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India Debuts Its Most Expensive Hotel

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

New Delhi, India – Reported by Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazine

At last, colonial and Mughal sensibilities blend harmoniously with the launch of Leela Palace in the nation’s capital. New Delhi’s prestigious Diplomatic Enclave is the site for the nation’s most expensive hotel. The designation is well deserved.

Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart and Stewart, the architectural firm behind Dubai’s famed Burj Place, took inspiration from the designs of British architect Edwin Lutyens, whose colonial era neo-classical bungalows dot the city, and mixed it with the magnificence of India’s palaces. Decadence marks each of the eleven stories, all the way to the rooftop, which boasts a heated infinity pool and breathtaking views of the property’s tropical gardens and the glittering New Delhi skyline. The interior sparkles as well with coruscating Italian Murano chandeliers, Turkish hand-woven carpets and a $5 million collection of traditional and contemporary Indian art.

The 260-room hotel has some of Delhi’s largest guestrooms, starting at 550 square feet. The crème of the crop is the Maharaja Suite, which, at 4,425-square-feet, has enough space for six rooms, including a den, dining area, private gym and spa room and comes equipped with the use of a Rolls-Royce Phantom and 24-hour butler service.

When the glitz overwhelms, guests can escape to the bi-level, 6,500-square-foot ESPA, a lushly furnished retreat shaped from natural wood and carved stone and offering the newest European and time-tested Ayurvedic treatments. Or, have a cigar and snifter of brandy at leather-and dark-wood-paneled Library, reminiscent of a traditional gentlemen’s club, equipped with classic Chesterfield chairs, a blazing fireplace and a $100,000 collection of rare and first-edition books culled from around the country.

Leela Palace’s five restaurants will ensure that all palates are satisfied. In keeping with its many firsts, the hotel will include New York’s Le Cirque, set to be Asia’s first branch, will start serving its delectable Italian-French cuisine in June; and Japan’s Megu is due to open India’s first outpost in July.

The glamour, however, is sustained by a dedication to eco-friendly designs. Leela Palace is the first Gold LEED hotel in Delhi. A 24-hour gas-fired generator powers the hotel, utilizing water and steam by-products in the air-conditioning system. Plus, an in-house rainwater harvesting project and an in-house water treatment plant certifies the hotel recycles 100 percent of its used water.

To celebrate the grand opening, Leela Palace is offering guests a special rate of about $325 per night from now until September 30 for stays of two nights or more. The package includes a Grand Deluxe Room, round-trip airport transfers in a hotel limousine, daily buffet breakfast and personalized butler service.

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