My Tour of India No.211 April 2013
After arriving at New Delhi's impressive new airport I had a relatively quiet and trouble-free transfer to the Hotel Maidens in North Delhi. As it was now 5.30 local time and I hadn't caught much sleep during my flight, I was pleased to see the welcoming sight of my bedroom, where the irresistible looking bed was far too appealing to ignore. And so to bed.
My first daylight experience was driving (well, being driven to be precise) from North Delhi to the southern part of the city, for my visit to the Taj Palace Hotel where I was scheduled to undertake my first inspection and audit. The journey to the hotel was an experience in itself. Travelling along Delhi's equivalent to the M25 presented me with a myriad of emotions. At times it was thrilling, at others it was scary - but above all it was a real eye-opener. The ring road was a highway for every mode of transport (old and new, slow and fast). But whilst bicycles and carts competed with gusto against honking motorbikes, cars, trucks and buses swerving from lane to lane (some with passengers clinging on to the sides), I was amazed to see that no-one hit anybody else - nor did anyone show signs of road rage. (So really nothing like the M25!)
The Taj Palace Hotel is a real gem of a property. The staff are extremely friendly and welcoming and I noted how attentive they were with all guests. The fully adapted room is easily accessed via a ramp at the entrance, and I found it to be very well appointed. Hotel facilities are of a high standard and the pool area is a pleasant place to relax after your morning excursions.
My first excursion was to the fascinating Qutab Minar - the tallest stone tower in India which has been made accessible by the installation of several ramps. Regretfully though, I discovered that the toilets were not adapted with disabled facilities. The tower is however a very worthwhile place to visit with a very interesting history dating back to 1199!
The return journey gave me the opportunity to marvel at the imposing India Gate, Parliamentary buildings and the President's palace which is home to no less than 340 rooms.