A lot more than luxury
Vasantha Angamuthu gets an exclusive first peek at Delhi’s newest super-luxury hotel.india Updated: Mar 19, 2009 17:38 IST
With a view of Humayan’s Tomb from most floors in the main wing, a fleet of silver Ambassadors; furniture crafted in Noida and a restaurant whose menu features typical cuisine from the many communities of Delhi, the Capital’s swanky new hotel is as local as you are going to get from a global luxury resort chain.
Aman New Delhi opens its doors next week, revealing a secret that has slowly been rising away from prying eyes over the past two and a half years. Built on the grounds of the former Lodhi Hotel near Golf Links, the new resort is unexpectedly grand, its scale and proportions so vast as to almost mock Delhi’s famed lack of urban space for development. Reaching it is quite the hush-hush affair, there is no grand gate to proclaim that Aman is here and once you’re in, the angled entrance gives no hint of the six acres of prime land on which the Aman New Delhi sprawls.
Its offerings are just as grand — a nine-storey structure with 31 single and eight two-bedroom suites, all of them boasting private plunge pools; a separate five-storey building housing 14 Lodhi suites and seven Lodhi Pool suites that can be booked as one or two bedroom accommodation and seven three-bedroom Lodhi Pool Suites. The suites have the decided charm of personal butlers who will enter the suite via a discreet door to knock out a cup of coffee from the shiny black Italian coffee maker or a gourmet meal if necessary.
Décor in the rooms and suites is modern and muted — handmade rugs, dark wood panels and tradition jaali screens offer privacy on the terraces and exteriors. A glass picture window separates the bathroom and bedroom areas giving you a framed view of the private pool from the bedroom. For guests heading to or from the city’s first seven-star hotel, transport can be had in one of the shiny sliver Ambassadors boasting red leather seats and tortoiseshell dashboards.
The Aman New Delhi, the Group’s third hotel in India, shows off modern interpretation of typical Indian architecture with Jaali-ed screens and endless corridors. The hotel’s list of facilities is impressively long for an inner-city hotel — a 50-metre pool, spa, tennis courts, squash courts, gymnasium, Pilates studio, two restaurants with four eating spaces, reflection pools, rimless pools, banquets and a hair salon with private rooms.
Designed by Australian architect Kerry Hill, the built area of 47,000 square meters is constructed on the border of the plot to open up the center and encourage an impression of a retreat bang in the city center.
General Manager Antony Preston said the Aman Group worked hard to ensure the hotel met the standards set for its properties — that the development be in sync with its location, the use of local materials, labour and filling the hotel with architectural elements that locates it in India.
The entrance has two massive sandstone elephants made in Jaipur and black granite Lotus basins are strewn about the property. Some of the furnishings in the public areas also show off Delhi’s history. At the Aman Lounge and Bar are two Lutyens-style tables — a Lutyens elephant console made to the exact design created by Lutyen but never made and a Lutyens-style round Rosewood table.
Rooms at this super luxury hotel start at $550 a night, going up to $2200 for the three-bedroom suite.
The hotel has two restaurants. The Aman Restaurant’s menu features Indian, Asian and European dishes and French Kaiseki — combing the best of French technique and Japanese artistry — at the Naoki counter.
More impressive is the free-standing Lodhi Restaurant. The entrance level features a floor-to-ceiling window adjacent to a pebble-strewn reflection pool while the upper level shows off a leather floor and silver leaf ceiling. The Lodhi serves Catalonian and Mediterranean cuisines. There is a lower level Tapas Lounge with elevated seating next to an impressively-long wine cellar with its tasting area and cigar humidors.