Being a work trip, and the third of three back to back longhaul trips, I really wasn’t in a mood to spend any more time than I needed to in Delhi. Combine that with the ridiculous heat this time of year, I was pretty much in a pattern of sleep – eat – work, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Hotel driver was waiting for me in the arrivals area at the airport when we arrived rather late of night, and after what felt like a 1,000 meter walk through the carpark we finally arrived at the car…just kidding…you wait here and I’ll go get the car. That was really pleasant in the stifling heat and humidity.
Right….off to the hotel where the lobby was deserted at this hour, a quick check-in, and I think I was through the shower and in bed less than 10 minutes after getting in my room.
Up in the morning, and of course….decided to test how well uber would work by heading the 1,000 meters or so to Starbucks. Yes, normally that’s totally walkable, but in 99% humidity and more than 30C temps this early in the morning…no thank you.
One of the things I do like about Starbucks is seeing the interesting “local” food options. Decided to go with the “chili cheese toast” this time, what was reasonably good. Starbucks in India is not only not cheap, it’s actually pretty pricey by international standards even. Almost $10 for this.
This would be a good place to talk about the hotel, the Le Meridien New Delhi. Supposedly this “iconic” building is a Delhi landmark, and overall, I have to say the staff was fantastic.
The building was definitely showing its age, and the rooms were a little worn around the edges, but overall it was perfectly comfortable and more importantly: had reasonably good air conditioning. There was also a portable air unit in my room to add to the chill, so overall pretty good.
The hotel was built around a large approximately 20 story high atrium, and I was a bit surprised just how low the glass walls between the corridors around the rooms and the atrium were. I could easily see someone stumbling and plunging 20 stories to their death in the lobby.
Right, that vision out of the way, have a look at the middle picture below. That’s looking up from the lobby, and that black square that looks suspended by four gold bars? Well, that’s the executive lounge suspended over the atrium 20 stories up…and those gold bars are walkways across the atrium. Don’t look down when entering the lounge if you’re afraid of heights.
Didn’t get back to the hotel the first night from work until rather late, so decided to explore the rather crowded lobby restaurant. I was quite struck how many people were eating around 9pm, and I had to wait nearly 30 minutes to get a table. If I hadn’t wanted to people watch room service could have been a much better option. Surprisingly reasonable pizza, however.
The strangest thing about this hotel? In the elevator lobby on every floor there were tvs….playing old Tom and Jerry reruns from 40 years ago. I just…don’t…get it.
Reminder from your friendly Uber driver: NO SMOOKING!
Did I mention it was a little warm in Delhi? Combine this with the humidity and pollution from all the cars, the air….was not the best to be breathing.
We did get out for a team dinner one night, and I was definitely impressed with Farzi Cafe. Seemed to be an incredibly popular place with young and hip Indians, and a bit of an international crowd as well. Plus, who doesn’t like being “that guy” at a work dinner ordering a drink that comes served on top of dry ice?
Back to the hotel on the last night, and noticed…the lounge on the 20th floor? It’s apparently known as the “Flying Saucer.”
My flight the last night wasn’t until nearly 2am, so when I got back from the office the first thing I did? Grab some kulfi in the lobby restaurant which was absolutely outstanding.
I wasn’t really sure if my strategy was the best, but after enjoying the kulfi it was up to the flying saucer aka executive lounge for a few small snacks and a couple glasses of wine. One thing I want to emphasize, the executive lounge staff was fantastic. My wine glass was never empty, they seemed to have made a point to memorize every guest, ask how their day was, and were all around super friendly, helpful, and kind.
After a bit of wine, it was time to see how my strategy would work. Up to my room and in bed at 7:30pm…we’d see if I was able to sleep. Before I knew it, it was 11:30pm and I’d pulled off the four hour nap that I was hoping for. Excellent! That should enable me to stay away the first part of the flight, get a little more adjusted time-wise, and make the trip a little less rough on the body.
Leaving the hotel via the shuttle again, I was thinking: I absolutely love India for what I often call its “delightful chaos.” It was sad I didn’t really have any time to enjoy the city or country on this trip, but there’s something about just BEING somewhere else that is really energizing…even if you’re just “living” and not sightseeing around.
But that said, I was looking VERY forward to nearly a month at home after this trip…but that…all changed for reasons you’ll see shortly. Next up: the flight home!