Deepa Kapoor - a great guide in Delhi
We were very pleased with the services of our local city guide in Delhi. A very pleasant and elegant lady named Deepa Kapoor, she was hired for us by our friend Navin of Gatik Eventures.
Deepa is a very hands-on and involved tour guide, sharing a great and intimate knowledge of the great city of New Delhi. Her explanations are concise, interesting and she obviously gears her presentation to the particular interests of her clients.
We particularly enjoyed that Deepa found "involved" ways to see the city and get a feel for India's capital. An example would be the choice of taking cycle rickshaws through the tangled, teeming and infinitely lively streets of Chandni Chowk, the series of old streets and alleyways in old Delhi. Cycle rickshaw was definite the way to get up close and personal to the pulse of the city, and it was incredibly entertaining.
Later, when we were deciding to eat lunch, Deepa had what many of you might think is an odd suggestion, but we loved it. She said that "McDonald's is different in India, because they don't serve beef", and she wanted to know if we'd like to see how this American culinary pop icon had been adapted for the subcontinent. So, we all went into "Mickey D's in Delhi" and enjoyed veggie burgers, fries and soft drinks. Very familiar and reminiscent of home, and yet so very Indian in the differences.
Deepa did an excellent job of sharing the intense and deep history of many sites we visited, most particularly over at Qutab Minor. Her passion for her culture, her city and her country were quite evident and inspiring to us, on our first day in New Delhi.
If you'd like an adaptable, flexible and extremely competent and knowledgeable city guide, I'd suggest you get in touch with Deepa. Tell her we said hello. Here is Deepa's contact information:
firstname.lastname@example.org (yep, that's an Australian yahoo address!)
D-602, 1st Floor
C. R. Park
New Delhi - 110019, INDIA
Telephone +91 98 1158 2202 or
+91 41 602 688
Overpriced by at least 50%
Overpriced 4 start property pretending to be a 5 star
What strikes you the moment you enter THE PARK, NEW DELHI 's lobby is that the website fooled you into believing what it said! This place is definitely not 5 star. It qualifies for a good 4 star status. But for sure, not 5 star !
The lobby is small, but clean and modern art-deco types (not my type for sure). The staff I found was prompt, and the lady who escorted my family to the room took pains to be courteous and pleasant. Good. The porter who brought the luggage to the room looked menacing, don't know why!
The walls in the pathway (isle) of my floor were having stain marks which I first mistook as marble design!
The room I paid for was deluxe premium, and it turned out to be quite small. They could have definitely made it much bigger than this, at least considering what I shelled out for it.
The furnishings in the room are good, but you really can't enjoy it as the size gets to you. The semi-transparent (translucent)bathroom walls are a radical idea, and may not gel well with families.
The food is way overpriced. I guess prices could be slashed by 50% to make it feel reasonable. We were not happy with what we got, and felt uneasy.
Another important points : remember to ask if the hotel is undergoing renovation ? The lady who escorted us to the room when we checked in gave me 2 bad news --- Gym etc. are all under renovation, and there is repair going on through the day (so be ready for some noise). Why don't they mention it on their website? I may not have booked in this place had I known that the Gym will be closed!
Overall, a plush 4 star property, way overpriced. At leat from an Indian point of view.
Better than the reviews suggest
I have to say that I am quite shocked at all the negative reviews of The Park Hotel, it is in my opinion a great place to stay. Its possible that some of these reviewers are expecting the Shangrila or the Imperial, but I doubt if they will find a room at the same rate in one of those hotels.
The Park is quite different to the standard Indian 5 star hotel. They have completely renovated the hotel to a very modern, but kinda funky style which is IMHO very refreshing. I'm not an expert on interior design, but its kinda like what a science fiction writer of the early 1970s would envision a hotel in the year 2006 would look like. If you've ever seen "Sleeper", or "A Clockwork Orange" you'll understand what I mean.
The rooms are admittedly a little small compares with other hotels in Delhi, but in all honesty, it really doesn't bother me, although I do understand why it might bother some. If you are looking for big rooms, this is not your hotel.
The rooms are comfortable, although they are lacking perhaps a nice comfortable armchair, but thats probably due to the space factor. There are plenty of pillows on the bed which is perfect for me - saves me having to constantly ask housekeeping for more.
There is a wide screen LCD TV in every room which is a nice touch, and there's also a DVD player, so bring some movies with you from home. I undertand there are films available from the hotel, but I didn't try.
The bathroom is a very nice design, though as mentioned in previous posts the door is opaque which might bother some.
