Delhi proved to be a hub on our six-week trip to India and as we were flying in and out, we stayed at the Pride Plaza hotel on three occasions, as it was a 15-minute drive from the airport.
There are 385 rooms which we found to be identical. As an airport hotel, security was tight with people and bags screened on entry and a key card activated lift. Rooms were a reasonable size with marble floored hall, carpet of brown and maroon squiggles and ‘hotel beige’ décor. However, facilities were good with plug points (which took UK 3 amp) in all the right places and a proper desk and office chair. There was a large wall-mounted TV, useful shelf, chair for reading and an occasional table. The mini bar was stocked with soft drinks and there was a room safe, free wi-fi and air conditioning.
The bathroom was compact but with a large shower and lots of powerful hot water. Toiletries were provided and towels were large and fluffy. Strangely there was floor to ceiling glass pane between the bedroom and bathroom but fortunately there was a blind for the more modest guest.
The view from the room was understandably not inspiring, aside from a swimming pool that looked so out of place amongst all the usual near airport buildings.
The Stallion Bar had happy hour (two for one) from 11am to 8pm along with very moreish spicy crisps which we couldn’t stop eating. It was a comfortable light bar with a range of seating and life size horses with lampshades on their heads – like the ones in the BA business class lounge at Heathrow.
There were two dining options: Oriental Spice (pan Asian) or Café Pride and on our first visit we chose the latter. There was an extensive buffet, but this didn’t start until 7.30pm and as it was only 7pm, we chose from the a la carte. Roy decided on lamb burger with fries and coleslaw and I plumped for an Indian appetiser, Macchi Ka Khaas Tikka, or fish steeped in mustard oil and spiced yoghurt batter only to be told that Indian dishes weren’t available until 7.30pm. So basically, we were in India, but couldn’t have Indian food until 7.30pm – but fish and chips, quesadilla etc., no problem. Having caused a bit of a fuss, the manager came over and said he would sort it out. It was all very good and we splashed out on a bottle of Indian Sula Chenin Blanc for 2,800 rupees (£35) but which had numerous taxes added on – a helpful waiter told us what they all were and said ‘this one’s for the farmers’.
On our other nights, we were later arriving and decided on bar snacks: a platter of lamb kofta, chicken tikka pieces and tikka prawns was excellent especially with the spicy coriander chutney and a chicken quesadilla had plenty of filling.
Breakfasts were slightly manic. One morning disco-style music blared out and big groups dominated. There was an English section, with strange looking bacon and sausage, and around twenty different Indian choices. Trying to order tea was a problem and eggs, which were delivered to the table, proved to be a challenge because the egg chef was hidden away. One morning our table was cleared whilst we were delayed at the buffet despite there being half-full cups of green tea and half-full glasses of juice. None of our breakfasts were a particularly enjoyable experience.
Being an airport hotel, we expected it be to be attuned to visitors’ needs, especially with the rupee crisis in full flow. This was not the case here and staff were very unsympathetic when we attempted to either exchange money or change up large notes.
Checking in and out was often less than slick as because most people stay for just one night, reception is always busy with large groups of differing nationalities.
Altogether the hotel served its purpose well enough. It was one of a large number in the area around the airport now being built, so hopefully more capacity will spread the load and decrease the bottlenecks.