Review: The Lodhi New Delhi (India)

Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.

I recently traveled to India & Bhutan. You can read my trip reports here:

  • Review: Swiss Airbus A330 First Class from Zürich to Delhi
  • Review: India Aman Tour – The Lodhi New Delhi (today)
  • Review: India Aman Tour – Aman-i-Khas (Rhantambore National Park)
  • Review: India Aman Tour – Amanbagh (Rajasthan)
  • Review: The Oberoi Amarvilas (Agra, Taj Mahal)
  • Review: The Oberoi New Delhi
  • Review: Six Senses  Thimpu (Bhutan)
  • Review: Six Senses Punakha (Bhutan)
  • Review: Six Senses Paro (Bhutan)
  • Review: Bhutan Airlines A320 Business Class from Paro to Delhi
  • Review: The Leela Palace Delhi
  • Review: Taj Lake Palace (Udaipur)
  • Review: The Oberoi Udaivilas (Udaipur)
  • Review: Lufthansa A380 First Class Delhi to Frankfurt

Today (September 4, 2019): Review of The Lodhi New Delhi Hotel (India)

Just minutes from the grandeur of Rashtrapati Bhavan, the peaceful Lodhi gardens and many other iconic sites, The Lodhi hotel provides one of the world’s most colourful and cosmopolitan capital cities with a tranquil retreat. Offering essential respite in spacious surrounds, this city-based resort is an elegant haven exuding an air of sophisticated calm, and provides guests with an ideal base from which to experience the city. The Lodhi ethos is simple and easy luxury. But it’s also an ethos of ‘contrasts’, from the dynamic and vibrant atmosphere in the restaurants, courtyards and public areas to the seclusion, peace and club- like atmosphere of the seven floors of guest accommodation. After ‘growing up’ as an Aman city resort since its opening in 2009, the hotel is became an independent, standalone property in 2013 (although it is still offered as part of the Aman India Tour).

Have you ever stayed at The Lodhi New Delhi? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment.

In this review (more info and photos below my Youtube clip & slideshow):


