When it comes to opulence, the grand presidential suites of Delhi's top hotels can beat royal palaces hands down. These hotels leave no stone unturned to make the suites a fantasy come true for the guests. Here are a few HT City checked out, just in case you feel like checking in.
Tai Mahal Hotel
The first thing that strikes you as you enter is the colonial feel of this suite.
No wonder, since the three-bedroom grand presidential suite here gets its look from architect Sir Edwin Lutyens' design. There's a certain formality about this suite, but elegance has not come at the cost of comfort. There are plenty of places where you can put your feet up - the plush sofas in the huge living room; the leather-upholstered chairs; or, if you are ready to retire for the night, in the four-poster bed covered in the finest Frette linen.
There's some artwork to admire as you step into the corridor that opens on to the master bedroom on one side and the living-dining area on the other. The drawing room is done up in golden tones complementing the rich brown and red upholstery. One side of the room is dominated by a teak dining table, the other side has the sofas and a fireplace, the latter flanked by two Napoleon chairs.
The main feature of the woodpanelled study, adjacent to the master bedroom, is the walnut desk at which premiers like Tony Blair and Pervez Musharraf must have cracked a deal or two. When tired of making world-changing plans, one can unwind in the mini-gym set into the study alcove. To round off the day there is a Jacuzzi in the bathroom done up in Italian marble.
The Imperial Hotel
As the name suggests, the Imperial reminds you of a bygone era at every turn. The white building, a striking example of British architecture, houses the royal imperial suite, where the past lives in harmony with every mod con you can think of. Exclusive bed linen from Porthault of France, artworks from the collection of Prince Alexis Soltykoff, the antique furniture, and cut-glass table lamps from the Victorian era make this suite something of a treasure chest.
The palette of colours reflects grandeur without being garish in the least. The merger of modernity and tradition is best exemplified in the master bathroom, where an antique washbasin stands near a glass shower cubicle. The master bedroom opens to a terrace overlooking the immaculate hotel lawns. Sultans and film stars, including the original Bond, Sean Connery, have stayed here and enjoyed this view.
ITC Hotel Maurya
The decor here is entirely Indian - mirror-work on raw silk panelling all around the walls; sculpture from the Mauryan times in the suite corridor; art by Husain and Satish Gujral; bright Indian colours like saffron and violet. A folding door divides the living room and the book-filled study, where the sofas and the massage chair are on one side.
The master bedroom is relatively basic, with a four-poster king-size bed and a lounge chair next to it. It's the bathroom where you can soak in luxury Above the bathtub is a feature wall of amethyst, with inlay work depicting a delicate outline of the 'Tree of Life'. The suite has its own wellness centre, a sauna and a steam room. Guests who have laid their weary heads on the pillow include George W Bush and the Sultan of Brunei.
The Oberoi What you see here is neither India nor the Raj. The Oberoi is all about going global, and its presidential suite has modern interiors with a minimalistic approach. The living room could have well been somewhere in New York, done up as per a billionaire's taste. Two clusters of sofas, coffee tables and peg tables and the splendid view of Humayun's tomb lend warmth to this space. The hand-tufted rug on the marble floor and the sheer Thai silk curtains in a neutral champagne tone complete the design detail.
The study, accessible from the master bedroom as well as the living room, has walls clad in pale lime green silk. The master bedroom's main feature is a large bed and a single-seater ottoman, placed near a large window. The private living room is small and cosy with a two-seater silk-upholstered sofa, and a coffee table.
The bathroom, extravagantly done up in marble and wood, has a separate steam and shower stall. There is also a relaxation room adjacent to the bathroom. The most recent high-profile visitor here was the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy - minus the gorgeous Carla Bruni.