The Claridges hotel, built in the 1950s, is well situated in New Delhi near the commercial and cultural centres. It’s a three storey, white painted hotel with just over 100 rooms.
Our room (334) was large, with a huge double bed and seating area with sofa, chair and coffee table. It was very well equipped with a safe, plenty of hanging space, tea/coffee making facilities, mini bar with soft drinks and beers, desk with plug points, wall mounted TV and double suitcase rack. Our balcony, with wicker chairs, overlooked the swimming pool.
The marble, modern bathroom was a good size with a powerful, over the bath shower, shaving mirror with light and lots of toiletries.
The all-over Wi-Fi was complimentary, and an English language newspaper was delivered daily.
We arrived in Delhi at lunch time, on Boxing Day on British Airway’s overnight flight from Heathrow, and had planned on spending the afternoon sightseeing nearby. However, having seen the large front lawn, adorned with a huge Christmas tree, and elegant white tables, chairs and parasols, we simply spent the afternoon sat in the warm sun recovering from the flight.
The Aura Vodka Bar was like a night club with dim lights and MTV on screens around the room: but the service was good and most importantly, you could hear yourself talk. Two large Gordons G&T cost £22.
We ate dinner in The Dhaba, which recreated the informal ambience of a typical highway eatery complete with a truck mural, rustic interior and waiters dressed in red and orange Punjabi outfits. Bearing in mind Delhi is often the first stop for tourists, the waiter was most concerned about the spice levels: little did he know he was dealing with a vindaloo girl. After a complementary start of simple sliced onions with a spicy dusting and coriander dip, we shared butter chicken, lamb keema with lamb liver, boiled rice and naan bread stuffed with potato, onion, and spices. Water was served from a carafe into beaten-copper tumblers and the cutlery had matching beaten-copper handles. At just over £60 we thought our meal was expensive bearing in mind we only had two small Kingfisher beers.
We also ate in Pickwicks and, although there was an appetizing looking buffet (£18), we chose vegetable curry and mutton biryani from the a la carte menu. As we had to wait a while, the waiter kindly brought us a couple of salads from the buffet and after our mains, small puddings: gulab jamun, a sweet ball of dough, and two panna cottas with fresh fruit.
Breakfast, also served in Pickwicks, and had an extensive cold selection (fruit, yoghurts, cheese, meats and smoked salmon) and English and Indian hot dishes, along with an a la carte menu.
This is probably not one of Delhi’s cheaper options but it fitted our criteria of good location, size and independent status and we enjoyed relaxing and having drinks on the lawn after our sight-seeing.