We always stop in The Claridges if staying in Delhi. It is in pleasant gardens surrounded by tall trees and a very relaxing pace to stay. Staff are excellent and have the knack of providing service in a quiet and non servile way. You genuinely feel they are wanting to make your stay as pleasant as possible and the days of the Raj are still present.
The Claridges is in New Delhi, close to Lodi Gardens and Safardang’s Tomb. It is 30-60 minute drive to the airport depending on time of day and traffic. A car is essential to visit the sites of Delhi.
There are pleasant gardens outside the front door with grass, tall trees and small chipmunk type animals running around. There are tables and chairs with a large sunshade where you can enjoy tea or a leisurely drink. These are floodlit at night and look magical.
We asked for a cup of tea. This was carried out on a small table which was set up beside us. The tea was poured out of a china tea pot into stylish white china tea cups. Milk and sugar were offered and a plate of small oat biscuits. The table and tea pot was then carefully removed. It wasn’t cheap but it was decidedly stylish.
Cars are checked by security before being allowed in. There is a constant traffic of cars arriving or picking up passengers. Cars are not allowed to park outside door. The parking area is round the side and drivers are paged when passengers ready.
We were met by a doorman in full uniform with turban, long coat and gaiters. Porters collected all our bags – we had difficulty trying to keep hold of the bag with passports as they wanted to take that too. The reception area is huge with desks scattered around where you sit down to be attended to. Allow plenty of time when checking out as it can be slow at busy times. There is a money exchange desk which will exchange dollars, sterling and euros. They do not give cash against a debit cards but will against a credit card. There is a 5% charge and a maximum of 5000r. They had a limited number of low value notes until after 11am Monday morning. (We found problems trying to use 500r or 1000r notes as often places do not have change.)
Through reception is a large atrium with armchairs, tables and flowers and a beautiful marble floor. There is a selection of small shops here: small tailor’s shop, craft shop, bookshop and bakery which sells a good selection of rolls, loaves and cakes. It opens at 10am but stays open until about 9pm. We used this to buy lunches. We can recommend the croissants.
There was a big double staircase leading to the upper floors. These had long white and black marble corridors with tables of flowers and rooms off.
Rooms are comfortable with effective air conditioned, essential in Delhi. All have wireless internet (extra charge). There is a high cleaning staff presence throughout the day and rooms are checked again during the afternoons and used towels replaced.
Beds are firm but very comfortable and about 6ft wide giving plenty of room. The duvets are light and soft and extra blankets are provided if needed. Pillows are soft and comfortable. We slept very well. There is a desk, arm chairs, luggage racks and plenty of hanging space. There is a large flat screen TV, small fridge with mini bar as well as kettle, choice of Darjeeling or Assam tea bags. Two bottles of water are provided each day with a bottle in the bathroom for using for teeth etc.
Bathrooms have bath with either an overhead shower or separate shower cabinet. There is a good range of toiletries which are replaced every day and plenty of thick towels which dry well. Best of all, bathrobes are provided and these are large enough to go round portly figures.
The 100 (de luxe) rooms are the simplest and cheapest. They have views of the outside swimming pool.
The 200 (club) rooms are much larger. Ours overlooked the parking area and with the window open was noisy especially at night when cars were being called from the car parking area. The room wasn’t as well laid out and we felt it was unfriendly. There was less storage space for suitcases and the bureau bookcase had to be moved to get access to the electric plug to run the computer. The bathroom felt cramped and there was little space to move. We wouldn’t choose to stay in this room again.
The 300 (The Claridges) rooms have a private balcony area outside. In June it was too hot to want to sit outside or keep the door to the balcony open. These are pleasant rooms and would be our preferred choice of room. There is stair access to 100 and 200 rooms but not to 300. There are two lifts but one was very small. Although it had a notice saying 4 passengers, it was cramped with three.
There are four different restaurants serving a wide choice of food from Spanish to Chinese. There is also a room service menu which is similar to that offered in Pickwick’s which is open 24 hours.
We ate in Pickwick’s in the evenings. The window seats have views across the gardens. There was a varied menu with selection of Indian, Chinese and western food (plenty of pasta). Meals were good and reasonably priced. It is necessary to reserve a table on Saturday nights when they are busy.
Breakfast is served in Pickwicks and is a self service mix and match. There is plenty of fresh fruit, yogurt, cereals, fruit juice, carrots, lettuce, cold ham, cheese… as well as a choice of Indian and ‘full American’ – help yourself to bacon, sausage (chicken) tomato, potato cakes, mushrooms, courgettes. Eggs are cooked to order. There was bread for toast, croissants, assorted rolls and cakes. There is an outdoor swimming pool and health club although we didn’t investigate these.
We like Claridges, and always enjoy staying there, although in many ways it isn't really ‘our sort of hotel’.