Leela’s India

Boat cruise in Udaipur

 

 

Seeing India from a Leela perspective leaves little to be desired.

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India’s magic cannot be put into words. No matter how many times you hear the words, “jaw-dropping,” “overwhelming,” and “eye-opening,” you will not grasp India’s wonder until you experience it firsthand. The destination packs a punch to the senses, inundating you with colors, scents and sounds that will leave you yearning for more.

Luxury Travel Advisor is just back from an introductory visit to Leela Palaces Hotels and Resorts’ version of India and we’re here to rave.

 

  Le Cirque at The Leela Palace New Delhi
Le Cirque at The Leela Palace New Delhi brings the heralded experience to India.

We flew into Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi on Qatar Airways’ business class service, which, we say, is the only way to beat the jetlag. A private BMW was waiting for us upon arrival to whisk us off to The Leela Palace New Delhi, just 30 minutes away. Note: The Leela offers a special airport services team that is on the ground at the airport 24/7 to assist with any and all travel issues.

Having never stayed with Leela Hotels before, we were unsure of what to expect, but we can say with certainty that “royal” does not even begin to describe the treatment your VIPs will receive.

The best rooms at The Leela Palace New Delhi are its suites, notably the Maharaja Suite, the Royal Suite and the Grand Suite, but for travelers who do not need quite that much space, we say it’s best to stay in a Royal Premier Room, which measure at 600 square feet. We stayed in room No. 620 and could not have been happier.

Nice Touch: All guests are entitled to butler services, which are of the highest level. Our butler was sure to remember our favorite hot tea and had a freshly brewed pot waiting every time we returned to the hotel. Now that’s hospitality!

Luxury travel advisors can direct all booking questions to Director of Sales Manmeet Kumar ([email protected]; 001-91-9953533008).

One of the highlights at The Leela New Delhi is its dining scene, where international chefs have flocked to bring a taste of their specialties to India. Most notable are MEGU and Le Cirque. We say a trip to both is necessary. Tip: When dining at Le Cirque, be sure to leave enough time for cocktails on the terrace. On a balmy evening, there is nothing better than sipping champagne and overlooking the lights of New Delhi.

Restaurants are open to locals and reservations are highly recommended. Reach out to Restaurant Manager at MEGU Rajat Kalla ([email protected]; 001-91-9560093858) and Restaurant Manager at Le Cirque Prateek Swarup ([email protected]; 001-91-9560093909).

 

Rooms at the Leela New Delhi
Rooms at the Leela New Delhi are decorated with royal India in mind.

Our favorite part of the hotel was the rooftop infinity pool, from which guests can take in sweeping 360-degree views of New Delhi’s (surprisingly) green landscape. We loved crisping in the warm India sun, sipping a chilled fruit drink and lounging regally. After a day of bronzing, a trip to the spa is a must.

The Spa by ESPA has seven single treatment rooms, one couple’s suite, relaxation areas, a finishing studio, spa café, gym, and separate men’s and women’s changing areas with steam, sauna and heated bench. To book spa treatments reach out to Spa Manager Tania Bardhan ([email protected]; 001-91-11-39331230).

Leela is known for its over-the-top guest experiences. When staying at The Leela New Delhi, guests should reach out to Head Concierge Sunny Prasher for ultimate experiences ([email protected]; 011-91-9560093891). Luxury Travel Advisor was able to partake in some of these special opportunities, such as a private day trip to Agra for a personal tour of the Taj Mahal, as well as a flight to Udaipur in Rajasthan for a stay at The Leela Palace Udaipur.

A visit to Agra is a must. Thanks to a brand-new expressway, a once five-hour drive from New Delhi to Agra has been shortened to under three hours, making it a perfect day trip. Guests are chauffeured from the hotel as early as they like. We opted for a 6 a.m. departure, which got us to the Taj Mahal’s entrance at just before 9 a.m. Any introductory visit to India must include a trip to the Taj Mahal, whose grandeur can only be experienced in person.

The Leela arranged for a private tour for us with expert guide, Anurag Mathur. Anurag’s passion for the Taj Mahal is only matched by his knowledge of its history. After the Taj Mahal be sure to visit Agra Fort. Cool Touch: There is a room in the Agra Fort that once held the tawdry ceremonies of Akbar the Great. Normally the room is off limits to the public, but Anurag’s connections allows for private access to this spectacular (and salacious) room.

Visitors to India would be remiss to stay in one location, seeing as the country is so massive and diverse. Fortunately, The Leela has positioned itself all over the country, so it is possible to get a taste of India while not leaving the comforts that The Leela offers.

 

Qatar Airways

There is no more comfortable way to arrive in New Delhi than on Qatar Airways’ Business Class. The fully flat beds on the new Boeing 777s allow for a restful sleep. Guests are also given comfortable loungewear and a gift bag with Salvatore Ferragamo hand lotion and lip balm. Guests flying Qatar to India will have a layover in Doha and will be able to experience the Premium terminal, which is exclusive to Business and First Class passengers. The terminal has seating areas, business services, high-end duty free shops, bars and dining areas. Note: First Class customers have access to a private spa on the ground.

 

Luxury Travel Advisor was flown to Rajasthan’s lake community of Udaipur, which is completely different from New Delhi but no less magnificent.

The Leela Palace Udaipur is stunning and, we say, wonderful for honeymooners. Set on the bank of Lake Pichola, guests are ushered to the hotel’s door on a private boat, making for a truly grand arrival. We stayed in room No. 328, which had a marvelous view over the lake. But here’s the good news: All 80 rooms at the hotel are lake facing. Lake View rooms offer views of the lake (what else?), while Heritage View rooms have both lake views and views of the old city of Udaipur.

The top suite at the hotel is the Maharaja Suite, room No. 126. The Maharaja Suite spans over 3,552 square feet and is decked out with beautiful works of art and artifacts. There is a dining area and study, along with a master bedroom with separate walk-in closets, a king-size bathtub with Jacuzzi and separate shower. There is also a private ESPA massage parlor, plunge pool and private courtyards.

Reach out to Sales Account Manager Bhupendra Panwar with questions ([email protected]; 011-91-294-6701204).

 

We flipped over the 10,000-square-foot spa, which is one of India’s only tented luxury spas. Dotted with courtyard gardens and offering lake views, this is the perfect place to spiritually connect and detox your body. The spa has five single treatment tents, three couple’s suite tents, a relaxation tent, a finishing studio, a spa café and a gym. We also suggest booking an early morning yoga experience.

Contact Spa Director Dr. Abhishek Jain ([email protected]; 011-91-294-6701251) with special requests.

 

The 10,000-foot Spa at The Leela Palace Udaipur
The 10,000-foot Spa at The Leela Palace Udaipur is India’s only tented spa.

Be sure to arrange a sunset boat cruise for your VIPs. This hour-long cruise takes guests around the lake in a private boat, which, we say, is the best way to take in the views. Reach out to Concierge Himanshu Sharma ([email protected]; 011-91-9587017712).

Dining is a scintillating experience at The Leela Udaipur. We suggest experiencing the bespoke private dining option, which is exceedingly romantic. We dined at a private table right at the edge of the lake so that we were able to watch the sun set behind the mountains and lake, casting everything in an orange glow. That, combined with the traditional Rajasthani meal we were served, was enough to make us so sad to leave the hotel.

Star-gazing: If your clients crave the highest level of service and discretion, they will be happy to know that A-listers like Ashton Kutcher, Tony Robbins and even the King of Bhutan have all called The Leela Palace Udaipur their temporary homes.

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