The Imperial

Janpath Ln, Janpath, Connaught Place, New Delhi, Delhi 110001, India

New Delhi’s original power hotel, The Imperial opened in 1936 and played host to celebrities and historic figures: It was here, rather than at Connaught Place that Pandit Nehru, Mahatama Gandhi, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and Lord Mountbatten met to discuss the partition of India and creation of Pakistan. Though renovation has lent a bit of a corporate vibe to the high-ceilinged hallways, the hotel still oozes nostalgia at every turn. A vast museum-worthy collection on display throughout public and private spaces includes life-size oil portraits of princely rulers, statuary, tapestries, old photographs, and British and Indian military and polo regalia. Rooms come in Victorian, Indian heritage, and Art Deco motifs, with marble floors, sumptuous velvet furnishings, and antique rugs. The centerpiece of the palm-studded lawn is a huge, beautifully tiled swimming pool where red-uniformed staff deliver ice-cold drinks to sunbathers in the stultifying heat, but if you prefer a moodier venue for your cocktails, the property has a library-like bar with wood-panelled walls as well as four atmospheric restaurants serving every kind of cuisine. And don’t miss the afternoon tea, enjoyed in the light-filled atrium.

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