You've seen all the words previous reviews have used to describe the Oberoi Gurgaon--"awesome", "amazing", "opulent", etc. It's all true, even if we are starting to run out of superlatives to describe this fabulous hotel. We stayed there for two weeks as my husband had business in Gurgaon. I have never stayed in a hotel that long and I was still sorry to leave...could have stayed another month. From start to finish we were totally pampered. The airport pickup in a BMW was a welcome touch after such a long flight, and a 5am arrival which had us rather disoriented, having never been to India before. By the end of the first day, virtually everyone in the hotel knew our names and where we were from, even the security guards and the bartenders. The servers in 361 and Amaranta remembered all of our preferences and little pecadillos--thank you Sanjay for the mint tea and toast every morning! As I passed through the gorgeous lobby, the beautiful assistant managers in their colorful saris--especially the charming Baneet--always stopped to chat, worrying that perhaps I might be bored while my husband was busy doing his thing.
But that would have been impossible! First I feasted on the breakfast buffet (creating my own fusion cuisine of watermelon juice, upma, parathas, and idlis with sambhar, with my toast and scrambled eggs!). Then I worked it off in the well-equipped fitness center, where the very attentive attendant supplied me with water, fresh towels, and headphones. Back to the room to use the high-speed wifi to check my emails, then off to to pool to relax and read a bit. Each day the pool attendant brought me water to drink and a spritzer bottle to cool off with, towels, suntan lotion, and a little treat, like mango ice tea, all in a beautiful wooden tray.
Some days I went into Delhi to sightsee and shop, eschewing taxis for the hotel car service. Yes, it was somewhat pricey, but what a pleasure. If you have ever been to Delhi and have experienced the crazy chaotic traffic, cars carving out five lanes where there are only two, and horns honking incessantly, you will appreciate the concept of sitting in the back of a BMW 7-series with a uniformed chauffeur (Liyakut was terrific!), who takes you on the itinerary of your own choosing and is waiting for you as you move on. Whether it was to the National Museum with its awesome collection of miniature paintings, the quaint Crafts Museum, or the shops at the Khan Market (don't miss Fabindia and Anokhi!), the car and driver awaited me like I was a princess. And as we drove through the city, Liyakut would give me a mini-sightseeing tour and tell me the history of the place.
The concierges at the Oberoi Gurgaon were, of course, terrific. They helped me design the itinerary for these outings, and arranged lunch in town, too. And when I mentioned that I was a Master Gardener and loved the enormous, creative flower arrangements at the hotel, the concierge arranged for me to meet the head gardener of the property! This, to me, was the signature of the Oberoi's service: Identify the guest's needs or interests, and satisfy them. By the way, the hotel's iconic flower arrangement in the lobby--the one you see featured in their PR--is made up of 2,500 red carnations that takes two gardeners 16 hours to complete. I know, as their boss told me so!
Our room was beautiful and had every convenience, including some I had never thought about in our very frequent travels. The desk drawer was replete with built-in outlets and UBS connections for all our gadgets and gizmos, and accomodated both US and UK plugs without need for adaptors. The curtains were automated and could be raised and lowered via a button by the bed, and the butler on call 24/7 could be similarly summoned. A bowl of fruit on our coffee table was freshened daily, as was the ample supply of mineral water. (An aside, the hotel's water quality is excellent and we did not hesitate to use it to brush our teeth, etc.) The hotel had a great choice of complimentary newspapers, and delivered four to us daily--two local papers, the WSJ, and the Herald-Trib. We had a huge walk-in closet with a large safe big enough to accomodate my husband's laptop and my iPad along with all the jewelry I bought at the hotel's shop, Tijori. The bathroom had its own flat-screen TV and a large tub, but more to our liking a huge walk-in shower with great water pressure. We had two sinks and tons of towels, and the toiletries were top-notch. One day the housekeeper rang our bell and presented us with a bottle of mouthwash; she had noted that the bottle we had brought with us was nearly empty and thought we might like some more! Again, identify and satisfy...
As for the restaurants, we rarely bothered to leave the hotel in two weeks. 361 served the afore-mentioned awesome breakfast buffet--catering to Indian, Western, and Asian tastes--and at dinner time converted into a multi-cuisine format like most luxury hotels in Delhi. On one side you could get an Indian menu, or a Western menu with pasta, pizzas (they have their own pizza oven!), and burgers. On the other side was a teppanyaki grill, and a sushi bar. John, the teppanyaki chef, was lots of fun to talk to, especially when I learned that we shared a love of the Chicago Bulls!
Amaranta is the Oberoi's upscale Indian seafood restaurant. The first time we ate there we walked out totally over-stuffed, as we did not realize how many complimentary dishes came with the meal. It started with a huge bread selection with multiple condiments, olive oil and butter as well as chutneys and pickles, and there was a "palate-cleanser" sorbet with champagne. We were there during a promotion, and also got a gratis glass of champagne to start. The meal finished with a little tray of mignardises after the "regular" dessert. So although the meal was relatively pricey, the extras were really valuable and filling, so we didn't order as much at subsequent meals there. The seafood itself was pristine--the crab was great--and the preparations were delicious, but if you wanted something cooked a different way, all you needed to do was ask.
