It’s been a while since I visited the hotel but there are certain pleasing things about the hotel that remind me about the hotel. Believe it or not, one of them is the bathroom. It made me feel like a queen, as did several other elements in this palace-ish kind of hotel (it wasn’t really a palace but is built like it has a royal story behind it).
The façade of a fort sets the ground for the luxury you can expect inside the hotel. And just when you step out of your car, you can add a tad more to your list of expectations as you hear the sound of a gong announcing your arrival. Sounds a little melodramatic but works well to give you a ‘royal feel’. Step in through the huge aluminum doors and you are welcomed into the lobby by a musician, sitting on a daybed, playing sitar.
The interior lives up to the expectations the façade creates. Clive Gray, proprietor and head designer, Randolph Gray Design has visibly followed the brief of “re-imagining traditional Mughal fort” to a tee. So what you see is the resurrection of an imaginary grand old fort, once occupied by a Mughal prince, with modern sensibilities. Mughal influences are noticeable everywhere from symmetry in designs and wide green gardens to division of space. Lobby, for instance, is designed as the Diwan-i-am, where formal and informal meetings were held. The area, called Durbar Hall, offers splendid views of the terrace and fort gardens. Do not miss trying the tea buffet as you spend some ‘me time’ or an engaging conversation session here with friends and family. Cigar lovers will adore Cigar Diwan, an ideal after dinner space. A classic indoor smoking zone with sublime interiors offers you to indulge in bespoke services like customised cigar, cutters and lighters.
The Mughals were patrons of arts, which flourished under their rule. Local artisans have been used to present a contemporary interpretation of Mughal aesthetic. Admiring the design and architecture, as you reach your room, be prepared to be mesmerised a bit more. The 255 guestrooms complement the Mughal influence, firstly with the use of bold colours like rich turquoise and distressed gold. There’s a wooden parrot hanging in one corner, as though paying a tribute to the Mughals’ fondness for the bird. And if four-poster bed, arched doorways and windows with hand-embroidered silk curtains stun you, just wait till you open the seemingly modest timber door opening to the grand bathroom. It reminds me of Turkish hammas. There’s a shower cubicle with a stone bench and next to it is a raised soaker tub with an arched front extending to the ceiling. It’s impressive enough to tempt you to forget everything else and just soak in for the rest of the day!
Food: Zoya is the all-day dining restaurant. Though there are options, you’ll be a tad disappointed if you are expecting a full-fledged Mughal cuisine. Appeasing modern day travellers’ palate, it serves everything from Chinese to European cuisine. The breakfast was my favourite meal here because of a huge variety of delicious cheese. Then, there’s Anjum, basically the lobby louge, where you can sit and enjoy evening tea. (It reminds me of the wonderful Fairmont Palm in Dubai, which was far more superior than this property.)
Recommended for: Wedding or grand social celebrations; luxury getaway from Delhi or a luxury romantic getaway from Delhi.
Tariff: Luxury comes at a cost. The hotel’s website mentions a bed and breakfast package starting from Rs 11000 per night; double occupancy. This includes one night accommodation and full breakfast for two.