Flying to India has its own surprises but one thing is assured – you are guaranteed a fabulous sleep staying at the ITC Maurya, a Luxury Collection Hotel in New Delhi.
Situated 14 kilometers from the Indira Gandhi International Airport arriving to this landmark property was like a breath of fresh air. In fact, it gave my welcome, “Ma’am, you are so lucky to be here. I can’t tell you how fortunate you are,” new meaning.
On my latest arrival to India’s capital city the dark clouds lifted as soon as I made my way to the hotel’s reception. It turns out a heavy dust storm, the worst seen in recent history lashed wind shear of 109/kmph diverting nearly 70 flights, the highest recorded in 10 years.
But there was the tried and true ITC Maurya, a Luxury Collection brand hotel fixture since opening in 1978, standing as a testament to time, unhinged by the headlines featuring the violent wind storm that swept through the capital.
As it should be. It has been Obama’s home in Delhi.
The preferred residence to Heads of State, elite sports athletes, corporate czars and American celebrities, it helps the five star property is in the heart of the leafy Embassy Enclave only minutes from the US Embassy. US presidents as recently as President Obama and Bill Clinton have stayed at this 437-room hotel gem. Other notables: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mick Jagger and an A-list of sports legends, Tiger Woods among them.
Highlights of Maurya – This flagship of the ITC Group is one of the greenest hotels in the world. For solo female travelers, the hotel company has a designated women only floor in the Towers Block called the EVA Rooms. One of the hotel’s restaurants Bukhara is arguably the world’s most famous Indian restaurant. It’s been included in New York Times best-selling author Patricia Schultz’s book, 1000 Places To See Before You Die. The hotel company also has one of the rarest collections of contemporary Indian art on display there.
Suite Pluses – Big room category ranges, try five. My ITC One suite was spacious and had butler service. Besides the standard amenities one has come to expect in a luxury suite, the other nice surprise was the bedside sleep bar. Find an eye patch, ear plugs, aromatic organic herb sprays for pillow and room use, as well as an assortment of fresh snack items for a good sleep. These complimentary night aids are regular items at ITC Hotels. The other incredible plus was the access to a boardroom for up to three hours during a guest stay.
Dining – There is an excellent range of award-winning restaurants. The 200 year-old culinary legacy of Dum Pukht has been voted as one of the Best Classic Restaurants in the world by Conde Nast Traveller. The Italian favorite Ottimo is a rooftop restaurant with views of Delhi’s green belt (go for the Sunday brunch there). Tian is an Asian inspired restaurant. At Burkhara arrive hungry and be prepared to dine on northwestern frontier food. It’s hearty fare. Think tandoori, kebabs and slow simmering black lentil dal. No rice and curry here. No cutlery either if not inclined. It’s protein-rich warrior-style. The anchor restaurant, The Pavilion has all-day dining.
ITC Maurya Amenities – To access the outdoor large garden pool styled with sunbeds and cabanas, guests need to walk through the main lobby. While unheated the cool saltwater is refreshing during the hot, sizzling temperatures typical in Delhi. For relaxing massages, the signature Kaya Kalp spa with salon and gym can help with solving the jet lag.
Diversions – On the sustainable and cultural front, the hotel has several on-site tours available. Register at the front desk for the green sustainable luxury hotel walk tour or the hotel art walk tour. Don’t be shy trying New Delhi’s street food either. The hotel has a Foodie Sherpa Trail tour that takes you on a foodie crawl through the backstreets of Old Delhi. Indulge in popular snacks at the longstanding chaat (snack) counter, Natraj Dahi Bhalla Corner in Chandni Chowk arguably the best known tikki and dahi bhalla seller in town, then cap off the foodie fest with dinner at Karim’s, Old Delhi’s most enduring restaurant which celebrated its centenary a few years ago. The tour gets high marks on wellness because the expert guide knows ‘the’ top food stalls so you can avoid the Delhi-Belly.
Overall impression – If it’s the preferred home away from home for US presidents you know this luxury seventies Grand Dame will satisfy even the most choosy traveler.