I have been observing the gradual blooming of the New Delhi Aerocity hospitality district with some interest. So when Raja Singh, from the Pride Plaza Hotel Aerocity’s marketing and PR department, invited me to come and stay, of course, I said yes. It was one of the few functioning hotels in Aerocity I hadn’t visited yet and I was curious to see how it was holding up against formidable competition from the likes of JW Marriott, Pullman and Holiday Inn.
It turned out to be a spiffy hotel, run with quiet efficiency. The lobby carpet was so soft I nearly sank to my knees as I whirled around to admire the art. (The only thing softer is the intonation of GM Pankaj Mathur, whose last stint was at the Suryaa in Delhi’s busy New Friend’s Colony neighbourhood.) The hotel has collaborated with Krsna Mehta to create the exclusive artwork on display. They’ve embraced a mostly understated aesthetic which I always find impressive. The room was well appointed, with an inviting bathtub peeking from behind a glass panel. (I later moved to the currently lone pool-facing suite and wasn’t complaining for the extra leg room and largish dining table.)
So far so good. What Pride Plaza really does well though is the F&B. Café Pride, the multi-cuisine all-day diner, looked way better than its pictures. In fact, all the F&B venues, without exception, are stunningly designed. And the thoughtful seating ensures that all guests have a proper bit of elbow room.
I started off with a few drinks at Stallion, the equine-themed bar, where a fine bartender churned out cocktail after perfect cocktail until I had to beg him to stop. He had andaz, that elusive yet essential quality. Raja, who was chaperoning me, turned out to be excellent company and our conversation ranged from the growing importance of PR on the election trail to the merits of rearing the rare kadaknath breed of chicken (which his family does) and everything in between. Dinner was at Oriental Spice, their fine dining dinner-only pan-Asian restaurant, under the watchful eye of Chef Timothy Lepcha. Chef Lepcha may have a humble manner but his food soars to heights that are anything but humble. I can still taste the lohan style vegetables and Burmese noodles I had. Another night, Chef Sartaj Qureshi presented a splendid Awadhi repast. Presiding over it all is executive chef Shailendra Singh and he runs a fine kitchen indeed. The hotel’s superlative continental dishes (I had some excellent tenderloin) are a nod to Aerocity’s cosmopolitan clientele.
There’s a spa too, ORA, which specialises in a chocolate massage which I, regrettably, shied away from. (But there will definitely be a next time.) The gym is perfectly nice but the staff needs to be a bit more experienced.
With such an excellent bouquet of offerings, Pride should be proud. Poised perfectly between Delhi and Gurgaon, this is so much more than a transit hotel. Staycations anyone?.
Location Hospitality District, Delhi Aerocity, IGI Airport, New Delhi 110037. 1km from the airport.
Accommodation 385 deluxe, superior and premium rooms
Tariff From `4,646
Contact +91-11-66007700, pridehotel.com