Cover Story

The Imperial, New Delhi

Vijay Wanchoo

A gleaming heritage emerging from India’s golden chapters with a legendary past on bespoke hospitality, loved by kings and queens. The Imperial New Delhi continues to be a shining star on India’s luxury map. Built and run by S.B.S. Ranjit Singh, son of R.B.S. Narain Singh, it was conceptualised in 1934 by Blomfield and inaugurated by Lord Willingdon in 1936. A fine confluence of a rich historical past and a slick international appeal, the hotel is witness to India’s freedom. “The Imperial has been home to the royalties, India’s political leaders and many other eminent personalities and is one of the oldest luxury hotels of Asia, the design of which was on the blue print of Lutyen’s Delhi. Lady Willingdon gave the hotel its name and even conferred the lion insignia upon the hotel. It was the first amongst the legendary “Four Maidens of the East”, which some say included The Strand hotel in Rangoon, Raffles Hotel in Singapore and the Great Eastern & Oriental in Calcutta,” expressed Vijay
Wanchoo, Sr EVP & GM, The Imperial New Delhi. The old world ambience of the hotel and the art deco elements are a distinct departure from the shiny, if not glitzy, interiors that one is accustomed to see in many upmarket hotels today. Art filled corridors and pillared verandahs, shining marble floors, Burmese teak furniture, Persian carpets and more. The historic legacy of the hotel reflects the days of the Raj like no other. Moving further, every restaurant at The Imperial has a fable behind its making. The grandeur of 1911 restaurant filled with the views of Delhi Durbar and the iconic blue pillars at the restaurant where the eminent leaders of India held meetings during the independence era are some of the unique treasures which embrace its heritage. The Pan Indian restaurant- Daniell’s Tavern was the spot from where the Daniells duo painted the historic wonder Jantar Mantar while The Spice Route was the first few South East Asian restaurants in the country tracing the journey of spices across six regions and is now world renowned for its cuisine and interiors. The historic relevance extends with The Royal Imperial Suite which has been home to heads of states and celebrities, the royal palms which were laid by lady Willingdon herself, verdant gardens and the sheer existence in the blue print of Delhi, makes The Imperial a distinguished address in the heart of the capital. “The Imperial’s success story can be credited to its rich history, colonial décor and some very colloquial art deco elements which create the aura of an early 19th century English manor. The hotel offers personalised service accompanied with overtones of rare and original art, embedded in understated luxury which also characterises it as a Museum hotel,” Vanchoo added.

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