This week, we publish a series of posts from Caroline, who reminisces fondly on her time in India. First stop: New Delhi.
For most of my adult life I had longed to visit India but my other half was less keen. I was therefore rendered speechless when I opened my Christmas present a few years ago and discovered that he had booked a fantastic holiday in India, staying in some of the best hotels in the world.
I could hardly wait to have our jabs, stock up on every pill known to man, wonder how I would cope with having a butler unpacking our cases (should I for instance rush out and buy new undies….) and fly off to the destination of my dreams.
Richard had decided to book Oberoi hotels throughout, after a marvellous experience on the Oberoi Zahra, cruising down the Nile a few years earlier, and we were not disappointed by his choice.
It is with good reason that the Oberoi hotels win award after award. In fact when, in the wake of the terrorist attacks in India, I read that many of the Oberoi employees had risked their own lives helping guests, even in some cases shielding their clients from the gunmen’s bullets, it saddened me greatly but barely surprised me.
Although we had not yet been to India, I knew from our Egyptian experience that Oberoi staff were very special people.
Our first two nights were spent in the Oberoi in New Delhi. Security at the hotel gates was stringent both for vehicle and passengers but it was all done with a smile and much bowing. Formalities for checking in were carried out quickly and efficiently in our lovely room, mindful of the late hour.
Our first morning was spent relaxing, first of all enjoying a leisurely buffet breakfast with an excellent array of both Indian and European dishes, including, rather bizarrely, one of the best honey roast gammons I have ever tasted!
We then retired to the pool to continue recovering from our jet lag. We had no sooner sat down when a pool attendant appeared with a bottle of sun screen, four bottles of water, two ice cold flannels and a buzzer with which to attract his attention, should we need anything.
In the afternoon we visited the Jamil Masjid and the Red Fort as well as the souks, where everything from tinsel to gold and from saris to curry was being sold.
The whole afternoon was fascinating (not just the historic sites but also the signs saying that I could have my blood, sputum, urine and stools tested for just a few rupees!) but given the lack of sleep the night before combined with the heat, it was a welcome relief to escape the sensory onslaught and return to our oasis of calm for pre-dinner drinks and dinner.
The Oberoi is popular both with business travellers who are well catered for and those on holiday. With its exclusive shops, spa, gym and excellent restaurants there really is something for everyone – even private cookery classes should you be missing your kitchen at home!
There is only one slight downside (which became more apparent as our trip went on and we were wowed by some of the other beautiful hotels that we stayed in), and that is the 1960s architecture. That said, the interiors are tastefully decorated and you don’t tend to sit outside the hotel looking at its exterior!
Our next stop was to be Agra, home of the Taj Mahal, but first we had to escape Delhi’s traffic!
Part two of this week’s India special on leedsfoodie.co.uk will be published tomorrow morning!
Categories: Hotel Reviews - Asia