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“A bit 'over-the-top'”
Review of The Imperial Hotel

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The Imperial Hotel
Ranked #10 of 713 Hotels in New Delhi
Certificate of Excellence
Scarborough, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
211 reviews
57 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 123 helpful votes
“A bit 'over-the-top'”
Reviewed 5 May 2008

The huge Sikh doorman with an impressive moustache, cream uniform and red turban made an instant impression on us travel-stained tourists, as did the smiling ladies in their identical red uniform-saris who welcomed us as we walked into the lobby. Our senses were assaulted by the abundance of glass, chrome, gilt, lights, multi-coloured marble, deep red roses, white carnations, portraits, landscapes and perfume that is regularly sprayed into the air from discreet white containers as we were guided to our Heritage room, no. 254, from which we had a glimpse of the swimming pool and gardens. The bathroom was huge, with gorgeous Fragonard toiletries. It was pleasant to have a dressing room but disappointing to have been given twin beds. We sleep together at home – why should we want to sleep apart when on holiday; especially one on which we were celebrating our Silver Wedding? We hadn’t been offered a choice and were too tired to try to change rooms. That evening, after a mind-blowing afternoon organised by our tour company, the excellent Audley Travel, we ate in the hotel’s Spice Trade restaurant. It was delightful to sit in the restaurant’s intimate, subtly-lit courtyard, beside the rectangular candle-lit central pool, and dine under the stars, though the Thai food didn’t quite live up to its reputation. The next morning we had a lonely breakfast on the terrace at 5.30am, enjoying a wide selection of prepared fruit, fresh watermelon juice and perfectly cooked scrambled egg & toast. A few days later we returned for another night, and ate in the hotel’s Italian Restaurant, since I was ‘all curried-out’ by then. The food made a pleasant change, but was very ordinary and over-priced. This Heritage Room, no. 57 on the ground floor, was smaller than the previous one but the breakfast we’d ordered in our room for 4.30am arrived right on time and was every bit as good as before. Apart from our welcome, I couldn’t describe the staff as ‘friendly’ but perhaps we didn’t stay long enough to give them a chance. The whole experience was rather ‘over the top’ but very memorable, and was a good introduction to the many contrasts we would meet in India.

  • Liked — The 'over the top' luxury
  • Disliked — The disappointing restaurants
  • Stayed October 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank LesleyScarborough
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Greenleigh
Level Contributor
12 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 April 2008

As my husband and I have been regular visitors to Delhi in the last few years we have had the opportunity to visit the Imperial for meals and drinks on a few occasions and so on our latest trip we decided to stay here for three nights. Like all luxury hotels in Delhi it is very expensive - our special internet rate plus taxes came in at around $AUS 650 a night for a basic room and breakfast. First time travellers to India should be aware that taxes on luxury rooms, food and alcohol can add up to $100 a day to the final bill.
The Imperial really is like a piece of an India gone by - a remnant of the colonial past but one that is beautifully restored and maintained. The main areas of the hotel are glorious and it is lovely to wander the hallways and look at the artworks and photographs. Our room was spacious and very comfortable (bed was the most comfortable I have found in India!) but a little cold - we had to turn the aircon off even though it was 38 degrees outside. We had a room which faced an internal lightwell and so it was generally quiet and no traffic noise just the tinkling of a fountain. On the second night we were awoken at 3am by some noise - probably from the ballroom below us -- but when I told staff the next day they were very keen to resolve this and offerred to move us to another room.
We found the food in the 1911 restaurant to be so so and I agree with other reviewers that the service is a bit below par. I say this as a comparison to the Oberoi in New Delhi where the food and service in the main restaurant are second to none. Another observation I would make is that the staff at the Imperial look uncomfortable and outdated in their liveried uniforms - although I understand they are trying to maintain the period look I think they would be better in more modern, streamlined uniforms without the turbans, etc. We did dine in the Spice Route and really enjoyed our meal. The menu is Thai influenced but with an Indian twist and we recommend the Kerala Lamb curry - delicious. The 1911 restaurant has an interesting dress code and men must wear long pants to dine in the Brasserie or restaurant even when it is 40 degrees. My husband was dressed in smart dress shorts and designer shirt and was asked to sit in the bar area rather than the restaurant because of this and yet the very next day a large group of visitors to the hotel wearing what I would class a very casual, hippy attire were seated in the Brasserie next to us with no problem and then proceeded to smoke - no staff member was game to ask them to leave. A bit annoying!
We found the pool area and service to be good and as it was hot we took the opportunity to have a swim. The general location of the Imperial is great for shopping at the Emporiums and the markets on Janpath where there are good bargins to be found but be warned when you venture outside the gates you are an easy target to taxi drivers, rickshaw drivers and hawkers in general who will tell you all manner of things to convince you to go with them. This can be a little confronting if you have never been to Delhi before but just stick to your guns and walk on by. If you want a local taxi, ask the doorman at the hotel to call one in and he will tell them what you want and will give you a rough idea of the price. You can hire taxis by the hour or by the meter. If you want big, modern malls these now exist in Delhi ie Select City Walk in South Delhi or visit the more traditional shopping areas like Khan Market and South Extension for really good books, clothes, etc.
We enjoyed the experience of staying at the Imperial and would recommend it to friends but if we had to choose we would opt for the Oberoi for the standard of service, the facilities (pools, gym) and the food and location which we would consider to be superior for the same price. Visit the Imperial for afternoon tea or to dine at Spice Route or to look at the artwork but stay at the Oberoi for more slick service.

