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Lucire: Volante
india


The little touches Fresh fruit in the room at Aman New Delhi.

The heart of New Delhi

Aman New Delhi takes the Aman brand’s reputation for excellence and puts it in to a distinctively Indian, urban setting by Stanley Moss
photographed by the author

 



Top A luxury Hindustan Ambassador, one of a fleet at Aman New Delhi. Above A typical Aman in-room breakfast.

 

ITS ESPECIALLY INTRIGUING when a brand best known for luxurious, exotic and remote resort properties goes against its own model and stakes out all-new territory. The recently-opened Aman New Delhi is the company’s first real metropolitan retreat, and a beautiful translation to behold.

Discriminating travellers familiar with the brand will be gratified to learn that Aman’s signature elegance has been successfully applied to an urban locale. These are without question the best level of rooms available in Delhi, enhanced by outstanding service. Aman’s address on the Lodhi Road is both central and discreet, resting comfortably on a spacious six-acre site. It’s a new standard and a stunning alternative to the ordinary Indian city hotel, not a sterilized experience, as most commodified high-end lodging has become.

You might compare the architectural style to that of work by Louis Khan, reflecting a stark, modern minimalism. But there are soft echoes of Indonesia everywhere, referencing Aman’s geographic origins and signature low-key style. This makes a visit most pleasurable and hospitable. Still, the dynamic host nation’s heart is always present: building materials locally sourced, including vast surfaces of stone quarried in India, Khareda on the floors, and Gangapur garlanding the walls; artifacts and motifs recollecting Mughal palaces; plunge pools attached to every room on each of eight tranquil floors. It is a property worth visiting, simply to experience the lofty airiness of the graceful public spaces and witness the inventive use of water, especially striking in the 50 m subterranean pool which faces a covered colonnade, open to the sky. Dark woods accented by soothing fabrics make the rooms feel more like comfortable homes.

The Aman service proposition continues to delight, a corporate practice which allows general managers a degree of freedom in applying their own personality as gracious host to each property. While interactions are efficient and polite, no hint of tension can be found within the thoughtful team at work here. The repeat guest is remembered, known, babied, humoured. A second welcome drink magically appears next to an artful arrangement of pomegranates in the room. Breakfast arrives a few minutes early, alleviating the traveller’s greatest anxiety. An assortment of chocolates impulsively requested is prepared to order by the kitchen, dramatically packaged, then quietly delivered to the suite while the guest is away. And the lobby does not bustle, it presides and receives comfortably.

Two restaurants peacefully coexist on the ground level. The Naoki Restaurant, set back from the street, features a French–Japanese fusion bill of fare. Dual dining rooms are connected by a bar configuration where you might sample eel sushi, a miso soup with duck and spices, or baby New Zealand lamb chops in a cinnamon-laced red wine sauce. Facing the front side of the property, the three-level Lodhi restaurant serves tapas both traditional and innovative, under the supervision of skilled Spanish chefs. A dazzling degustation menu is recommended: five courses, five wines, with an opulent dessert finale. Both these high-end restaurants are excellent locations for business entertaining in Delhi, open to the public.

Œnophiles will rejoice as well at the wine cellar, curated by remarkable sommelier Kavita Faiella. The list she has assembled demonstrates a deep specialist knowledge, vast selection and great names, many little known except to the serious collector. Wine tastings are held on premises every second Thursday of the month. Bear in mind that alcohol is heavily taxed in India, and expect to pay upwards of four times European or US prices to indulge your love of the grape.

Aman New Delhi’s other public facility offerings include the spa and high-tech gym, called the Club, and some lovely retail spaces with high end merchandise. This is filled out by three squash courts and three man-made fibre tennis courts.

Suffice it to say that the Aman is an ideal destination, especially after navigating a day of Delhi’s notoriously treacherous traffic. You will take some comfort in a fleet of pristine silver–grey Ambassadors, with expert drivers standing ready to shuttle guests around town.

Aman’s 40 suites, five per floor, all with plunge pool, are augmented by 28 Lodhi suites: two and three bedrooms with pools. This property is ideally suited to the high-end corporate traveller, chairman, CEO, or the habitual luxury traveller. A incomparable refuge, and one not to be missed. •

 


Stanley Moss is travel editor of Lucire.



 

The dynamic host nation’s heart is always present: building materials locally sourced, including vast surfaces of stone quarried in India, Khareda on the floors, and Gangapur garlanding the walls; artifacts and motifs recollecting Mughal palaces

 







 

Above, from top An unexpected second welcome drink, chilled pomegranate and lemon juice. The bathtub in the spa. Line of chaises along covered colonnade facing the 50 m pool. Naoki Restaurant bar. Below French Japanese fusion baby lamb chops. The chef and New Zealand baby lamb chops in red wine and cinnamon sauce.



Left, from top Minimalist reception plaza. View of plunge pool showing architectural details and stonework. A view of the centre of the property.

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photographed by the author
Expanded from issue 22 of Lucire

 

 

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