Oberoi Hotels

Old Aug 26th, 2003, 12:08 PM
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Oberoi Hotels

I'm booking a business trip to India in November for my boss and 4 of his colleagues. They've chosen mostly Oberoi Hotels and I'm writing each individually to book the rooms (do they give volume discounts?). Has anyone had any experience with the following hotels and can you tell me what are the best rooms to request (i.e. pool view, deluxe, garden view, etc.) + do they have concierge floors or club floors the way our chain hotels have:

Oberoi - Mumbai
Oberoi - Bangalore
Oberoi - New Delhi
Amarvilas - Agra

Also need feedback on the Taj Connemara in Chennai and the Park Hyatt in Goa. Are these good choices and what are the best rooms to request? My boss is used to luxurious North American hotels.

It's a huge trip and they're traveling all over the place within a 2-week span. They're going to need a place they can relax and be comfortable in so they can rejuvenate from all the stressful traveling.

Any help is greatly appreciated.
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Old Aug 27th, 2003, 02:01 AM
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I have stayed at three of the four Oberois you have mentioned. I believe they usually have a club floor, but this may vary from hotel to hotel. As you are staying at some many I would contact them at the 800 number in the US and see if you can arrange some kind of volume or frequent-stay rate; travel is down (and will be more so after the bombings in Mumbai which were not near the Oberoi). You might also contact each hotel individually by e-mail, you may get a better rate than is quoted on the 800 number. Here are my suggestions:

Mumbai ? this is actually a two-hotel complex, there is the Oberoi Towers which is a 4 Star and then next door is The Oberoi, which is the 5 Star. Both have great views of the bay and Marine Drive, The Oberoi has a nice pool area. I prefer The Oberoi as the rooms are larger and more luxurious, but the Oberoi Towers is perfectly fine too. In either, I would ask for a harbour/ocean view as opposed to a city view, as the view is better and these rooms are larger. I always prefer a room on a high floor as the views are better and the street noise is muffled (although it is not bad at the hotel as the windows are thick).

Delhi - I find the rooms here generally on the small side, so be sure to ask for the largest room available in the category you want. If you can afford a suite, I would get these, as they are a very good size. I would opt for garden or pool view, as there can be some street noise in the area. I would stay away from rooms at the front of the hotel where the parking area is, this can be noisy as well. (Indian hotels have the incredible practice of having a loud speaker which used by the valet service to call drivers; it can wake you from a sound sleep. . .)

Bangalore - I would opt for a pool or garden view rather than rooms facing the street or parking area. I believe that some of the lower floor rooms have patios into the garden which are very nice. Most of the upper floor rooms have balconies.

Agra ? this hotel was not finished last time I was in Agra. I would of course say choose the best room you can afford and a Taj view if at all possible! Ask about room size as well, you want something at least 300 square feet (or 30 square meters).

Chennai - I don't know the Connemara, but Taj is an Indian chain that I think is just OK, and not in the same standard as Oberoi. I would actually recommend the ITC Park Sheraton &Towers, specifically the Executive Club in Towers or any of the rooms in the Towers as opposed to the main hotel. This is a nice hotel, and the Executive Club and Towers rooms are especially nice. I would ask for a high floor to keep out street noise.

ITC Hotel Park Sheraton & Towers
TTK Road Chennai 600018
Phone (91)(44) 24994101 Fax (91)(44) 24997101

You might also consider the Taj Coromandal, which is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World, generally an indication of good quality. I have been in the lobby and two of the restaurants, which I thought were very nice.

Goa ? don?t' know the Park Hyatt at all. I would say you are generally very safe with Park Hyatts, as this is their premium brand.

It will be warm to hot everywhere they go except Bangalore which is always mild and pleasant. Delhi and Agra should also be pleasant weather as well, in the mid-70s F. It will be VERY rainy in Chennia (as well as hot and humid), streets can get flooded.
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Old Aug 27th, 2003, 07:03 AM
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I enjoyed the Oberoi (Nariman Point, Mumbai) when I stayed there several years ago. Room was large and comfortable and service was excellent. Overall, it is definitely one of the best hotels I've stayed at, and I do quite a bit of traveling on business.

