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Web Exclusive | July 2014

5 hotels in India design aficionados must visit

Indian hospitality industry has evolved and how! Check out these fabulous hotels designed to impress upon the rich, confident and glorious hospitality tradition of India.
Designed by Pronit Nath and landscaped by Aniket Bhagwat, the hotel takes cues from the famous Jantar Mantar in Jaipur. The spaces of the hotel are made up of bold forms, dramatic scales and rhythmic repetition. Each pattern combines the aesthetics of the present with the emotional values of the past and forms an eclectic language that echoes throughout the project, ranging from the leheriya textile patterns on the floors, the glass layering on the walls and the jaali, to the product scale of accessories, cutlery and textiles.

A red stone jaali engulfs the entire reception and is animated by the play of light and shadows across its length. Stones like Agra red, Bheslana marbles, sandstone and slate in combination with hammered metal, leafing and mirror work interpret the Nav Ratn in the interior spaces. White metal and semiprecious stones have also been used as special touches. The entire villa façade is made up of stone latticework.

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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.

Spanning over three acres, 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; majestic royal-elephants hand-carved using sandstone from Qatar. Miniature paintings by Rajashtani 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.

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Far from the madding crowd, harsh climate, traffic snarls and arid landscape into a little world of serene elegance, style and comfort, the Park Hyatt, Hyderabad is a breathtaking hotel designed by John Portman & Associates.

The hotel's central attraction is its poolside. Created much like the traditional 'baoli' or stepwell found in ancient Indian architecture, the pool is in the belly of the hotel, with terraced gardens descending into it. The design is further highlighted by a pristine white sculpture that soars nearly two storeys high. The design was conceived as a microcosm focused around an interior courtyard with abundant interior plant life and a large reflecting pool. The openness of the atrium space, natural light, the colour palette, the spa spaces and air conditioning all contribute to the creation of an indoor oasis.

Its modern facade is clad in traditional Madurai granite and an impressive porte-cochere with a shimmering steel mesh ceiling fixture.

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With modern design that borrows from the best aspects of local Tamil culture, the Hilton Chennai designed by DiLeonardo International beautifully captures the heart and spirit of its city. From stone and carpet patterns to chandeliers, each area designed by DiLeonardo embodies the spirit of cultural convergence. The vibrant colours, rich textiles, and intricately carved wooden panels make one want to linger on. But as one moves further, the serene pools of water on either side of the lobby extend a gentle invitation to the adjacent lounge/café on the same level.

The unique design of the Vintage Bar echoes the legendary safari motifs of India.  The ceiling representing a canopy of trees and the sky curves down to the columns that are fashioned after trees in the savannah.

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Romance comes to life at the Vivanta by Taj-Bekal in every sense – it is evident in the marriage of nature and design, in the union of natural and artificial water bodies, and in the affair between the traditional and contemporary facets of design!

Designed by Grounds Kent Architects (GKA), a distinctive feature of the buildings at Vivanta by Taj-Bekal is the roof. Fascinated with the Kettuvallam houseboats that feature strongly in the imagery of the location, the forms, material and construction of the boats, have been used to make an identifying feature of the hotel. The structures, completely hand woven with bamboo by local craftsmen, infuse regional authenticity in the construction. The effect is an architectural aesthetic that is culturally referential and creates a strong sense of place throughout the hotel.

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