New Delhi, India
The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts is a relatively new entry in the Indian luxury hotel market, dominated by the Oberoi and Taj Groups. Taking a page from its venerable competitors, Leela (or The Leela, as they like to be called) deftly combines traditional Indian themes and practices (brisk, kindly service is at the top of the list) with a commitment to modernity at its most luxe and efficient. As Forbes’ Larry Olmsted says, “From the moment you arrive at the porte cochere of the opulent Leela New Delhi, you know it’s a world-class luxury hotel.” And former Secretary of State John Kerry calls it “one of the best hotels I have ever stayed in.”
The Leela’s rooms and suites range from plushly grand to teetering on the edge of going right over the gilded top (it’s in Delhi’s Diplomatic Enclave, after all, so power players and potentates find it a fine place to put up, and ambassadors and embassy staffs favour the Leela for weekend staycations).
Delhi’s foodies—and Micato’s travellers—enjoy Leela’s varietal restaurants, The (glass-enclosed) Qube, Megu, Le Cirque, and Jamavar. And, almost needless to say, the Leela Palace offers all the business services, connectivity, spa treatments, around-the-clock room service, and get-it-done concierge services one expects from a grand palace hotel (though our Micato Safari Director happily serves as our personal concierge, from beginning to end of our Indian journey).
The list of Delhi must-sees is long, but our Tour Director is adept at making our experience of the great city eye-opening and easy. We’ll want to visit the endlessly fascinating warrens and narrow byways of Old Delhi, and we’ll rickshaw over to the massive Jama Masjid, one of the great Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan’s last edifices— his most famous, of course, is the Taj Mahal, said to have been inspired by Humayan’s Tomb, which will be on our list. As befits an ancient city, home to world-altering dynasties (the Mughals, the British), Delhi is a magnet for lovers of history, pomp, circumstance, imposing monuments, and—luckily for us—great hotels like the Leela.