MMM
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Old Aug 27th, 2003, 08:24 AM
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One more thing: all these hotels will offer car service to and from airports. (Sometimes it is included in the room, like the Executive Club at the Sheraton in Chennai). The driver will be standing outside the baggage claim/customs area with your boss' name on a sign and will take you right to the car. (The Oberoi in Mumbai somehow usually manages would get their drivers in BEFORE the immigration booths, only place in the world I have encountered this!) I would definitely recommend this, it is so much easier than hassling over a taxi, esp if it is hot and raining, and esp if this is your boss' first time in India. You don't have to worry about English levels of drivers or them taking you to other hotels. Often the same price and sometimes cheaper than a taxi. With 5 people you may need two cars, some hotels may have a van as well.
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Old Aug 28th, 2003, 07:44 PM
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Thanks for the great feedback, Cicerone. This is exactly the kind of advice I was looking for. Room size is definitely an issue for my boss and he always likes a bright room with lots of natural light on a high floor. He travels to Hong Kong and Singapore a lot on business and has also been to mainland China a couple of times (in the industrial district of Shenzhen I think it's called). He has visited India once before but it was at least 10 years ago and he only visited one city. I've already heard back from the Oberoi Bangalore that they are sold out for the dates he wants so I think I'll try the Leela Palace. Do you have any thoughts on that one? I will be booking airport transportation through the hotels. They'll definitely need two cars as 3 of them are coming from Canada and 2 are coming from New York. I really appreciate the great advice.
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Old Aug 29th, 2003, 02:44 AM
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I would try to get on a waiting list for the Oberoi, as you never know when things will clear.

I don't know the Leela in Bangalore, but overall I think Leela's are pretty good although they can be a little uneven, that is, one may be much better than another. I looked at their website for the Bangalore hotel, at it does look beautiful, and much more luxurious than some of their other hotels. It might be worth a try.

Another option for Bangalore would be the Sheraton Windsor Towers. I have stayed there a few times. I think it is a nice hotel, in colonial "Raj" style. They have good size rooms, and a club floor. Their junior suites are very large as I recall.

25 Golf Course Road, Bangalore 560 052, Karnataka, India
Tel 91)(80) 2269898. Fax 91)(80) 2264941


With regard to Delhi, if for some reason you can't get into the Oberoi, or can't get confirmation that you will get a large room, you might look at the Sheraton, specifically the separate portion of the hotel called ITC One. This is a wing which was added about 5 years ago. It is a luxury wing, the rooms are very large and well-appointed. The Sheraton itself is not on the same level as the Oberoi, but if you are in ITC One you have your own small lobby and staff, so it is very nice. The Sheraton has one of the best north Indian restaurants in India (if not the world) Bukhara, which is worth a trip in itself. The pool area is very nice and they have an excellent shopping arcade (better than the Oberoi IMO).

Almost all the Sheratons in India are operated by ITCWelcomegroup, an Indian hotel management company. Their website is actually a bit more helpful, IMO, than the main Sheraton website. Take a look at www.welcomgroup.com. For example, I just learned that the Bangalore Sheraton, Chennai Sheraton and the New Delhi Sheraton room rates include airport transfers and American breakfast, two very nice things to have included in the rate. When making a booking at any of the Sheratons, you might take a look at the website and quote it to the reservations people to make sure you are getting as good a deal.


