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Reviewed March 27, 2013

We were on the well torn golden triangle tour before a week by the beach - Imperial Delhi, Oberoi Agra, Jai Mahal Jaipur (couldn't get into the Rambagh) then Leela in Goa - I only list these as I'm sure if you are reading this there s a strong chance you are planning something similar.

Short story - entire tour fabulous, personal tour guide and driver a great way to be introduced to this fabulous country.

Imperial Hotel - great staff, great public spaces, fabulous breakfasts, and the spice route restaurant really good. We arrived on a Saturday morning, caught up on some sleep then went Varq at the Taj Mahal hotel. Great way to get out of the hotel although I recognise we remained within the top end tourist "bubble" - Varq Crab was superb and worth the trip alone, car organised by the hotel all very easy and fun.

These things only bother you if you let them however for completeness of review be prepared for some big cost disparities as you travel through India - imperial won the price for most expensive bottle of beer - 330ml bottle of Kingfisher =700 rupees -> Goa beach bar 650ml bottle = 100rupees. I totally get its not a fair comparison on any level but my fellow explorers be brave, open up to this fabulous country and with a bit of pre warning let the numbers just wash over you and enjoy!

NB- the Taj hotel looked fine for business or young execs on the pull but much preferred the calm confidence of the Imperial.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank DINKYorkshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2013

We have travelled all over the world and we always enjoy returning to the Imperial. It is always accommodating, friendly and a great oasis from the hubbub of the wonderful city. I have stayed there many times and still marvel at the beauty and attention to detail of this hotel (it is like a museum). The staff always remembers and acknowledges return travellers, their memories are amazing. The rooms are maintained impeccably and their superior service always makes one feel, as someone said, "Anything is possible in India".

Room Tip: Using the spa is a wonderful experience, one of the best and most beautiful in the world. I love the ambiance of the Heritage Rooms, simple but beautiful.
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Cheryl P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2013

We stayed at the Imperial on the front and back end of our trip to India. What a wonderful oasis with exceptional service and attention to detail. The pool area and spa are welcoming and delightful after our daily excursions. The 1911 restaurant and Spice Route restaurant were spectacular.

Room Tip: I think all rooms are great!
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank TravelToLiveYes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2013

The Imperial Hotel is a beautiful building set in lovely gardens. It has an impressive outdoor pool, a spa and many other amenities you would expect from a five star hotel. The staff are exceptionally pleasant and helpful. We were able to check-in very early after a long flight from Europe. This was a big bonus.

The "Imperial" rooms are spacious, spotless and nicely furnished with very comfortable beds. The rooms are equipped with kettles, cups and saucers and spoons, so it is possible to make tea or coffee provided that you have your own supply of coffee. It remains a mystery why so many hotels only supply two tiny sachets of instant coffee, a failing to which the Imperial is no exception.

Unfortunately, the meagre supply of DIY coffee is not the Imperial's only failing. Our first night was spent in a conveniently located room on the ground floor that had frosted windows and consequently no view. It transpired that the rooms on that side of that wing, had it been possible to see out, would have overlooked the kitchen terrace where breakfast preparations started at 5 a.m.

On request we were moved with very good grace to a room on the 3rd floor with a fine view of the immaculate garden below. One is bound to ask however why a five star hotel would have any rooms with frosted windows.

Neither mini-bar in these rooms cooled the contents sufficiently to make them palatable. Both rooms had connecting doors to the adjacent room and the sound insulation was very poor. Conversations could be overheard easily.

Breakfast was excellent, with a vast choice of foodstuffs. The coffee served was American strength rather than European and varied in quality from day to day.

Considerations of value for money usually have to be set aside in the five star universe but it is impossible to avoid commenting on the cost of a connection to the internet at the Imperial: US$150 per week for wifi and proportionately more for shorter periods. That probably doesn't matter to their business clientele but for an independent traveller in the 21st century this may be an issue, as it was for us.

Room Tip: Avoid some rooms on the ground floor
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank pwex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 26, 2013

Several people I know who have stayed here were very impressed, but we felt that it was a very good hotel, yet not five star. We were here three nights as part of an Abercrombie & Kent tour of India, and it had some stiff competition for being rated five stars among the other wonderful hotels where we stayed. Indeed, the public areas are very interesting; lots of art to look at and beautiful Art Deco touches. It is a busy hotel; the lobby is small and always seemed crowded; the area outside the hotel is also rather chaotic due to the subway construction (not the hotel’s fault of course!); and the hotel seems to host big groups for conferences. All in all it didn’t seem an oasis to us, unlike some of the other Indian hotels where we stayed. We were booked in a Heritage Room by A & K and it was fine - although it was on the ground floor it was not in a noisy area, but neither did it have much of a view. It was a very large (and clean) room, Art Deco styling with high ceilings. Small bathroom had both a tub and separate shower- and a loud water hammer in the loo. Hairdryer weak, anchored in a drawer (hate that design) and cord too short. Pleasant toiletries (Fragonard.) The king-sized bed too firm for our taste, even though we prefer a firm mattress. A/C fan was too violent, even on the lowest setting – and aimed right at the bed. We ate in the hotel’s restaurants each night, and had breakfast in the 1911 Restaurant. There is a wide selection on offer and the breakfasts were good, although a large conference group ate breakfast all at the same time one morning and it wasn’t restful then - the staff were harried. We had dinner on the verandah of 1911 one night when we just wanted something light after a big lunch (at an excellent cooking class with Jyoti of “Gourmet Desire”, see separate review.). Sat outside and it was pleasant. A second evening we ate at the “1911 Brasserie”, where we were one of only two tables. The meals are “nostalgic” retro choices, many flambéed at the table, with dishes like lobster thermidor. In the daytime it is the breakfast room but in the evening they hang up banners with pictures of old movie stars and it becomes a retro dining room. There is a pianist, but she was having an off night when we were there, and kept stopping and starting and it was not restful. However we enjoyed the meal very much and the service was friendly and personable. (Even though we were far too full for dessert they brought some anyway.) On a third evening we ate at “San Gimignano”, which was disappointingly nothing like any restaurant where we’ve eaten in the real-life San Gimignano. It wasn’t bad (apart from the very poor quality olive oil served with bread for dipping), just underwhelming. Again, only one other table was occupied while we were there. (We were advised on booking that there was a dress code - “no shorts, no slippers” - which was the first time we have ever encountered this. maybe that scared away other diners!) The room was attractive; the staff polite but distant. We found all of the staff in the hotel to be courteous, but those in 1911 (at breakfast, lunch and dinner) were more in the mould of the wonderful staff we encountered in the Taj group hotels - both efficient and pleasant. We should have tried the much-lauded “Spice Route” I guess, but living in Australia we eat a lot of Thai food, and this menu seemed to lean heavily in that direction. Also it has many negative reviews online. As we were at the end of our three weeks in India we were beginning to want Continental food for a change. Would have liked to try The Atrium but it was taken over by the large conference group on the only afternoon we were free.
Note: If you decide to walk to the Central Cottage Industries Emporium from The Imperial then ask the hotel concierge for directions – this government-run craft store is just across the road from The Imperial but because of the subway construction chaos there are hoardings screening it from view. There may be attempts from people on the street to misdirect you (see separate review) as happened to us.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank ozitravlr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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