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“Smiles of honesty or pure greed?”
Review of The Imperial Hotel

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The Imperial Hotel
Ranked #10 of 716 Hotels in New Delhi
Certificate of Excellence
Europe
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Smiles of honesty or pure greed?”
Reviewed 20 July 2008

The location of the Imperial is excellent if your interest lies in exploring Delhi which was one of my main reasons for staying here.

As I like hotels that stand out from the norm, the Imperial did not disappoint as it is like walking inside a museum. Everything is spotless and the staff does their utmost to keep the place in shape.

With the exception of eating at 1910, which was so so, I only had the breakfast buffet in the hotel. Compared to other hotels I have staid at in India the breakfast was great, however in comparison with breakfasts in standard hotels in many European countries such as Sweden, it was nothing special. As someone who eats sandwiches for breakfast, the choice was not too good eg. regarding different kinds of cheese.

When it comes to the service, everyone is indeed smiling and very kind: in some extent, at least for me, though it is rather difficult to be addressed as "Sir" all the time especially as I hardly feel like one.

Some issues regarding service:
In the 1910 bar, I ordered "a pint" of beer which turns out to be a small bottle of 0,33 liter. My question whether "a pint" is not a measurement of volume was brushed aside as the staff claimed that an Indian pint is indeed a small bottle of 0,33 liter. Later on on my bill, however, the cost of a bottle of beer and a pint differed even though I have had the same sort of beer. As the costs seemed to differ on all my visits, I could not make out what I really should have ordered for getting what I call a pint.

However, what irritated me most (I staid at Imperial on two different occassions) was the dishonesty upon check-out regarding what currency my creditcard was to be debited. I was very clear with that I wanted my bill settled in Indian Rupees, as any other transaction currency would lead to higher costs for me. The staff claimed that it was purely a service to present the bill in USD and that the transaction would in reality be in Rupees. Later on, obviously, I checked my bank account and the staff's claim of a simple service turned out to be a lie, as the transaction was conducted in USD. Upon my second stay, I was told the same thing in the Imperial shop. Consequently, it appears as if the staff either is unaware of the disservice they are doing as I find it hard to believe it is intentional. Upon a stay of a couple of days, the difference in transaction currencies can turn out to be worth 1000-2000 Rupees or equivalent in your own currency. I find this annoying and unworthy behaviour of a five star hotel.

Overall, the Imperial is definetely worth a stay, though my visits there made me wonder whether there was greed rather than honesty behind some of the staffs' smile.

  • Liked — The location and the ambience.
  • Disliked — Dishonesty of certain members of the staff.
  • Stayed July 2008, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank Konkel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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san antonio
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 June 2008

The hotel was lovely. What I was so impressed with was the service. My plane arrived late (2 am) and my prearranged airport transfer (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR WOMEN) was there and waiting. My luggage was lost. My plans ,unfortunately, were to leave on the 6am train to Agra and spend one night there and return back to the Imperial for business meetings the next 3 days. When I returned to the hotel, the man that picked me up at 2am, had returned to the airport and secured my luggage and the hotel had sent my luggage to the room and stored all my clothes in the closet. Outstanding!

  • Liked — Service
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed January 2008, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank colnagogirl339
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, USA
Level Contributor
11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 May 2008

We stayed here at the beginning of a lengthy Indian vacation tour.

The hotel offers the comfortable luxury rooms and good service at a price to be expected for a busy capital. We received excellent food and service during our stay. The service was not as personalised as some of the other (comparable larger) hotels during our stay, but always good and efficient.

The rooms are well appointed, (and with all modern conveniences working- I note this because a couple of other luxury properties had 'glitches' with the A/C, fans, doors etc ). The breakfast experience was a really wonderful preparation before a hot day in the city. The whole hotel is a bit of a museum- but that is part of the attraction for many guests. Business visitors will still be at home here- it was obvious that there were many guests international and domestic alike there on business.

In short, I would certainly return to the Imperial as a tourist or on business.

  • Liked — historic atmosphere
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed April 2008, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank hfl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Madrid, Spain
Level Contributor
68 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 May 2008

Very nice hotel we stayed here in the begining of our tour in india and at the end (spent 3 nights in total) the hotel is fantastic marble floors wonderful jasmine scent our rooms had very comfortable beds the reception staff weren't too friendly but we didn't have to deal with them so much, so no big deal.
The restaurants in this hotel are fantastic we had dinner at the famous spice restaurant (thai) DELICIOUS!!! also at the tuscany and the french food here was absolutely delightful.
They could improve the pool appeareance as it was the only thing of the hotel that didnt have good maintenance..
great location in the middle of the city... good hotel to stay!!!

  • Liked — restaurants
  • Disliked — unfriendly reception
  • Stayed April 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank cocotti
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York
Level Contributor
83 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 96 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 May 2008

This is a great hotel. It has a large very well trained and friendly staff all of whom are at all times impeccably dressed. It is an older hotel but maintenance and renovation have kept it up to date and on par with anything new.

The restaurants are all very good too. I was here a week on business and I ate at them all. Even if you are staying somewhere else go to the Southeast Asian restaurant for delicious food and stunning decor.

All of this is the reason that this hotel may be priced higher than some others but you do get a lot more and in the off season it is a huge bargain.

Delhi can be a tough city with the heat, pollution, beggars and unrelenting rickshaw drivers -- this was my sanctuary. I can find nothing to be critical about!

  • Liked — Great facilities and staff
  • Disliked — Its in Delhi
  • Stayed May 2008, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank FL450
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Scarborough, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
212 reviews
57 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 123 helpful votes
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
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
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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:
#4 Luxury Hotel in New Delhi
#5 Spa Hotel in New Delhi
#7 Romantic Hotel in New Delhi
#8 Business 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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