My stay at the Taj Palace, New Delhi was only my second review of a Taj property and this seemed like a big upgrade from my earlier experience at Taj Deccan, Hyderabad. Although Taj Palace, New Delhi was quite big and had a lot of amenities, there were a few things lacking…
About the hotel
Just 20 minutes' drive from the airport and close to Khan Market and Connaught Place, Taj Palace, New Delhi is a good base for travelling to different parts of the capital.
The hotel is situated in Chanakyapuri, an affluent neighbourhood which is among the safest localities in the city, due to it being frequented by VVIP guests quite often. There are a total of 403 rooms and suites, four restaurants, a bar, tea lounge, fitness centre, salon, spa and event spaces.
Booking Taj Palace, New Delhi
I booked a base category superior room with hotels.com for three nights, well in advance from my stay. I paid just INR 15,868 (USD 214) for my booking, which included half board (breakfast and dinner) and seemed like a great deal for a property of this calibre.
I was hoping that I might be able to take dinner at any restaurant in the hotel, though sadly the complimentary dinner was only available as a set, three-course meal at the all-day dining restaurant.
Arriving at Taj Palace, New Delhi
I arrived at the hotel at 3pm and, after getting my temperature checked and hands sanitised, I was requested to put my baggage through the scanning machine. Thereafter I was handed my backpack, while my suitcase was taken to the bell desk for it to be delivered to the room.
The check-in process was smooth, Taj has protective screens installed at the desks and are making sure social distance is maintained. I requested an upgrade and I was gladly upgraded to a deluxe category room, which are newly renovated.
Taj Palace, New Delhi - Deluxe room review
Purvi checked me in and handed me the keys to room number 564, located on the fifth floor and on the immediate left side corridor once you step outside the lift.
This room was 30 square metres in size, featured a king size bed, a study table, a comfortable chair and a well-equipped bathroom, with a bath as well as a shower cubicle.
The mattress and the pillows were to my liking and felt soft and luxurious.
The wardrobe didn’t have a door, though had enough hangers to suffice two people. Built into the wardrobe were drawers, shelves and the lock safe.
The study table was quite big, though the chair at the table, if not tucked all the way in, caused some hinderance in walking across to the window.
The bathroom was pretty spacious, with a big bath, though I didn’t use it during my time there.
The shower cubicle was spacious as well and the rain shower was comforting after a long journey from Mumbai to Delhi.
Bathroom amenities were from Forest Essentials and they were pretty good too.
There were no bathrobes available in the room, but a notice explained that they could be delivered on request. I called up the operator, asking to be transferred to housekeeping, but the operator said she could solve my issue.
A few hours later, my bathrobe was still not delivered, during which time I noticed that the ironing board was missing too and so I decided to give another call and ask for the ironing board as well. Both the items were delivered to my room soon after.
I was taken good care of aboard the Vistara Dreamliner, and so didn’t really feel the need for lunch at the hotel and so I headed down for dinner on my first night.
Dining at Taj Palace, New Delhi
There are plenty of dining options at Taj Palace, New Delhi. Capital Kitchen is their all-day dining restaurant, while Masala Art is the Indian specialty. Orient Express serves European cuisine and is one of the their best restaurants, along with Spicy Duck, which specialises in Chinese food.
Sadly, the specialty restaurants weren’t operational during my time at the hotel, apart from Masala Art, which was only being used to accommodate overflow guests at Capital Kitchen for breakfast and dinner.
The bar at this property is called The Blue Bar, and they take pride in their cocktail menu. I visited this place for a meeting and was pleasantly surprised by their service and offerings (more on that later).
Dinner and lunch at Taj Palace, New Delhi
I arrived at Capital Kitchen for dinner at about 9pm on the first evening of my stay and was shown to a table. Mukesh then presented the set menu.
I chose to go with the non-veg options for starter and main, though I felt that the presentation and taste both lacked a little, and I was expecting better.
I was served a platter of fish and chicken tikkas, followed by butter naan, rice and the main course, and gulab jamun (sticky, deep-fried dough balls) for dessert. My first dining experience at Taj Palace was pretty average.
After getting back from lunch the next day, I did some work and took a short nap before once again heading down to Capital Kitchen for dinner. Amar was taking care of me on the day and the same routine was followed from the previous day: I was presented a set menu and I went for the non-veg option.
Amar was kind enough to bring me dal makhni (lentils) and aloo ka rassa (potato curry). The food was alright overall, but again I thought the spark was missing. The serving bowls seemed poor quality, too.
On the third night, I headed to Masala Art for dinner because Capital Kitchen was having a private event. There was a buffet spread here, though nothing special.
I chose to get some non-veg appetisers, a chicken and a fish curry and some rice and a couple of tandoori roti (bread) to go with it. There was kheer (rice pudding) for dessert, which I enjoyed.
I only took one lunch at Taj Palace and I once again headed to Capital Kitchen. I was in the mood for some Italian so I ordered a chicken pizza.
As I waited for my order, I was weirdly served papad (papadum), and I thought it was strange to mix two dishes from completely different cuisines. I would have appreciated a bread basket or something a little more continental.
