In a seven-week trip all round India we spent our first and our last week at the Imperial. There is something very special and soothing about its lovely, calm interior - beautiful corridors adorned with fascinating prints from a bygone era, and everywhere fresh flowers, the scent of jasmine and friendly, smartly dressed staff.
There are four restaurants of very good standard. The Spice Route is worth visiting just for the decor: slightly variable standard of food but mostly delicious. The San Gimignano (on a long trip we sometimes felt like a break from Indian cuisine) was so good we found ourselves there more often for dinner than we would have thought - consistently excellent, even to diners who spend a lot of time in Italy, and it is delightful to sit outside. Daniell's Tavern, newly refurbished, is very attractive and the (enormous) menu harks back to the Raj era with considerable and unexpected humour. The soothing live traditional Indian music is welcome. The 1911 is very good for breakfast, lunch and late supper after a show - again consistently good. The baker produces excellent fresh breads and cakes every day. A la carte is better value than the buffet, though that is very good.
We found foreign wines overpriced (everywhere) and they don't always travel well. I suspect they are popular with local residents, but we found Indian wines generally much better and far more reasonable. If you can't see any on the list then ask for them. The Sula varieties have improved beyond recognition over the years and are really worth trying.
The spa is wonderful (both the facilities and quality of massages) and the salon the best I used on my travels and extremely reasonable. The pool is super and a very pleasant place to sit in the sun even when the water is a bit chilly.
Our heritage rooms have always been spacious and really comfortable. The only downside is housekeeping staff who keep trying to ingratiate themselves so you tip them at the end.
If you need breakfast before the restaurant is open it is free in your room - really good.
Wifi is chargeable, which is poor in this class of hotel, but you may be able to negotiate if you're there for a while.
It's fun to walk up to the shops at Connaught Place (as long as you can cope with persistent street vendors and the chaos of Connaught Place, and can pick your way through the works around the metro building site - but if you plan to venture further in this wonderful country then you should start learning here!).
On this and other long trips up and down this beguiling country we have been fortunate (and sometimes not so) to stay in a whole range of places, from the spectacularly beautiful to the quirky but charming to the plain awful, from some of the best Tajs and Oberois to interesting palaces and rundown small town joints. The Imperial is clearly at the top of this range and manages to deliver excellent service and comfort while avoiding making one (me anyway) feel on edge because they are trying so hard that it ceases to be relaxing.
This has been our preferred choice in Delhi for nine years and I can't see that changing. When you arrive they say 'Welcome home' and that's really how it feels by now.
Do say if, like us, you prefer a separate shower.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.