Restaurants and Bars
There are 2 restaurants and 2 bars - Fire is an excellent Indian restaurant and Agni is a very hip bar. Mist is the standard hotel 24 hour restaurant (though very funky) and Aqua is an outdoor poolside bar. Breakfast is in Mist and is typical hotel buffet breakfast and very adequate.
Can't get much better for location - its right in the center of town, 5 minutes from Connaught Place. Its not set in acres of parkland like some other Delhi hotels, but those hotels aren't walking distance from shopping, restaurants etc like the Park is.
This is where I REALLY disagree with the other reviews. I find the service at the Park to be as good, if not better than other Delhi hotels. for example: I got a phone call at 8pm one night from the hotel sales manager who invited me downstairs to the bar for complimentary cocktails. He met me in the bar and introduced himself, and explained that he likes to meet with the hotel's guests. He was an extremely pleasant fellow, and was very open about the high cost of rooms in Delhi at the moment, and offered some advice on how to get better rates - not just at the Park . He also arranged a 6pm late checkout at no extra charge for me. Its treatment like this that will gain my repeat business, and that is what I call good service.
Beyond that, all hotel staff is in my opinion extremely courteous and friendly.
All in all, The Park is not super luxury, but it is still a very good hotel, especially if you appreciate things a little bit different to the ordinary.
One thing to take into consideration - The Luxury Tax that is levied on all hotel rooms in Delhi is charged at the rack rate, not at the discount rate. This is a goverment regulation and has nothing to do with the hotel.
They charge a lot for what you get
You cannot criticize the hotel for the rooms. Although they are a tad on the small size the overall impression is very good. The hotel location is really good, within easy walking distance of the Tourist Offices and all the fancy shops in Connaught Circle. We also walked from here down to India Gate and the Parliament buildings without any difficulty or hassle.
The problem with the Park is that they just charge too much money for what they offer. This is a good hotel, but not a 5 star hotel and they want a lot of money. The breakfasts are very good but you will find the bar prices to be absurd. The latter is quite common all through northern India by the way. 250-300 rupees is common for a beer whereas in Goa the price is 45-50. Funny thing, Goa is crawling with tourists but you will be surprised at how few tourists you see in the Golden Triangle. Anway we found that the Park liquor prices were higher than the Imperial which is very definitely a 5 or 6 star hotel, go figure.
Don't fail to go for dinner at the United Coffee Shop which is quite close. Best food in India and very cheap. The Imperial has an incredible restaurant but prices are way up there.
The heavy set tuk tuk driver who will press you a little bit as you leave the hotel is actually very good and quite helpful. 50 rupees goes a long way with these guys in Delhi. Beware the touts lurking around Connaught place. Virtually everthing they tell you will turn out to be a lie.
Okay but Overpriced
We spent 3 nights here in two separate segments, and it is a pleasant, 4 star place, even though it prices itself as something much better. The odd-numbered rooms (on the side facing the street)were much better designed than the others because the bathroom door does not open drectly onto the WC. Breakfast was okay if you were willing to wait ages to get a cup of tea or coffee: self-help was discouraged but was often the only option available if you had less than an hour free!
August 15 Park, Delhi, India
Tour agents for Kashmir
Can you recommend a reliable and trustworthy tour operator for Kashmir?
There will be 13 of us travelling - we have used tour operators before, but were extremely disappointed.
Some advice on cost of hotels would also be very much appreciated: we paid about US$80 The Park New Delhi two years ago, the tour operator we approached is quoting us US$220. I have heard of inflation in India, but such a price hike....
RE: Tour agents for Kashmir
Yes there is to much hike in price in India from last year to this year. It is rond off 50% hiked in hotel rate. and also Govt. put services taxes of 4.90%.
You can try Hotel Westend Inn (3*) it is near Inernationa airport or Hotel Grand sartaj (3*)- it is in SOuth Delhi, it iwll com in the range of US $ 100 per Dbl room.
Hope it will help you.
love and smile..vivek
RE: Tour agents for Kashmir
A month has passed since I got back from India. Absolutely loved my trip!
I went to Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, and Kashmir . It's completely my original plan, and for my safety and to save my time (I wanted to go to many places with limited amount of time) I asked a local travel agency to arrange everything beforehand. (http://www.bnbdelhi.com)
If you want to make your trip unique and unforgettable, they can customize and design your travel program according to your wishes with reasonable price. They also provide pick-up service from the airport and hotel/transportation arrangement. Usually, Indian agency's feedback is very slow, but their response is very quick and kind, and if you are in any trouble during the trip, they are willing to help you resolve the issues. Heart-to-heart service with warm hospitality and friendship they extended to me was something that touched my mind too.
I really loved India, and can't wait to go back again!
Have a Nice Trip!