The gal feels that Leela Palace Delhi has been there forever, but that is the skill of timeless luxury when it comes to hotels. It was opened in March 2011 and quickly gained a following among the Chankyapuri locals, and Delhi – and India’s – movers and shakers. One recent Friday night, for instance, some of the biggest Bollywood names were dining, with top dress designers and other party people, in Le Cirque, the SPIN designed restaurant that is run in partnership with New York’s famous Maccioni family (but being this clever hotel, they always keep two tables free for hotel guests to dine).
This is a hotel that speaks luxury in a big way. When it comes to public areas, there are masses of examples. The lobby has eight, two-floor-high columns and eight full-height trees, and two enormous Murano chandeliers, and everything sparkles and glistens. Feel any fabric and you know it is the richest imaginable. The flowers are redone every morning, before daylight. Up in all the 260 bedrooms, carpets are plush, fabrics feel rich, toothmugs are cut glass and bottles of Evian are in exactly-sized silver holders. Two towel robes, one longer than the other, hang in military precision – there are also two patterned cotton robes, and two pairs of slippers, one towelling, one cotton.
Instead of a plethora of unsuitable books, there was, in Royal Suite 940, exactly one, a new copy of Gunjan Jain’s just-published She Walks, She Leads; Women Who Inspire India. The big linen napkin to go with my fruit is starched and ironed, and rolled in a silver ring – you can see a tour of the suite, and its adjacent terrace and big heated plunge pool, in the video below. The ninth floor has a club lounge, an impressive selection of mostly-wood rooms, but sadly there was no time to check it out on this visit. We dined in Megu, one of my all-time favourites, as it is of many locals (ambassadors have a special hotel card, which helps attract to bring their visiting heads of state).
At Megu on this visit we started, as always, with fresh asparagus lollipops, and went on to seabass carpaccio and then sashimi, and I drank a glass of Stag’s Leap Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Napa. I was with Louis Sailer, author of From Apprentice to CEO: A Complete Guide to the Hospitality Industry, compulsory reading for all those with the passion and will to make it to the top (he picked up his own passion from such greats as Heinz Winkler and Horst Schulze, and from a spell working at sea, on Saga Fjord). He and his family live in the hotel, and even at weekends he is on hand to greet guests, though I managed to be by myself when they opened the gym for me specially early at 5.30 am – yet another sign of a true luxury hotel which just wants to please. Another such sign was when someone miraculously produced a plate of fresh papaya at the copious breakfast buffet in Qube – and of course the linen-lined baskets for toast are silver. Qube, by the way, has the city’s best hamburgers, says Fiona Caulfield’s Love Delhi – black angus patty, with fries and salad. NOW TOUR SUITE 940, BELOW