The Oberoi, New Delhi

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Signs proclaim: ‘The Icon Returns’. They’re right. For half-a-century, The Oberoi, reopened after a two-year refurbishment, has had an unassailable reputation as a great Indian hotel. Buzzing with the capital’s elite, it now also promises global-standard clean air: an added inducement in this pollution-plagued city.

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Location

Set in more than five acres of land, with attractive gardens, it’s off a busy road in one of Delhi’s most fashionable areas, though traffic noise doesn’t impinge. Many rooms overlook the densely wooded greens of Delhi Golf Course; others have fine views of Humayun’s Tomb, one of the city’s prime attractions. On a traffic-light day, Connaught Place, the city’s central hub, is 10 minutes’ drive away, and the delightful Lodhi Gardens are just down the road.

Style & character

Refurbishment has added to the hotel’s already luxurious feel (barely hinted at by the starkly functional Sixties concrete exterior). The new look is said to be influenced by Sir Edwin Lutyens’ designs for New Delhi – which might have raised a quizzical Lutyens eyebrow. Sleek glamour is the key, with an epically big marble lobby humanised by Indian antiques and contemporary artwork.

The Oberoi, New Delhi via Travel + Leisure

Service & facilities

The elegant staff are trained to within an inch of their lives and are impeccably helpful and attentive, greeting guests by name. The spa has six treatment rooms, with holistic massage and aromatherapy (I resisted the Ultimate La Prairie Signature Gentlemen Facial) and there are indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a ballroom and a business centre with meeting rooms.

Cool jazz plays in the cigar lounge, where regular smokers can have their own cigar lockers. The clean air comes courtesy of advanced air filters.

  • Bar
  • Fitness centre
  • Laundry
  • Parking
  • Pool
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Sauna
  • Spa
  • Steam room/hammam
  • Wi-Fi

Rooms

The 220 generously-sized rooms (including 34 suites) have huge picture windows, desks, armchairs, iPad docking stations, televisions and Nespresso. Room 706 (not a standard room) has a marble bathroom that can be made almost floodlight-bright and features a small TV screen set into the mirror: best avoided while shaving.

The Oberoi, New Delhi via Business Insider

Luxury and comfort are neatly combined, with the higher floors giving bird’s eye views of wheeling black kites. An iPad controls everything from curtain-opening to “Prayer direction” (it points you towards Mecca).

Food & drink

There are three restaurants, generally packed with the Delhi beau monde in designer black. The fine-dining Omya (it means “beautiful”) has outstanding ‘contemporary Indian’ menus created by London-based Alfred Prasad, the youngest Indian chef with a Michelin star.

Another Michelin-starred chef, Andrew Wong (of London’s A. Wong restaurant) supervises Baoshuan, the rooftop Chinese restaurant, and there’s excellent international cuisine at the rightly popular threesixty°. Lavish buffet breakfasts are served here, with a choice of 11 teas. “May I suggest an Indian breakfast?” asks a waiter. “Make some memories.” There’s also a rooftop bar with fine views and music (until 4am on Friday and Saturday nights).

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