Tel: 91 11 4363 3333
A quiet moment can be hard to come by in the middle of Delhi, which is why the Aman is such an oasis: The serene six-acre compound, located across the road from the Delhi Golf Course and near the bucolic Lodi Gardens, houses just 69 rooms, in two mid-rise contemporary buildings that, like most things Aman, are design showpieces. Before the Aman New Delhi opened in 2009, Delhi's go-to luxury accommodations had long been the Imperial, but the Aman resort is a class above, from room sizes and amenities to service and dining. Accommodations have a romantic, Asian-modern vibe, with dark burnished wood, stone quarried from northern India, handwoven carpets, jaali screens, and integrated entertainment systems. Many rooms also include a perk previously unheard-of in such a densely packed city: a 161-square-foot plunge pool on a private balcony. The restaurants (Indian, Thai, French, and Spanish tapas) will keep you sated; the library, engaged; and the spa, at peace. But should you wish to explore beyond the gates, the telepathic staff will be happy to arrange a chauffeured ambassador, rickshaw, guide, or whatever else you might desire.Lynn Suhrie
P5 Hauz Khas Enclave
Tel: 91 11 4175 9268
Good mid-range hotels are short on the ground in New Delhi, which is why French owners Alexandre Lieury and Mathieu Chanard decided to open this small boutique property in the Hauz Khas enclave in the south of the city. The Haveli's six rooms are cheerful and homey, each decorated according to a different color scheme and successfully meeting the self-stated aims of intimacy, style, and charm. Despite the hotel's diminutive size, it provides a host of services, including in-room massage, taxi bookings, use of a local cell phone, and a round-the-clock kitchen that serves up substantial breakfasts and dinners. Conveniently situated for the airport, it's a 15-minute walk to the trendy shops and cafés of Hauz Khas village, and a short drive to Delhi's southern sights, such as Qutub Minar. If the Haveli is fully booked, you might want to try Amarya's equally endearing second property, the Amarya Villa in the Safdarjung enclave, just over a mile away.—Vanessa Able
Sujan Singh Park
Tel: 91 11 2463 2600
Run by the Taj group, the Ambassador, near Lodhi Gardens and Humayun's Tomb, is set on well-kept grounds. It lacks the colonial elegance of some of the grander hotels, but the service is excellent. The 88 rooms have modern furnishings. Ask for a "superior" rather than a "standard" guest room: The latter are small, but the "superior" rooms have balconies. Guests may use the health club and pool at the nearby Taj Mahal Hotel (owned by the same group). There is a bar, H20+, a Chinese restaurant, Larry's China, and the diner-like Yellow Brick Road, a sunny all-day coffee shop. The hotel has various small shops selling books, garments, and souvenirs.
Vasant Kunj, Phase II
Nelson Mandela Road
Tel: 91 11 2677 1234
In a city where international flights have a tendency to arrive and depart during the most unsociable hours of the night, deluxe digs with easy access to the airport are a boon. Located in the fancy residential neighborhood of Vasant Kunj, across the road from the sparkling new DLF Promenade Mall, and close to Indira Gandhi International, the Grand may be a good 45-minute taxi ride to the city center, but it's also an excellent high-ender tagged at a competitive price. With enough space to stretch out on the city's outskirts, the hotel has 390 rooms and suites, all decorated in simple modern style and painted in shades of beige and brown. In-house dining options include Italian and pan-Asian restaurants, while the breakfast buffet on the lower level of the expansive lobby is worth getting out of bed for, jet lag notwithstanding.—Vanessa Able
Tel: 91 11 2334 1234
Built in 1936, the Imperial is one of the city's classiest hotels, and such a perfect blend of Victorian and modern styles that one almost expects to see Rudyard Kipling sitting in the lobby, working on his laptop. Inside, the hotel has Italian marble floors, teak and rosewood furniture, and high ceilings. The 231 rooms and suites have all mod cons, including spacious bathrooms. The Deco suites are particularly beautiful. Superb works of art hang in the hotel's corridors and public areas (the resident curator will take you for a tour, if you wish). The hotel's new Imperial Spa is scheduled to open by the end of 2007. The restaurants include the Spice Route, offering incredible southeast Asian food in an unbelievably rococo interior. The hotel is a short walk from Connaught Place, the city's downtown shopping area.