We also had the (frequent) opportunity to sample the hotel's wine selection. Because of taxes, fees, shipping and the like, Western wines are very pricey in India (think $100 for a K-J chard). But we are intrepid wine-tasters and gave Indian wines a go. The reds were just so-so, but the whites, particularly the Sula chenin blanc and Sula sauvignon blanc, were excellent and a relative bargain. We had some nice chats with the hotel's new sommeliere, a young female named Krystal, who was from Cleveland of all places!
Similar to the examples I read in other reviews of the Oberoi, the kitchen could not do enough to please us. Chef Sandeep personally came out one day and asked if there was anything he could cook for me that was not on the menus anywhere in the hotel. He was worried, he said, that we would get bored with his food after two weeks! No way! But he was rather insistent, so I mentioned that of all the wonderful exotic fruits on his breakfast buffet--including dragonfruit and rambutan--I had not yet seen my favorite, mangosteen. This is a fruit never seen in the U.S., as it is highly perishable (though I understand someone is trying to grow mangosteen in California), and even in Asia it has a very short season. Chef said he would try to find some for me. The next morning, I was advised with great regret that the chef's team had searched all over Delhi, had checked with everyone of their purveyors, but there was not a mangosteen to be had anywhere. I thought the chef was going to commit the Indian version of hari-kari over this. It was very sweet, and I thanked him and said not to worry. But two days later...I'm sitting at breakfast and out comes the chef to my table with a platter and personally presents me with three...mangosteens! Miracle! But wait! The following week, they found four more for me!
I also asked for the recipe for Chef Sandeep's wonderful sambhar, a spicy vegetable stew that is ladled over idli (pouffy semolina buns) or--in my case--just about everything including scrambled eggs). The day before we checked out, not only did I get the recipe, but it was written on a parchment scroll, and affixed to a gold-foil round tray surrounded by little plastic containers of the listed ingredients, each labelled--turmeric, curry leaves, tamarind paste, hing, methi--the whole thing gorgeously wrapped in gold lame cloth and tied with a huge red ribbon. My carryon bag will probably be forever scented by the spices of samhbar, a lasting souvenir of India. Last night we finally made the sambhar at home, and while it didn't have the zip of Sandeep's, it was pretty good!
And that was not the only gift we received when we finally left the hotel for a tour of Rajasthan. The Oberoi's sales manager, Sukh, took us to a terrific dinner at Saffrons, the classical Indian restaurant at the Trident, the sister property right next door. The decor was elegant and there was live Indian music to accompany our excellent meal. Though he was unable to stay and join us as originally planned--Sukh and his wife were on their way to a typically epic wedding that night (he got home at 4:30am and had to go right back to work)--still he ordered our meal and wine and chatted with us for a bit before leaving. And Sukh also presented us with two beautiful silk scarves, in a box so lovely I couldn't leave it behind, as mementos of our stay.
The restaurant staff also presented us with a big box of their bakery's wonderful chocolate cookies, wrapped in a royal blue silk ribbon (apparently wrapping gifts here is an art, like in Japan). Baneet, the assistant manager, gave us kisses and hugs and two more beautifully-boxed scarves, and I made her promise to visit us in Chicago when she moves to the U.S. next year to get married. (Of course, she had not met her intended yet, an IT guy living in Newark.) And just before we left the room with our bags, the elegantly suited head housekeeper and his lovely young trainee rang the bell and handed us a bouquet of long-stemmed red roses. Yikes! I felt like I was in the old TV show, "Queen for a Day".
All in all, this was the best hotel we have ever stayed in, and my spouse and I have been traveling for both business and pleasure for over 40 years. Our points of comparison include the Oriental in Bangkok, the Peninsula in Hong Kong, chateaux in the Loire Valley, manor homes in England, and assorted Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, and St. Regis properties around the world. We also had the opportunity after leaving Gurgaon to stay in other Oberois, including the celebrated Amarvilas in Agra, Rajvilas in Jaipur, and Udaivilas in Udaipur, as well as two excellent Taj properties, the amazing Umaid Bhawan in Jodphur and the Taj Mahal in Delhi. While they were all fantastic, the Oberoi in Gurgaon exceeded them in every way--accomodations, food, and especially, service.
Namaste and many thanks to the staff at the Oberoi Gurgaon for a wonderful experience!
If you are planning a trip to Delhi, I would ignore the fact that Gurgaon seems inconvenient unless you are doing business there or need to be close to the airport. Stay at the Oberoi Gurgaon no matter what, and get a car and driver to take you into old or new Delhi or Agra. You won't regret it one bit!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in the heart of the business and commercial district of Delhi National Capital Region in India. 202 Elegantly appointed rooms and suites with large picture windows that allow an abundance of natural light.The rooms start at an expansive 620 square feet, offering amongst the largest accommodation in a city hotel ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Oberoi Hotel Gurgaon