The presence of The Crowne Plaza Gurgaon (Gurugram), in Delhi’s Sector 29 is a towering testament to a city regeneration project aimed at turning this area of Delhi into a hotel and restaurant magnet for visitors and the burgeoning Indian middle classes.
It’s only a couple of miles from the capital’s chaotic centre and yet conveniently near the international airport.
Everything about the place – from the moment one steps out from the cab, through security and into the bright, marbled reception – is on a larger than usual scale. A vast sky-lit atrium awaits as does a pleasant courtyard of fountains and sunshine.
The Crowne Plaza, part of the global IHG chain, is friendly and efficient. Like most Indian hotels, there is no shortage of staff to help guests.
Thoroughly modern in look, it provides the same five star standards one would expect from the IHG stable anywhere else in the world.
It is ideal for couples, families or solo travellers who need a base to see the sights of Delhi or a place to stay immediately before or after a long haul flight. It is relaxed, child-friendly and is as much in demand with Indians as it is with foreigners and business travellers.
There are 234 well-appointed rooms arranged over seven floors. From heated loo seats to electronic curtains there’s plenty of mod cons. The rooms are spacious, bright and clean. Our room looked out across the city and you’ll know you are in India by the incessant tooting of horns.
The bath was generously proportioned and the extras around the room are as one would expect.
There is a large heated roof-top swimming pool, a well turned out fully-equipped gym and a spa with plenty of options including facials scrubs and massage which can be a welcome relief after a hard day’s trudging around Delhi.
Food and drink
The restaurant is open all day and most of the night – 6am until 11.30pm. Offering a wide range of culinary styles from around the world – Med, Oriental, European and Indian.
It seemed a little crass to travel thousands of miles to feast on the European food we had left behind, so we sampled what can only be described as an ever-changing choice of meat and vegetable curries, rice-based dishes, chapatis, parathas, dahl and rich sauces. There is no better place in the world to try to avoid meat as most Indians eat little or none of it and you’ll quickly find that you won’t miss it one bit.
Is Wi-Fi available?
Yes, in the main lobby areas, it is fine and it is free. But on the upper floors this can be a little patchy. Be very careful of what your provider might charge you in India.
This is a typical Crowne Plaza hotel – luxury but not ostentatious but at the same time affordable. Depending on when you travel, a double or twin won’t cost much more than £100, which is mid-price for top flight hotels in Indian cities. It might be worthwhile to cash in some IHG Rewards Club points if it helps. Just be clear about the many Indian hotel taxes before you book.
If you have time, don’t miss the thoroughly western-ised Connaught Square, the Mughal-era Red Fort, India Gate or the Gandhi Museum. Try to give Old Delhi a whirl, particularly Chandi Chowk market for just about anything and everything but especially cheap fabrics and gold jewellery.
If you are lucky, there may be Test cricket on or, perhaps even better, the Indian Premier League, with the Delhi Capitals. A local guide book and map is helpful, especially if you intend to travel on the city’s underground.
The Metro in Delhi is obsessively clean, air conditioned and, almost unbelievably, not overly crowded. And it costs pennies to do so.