PROS & THINGS I LIKE
  • The Lodhi Hotel enjoys a central location in New Delhi, which is convenient for both leisure and business travelers. Set along a tree-lined avenue in Delhi’s Lutyen residential area, the hotel offers an oasis of serenity in India’s bustling capital city. The property is located within walking distance of several places of interest, such as Humayun’s Tomb (a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993) and the Lodi Gardens (an extensive parkland with historic buildings dating back to the 15th century). The hotel is about 20 km (13 mi) from Delhi’s Indira Gandhi airport (a 30 to 60 min taxi ride, depending on the traffic) and it’s only a short stroll to Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium metro station.
  • Originally built in 1965 as a government office, the site was home of the old, tacky Lodhi Hotel for decades; the hotel was nonetheless famous for Woodlands, the city’s most upmarket restaurant for decades until the 1980s. Then Adrian Zecha, founder of the Aman Resorts, acquired the site. The old hotel was demolished and Perth-born architect Kerry Hill was commissioned to build what was to be India’s most ambitious city-resort. The Aman New Delhi, as it was called, took almost a decade to build and opened in 2009. Unfortunately, the property did not make the kind of money it had set out to, and in 2013, the hotel left the Aman portfolio and was rebranded again as The Lodhi, opening itself up to younger travelers.
  • The hotel’s sculptured facade is a modern take on traditional Mughal architecture, with resolutely rectilinear columns at the core of its sharp design. These columns – which articulate the mass of the building form and edge the courtyards – are clad in Gangapur sandstone both inside and outside, providing a sense of order that unifies the interior and exterior spaces. Almost floating between the columns are jaalis, or perforated masonry screens. A clear reference to the intricate screens of Indian architecture, in this contemporary version they are moulded from glass-reinforced cement and fixed with stainless steel brackets. During the day, these screens cast animated shadows onto the building surfaces, while the effect is that of a lantern at night.
  • On the inside, the feel of luxury in the modern and elegant interiors is achieved through space, light and finely detailed finishes rather than expensive materials or opulent, tasteless furnishing (which is often the case at other Indian hotels). The decor’s restrained and soothing color palette includes dark-stained timber paneling and olive-hued Rajasthani Khareda stone, with some playful red, orange and pink touches created by colorful flower displays, cushions and handmade carpets. Traditional design is referenced through suggestion and association rather than replication and through the reinterpretation of indigenous building forms as opposed to mimicry.
  • Spreading over seven acres, The Lodhi Hotel comprises two stand-alone L-shaped wings which surround an expansive green lawn with sunken courtyard, the latter housing the pool area and three tennis courts (more on that below). Most guest rooms and public areas face inward towards this lawn, hereby creating the ambiance of a tranquil resort despite its location near a busy city intersection. The two hotel wings are connected by an impressive open-air welcome pavilion, which leads to the (underwhelming) lobby and is flanked by a stand-alone sandstone-carved elephant sitting on a dais adorned with marigold flowers, ready to receive guests.
  • After the property left the Aman portfolio in 2013, the room inventory was extended to more than 100 rooms, spread over 8 floors. The highlight are the original 40 Aman rooms & suites, which all come with their own private plunge pool. During my visit, I stayed in a spacious ‘Lodhi Premier Room’, which offered ‘green’ views of the city’s skyline and Humayun’s Tomb. The room had a dusky-blue upholstery, and featured a kingsize bed with goose down feather pillows, a stylish sitting area, and a large walk-in dressing room. The semi-open plan bathroom was equipped with a rain shower, bathtub, double vanity, and huge plate-glass window that looked out over the massive private terrace with day bed and plunge pool.
  • The property features extensive leisure facilities, including three outdoor tennis courts, two air conditioned squash courts, a Pilates studio, a spinning studio with cutting-edge indoor cycling bikes, and a massive fitness center with state of the art Technology equipment. Professional sport instructors are always on hand to offer personalized guidance for all levels of experience. Besides these facilities, the hotel’s real leisure attraction is the elegant 50 m (164 ft) swimming outdoor pool, which is located in its own courtyard at the center of the property next to the gym. The pool is heated during the cooler winter months.
  • Located one floor below the lobby, the hotel’s excellent spa sanctuary offers seclusion, tranquility and a wide range of therapies and rituals ranging from Ayurvedic to contemporary international treatments. There are eight enormous treatment rooms which could be hotel rooms in themselves, equipped with eucalyptus steam cabins, showers, bathtubs, day beds, pedicure and manicure station, and massage tables. The male and female locker rooms feature Turkish hammams with plunge pools of varying temperatures, which help dispel the rigors of travel and rejuvenate the body and mind.
  • The Lodhi hotel has 3 restaurants, one of them being a word-famous fine dining venue:
    • Elan Restaurant is located on the groundfloor along the central lawn, offering regional India, Mediterranean and South East Asian cuisine. The à la carte breakfast is also served here (there’s no buffet). Elan has an outdoor terrace, set under giant potted trees.
    • Perbacco Restaurant is located near the spa entrance, and serves contemporary Italian dishes infused with traditional flavors. The restaurant is mentored by Chef Adriano Baldassarre, owner and head chef of the Michelin Star restaurant ‘Tordomatto’ in Rome.
    • Indian Accent is the hotel’s gastronomic showpiece. The famous venue offers inventive Indian cuisine by complementing the flavours and traditions of India with global ingredients and techniques. Indian Accent has won several awards and global recognition, including being the only Indian restaurant on the world’s 100 best restaurants list since 2015.