Tel: 91 11 3933 1234
The Leela Palace opened its doors in October 2011 and has quickly established itself as one of the best hotels in the city. On offer here is a virtually flawless package of service and comfort. From a dedicated airport concierge to the hotel's fleet of white BMWs and the cutting-edge iPod-controlled technology in the bedrooms, hardly a trick has been missed. Mother-of-pearl inlay furniture and flowery carpets give the 260 rooms a lavish feel that's counterbalanced by large plasma TVs and original artworks. Depending on your sensibilities, the staff is highly proficient or verging on unctuous; the genuinely useful butler service makes up for the excessively saccharine arrival ceremony. Dining options include the glass-fronted Qube, providing breakfast and lunch buffets with a view on the garden, the Leela's signature Indian restaurant, Jamovar, and the sublime Japanese Megu. But the ace in the pack is Le Cirque, imported from , on the tenth floor.—Vanessa Able
77 Friends Colony (West)
Tel: 91 11 2692 5151
Cloistered within the privileged Friends colony compound and set among verdant, geometric greenery, the Manor offers that rare Delhi luxury: serenity. Inside, the lobby has an Italian mosaic floor and rich wood paneling. There are ten rooms (in four sizes, including one suite), decorated in soothing caramel and beige. All accommodations have en suite bathrooms finished in emerald granite, each with a separate bathtub and shower room. The Manor is a no-smoking zone, except in the Onyx Bar and on the patios, where a crowd gathers day and night. The excellent restaurant, Restaurant 77, makes exquisite Masala Dosas (thin and crispy rice pancakes rolled with spicy potato and served with lentils, curried vegetables and coconut sauce). A refurb of the interior is planned for this year (and a spa and restaurant for 2008), so be prepared for a possible departure from the usual sedate atmosphere.
Dr. Zakir Hussain Marg
Tel: 91 11 2436 3030
One of New Delhi's most elegant hotels, the Oberoi has 279 luxurious rooms and suites. Fine as the accommodations are, they suffer somewhat (and they are not alone in the city in this regard) from being in a building constructed in the 1960s, when men, and not women, still had most of the say about how much space should be allocated to a hotel bathroom. Rooms overlook either the Delhi Golf Course or Humayun's Tomb. They are furnished in contemporary Indian style and have granite bathrooms. The spa has a range of massages, masks, and scrubs, including Chakra head-and-shoulder massage. The most popular of the hotel's several excellent dining alternatives is the fusion restaurant Threesixty°; locals say they come for the sushi but really are there to let the rest of the city know they have arrived. Service at the hotel is excellent but verges on obsequious at times.
15 Parliament Street
Tel: 91 11 2374 3000
At 220 rooms, the Park, centrally located at Connaught Place, is too big to justify its billing of itself as a boutique hotel. And the screen of clear glass beads meandering through the lobby—an attempt at urban chic, Delhi style, by Sir Terence Conran and his makeover team—suggests there's a leaky ceiling rather than being a testament to design genius. Get beyond first impressions, though, and the design whimsy, liveliness, and (not least) the 35-foot bar that ends with a dance floor make this a fun place to stay.
1 Mansingh Road
Tel: 91 11 230 26162
Guests are welcomed with fruit and chocolate at this sandstone block near the President's Estate. The "large and very active lobby" is decorated in white, with Mogul architecture, marble fountains, and gold-colored inlay. House of Ming's dishes range from Cantonese to spicy Szechuan. "It's the best hotel in Delhi."