaja Suite, below. It’s themed for the cute little moustachioed guy who is logo of Air India, now once again a sibling to IHCL’s hotels. The video should bring a BIG smile to everyone’s face.