It is difficult to find design that is honestly different. The gal thinks back to the giant half-cloches that are in fact bankette seating in Restaurant Alain Ducasse, at one of Paris’ finest luxury hotels, Plaza-Athenée. Here in Delhi are what look like mini pyramids. Each provides a privacy screen for a heated bed – this is the relaxation room of the about-to-open Vivanta by Taj Dwarka. (Dwarka is at the end of one metro line, at the rear of Delhi international airport: it is one stop, three minutes, from the airport, and less than 20 minutes to downtown.)
Dwarka is one of the growing IT and young achievers’ suburbs. Locals living nearby must be hungry for this hotel, which seems to have no competitors. Everyone will love the 1,000 foot-long building, six floors high, which the Japanese architects have made into one giant sculpture of unique geometric blocks. Similarly, Japanese designers have introduced origami elements to the 250 bedrooms. Ceilings and walls have fan-shaped parts, and a continuous wall line, at varying heights, runs from bedhead, underneath the window and all the way to the opposite wall, to form a long desk.
I visited two Vivantas by Taj that day. From the sensational futurist Dwarka, it is over an hour’s drive to Surajkund, on Shooting Range Road near Tughlakabad Fort. The surroundings here are positively rural – I expected to see wild animals roaming – and there is no metro in sight. There is, however, an adjacent giant office block, with big international brands as tenants: it is owned by the Nanda family, who, via The Claridges Hotels & Resorts, also own the hotel (they ran it themselves until they brought in Taj, as management, in 2013).
Outside the mughal-looking building is a line of fountains. And in the vast lobby of this somewhat unusual luxury hotel there is a water feature that, at night, turns into a candle-lit celebration. Why is this hotel unusual? Dear reader, you are about to find out.