Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wah Taj !

Ginger Bar, Taj PalaceI recently stayed at the Taj Palace hotel in New Delhi (photo shows one of their restaurants) and I have to say its the best I have stayed in so far (and this includes hotels everywhere considering that I have done a fair bit of traveling!)...yes, it is expensive, infact much more than what I would give for a hotel in Europe but its not just the luxury but its the luxury combined with the attention to detail and innate desi hospitality that makes the experience simply unforgettable !

The check-in is a breeze, there is someone to take care of the luggage, someone else to escort you to the room and all along the way, any employee you encounter wishes you like you are their best guest !

When I checked-in, I had a bad cough. The duty manager immediately had some strong ginger tea brought in for me. It seriously did my throat a world of good. When I went in for breakfast the next day, my voice was still somewhere in between my original and Rani Mukherjee's. One of the chefs noticed it and volunteered to get me some medicine and did so in less than 5 minutes !

The cutlery, the attention from the waiters, the chef personally asking if the meal was all right and of course the good food all made every meal a delight (and at the same time, boosts one's ego way out of proportion)! Sometimes I felt so pampered that it was embarassing !

Room service served fresh fruit almost every night and had a mineral water supply (apparently from the Himalayas) that tasted like nothing I had drank before, in a good way though ! The first time I ordered room service, they asked me for my preferences and I said ''vegetarian and spicy'' and they remembered that throughout !

I also had the hotel guest services manager check in twice to see if I was satisfied with everything. While I was there, I also checked out the restaurants, spa, the fitness centre and the pool, they all lived up to the expectations. The concierge was very well informed and the business centre, really impressive.

There is a lounge where one can meet guests or receive business visitors. I didn't really like the tea there but the silver cutlery is fit for a king !

The check-out was equally simple, the only shocking part was the bill. It is understandable that one has to pay for the luxury but the prices are probably also hiked so that the hotel guests are strictly from the rich, richer and the richest crowds.

But no place is perfect (read, I am picky), so here are a few things where they can improve
Temperature regulation: I got it done in the room but it was freezing everywhere else ! I saw people in pullovers, shawls...who carries all these to Delhi in June ??? When I was dining there, I told the host I was cold hoping for an increase in the temperature, instead I got a beautiful shawl ! While I appreciate the sentiment, I do not appreciate the energy wastage !

Playing the host too often: While the attention to detail should be appreciated, sometimes it is overdone. At dinner, we were served every time our plates were empty. But the waiters were always hovering close to the table and this makes it extremely difficult to have a confidential conversation or rather a business dinner. Sometimes this also makes foreigners, who need space, uncomfortable. One such person commented - "A good waiter appears out of the blue when you need him". This is probably a cultural thing since desis ask guests to eat at least 4 times to be hospitable (we are never happy with one vango. It is always vango, vango, vango !)

Prices: I already mentioned this but I still think Rs.300 for a 2 minute call from the room to Chennai is atrocious ! So is Rs.660 per day for the internet - yes, the connection was good but I have never paid this much for wifi !

In a nutshell, at the Taj, you get much more than what you pay for.... most of the time.....

PS: I do not work for anyone related to the Taj and neither am I an investor or a shareholder. The post is simply from my experience as a guest.
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