I love nothing more that pure luxury and nothing defines luxury better than the essence and aura of The Imperial, New Delhi. Stroll through the art laden corridors and you will feel history come alive. On arrival, another world opens up filled with Victorian charm and luxury;Intricate details, space and greenery over seven acres of manicured gardens fashion this royal destination-while you revel in the days of the Raj or seek pleasure on your plate at the award-winning restaurants.
Conceptualized in 1934 by Blomfield The Imperial was inaugurated by Lord Willingdon in 1936. Situated on the prestigious Queensway, now Janpath, The Imperial is a fine confluence of a rich historical past with an awe-inspiring heritage and international appeal. It offers an unique experience embracing history delicately cradled in the comfort of modern conveniences. Indeed, it was in Lutyens’ scheme of things to build the most luxurious Hotel in New Delhi with a unique blend of Victorian, old colonial and a playful dosage of informal art deco.
The style is decidedly eclectic. The gates and the massive, avuncular bronze lions at the entrance are Victorian. In the high-domed Atrium inside, art deco wall panels and wrought iron balconies recall the early 20th century. Lutyens’ design of the Universe, a masterpiece made with 800 pieces of marble, can be noticed all over the Hotel, including in its rich 24-carat gold leaf form that appears on the rotunda in the heart of the lobby.
The pillared verandahs, dining rooms, tea lounges, Royal Ballroom and cool and spacious gardens have played host to some celebrated encounters between the British and Indian aristocracy and gentry. It was here at The Imperial, where you could click your glasses on the same table as Lord Harding or Gandhi, to the war efforts or to the Quit India Movement. Replete with tableware from London, Italian marble floors, Burma teak and rosewood furniture, fountains from Florence, original Daniells and Frasers on the walls and the best of Indian furniture, The Imperial – a unique low-rise structure – creates the aura of an early 19th century English manor.
Daniell’s Tavern at The Imperial comes alive with a brand new look showcasing a Live Kitchen and a menu that revisits India from the eyes of Thomas and William Daniells. This uncle and nephew team came to experience and paint the rich culture and culinary tradition of India’s picturesque locations in 1786, in the midst of colonial era to assist the expanding British Empire. The new menu seeks to define their gastronomic expedition with unique old world specialties from all the cities they visited. With art spread across the restaurant revealing the beautiful journey of Thomas and William Daniell, white hues, dark blue glasses, intricate wood work on the ceiling, together lend an elegant feel.
Cradled in the bosom of Tuscany lies a hilltop town, one of the best – preserved medieval towns, called San Gimignano or ‘the city of beautiful towers’. The Imperial’s Italian specialty restaurant of the same name takes inspiration from this lovely city where vineyards and olive grooves flourish. San Gimignano offers a delectable fare blending the delicate flavours of ingredients that are both procured locally and imported from Italy. In an endeavour to present only the best, San Gimignano sources the finest of balsamic vinegar, cheeses, pasta, risotto and olive oils.
1911 is a landmark year in the history of New Delhi. It was in this year; on December 12, 1911 that King Emperor George V had declared New Delhi as the Capital of India. Given the historical significance 1911 is a celebration of aesthetics with its rich, choicely done up interiors and cuisine that showcases the ‘melting pot’ culture of Delhi and service that is truly a reflection of Imperial India.The Imperial, has for long, had a ‘relationship’ with period art. In fact, 1911 is an ode to this tradition. It is replete with antiquities dating back to the 1911 Durbar and photographs from the colonial era.
Heralded as one of the top ten restaurants in the world and proclaimed to be the only-one-of-its-kind, The Spice Route is poetry in design.The Spice Route has been designed to reflect the journey of spices from the Malabar Coast in Kerala through Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Malaysia, and Indonesia to Thailand and Vietnam.The restaurant is an overwhelming visual depiction of the art and culture that also travelled with the spices through these regions, presented in a folk, religious and cultural fantasy of the Orient. Designed by Rajeev Sethi, the celebrated cultural czar of India, The Spice Route is an architectural marvel that offers a unique dining experience in a distinctively beautiful setting. The Restaurant is completely hand painted with vegetable and flower dyes by mural painters brought in especially from a temple in Guruvayur in Kerala with a tradition dating back to 3000 years. Food is sacred in Asia. A manuscript of Ramayana in ancient Thai displayed with pride in the Restaurant echoes the sentiment.Besides the stunning décor, The Spice Route boasts a menu that ensnares the taste buds of a seasoned food connoisseur. Do try out their new summer menu you will be satiated with the unique and interesting use of mango blended into Asian cuisine.
The Imperial has undergone a major renovation and restoration work in early 2000s under the aegis of Hong Kong based architect Chandu Chhada – an exercise that re-established the splendour of the Hotel as the grandest colonial hotel in Asia. With high ceilings, impeccable décor and equipped with all the facilities and modern conveniences, the 235 rooms and suites, overlooking lush, verdant gardens, bespeak discreet luxury and offer total privacy and serenity. Choicely designed and thoughtfully decorated for the discerning business and leisure guests alike, the distinctive character and charm of the rooms has been achieved by attention to the smallest detail heightened by a warm and personal service by an efficient staff geared to proffer an unparalleled Imperial experience.
A veritable museum with a rare and original collection, The Imperial showcases different forms of art in its rooms, corridors and public areas. Finest 18th and 19th century paintings, lithographs, sculptures and intricately painted murals – all offer a memorable experience to an art aficionado.
The Imperial has a special program “ELIZA”, for single lady travellers. The lady guest under the program gets enrolled for the uniquely designed privileges coupled with the unmatched Imperial experience, the moment she checks in.The Imperial has taken this value added initiative for our esteemed single lady travellers to provide a distinct “stay experience” associated with comfort, convenience and care, prioritizing their safety.The lady guests are allocated rooms in a “Single Lady Corridor” equipped with CCTV cameras and are provided with special In-room check-in facility. Single Lady Corridor consists of 12 Eliza rooms on the third floor and each room has a separate room door camera installed as an additional security feature.
Probably the only authentic ballroom remaining in India with a spring floor that reduces noise levels, the Royal Ballroom evokes the splendour of Lords and Ladies bowing and curtseying, before they swirled across the floor to the strains of the waltz. This is where the distinguished guests amused themselves when the Hotel was opened in 1936 and this is the room where the first grand Ball was held. The vast ballroom today, also, serves as a venue for conferences and events of repute, seating up to 400 guests, auditorium style. Conference facilities also include two mid-size conference halls, namely Emily Eden and Hodges, with a seating capacity, theatre style, for 60 and 30 guests respectively and a Boardroom which can accommodate up to six guests.
You can rejuvenate at their well-equipped Fitness Centre or use the facilities of the amazing The Imperial Spa An oasis of calmness in the hectic rush of modern living. The Imperial, with a fabled antecedent, is an institution of class: quiet, dignified, serene and elegant. It has played host to business barons, royalty, sports stars and eminent people in the limelight.
Called the ‘only’ Garden Hotel of Delhi, The Imperial rests resplendent in beautifully manicured gardens nestled amidst royal palms. The private swimming pool, deep in the shaded grounds of the Hotel, offers a tranquil, rejuvenating experience.The indelible Imperial Experience is geared towards making your visit simply perfect in every possible way. The Imperial is, in itself, a Destination!
For more details check out www.theimperialindia.com