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“First night in India”
Review of The Imperial Hotel

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The Imperial Hotel
Ranked #11 of 716 Hotels in New Delhi
Certificate of Excellence
Cheltenham, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
308 reviews
69 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 187 helpful votes
“First night in India”
Reviewed 7 May 2007

I had so been looking forward to the first night of our holiday at this 'grand' hotel. Check-in was efficient and the jasmine perfume wafting through the air-con was impressive. However, by the next morning after breakfast, I could well do without its cloying aroma! Our Heritage room was large and well-furnished with a good dressing area and bathroom. Our first disappointment was when we tried to book a table at the Italian Restaurant and were told there was nothing until 10.30pm. No alternative was offered to us. After venturing out, we returned to find the Brasserie where our meal was OK, but the service was not exactly marvellous. More time should be spent on customer service than on perpetuating the days of the Raj and colonialism.
Breakfast service was generally slow and apart from the freshly-cooked eggs - virtually stone cold.
We did enjoy the art work in the corridors and the luxurious feel of the hotel, but The Imperial seems to be living on a past reputation.

Stayed April 2007
2 Thank TessaPolis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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New York/New Jersey
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 May 2007

Awesome, albeit short stay at the Imperial last summer.

I flew into Delhi for one night last summer en route to Punjab.
This was my first stamp in the passport and I was traveling alone! I booked a heritage room on the hotel website and also arranged for hotel car pickup at the airport. I was extremely nervous about this trip for a lot of reasons but the Imperial really helped me along.

The car service man was exactly where they said he'd be with my name clearly visible. The greeters at the hotel entrance were friendly and helpful with my luggage - and I had a lot! Upon checking in, the staff upgraded me from a heritage room - to a Luxury Suite!! Can you say fabulous!??!!?

I ordered room service - India hasn't mastered the art of the meatless burger - but it was more for curiosity than a fault of their own. I did have to pay for in-room internet but it was wireless and a negligible amount of rupees so no biggie there.

I am headed back to Punjab this summer and will definitely be staying there again. Such a seamless experience!

You really can't go wrong booking this property. Rates are much lower in the summer cause it's extremely hot there at that time but if you're going in the summer and can snag a great rate, def choose the Imperial.

  • Liked — CLEAN, historical, upgrades
  • Stayed July 2006, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
2 Thank Amanda G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boston, Massachusetts
Level 4 Contributor
46 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 April 2007

We finished a seven week trip to India at the Imperial, having stayed at a wide range of accommodations, from small, family run places to opulent hotels like the Imperial and the Lake Palace in Udaipur. We had heard good things about the Imperial from friends and from TripAdvisor, so we decided to finish off our time in india with a splurge.

I did book on the hotel's website, and I believe strongly in full information so on that website, agreed to pay $409 for one night and $509 for another. A quick tip: if you do a search on the website and are flexible in your dates, look at the rate from day to day because it changes considerably.

As I said, we stayed in a few other very nice places in India, including the Lake Palace, Devi Garh (both in Udaipur) and Ananda in the Himalayas. Each of these, in my opinion, were more worth the money than the Imperial. While the Imperial rooms and common spaces are fantastically beautiful, it wasn't an "experience" as much as a beautiful place to stay.

The concierge, as opposed to other reviews, was helpful to me in sending a box of mine to the USA. (I haven't seen the contents of the box so I'm just assuming all my things got there OK.) Although he had promised to get me a tracking number and I had to go back to him to get it.

We ate one lunch and dinner in the hotel restaurants - lunch was quite expensive but decent, dinner at the Spice Route was decent too but nothing spectacular. The service was OK, but not as attentive as you might expect.

Basically, when you book this hotel, you're bound to have really high expectations given the amount you're paying, and generally, it's a fancy hotel but it doesn't blow you away. We stayed at the Taj in Delhi for two nights too at a different point in our stay - it doesn't have the same feel but is plenty luxurious and costs a lot less - about $250 a night, with a much better gym and pool too.

My opinion? Save your money for the once-in-a-lifetime places and have a meal or drink (tea) at the Imperial to see it.

  • Liked — Rooms
  • Disliked — Price
  • Stayed April 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
4 Thank walkaboutnyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Essex, UK
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 April 2007

Arrived early Sunday morning, met at the airport by two very spacious cars(some confusion as we had two rooms, but one was for the kids, only charged for one car). Check in was fast and efficient. Had interconnecting Heritage rooms. These were huge and very well furnished, including large B & O plasma TV with DVD. Large modern bathrooms.

Breakfast was buffet and/or to order, very large airy room, with oudoor terrace. The two main restaurants (one Thai/one Indian) were excellent - note dress code of formal casual which means no shorts, trainers or jeans. Room service was also good.

Swimming pool area was sheltered and clean and service was good, complementary cold water and towels arrived as you sat down. Cocktails were also available.

Big old hotel but perfectly maintained. A taste of colonial times? In the heart of New Delhi with some great little local shops just up the road.

Used hotel car and driver for New Delhi tour, very well informed. Took guide for Old Delhi tour for extra info about fort etc. NB main monuments/museums are closed on Mondays. My favourite visit was Humayan's tomb - a hint of what the Taj Mahal is like - we did this on our own but there are lots of information signs.