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Old Aug 29th, 2003, 01:00 PM
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You won't believe this, Cicerone, but I wrote back to the Oberoi in Bangalore asking them to keep us on the waiting list and to recommend a comparable hotel in Bangalore in case the wait list didn't clear, and they responded with confirmation #'s for 2 executive suites and 3 standard rooms! I don't know what happened--they originally said they had a conference and were fully booked. Maybe they had cancellations because of this bomb thing in Mumbai. All the Oberoi hotels that have responded so far have included breakfast and airport transfers in their quotes. In New Delhi, I think I will pursue the Sheraton you mentioned, ITC One. It sounds exactly what my boss likes. He also likes shopping and is a real gourmand (I think that's the right word) so this Sheraton sounds like it might be a good match.
Re the Oberoi hotels, I reviewed their website and I'm checking their internet rates against the quotes I'm getting. So far, only one has quoted me higher than their internet rate.
I've gotten quotes from the Taj Coromandel in Chennai but I think I'll also investigate the Sheraton you mentioned there as well. I'm not sure if my boss would be happy at the Coromandal especially if he's used to the Oberois for the rest of the trip.
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Old Sep 27th, 2003, 07:44 PM
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Regarding the Park Hyatt in Goa -

This latest offering is a magnificent property, on the Arossim beach, and has a superb layout. The rooms are wonderful (some with a 'secret garden'). The centrepiece of the property is a Goan village-like setting, with the residential villas along its perimeter. And the location is good, just about 35 minutes by car from the capital city of Panjim.

When I went there in May 2003, the campus was still not complete but they expect it to be fully operational by Sept 2003. I am originally from Goa (but I now live in California), so I went there for a day trip, just to scope out the place. The hotel staff was exceedingly friendly but the restaurant service was thoroughly inefficient (albeit very friendly). I brought it to the attention of the manager and they promised to remedy teh situation. I think it takes a while before a brand new property settles down.

All in all, I would highly recommend the Park Hyatt in Goa. Absolutely premium grade property.

As an aside - one of the finest hotels anywhere is the Goa Marriott in Panjim. The service is truly world-class there - homey and caring - probably better than what you would even expect at Four Seasons. I am surprised that Marriott has not upgraded it in their Category ratings.

Rajan
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Old Sep 30th, 2003, 06:16 PM
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Agtoau: Thanks for the update on the Park Hyatt Goa. It looks lovely on the website and the hotel also sent me info via e-mail. I'm sure my group will love it.

In Chennai, we finally decided on Le Royal Meridien. Anyone have any opinion good or bad on Le Meridien? It looks good and the web and is listed as a 5*. We've booked Oberoi hotels everywhere else except Goa (Oberoi New Delhi, Amarvilas in Agra, Rajvilas in Jaipur, Bangalore Oberoi).
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Old Oct 1st, 2003, 08:54 PM
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Just a small thing to point out - in Mumbai, make sure that you book 'The Oberoi' which is the new wing and not the 'Oberoi Towers'. Both are part of the same complex but the former is much nicer.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2003, 07:44 AM
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I believe the Le Meridien is a hotel that was under construction for some years and was at various times going to be an Intercontinental, a Holiday Inn and possibly a Marriott. It was not finished the last time I was in Chennai. If this is the hotel I am thinking of (on St Thomas Mount Road?), it is on a fairly busy road, so ask for a room facing the pool area on the backside of the property. A street side room would be fairly noisy.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2003, 08:50 AM
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Re. Le Meridien in Chennai - I haven't been there but I have heard from reliable friends that it is excellent.

Cicerone - I had posed this question on the Europe/Switzerland board and have gotten only one response. I was hoping you would respond. Briefly: I am booked at the Zurich Airport Hilton in December and January for one night (going to and from SFO to Mumbai). Convenience to the airport was a factor since we have morning flights out of Zurich and since it is cold/rainy/snowy in Zurich in December/January. How is the Hilton? I have some yar ago stayed at Swissotel and found it to be good for a transit overnight stop. How does Hilton stack up against Swissotel? You may reply on the Switzerland board if you wish.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2003, 03:36 PM
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Deepa: Thanks for your warning about the Oberoi Towers. I was wondering which one was better. However, since then my boss has decided not to go to Mumbai. I think they were scared off by that last bombing. They're going to Jaipur instead.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2003, 12:54 AM
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I have not stayed at either the Hilton or the Swisshotel, so can't really say which is better. The Hilton was just redone so maybe that would give it the edge. You would have to take a shuttle van to either hotel, although the Swisshotel is about two blocks from the Oerlikon train station so you could walk it if you don't have a lot of luggage. The Hilton is closer by car from the airport than the Swisshotel, but both are under 10 minutes.