CONS & THINGS TO KNOW

The Lodhi is unquestionably one of the New Delhi’s most upscale hotels. The highlights are its exceptional architecture, the spacious rooms (some equipped with private plunge pools) and its Indian Accent Restaurant, which ranks among the best fine dining venues in the world. That said, there’s are several things you need to know before considering a stay here:

  • While good and friendly, the service is not as excellent as you would expect at a hotel of this caliber. The hotel’s staff members are plentiful, smiley and willing, but they are clearly not as well trained as their colleagues of the city’s Oberoi and Taj hotels (where service is exceptional). During my stay, there were several service hiccups, such as no assistance with the luggage upon arrival, wrong meal orders, intrusive behavior of staff at the spa, and housekeeping entering the room without knocking.
  • The resort’s gardens are not well maintained. The central ‘green’ lawn – which has the potential to be a showstopper – is a rather unattractive space, with bald patches, dried bamboo plants and an almost dead Ficus tree. That’s a huge contrast compared to the nearby Oberoi hotel, which features lush, well manicured gardens. I advise the hotel to hire a landscape consultant to make the most of its central courtyard.
  • When the hotel left the Aman portfolio, it increased the number of its facilities (to cater to a younger public) but it also went through an extensive refurbishment (unfortunately, for the worse). Flashy colors were introduced under the form of carpets and paintings, and both rooms and public areas were decorated with pieces of Asian antiques that don’t match the minimalist architecture of the building. If you are looking for Aman’s famously serene ambiance of harmony and purity, you might be disappointed.
  • The pool is located in a sunken courtyard at the heart of the property. Albeit visually striking, this also means that guests are roasted during India’s summer months as the heat is trapped inside the courtyard (and there’s no way to escape it). Also, each evening, vapor deposition with insect poison takes places inside this courtyard, creating a huge and unpleasant cloud when the guests are still outside and enjoying the pool (it would be better if pest control was done at night).

MY VERDICT
  • Location: 7/10
  • Design: 7/10
  • Pool: 8/10
  • Rooms: 9/10
  • Food: 9/10
  • Breakfast: 7/10
  • Spa: 8/10
  • Service: 9/10
  • Value for money: 8/10
  • Overall experience: good 8/10

TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
  • Save money: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and a complimentary 50-minute massage for two).
  • Save money: The Lodhi New Delhi is a member of the prestigious Leading Hotels of the World (LHW) collection. It is possible to collect points here or use points for a free stay with LHW’s loyalty program Leaders Club (read my review of Leaders Club here). However, no matter how much I like LHW, their loyalty program Leaders Club is a disgrace, since you need to pay a hefty fee for membership to enjoy benefits that you can get for free via other booking channels (such as Virtuoso).
  • Save money: read here my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like The Lodhi New Delhi (and/or receive many free perks).
  • Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Autumn (October and November) or Spring (February and March) are considered the best times to visit Delhi. During this period, the weather remains pleasant and sunny with comfortable temperatures, drawing many tourists from various parts of the world. It is not recommended to visit Delhi in summers because of the unpleasant weather. From April to June, Delhi sees sandy, hot winds and Delhiites get roasted by extremely high temperatures, sometimes hoovering around 45° C (113° F). The months of July, August and September are the monsoon season in the city: while the temperatures see a considerable dip, the humidity constantly rises with the highest rainfall occurring in July and August. Delhi’s winter months of December, January and February bring biting cold weather, heavy fog and cool winds.


HOW TO GET THERE

The Lodhi Delhi is about 12 miles from Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, which takes around 30 to 60 minutes by taxi (depending on the traffic). Click here for a continuously updated list of airlines that provide direct flights to Delhi.


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THE LODHI GARDENS
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THE LODHI GARDENS
THE LODHI GARDENS

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2 Comments

  1. Hi, I only had dinner here as I stayed at the nearby Oberoi, but this (at Indian Accent) was phenomenal! As I noticed, you have been there as well. Best wishes, Franziska

  2. Had the absolute please of staying at The Lodhi 4 years ago. It is a very welcomed (and needed) tranquil oasis in the middle of New Delhi.

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