  • Liked — Everything
  • Disliked — perhaps the pool area was a bit small for the number of guests?
  • Stayed April 2007, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2 Thank Helen W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Level 3 Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 April 2007

We stayed here 3 different times during March. The hotel and its grounds were a welcome respite from noisy, dirty, New Delhi just outside the wall. The staff was very helpful and friendly. The Heritage rooms on the second floor are bigger and nicer than those on the first floor. Turn down service is to die for! The breakfast buffet is excellent and the waiters are very attentive - we even had breakfast with one of the stars of Desperate Housewives and his partner! The Spice Restaurant is excellent and the ambience is inviting. Even room service was fast and the food was great. We will certainly stay there again.

Stayed March 2007
1 Thank TravelingmommaDC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York, NY
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 April 2007

The Imperial is a royal treat, no doubt. But the hotel mostly has its ambience and decor to flaunt, because after that it is mostly downhill. The hallways remind you of the history of the hotel and its grand heritage, but the standard rooms are cold, uninviting and small. My TV didnt work, but was too busy to bother complaining, but at other times the staff was quite responsive. However, you can forget about getting an iron in the morning rush.

The bathrooms drains need a bit of work. I got two different rooms, but neither had a properly draining shower or sink.

But my biggest complaint is with the food available inside the hotel. The much-advertised Spice Route is quite ordinary, but horrendously expensive. Daniel's Tavern is actually better. But the more casual 1911 restaurant has a menu that is too small to keep your interest for more than a couple of days, and most of the servings are bland, fried or just downright tasteless. However, the breakfast buffet selection is quite good.

  • Stayed December 2006, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
2 Thank ipbsln
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 5 Contributor
72 reviews
59 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 127 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 April 2007

It is with much regret that I write about the serious decline of the service at The Imperial hotel on Janpath. Having stayed here four times in the last four years, for a couple of weeks at a time, it was one of my favourite hotels in the world. Even two years ago, it was still an elegant oasis in the midst of a fabulous, bustling city, with cool corridors, good if pricy food, and a sense of time stood still.

Well, time has definitely stood still, and the staff and management are resting on their laurels. The maitre d’ of the coffee shop restaurant had a stand up row on Saturday 17th March with one of my Indian friends which was both shocking, hostile, and embarrassing; my friends ended up writing a letter of complaint to the hotel manager which, of course, has gone unanswered. The maitre d' a few days later accused me of avoiding him, although he had the grace to confess that he'd been "having a bad day."
At breakfast each morning, staff were slow and ungracious; and they stood around watching whilst the crows in the garden came and stole food off punters’ plates, instead of responding to the cries of many frightened American women to shoo the birds away (I know this bird-problem of old, and eat inside). Most staff, it has to be said, judging by their conversations with each other, had been up all night watching India get thrashed in the World Cup Cricket, which might account for their total lack of customer service.
I had lots of problems with the sound proofing of my bedroom (this is not the hotel for a quiet, uninterrupted night’s sleep), and despite informing house-keeping of my desire for no air-con (a little quirk of mine), every day I would return home from doing voluntary work in psychiatric clinics to find my air-con had been on all day and my room was now an arctic igloo (my room, 339, gets no sun during the day). By Wednesday, I’d had enough, checked out, and asked for the three remaining nights I’d paid for to be reimbursed. At check out, Akhil Arora the duty manager confirmed to me (and on the phone my Delhi-based travel agent) that this money would be reimbursed.

My husband and I are now in protracted email negotiations with the hotel manager who has reneged on this promise to refund us our money. By accident my husband has been copied in on an email from the manager telling his deputy to hush-up the matter. I am shocked that a hotel of this calibre can treat guests, particularly a woman travelling on her own, in such a rude and complacent manner. But I was not alone. I overheard several people at reception complaining about the concierge, and about the poor sound-proofing of the bedrooms.

If the hotel was so wonderful, I might be able to understand the conceit of the staff. But compared to other hotels in Delhi - which offer more lavish buffet breakfasts, interesting social programmes for guests, bigger pools, a spa (at The Imperial, I had to have my foot massage seated upright in the ladies hair salon; the Imperial has been ‘about to build a spa' for the last 3 years), maybe an arcade of local shops if that’s your thing (The Imperial has a newsagent, and a Chanel boutique (!) in the corner of the lobby, and in two years I have never seen anyone go inside), or even a gym (The Imperial’s “gym” is half a dozen pieces of equipment in a converted bedroom) – The Imperial no longer has anything unique or special to offer expect perhaps its location, being close to the railway station, and the shopping areas of Janpath, and Connaught Place – all of which are an inexpensive taxi or tuk-tuk ride away from all the other major hotels.

British friends who used to stay at The Imperial for months at a time when working no longer do so, speaking of a serious decline in standards, as the best staff leave to work in real estate (one of Delhi’s booming industries). The Grand Hyatt, The Oberoi, or the new Shangri-La are now their hotels of choice. Local friends of mine deplore The Imperial’s smugness, and fear that people will think all Indians are like this.

They are not. Try another Delhi hotel, and experience proper Indian hospitality. Don’t be fobbed off with faux-grandeur, and money-grabbing grandiose conceit from the staff at The Imperial.

  • Liked — The cleanliness
  • Disliked — The staff
  • Stayed March 2007, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8 Thank Londona
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
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 Romantic Hotel in New Delhi
#8 Business Hotel in New Delhi
#8 Spa Hotel in New Delhi
#9 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
The Imperial Hotel Delhi
Hotel Imperial
The Imperial New Delhi
Grand Imperial Hotel
The Imperial Palace Hotel

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