A born-again iconic hotel checks back in

Chitra Narayanan New Delhi | Updated on January 09, 2018

A cocktail of tech and heritage at Cirrus9, the rooftop bar with a view of Humayun’s Tomb

A sneak peek at the Oberoi Delhi, which re-opens with some new flavours

It’s the most-awaited hotel opening – or reopening – in the Capital. On January 1, when the trendsetting Oberoi Delhi relaunches after a two-year shutdown for a top-to-bottom overhaul there’s lots that’s new. But the multi-million-dollar renovation of the hotel that dates back to 1965 has been combined with comforting continuity.

It’s a risky proposition to close a hotel for so long, especially when there are heavyweight competitors close by. Perhaps that’s why the Oberoi raced to get it opened three months ahead of schedule, with over 1,000 workers toiling 24x7. Every little detail was personally okayed by PRS (Biki) Oberoi, the Oberoi group’s executive chairman.

The most striking feature when you walk in is a beautiful artwork with clock-like features made with mirrors, agates and other stones that acts as a screen, providing privacy to check-in guests.

A golden touch

The story goes that when the founder, the legendary MS Oberoi, built the hotel, his wife Ishran Devi laid the foundation stone and she slipped in five gold coins into the pit. Perhaps that’s why you will find a golden touch in the elevators and the dramatic spiral staircase that leads to the waterbody near the lobby, adding some glitz and glamour.

There’s a clever play on Lutyens Delhi in the interior design, done by New York-based Adam Tihany, especially evident in the cigar lounge, a new addition behind the Club Bar. There’s also smart use of technology with the Oberoi Enhance app in rooms, which allows guests to control quite a few things. There are mirror TVs in the bathrooms. At Cirrus9, the rooftop bar, there is a smart roof equipped with sensors that draw the covers when it is too sunny.

And clean air is a big talking point at the reincarnated Oberoi with new purification systems. However, rival ITC has stolen a march by announcing Indoor Air Quality that meets WHO standards at the Maurya.

Changing flavours

Instead of the old Italian restaurant, there is an Indian one – Omya, steered by Alfred Prasad, the youngest Indian chef to get a Michelin star. Omya, uniquely, offers a gin pairing with the food.

There are eight categories of rooms, and they are all bigger than before, which means the numbers have come down – from 283 to just 220.

It’s contemporary and elegant. But in the two years that the hotel has been shut, the Leela in Chanakyapuri has managed to get a lot of old Oberoi faithful into its doors. Can the Oberoi now woo them back?

Published on December 29, 2017

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