  • Stayed April 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Travelswithfirstborn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kingsbridge, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
188 reviews
67 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 April 2008

We stayed at The Imperial as part of a personal guided tour of Rajesthan. There is nothing to fault it. The rooms are beautiful, the staff are attentive and the food in all the restaurants is very good. Walking around the corridors is like being in a museum, shiny marble floors and hundreds of pictures showing scenes of old India. Worth a visit even if you're not staying.

Stayed March 2008
Helpful?
Thank juliejV5640SN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, IL
Level Contributor
17 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 April 2008

Stayed for 3 nights on business and the hotel was one of the most comfortable places that I have ever stayed. The staff was attentive and accommodating. They arranged a day trip in a hotel car to the Taj Mahal and took excellent care of us. When I told the concierge that I needed a camera, he immediately sent someone out to get two disposable cameras for us.

The grounds are beatiful and I would best describe the Imperial as an island of comfort in the general craziness that is Delhi.

  • Stayed April 2008, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank Joanneiam1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
England
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 April 2008

Architecturally this is a stunning hotel, with a fabulous art collection. The location was perfect for us as it is one of the few luxury hotels within walking distance of Connaught Place. However our room, alhough beautifully decorated and immaculately clean with a fabulously comfortable bed and a great bathroom, was a bit on the small side compared to other rooms on the same corridor. I presume this is because we booked a "special rate" (which by the time taxes etc were added on, came to around £260 per night anyway). Whilst the breakfast was fabulous I wouldnt bother eating in the hotel restaurants. We tried the 1910 bistro - the food was so-so, the service was shoddy and it was overpriced, albeit in a very nice setting. We also ate in the Spice Route restaurant which is supposedly one of the best restaurants in Asia, although I fail to see how. I had to send my duck back as it was overcooked. It was also the blandest food I ate on my two week trip in India.
The hotel marketing plays on the fact that it is the only garden hotel in Delhi but I didnt find the garden to be anything special. If you spend anytime poolside (the pool is fine but not of the standard I would have expected of a luxury hotel) expect great service from the pool staff if you are a lone female as I was on one occasion. However the next, accompanied by Mr BB we were completely ignored. This brings me on to my major criticism of the hotel - we just did not find the service up to scratch.

  • Liked — Stunning building, decor, location, great bars
  • Disliked — Service, restaurants, small room
  • Stayed March 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank MrsBB1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hawaii
Level Contributor
250 reviews
48 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 April 2008

This lovely hotel is wonderfully situated near all the great government emporiums and cottage industry shopping centers. So if you want to buy handicrafts and shop for the best prices, this hotel location is it. The Imperial has all the touches that make you feel welcome from the candles in the hallways to stunning floral arrangements to rooms with all the amenities. I would return there in a heartbeat. Had a variety of treatments in the beauty salon whose prices were most reasonable. I recommend their pedicures and any kind of massage or facial with Andrea who has been there for 14 years. The hotel's breakfast buffet is top notch. Dinner is a must at The Spice Route. The artwork in the hallways is unrivaled.

  • Liked — Location, service, food, decor
  • Disliked — Had to pay for WiFi
  • Stayed April 2008, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank Globaljoan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington, DC
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviewed 16 April 2008

Beautiful, clean and comfortable hotel. Stayed there for business, but were helpful in arranging site-seeing, etc.

  • Stayed August 2007, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank overseasdc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Imperial Hotel

Property: The Imperial Hotel
Address: 1 Janpath, New Delhi 110001, India
Region: India > National Capital Territory of Delhi > New Delhi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#7 Spa Hotel in New Delhi
#7 Romantic Hotel in New Delhi
#8 Business Hotel in New Delhi
#8 Luxury Hotel in New Delhi
#12 Family Hotel in New Delhi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:5 star — The Imperial Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 233
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Also Known As:
Imperial Hotel New Delhi
Imperial New Delhi
Imperial Hotel Delhi
Grand Imperial Hotel
Hotel Imperial
The Imperial Hotel Delhi
The Imperial Palace Hotel
The Imperial New Delhi

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