Call it a mid-life lodging crisis — I'm too old for the backpacker crowd, but I'm not ready to sell my soul for a suite at The Imperial. So last weekend, I found myself on an undercover mission at a new type of Delhi establishment — the Bed and Breakfast.
Incognito and urbane in my oversized, wannabe-Bollywood-star sunglasses, I arrived at Mrs Kumar's B&B in Defence Colony, where helpful Panna showed me to my room. It was immaculate, cheery and boasted a TV with several hundred channels, 24-hour hot water, user-friendly coffee pot, and even a living area with shady garden. When I requested use of the computer, Panna arrived bearing a laptop with Internet access. Impressive so far. Being an international woman of mystery can be taxing, and I realised I was ravenous. Luckily, the Defence Colony Market is just a 10-minute walk away.
My room had twin beds pushed together, but another room is equipped with a more romantic queen-size bed, not to mention a bathtub. Rubber duckie not included.
Breakfast was an innovative omelette-cum-pancake, toast, tea and fruit — all served with a smile and with a map of Delhi. A glance at the register revealed that although the B&B has only been open since January, it has already hosted guests from several continents, some of whom felt so at home that they lingered on for three weeks.
Overall, I was impressed. The only piece of compromising information I uncovered is that the mini-fridges contain purely non-alcoholic beverages. When you're paying Rs 3,000 a night, however, there's enough leftover to pull a 007 and smuggle in your own martini.
Where: C-452 Defence Colony, New Delhi
Accommodation: 3 double rooms
Tariff: Rs 3,000-3,500, including breakfast, of course — Continental or Indian
Contact: Mrs Kumar, 9810011848. (Her B&B has recently been awarded 'Gold' classification by the Ministry of Tourism under its Incredible India Bed & Breakfast scheme.)