The Leela Palace, New Delhi, the latest addition to the Leela family, is a masterful interpretation of tradition, grandeur and opulence.
Experience tells us not to expect anything less than the spectacular from the Leela Group of hotels. Yet, the new Leela in Delhi exceeds our highest expectations. Reflecting the stateliness and grandeur of Edwin Lutyens' Delhi, The Leela Palace New Delhi is an elegant example of Victorian style architectural splendour ensconced in the heart of Chanakyapuri near the prestigious Diplomatic Enclave.
The principal architecture of the hotel is the brainchild of architects from Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart and Stewart & Inc (SRSS), Atlanta, USA. The same firm has designed The Ritz Carlton Jakarta in Indonesia and Burj Place in Dubai. For the interiors, renowned designers from around the world were roped in to create a design like no other.
Spanning over three acre, The Leela Palace, New Delhi, is built in the shape of a butterfly, with its two wings embracing a vast lawn and a tropical garden. Within lies a trove of treasures: dazzling Murano chandeliers from Italy; hand-woven carpets from Turkey; an art collection valued at US$ 5 million and majestic, hand-carved, royal elephants made of sandstone from Qatar. Miniature paintings by Rajasthani craftsmen and bidri work from Uttar Pradesh adorn the walls and ceilings. There is also a gold-leafed dome similar to the one at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The hotel has 260 guestrooms and suites, all of them supersized – the smallest room measures over 500 sq ft, and the Presidential Suite sprawls over 4,300 sq ft!
The hotel has five restaurants and lounges that showcase the best in hospitality and décor. The Qube is an all-day dining restaurant with a striking modern 'glass house' design. Designed by Lim Teo Wilkes, Singapore in a black, white and orange colour scheme, The Qube also features a unique lighting system, which changes colour every 45 minutes.
A water feature skirts the perimetre of the restaurant, with gas-lit mashaals emerging from the surface to give the restaurant a warm and exotic glow after sunset. The restaurant also has a 'live' kitchen and a seating capacity of 144 covers. The garden view is anchored by a majestic sculpture of a devi by artist Satish Gupta.
Jamavar, the signature Indian restaurant of the hotel, goes regal with its silken sheers, flower-laden vases and silver cutlery and crockery by Guy Degrenne and Merrony. Soft light from ornate crystal chandeliers is reflected in the extensive mirror work adorning the restaurant's walls. Hand-carved wooden screens and decorative jamavars of gold and silverwork set against the entrance offer a palatial aura.
The Leela Palace also expands its diners' options with two iconic restaurants from New York – Le Cirque, which serves French and Italian cuisine, and Megu, which serves Japanese cuisine.
The Library is the destination for exotic wines and liqueurs and is designed as the quintessential Gentlemen's Club. Featuring a classic design, the interiors of the bar have been inspired by an era of Chesterfield chairs, cigars and brandy. The dark wood and leather interiors create an ambience, which encourages one to slow down and unwind. Designed by Design Spin Studio, Japan, The Library also offers outdoor seating and a smoking area.
The recreation facilities at the Leela enhance the overall ambience of luxury. The world-renowned ESPA Spa finds its first home in Asia here. Sprawling over 6,500 sq ft, it is built on two levels. A café, a fitness studio with Technogym equipment, relaxation areas and sauna and steam rooms come on the first level. The second level comprises seven treatment rooms, a spa suite for couples, a relaxation room for women and the 'finishing studio'. Designed by Jeffrey Wilkes, ESPA is a soothing retreat of natural wood, hand-carved stone and soft furnishings.
The Leela Palace, is as much to be appreciated for its aesthetics as for its ecological consideration. The first hotel to be designed for Gold LEED certification, The Leela Palace New Delhi is powered by a 24-hour gas-fired generator set, which utilises the water and steam by-products in the air-conditioning system. Working on the principle of vapour absorption, the generator's carbon emissions are reduced by nearly 30 per cent. With an in-house rainwater harvesting project and an in-house water treatment plant, the hotel recycles 100 per cent of its used water.
The year 2011 marks Leela's 25th year of operations. The Leela success story and the group's commitment to quality, luxury and growth have become a legend in the business world. The launch of The Leela Palace, New Delhi, is a fitting milestone on this long and inspiring journey.
1. Principal Architect: Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart and Stewart & Inc (SRSS), Atlanta, USA
• Lobby and Guest Rooms - K&A, USA
• The Qube and Jamavar - Jeffrey Wilkes, Lim Teo Wilkes, Singapore
• The Library, Megu and Le Cirque - Design Spin Studio, Japan
3. Landscape Designer: Parent Latreille & Associates, Montreal, Canada
4. Lighting: Dazzle, Thailand
5. Total project cost: Rs 1,800 crore
Text: Sumisha Arora
Photos Courtsey: The Leela Palace
Contact: The Leela Palace, Chanakyapuri Diplomatic Enclave, New Delhi-110 023. Tel: 011-3933 1234. Fax: 011-3933 1235.