Taking a trip to the Indian capital any time soon? Then this will give you all your luxury solutions. No? Then this will give you all the luxury-induced reasons. Besides being steeped in history, the city of New Delhi has grown to become synonymous with luxury. After shining for its slew of architectural relics and monuments, it has shadowed, not just other Indian cities but also many global destinations with its umbrella of bars, hotel chains and eateries. It has taken its rich cultural leanings and the requirements of its deep-pocketed populace to turn into a global city, not unlike Abu Dhabi. So after recommending you must-dos at the latter or our top 5 favorite things in Dubai, we’d like to take you on a narrative journey through the best that’s on offer in India’s capital city.
Drinks at The Library, The Leela Palace
Don’t let the name fool you. Or do. This place does come with first-edition books. But it also comes with chesterfield chairs, cigars and a whiskey collection. And a martini list that would stun even 007! Located on the lobby level of The Leela Palace in tony Chanakyapuri, The Library is for the connoisseur indeed, one who takes his/her lounging seriously. Housing the best Burgundies like the Romain Conti, the Riche Bourg or the La Tache that scarcely appear in a bar menu together, to the Last Drop, a rare malt dated 1960 and the Angel on Horseback, a society whiskey whose back label aptly reads “not for swigging, glugging or kicking back,” this place has everything. Besides the stuff for swigging and glugging, that is!
Add to that its, “to see and be seen” status and your weekend is golden. Finished with plush mohair, velvet sofas, teardrop chandeliers and folks in the know, this is the place for chic pubbing and grub-ing, with “grub-ing” standing for crunching Kanikotane or soya flavored rice crispies, homemade Taro chips and Fried Calamari. Catch them on a relaxed day and you might actually notice the ornate woodwork and the vintage stacked book shelves although, that done, keep in mind the rare books are only for looking, not touching. Still, there is always the Rare Cask, a cognac from Remy Martin, 150 years old in a handmade black Baccarat bottle, making up for the literary wounding. The intimate Library Bar extends outdoors in case you choose to nurse that Cigar Smoke Honey Comb Martini in the open and if you want a change of scene (though I highly doubt you would) Megu is just adjacent.
[The Leela Palace]
Dining at Bukhara, ITC Maurya
If, however, your ‘change of scene’ does not involve hand-made tofu, exquisite sushi and sumibi aburiyaki, you can head south for some North West frontier tradition. Popularized all over the world, thanks to the Clintons them selves (yes, the exact same), Bukhara at New Delhi’s ITC Maurya, is a self-confessed ‘must-visit’ on every International visitor’s list. And why wouldn’t it be? It has been voted ‘Best Indian Restaurant’ four years in a row by UK-based ‘Restaurant’ magazine. After all, it serves “succulent tandoori fare, low on oil and high on authenticity.” The food is cooked in clay ovens or tandoor in the traditional style of the Indian North-West Frontier region.
The world-renowned Dal Bukhara is cooked overnight in the traditional Bukhara way, simmering on the tandoor an entire night. Another unique feature in the cuisine is use of prime cuts of meat, marinated with the choicest of spices and skillfully cooked on high heat. And served in an ethnic chamber of sorts, replete with stonewalls hung with carpets and rough-hewn trestle tables, while the floor is dotted with wooden stools even as copper pots and urns hang from the pillars and ceiling. This kind of rustic luxury is hard to find in the capital city. Or anywhere else for that matter! So is the “Presidential Platter,” a selection of delicacies enjoyed by erstwhile President Bill Clinton during a country visit, at Bukhara.
Partying at Pangea, The Ashok
Made famous all over the world by its founder Michael Ault, Pangaea has taken the capital by party storm. Why? Starting from ‘exclusive’ stewards who wait only on you to single malts, wines and champagne that cost an average of Rupees 25,000 ($400 approx.) per bottle, to top DJs from around the world, this place has it all. “I got the idea for India after I realized that many of the regular customers in my Singapore club were Indian billionaires,” said Ault. That perhaps answers your questions about the crowd.
Guests get to enter “into a world of lush decadence, but more importantly, a deep journey into art and history.” The décor makes sure of that. Add to that cocktails made with edible gold and garnished with diamonds, and you have a party à la The Great Gatsby. Where’s the dance floor you say? Every inch is ‘danceable’ at Pangea, table-lining granite podiums included! And speaking of tables, their most coveted one costs 4 lakh rupees ($6,500)!
Getting pampered at Devarana Spa, Dusit Devarana
After throwing that kind of money around, one is bound to end up feeling beat. What do you do then other than pick the perfect spa retreat! That brings us to our current entry, nestled within Dusit Devarana’s eight acres of luscious greens and water bodies. Said to be inspired by the concept of “the garden in heaven”, Devarana Spa provides a relaxing and welcoming atmosphere to revel in premium spa treatments and wellness therapies.
Take for instance, their Devarana signature couple massage or ‘complete rejuvenation’ as they call it, with private yoga session, a day use room and 3-course spa detox cuisine. Or if you’re indulging solo, their most popular package is a 60-minute body massage combined with a choice of private yoga session or foot massage followed by 3 course spa detox cuisine. While the former is priced at $400 (approx.), the latter costs $150.
Staying in the Taj Palace Garden Suite
All that brings us to a close when it comes to what to do in the capital city but it still leaves behind a key question, where are you when you’re not discovering any of these. If you’re any wise, my guess is Taj Palace’s Garden Suite! Because while the hotel itself is an epitome of luxury, this suite takes all those things up a notch when it opens up to a finely manicured garden complete with blooming flora over looking the area’s abundant greens.
With beautifully coordinated deep rich wood paneling and rust colored drapes with hints of Orient for décor, the spacious suite possesses all the serenity of the outside in its own aesthetic appeal. Its walls adorned with tasteful works of art further its sophisticated revelry. Said revelry comes for a price of $520 a night, hardly a price to pay for such a display of Indian hospitality, one that comes surrounded by some of the very best restaurants in the Taj repository.
[Taj Palace Garden Suite]