I don?t think either are really convenient if you want to go into Zurich for dinner or sightseeing. As the train trip to the airport takes about 15 minutes from Zurich main station, you as just as well off staying in Zurich, IMO. As you will be there when the Christmas decorations are up, a walk at dusk or at night down the Banofhstrasse to some of the squares by the river would really be spectacular. The Banhofstrasse is hung with lights the entire way and the Baur au Lac hotel on the lake puts tiny white lights on its huge fir (think Rockefeller Center but more magical somehow).

Hopefully you can check most of your baggage in the night before your flights to Mumbai and SFO and can just carry hand luggage. That would make staying in Zurich even more attractive IMO. Take a look at the Widder Hotel (http://www.widderhotel.ch), the Aldstadt (cant' find website), the Baur au Lac (bauraulac.ch), the Savoy Baur en Ville (savoy-baurenville.ch) and the Hotel Schweizerhof (hotelschweizerhof.com). The latter is across the street from the main train station, the others are very nice hotels in charming parts of the town, esp the Widder and Aldstadt. Many of these hotels also have an airport shuttle. (A taxi from Zurich to the airport takes about the same time as the train, but most people don't like paying US$60 for a 15-minute ride.)
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Old Oct 3rd, 2003, 07:00 AM
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Dear Cicerone,

I am grateful for your response. It has made me completely re-evaluate my options.

By the way, a friend of mine from Goa recently stayed at the Widder Hotel and he was completely bowled over. He said the rooms were unbelievably good, to say nothing about the magical ambience that Widder is.

Rajan
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Old Oct 3rd, 2003, 09:06 AM
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The Oberoi in Mumbai is a class act, truly among the great hotels in the world. It has been at various times part of the LHW (Leading Hotels of the World) exclusive club. The adjacent Oberoi Towers is first-rate, but not in the same class as The Oberoi. On the whole, the "Oberoi" brand signifies exceptional standards.

On my internnational flights out of Mumbai, I prefer a hotel close to the airport. At one time the Leela Kempinski had a lock on this market and as a result we had to live with outrageous prices, far in excess of what the hotel offered in return. The Leela also had a captive market from the airlines for their crew and staff. The service at Leela had gotten to be complacent and, in some sense, arrogant. Then suddenly we had an explosion of first-class hotels in the surrounding area (Grand Maratha Sheraton, Le Meridien, Hyatt Regency and now Grand Mumbai Intercontinental) and how the snotty Leela was humbled. Today, I wouldn't stay at the Leela - the hotel is fraying at the edges and is in need of a make over.

My current preferred hotel on the way out of Mumbai is Hyatt Regency. Its physical presence is nothing to write home about but it is smart, smooth and highly efficient. The buffets at the 24-hours restaurant (The Glasshouse) are excellent. It is walking distance from the airport and their complimentary car ride takes 2 minutes. To me this is a major factor, for travelling out of Mumbai at those unearthly hours can be stressful to the body and mind. Thank God we now have all these choices in the airport vicinity.

Question: Anyone been to the just-opened Grand Mumbai Intercontinental? I have sent them email but haven't gotten any response (you can take a look at www.interconti.com).

antlori: in Jaipur you essentially have no choice. Oberoi's Rajvilas is the first and last word in world-class luxury and elegance.


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Old Oct 3rd, 2003, 12:13 PM
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Please help. I'm traveling to India first time in 2004 for a birthday celebration. Want to go first class. Any suggestions on best travel agents / tour operators? Focus is art, architecture, culture.
Any experience with Abercrombie + Kent? or R. Crusoe Tours?

Thanks in advance for your help. (Really appreciated reading this thread.)
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Old Nov 2nd, 2003, 03:05 AM
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Septimus, e-mail me on [email protected]. How many days do you have? What is your budget? Any prefs south vs north?
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