The Oberoi Cecil delivers everything that you anticipate it will. The Delux rooms are well appointed and beautifully decorated. The complimentary DVD service could do with being updated but is a nice service. The food is delicious and the staff in the restaurant are attentive. The drives are wonderful and informative, as are all of the staff. The pool looked fab although I did not get around to having a dip. The Spa is priced at what you would expect in this sort of Hotel 3800r was the cheapest massage. The email/computer works on a half hour card which you purchase from the lobby, but beware it expires within 24 hrs.
The building itself is wonderful and situated about a fifteen minute walk from the Mall. The walk is pleasant or alternatively you can chauffered near to the mall for 150r. Take two lifts up to the mall which cost 7r pp. The Mall has some great stalls and prices are alot cheaper than other parts of India.
The Toy Train up to Shimla is an experience, whether I would do it again is debatable. The train was crowded with people standing with no tickets in our carriage and the trip is long and hot with no air conditioning. Ours took 6hrs and a lot of rubbish ruins what would be beautiful views. I would suggest just taking the train for the latter stage.
The monkeys can provide endless entertainment in the car park area. The bird sound is lovely at the crack of dawn.
Not as great as I'd hoped!
The Cecil is a lovely hotel, well-situated in a quiet part of Shimla but not far from the main areas. The rooms are comfortable, clean and offer astonishing views out over the mountains and nearby towns. The pool area is a good place to relax and the DVD service provides a refreshing alternative to the usual bunch of bland satellite channels. However, be careful!
1 I don't recommend booking via the website. I was urged to do this when I first contacted the hotel and paid 180 USD plus tax for a Himalaya view room. A colleague booked by phone (also for July) and was given a room 40 USD cheaper. When I queried this discrepancy, I was assured it would be looked into. Needless to say, I'm still waiting for a response.
2 The restaurant was a bitter disappointment. We ate there only once and breakfast was so poor we were not encouraged to risk dinner. There were about 6 hotel guests and more than 10 staff yet it took 20 minutes to produce scrambled eggs (which were cold) and tasted of nothing! The other dishes were lukewarm and tired, the staff seemed more interested in teasing and tickling each other and the porridge was inedible! The Cecil could learn a lot from the Maidens Hotel in Delhi who produce the best breakfast buffet in India!!
3 At checkout, some weird things happened! First of all, there was an item on my bill which wasn't mine. Then the lady dealing with payment called over another member of staff and instructed her to photocopy my credit card. I objected to this - she did not ask for my permission to do so and I know that credit card fraud is rampant in India having been warned by my bank before travelling there (I live in Dubai and was warned by Indian bank employees about fraud in India!). She claimed that the swipe machine wasn't working and so they'd have to keep a photocopy. I again refused. A supervisor appeared, swiped the card and the transaction went through seamlessly in less than a minute. The whole affair left me rather bemused!
A First Class Experience
We stayed at the Cecil Hotel, Shimla, from the 6th – 8th August 2007. Our party consisted of two adults and two young children.
We arrived in Shimla on the Himalayan Queen rail service from Kalka, having originally set out from New Delhi on the Shatabdi Express. In total we travelled for eleven hours and were glad to finally arrive at the Cecil Hotel. The hotel is actually a short walk (uphill) from the railway station, however due to traffic restrictions the taxi took fifteen minutes to arrive at the door. It would have been easier and quicker to hire a porter to carry our bags to the Cecil and follow him up the street!
We were welcomed at the door of the hotel by name, which was a good start. After check in procedures over a glass of juice, we were shown to our rooms (connecting room for the children). Rooms are huge, modern, clean, with not a sign of any wear and tear. Staff couldn’t do enough for you and there is a no tipping rule (to individual staff) at the hotel – heaven! We explored the hotel pool, spa area, children’s activity centre and the billiards room. We then signed out some kids DVD’s from reception before getting ready for dinner.
I have read some disturbing reports (on Trip Adviser) regarding the quality of the food at the Cecil Hotel. I can personally report that I found restaurant staff very accommodating. Our waiter made some very positive suggestions for dinner and the children were able to get a home made pizza with their own choice of toppings (which was actually not on the dinner menu). The presentation and quality of the food was outstanding. We had Indian lamb cooked to perfection for our main course. The food was expensive by Indian standards but similar to what we would pay back home. On our second evening we did actually order room service because the children were tired. This was a disappointment. I could hardly believe that the food was prepared in the same kitchen.
We took the opportunity to walk from the Cecil Hotel to Clarke’s Hotel for lunch. This was quite a walk as Clarke’s is located on the other side of the Mall. We have previously stayed at Clarke’s Hotel and were impressed with the efforts staff went to offer both an Indian & Continental lunch buffet, even though we were the only diners (2004). When we visited for lunch on the 7th August there were only two other diners in the restaurant. Again staff produced a marvellous spread of Indian and Continental food, washed down with beer and pop.
On our day of departure from the Cecil Hotel, staff agreed to extend our check out until 1600hrs, which was much appreciated. We actually had difficulties during the check out procedure, as their credit card machines did not appear to be able to connect to their networks. I let staff take my card away to try another machine in the restaurant, against my better judgement. However when this failed they wanted to take a photocopy and get me to complete an authorisation slip. I opted to pay cash in US Dollars, which had to be converted to Indian Rupees and exchange certificates issued. This took an age.
We would be happy to stay at the Cecil Hotel again, although I am keen to try Wildflower Hall (without children).
What a hotel!
What a wonderful way to end our tour of northern India! It was really great to arrive in the evening in such peaceful surroundings after being crammed like sardines in the 'toy train' for 5½ hours, although it was a marvellous ride.
Check-in was seamless in the lounge over a drink and our room was beautifully decorated with a lovely bathroom and a separate dressing room. What a delight to wake up next morning and see the fantastic view out over the valleys from our large terrace: just a pity there were no chairs on it but we were told later that we could have requested some.
The restaurant was excellent and although there was a buffet breakfast the ever-obliging staff insisted on serving us with toast,eggs, etc.The three dinners we had there were of a high quality although a glass of Indian wine cost as much as some of the dishes, but that is India! The reasonably priced beer was a better option.
The position of the hotel midway between the Viceregal's Lodge and Scandal Point was ideal for walking off those large breakfasts although uphill all the way to the latter.
We had to check-out early on our final day to catch the flight to Delhi and a large breakfast was wheeled into our room on the dot at 6.30am
A great way to end our holiday
Treat yourself to this place
We asked our travel agent to book this hotel after reading the reviews on this site and we were not disappointed.
The service was the best ever experienced from a hotel chain. We stayed 2 nights and ate in the hotel restaurant on the last night. By that evening, the waiter had learned our names and welcomed us by name when we arrived. He then anticipated everything we might need.
The food was fantastic. The breakfast is buffet style and you just want to eat everything. Do not pass on the banana bread. It was so good we took the recipe away. There was also a buffet for the evening we were there and that was superb too. We decided on the buffet and then nervously asked how much it was - £18 each which a lot for India I know but you would be pleased as punch paying that in the UK and getting that standard. It is a 5 star hotel too.
The room was lovely. We were there for Diwali and we had special sweets delivered to the room. Your paper is delivered in a lovely bag (silly I know but its the little touches that make your stay).
The rooms are all round a beautiful atrium, also in fine wood as is the rest of the hotel. The pool is lovely too.
It is situated at the end of the mall so probably about 20 minutes to get to the shops part but a pleasant walk.
Couldn't fault it at all plus we had the best guide taking us around the town that we have ever had. We couldn't go wrong!