The pizza was served and I was left to eat it directly from the dish. Taj has been marketing itself as one of the greats in Indian hospitality industry, and no-plate doesn’t exactly go well with this image.
I ended up asking for a plate, as well as some olive oil. I ate my food without deriving much pleasure from this experience and I was soon on my way out.
Breakfast at Taj Palace, New Delhi
Breakfast was served at Capital Kitchen between 7am and 10.30am. I arrived at around 9am on the second morning and was given a choice of sitting outside or inside (I chose the latter).
A buffet spread wasn't available, instead there was a menu presented at every table with options for you to choose from.
Cut fruits were presented immediately and then my order was taken, I went for an all-Indian breakfast, with aloo paratha (bread stuffed with potatoes) and masala dosa (a thin rice pancake).
I was surprised how quickly the dosa was served. It was well prepared and it tasted nice, as did the aloo paratha, which was thick with a lot of stuffing inside.
This place had a nice vibe to it as it overlooked the pool on one side, and every time the door opened to the outside, that cool breeze on my face felt pleasing.
I asked to be served my coffee in a takeaway cup as I wanted to enjoy the setting outside. This worked well for me, although I couldn't bear the cold weather for very long.
I headed to Masala Art for breakfast on the second day. The menu was the same and I started off the meal with watermelon juice and some cut fruits before ordering a masala omelette with mushrooms and chicken sausages on the side. I also asked to be served pancakes.
The presentation of the dishes was a contrast. The omelette was broken when it was served and it wasn’t exactly “finger licking good”. The pancakes on the other hand looked appealing and tasted much better. They were served with honey and blueberry compote.
After breakfast, I decided to go around the hotel and check out the amenities available at the property, which I've covered in the section below.
For breakfast on the third day, which was also my last dining experience at the Taj Palace, New Delhi, I chose to get a table outside at Capital Kitchen. I ordered a masala omelette with hash browns on the side, along with a small portion of masala dosa.
The food service was disappointing once again as some of my food was served on whatever small, scrappy dishes the kitchen had to hand. The hash browns only came out when I was done eating the omelette.
The dosa was pretty average too, but it was still better than the experience I had with the omelette. The best part about this breakfast was the coffee, which I enjoyed with the view.
Prashant Vath, who attended me on all the days I took breakfast at Capital Kitchen, was very warm in his approach and made sure I was feeling at home. I would even say that he made up for the lack in presentation and food with his hosting as much as he could.
The Blue Bar at Taj Palace, New Delhi
I met a business acquaintance at The Blue Bar at 7pm one evening and we were happy to find out that it was happy hour between 6pm and 8pm, offering 1+1 on drinks.
Only the outdoor seating is open at the moment, due to Covid. Heaters were set up on the deck, which was very welcome on a cold Delhi evening.
We enjoyed a couple of rounds of cocktails and mocktails, which were served with salted peanuts and soya chips.
We also ordered a prawn bite, which was quite yummy and I think this was my best F&B experience at Taj Palace, New Delhi so far.
The barman here was from Sydney and has been with the property for around 10 years. He also shared with us that he has worked at the Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai as well.
Other amenities at Taj Palace, New Delhi
There’s a large outdoor pool in this hotel, along with spa, gym and salon facilities.
The gym here was well equipped, and there's also a yoga room along with it.
There are also banquet halls with various capacities, both indoor and outdoor. There was a wedding at the hotel during my time there so I couldn't manage to click a picture of the banquets, though I got a picture of the banquet lobby one floor below reception.
There is a ‘Khazana’ store on the mezzanine floor, and next to it a business centre with multiple meeting rooms along with other working areas.
All the meeting rooms during my visit to the business centre were busy and therefore I couldn’t click pictures of them.
I also managed to check out the Tata suite - the top most suite at this property, though I was requested not to click pictures of this suite due to security reasons.
Here's some information about the best room in the house at Taj Palace, New Delhi. It features a master bedroom and a guest bedroom, with an option to add two more rooms, which are interconnected to the suite.
There are two living areas, a dining area, study, and a dining room. This suite costs around INR 700,000 (USD 9,547) per night depending on the demand and time of the year. I was informed that pre-Covid the suite would usually be occupied for at least 10 days in a month.
There is a Taj club lounge at the property as well, though it was unfortunately closed due to Covid, and therefore I couldn’t check it out.
Given that this is one of Taj’s prime properties, I had high hopes from Taj Palace, New Delhi and was looking forward to being spoiled by their “world-class” hospitality. The whole experience turned out to be the exact opposite, as I often found myself having to make do with poor service during my stay.
The staff however were great and really warm. Although none of them said so, repeated errors made me feel like the hotel is understaffed at the moment due to coronavirus.
Interestingly, I had a few interactions with other guests who said they were only staying at the Palace because of the attractive half board offer going on at the time. Otherwise, they would rather stay at the Taj Mahal, New Delhi - the second Taj property in the capital.
I would think twice before booking another stay here, unless they came up with an offer I couldn't refuse. Even then, there are no shortage of attractive offers at luxury Delhi hotels right now.
Have you stayed at Taj Palace, New Delhi? What are your thoughts?