Experience a palace in New Delhi

Experience a palace in New Delhi
We took the Kingfisher flight out of Bangalore to Delhi. It was our first experience flying Kingfisher which is an air-line run by the Indian liquor baron Vijay Mallaya, better known for his Kingfisher Lager across the world. No question about it, the airline is professionally run with airhostesses, trained to please! We were on our way to New Delhi to enjoy a luxurious, romantic holiday for 5 days at the Leela Palace hotel.

At the Delhi airport, we were advised taking a pre-paid cab to the hotel which can be had as you exit from the airport door. You are asked where you would like to go, so have your address written on a slip of paper and immediately you are told the figure you have to pay. We paid Rs330/- which is approximately just eight US dollars.

The Leela is located in the posh, upmarket Chanakyapuri area of New Delhi and the rooms were jaw droppingly luxurious. Being brand new, that was an added plus because we had rooms which were spanking new with everything shiny and just perfect. The view was nothing to talk about but the interiors were plush with everything your heart desired. Bowls of chocolate, baskets of fruit, plates of fresh cookies and only the top brands of liquor and juices in the fridge, besides snowy white linen. A lot of trouble had gone into building the baths with a marble tub meant for two, or if you preferred a shower – a separate gilded shower cubicle with the thickest and snowiest towels we had ever used.

We were all set for a grand five days of indulgence at the Leela Palace, with its Italian marble flooring ,thick pile carpets and vast tureens of fragrant roses. The only point that jarred was the hotel expected us to pay upwards of Rs250 per half an hour to acess the internet. This was totally foreign to us as we in Asia are very used to having free internet access from our airports to even the little cafes and bistros across India.Just a request to the manager and free internet access was promptly thrown in very obligingly!

Breakfast at the hotel starts from 6am and the range and variety of breakfast foods were mind boggling. I was just back from Germany and even the Raddisson Blu in Berlin could not compare. Go suitably prepared to be spoilt rotten with fruit from across the world and cheese and breads as well. We of course preferred avoiding the continental breakfast and indulged in every type of Indian breakfast food on offer. Idlis (rice cakes) and golden brown vadas (fried lentil cakes) doused in sambhar( sauce of lentils and spices) were the first to go down with fresh watermelon juice. Back for more, we tried the Upama (spiced ground wheat) with a coconut chutney and rounded it off by placing our orders for Dosa’s (fried rice pancake with a stuffing of spiced potato) which were served at the table with a variety of chutneys. If your stomach cannot take Indian food, there are the regular western breakfast foods and meats on offer.

Once we were done we ambled down to the Sarojini Market which is a typical Delhi bazaar to indulge in a huge buying spree of Indian clothes, accessories and shoes. The prices vary from as little as 2$ to 10 $ for a variety of clothes and goodies. Before lugging our bags back to the hotel we decided to sit in the shade of a tree and have glasses of beaten, sweetened curd called Lassi. Each glass cost as little as 50 cents a glass which slid down our throats in a trice!

Take a tour to see the hot spots of the city. We asked the desk to hook us up and we went traipsing across the city for two whole days getting our fill of Connaught Place, Jantar Mantar, The Kutub Minar among other must see tourist attractions.

India is cheap, and rather than stand out like a sore thumb our advice is buy local clothes and blend with the rest. Tight tees and bosom baring blouses are advisably not worn. Plus stick to bottled water, right down to brushing your teeth. Then you are assured of a safe, trouble free holiday.

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