On my third visit to India’s regal capital city, I had the good fortune of staying at Holiday Inn New Delhi International Airport, a four star hotel popular among frequent business travellers. While the spacious rooms and stellar service make this hotel an obvious choice for those wishing to stay near the airport, what truly impressed me was the quality of their Lea Spa and Salon; Hangar, the innovative aviation-themed bar and the gourmet fare on offer at Bella Italia, their Italian restaurant.
Aero City is only 3 km away from Indira Gandhi International Airport and we reached Holiday Inn New Delhi International Airport in less than ten minutes. The locality is choc-a-bloc with airport hotels and you’ll see a lot of foreigners walking around. Since it’s away from the hustle and bustle of the main city, it’s perfectly safe to go for a stroll and admire the paintings adorning many of the walls.
A lavish pool-view room
The swanky reception area with its installation featuring the monuments of Delhi (see featured image) and the supine stone head on a couch raised my expectations. My room on the second floor definitely lived up to them. There was no verandah or bath tub, but there was a lovely couch, huge television, writing desk, a three-way shower for ultimate pampering, toiletries from my favourite brand Biotique and a marvellous view of the swimming pool below.
Best of all, a platter of strawberries dipped in chocolate, hand-made chocolates, cookies and a basket of assorted fruits awaited my attention. The mini bar was stocked with tons of snacks, soft drinks and beer. I enjoyed a good night’s sleep in my room after a wonderful Balinese massage (more about that later) and dinner at Vito, the all-day restaurant. And in the morning, Delhi revealed itself to me in all its soft, foggy splendour. Spring is really the best time to be in the city of Mughals.
All-day dining at Vito
Vito is the bright and cheerful all-day dining option at Holiday Inn New Delhi International Airport. Located behind the reception area, it has both a buffet and an la carte menu for lunch and dinner. The variety is not very extensive but you can always ask the chef to prepare anything you like. I loved the sweet corn soup (pictured below) and the masala papad rolls served in shot glasses filled with chutney. Since the hotel hosts several Japanese guests, there is a Ramen and sauteed vegetables section as well both of which I thoroughly enjoyed.
I enjoyed my breakfast at Vito much more (it’s anyway my favourite meal of the day). There’s an attractive pastry counter for those who love their croissants and muffins and an array of Indian options as well. I liked the idlis, poha and masala dosa. There are also fresh juices, cold coffee and flavoured yoghurt on offer. My advice – ask for a tall mug of cappuccino, find a table facing the outdoors and plan your day ahead. The hotel arranged an excellent eight-hour city tour for me in a comfortable Innova.
Balinese massage at Lea Spa & Salon
The highlight of my stay at Holiday Inn New Delhi International Airport was without a doubt, the hour long Balinese massage session (Rs 3500) at Lea Spa & Salon, followed by a luxuriant sauna, shower and Jacuzzi. My masseur Malli Mahato was very adept with her technique and use of pressure. Prior to the session, I filled a form stating my areas of concern (such as neck, shoulders or back) and the desired pressure (gentle or strong). The massage room was dimly lit with faint, relaxing music. Malli asked me at regular intervals if everything was as per my preference.
It was a full body massage with adequate attention to every part, including the face and scalp. The oil was a little difficult to wash off but the steam helped. Lying in the Jacuzzi tub relaxed me completely and I felt like a whole new person when I’d toweled and changed back into my clothes. I was offered some refreshing green tea after the spa, along with a bottle of water. The best time for this spa session is before dinner, so you can soak in its benefits over a restful night’s sleep.
Hangar, the aviation-themed bar
A good bar needs character and Hangar has oodles of it. You can spend hours examining the real airplane parts on display on the walls and the tables. Almost like a mini-museum, the bar has a large amount of seating space with many attractive nooks and couches and even a large smoking area with its own television set and seating. The service is quick and there’s a decent food menu for small bites so if you’re not too hungry, you could just end the day at Hangar and skip dinner. The music includes the latest English hits and dress code is smart casuals (not too many turn up in shorts and t-shirt).
Gourmet food at Bella Italia
While Vito is multi-cuisine, Bella Italia is a dedicated Italian restaurant with top-notch salads, pizzas and pastas on the menu. The wooden interiors feel very welcoming and the kitschy wall art depict various facets of Italian culture. There is a lot of colour here and interesting touches to the interiors, including brick-patterned walls and mosaic tiled flooring. We noticed an upstairs seating area as well but it didn’t seem to be operational.
Coming to the food, we ordered a salad, pizza, dessert and cocktails. The server recommended the salad over a portion of garlic bread, and I’m glad we complied. Misticanza was a delightful concoction of romaine lettuce, rocket leaves, frisee lettuce with cherry tomatoes, ample goats’ cheese, walnut, creamy avocado and balsamic dressing. The walnut provided crunch and the avocado and cheese practically melted in my mouth. We were provided a complimentary portion of bread and dip, which was so tasty we couldn’t help finishing it all.
The pizza list isn’t extensive but everything is beyond perfection. We had the Campagna, a vegetarian pizza topped with red pepper, red onion, mozzarella, goats’ cheese, tomatoes, rocket leaves, pine nuts and a sweet balsamic glaze. I’m fond of pizzas that have sweet overtones and the pine nuts were a unique addition. My sparkly Bella Bellini, a delicious combination of Prosecco, peach puree and peach Schnapps kept me company while I worked my way through the food. I didn’t have much room for dessert, which is why the ‘dessert shots‘ were a lifesaver. For Rs 300, you can have any two shots. I had an orange cheesecake shot and a caramel chocolate mousse shot and both were exceptional.
Good to know
The hotel also has a fully-equipped fitness centre with a great view of the pool and peppy music. If you have children along, you’ll be happy to know that kids under 12 stay and eat for free at Holiday Inn New Delhi International Airport. With a banquet hall that can accommodate 450 people and a total of 265 rooms, the hotel is also a great MICE and wedding venue. For added luxury, check into one of the 13 suites at the hotel. Rooms start at around Rs 7000 per night and for bookings, you can head over here.
Pin for later: