A Haven At The Crossroads Of History
New Delhi, the world’s second most populated city, is an assault on the senses. A mix of medieval ruins, imperial British architecture, and frenetic street life, it is equal parts magical and enervating. In a bustling city of more than 21 million people, The Lodhi seems a world apart, set on seven pristine acres, offering guests a residential oasis with its contemporary re-imagining of the Indian palace fortress.
At the intersection of a colonial park studded with Sultanate tombs, a centuries-old Sufi shrine, and a Mughal emperor’s grand mausoleum, towers The Lodhi, offering all the excursions and experiences one would expect of a luxury hotel in such a historically and culturally fascinating destination, including sightseeing and shopping tours, in-house art viewing, and cooking classes.
However, its most uncommon feature is a more elusive quality—one that is difficult to find in any city hotel, let alone in Delhi. What The Lodhi provides instead—taking its cues from India’s ascetic and inward-focused philosophies—is a complete escape from it all.
From the hotel’s private plunge pools, guests can contemplate a view of Humayun’s Tomb, a precursor to the Taj Mahal.
Cloistered Yet Capacious
The hotel is engineered to feel like a retreat. Its monumental scale echoes the surrounding city, but in whispers. Kerry Hill, the hotel’s Australian architect, incorporated elements from South Asia’s Indo-Saracenic tradition, including rough sandstone colonnades that recall Mughal arcades; emerald courtyards and shimmering pools that divide the grounds; and jalis, or filigree screens, which wrap the buildings like lace, casting beautiful patterns of shadow and light, while letting in glimpses of the outside world. High ceilings and scattered atria create a sense of lofty expansiveness.
The juxtaposition of enclosure and airiness achieved in the Lodhi’s public areas is replicated in its resort-sized accommodations. Some of the city’s most spacious, most of these are suite-style, and measure at least 1,350 square feet. Living quarters can be partitioned by sliding wooden doors to create apartment-like divisions; these sliding doors also replace curtains over the large picture windows—a brilliant way to banish harsh sunlight.
The outdoor areas are as lavishly voluminous. Most rooms feature ample, semi-screened verandahs running their length, crowned by private plunge pools. Wide steps descend into their depths, gently hinting at a local inspiration of Indian stepwells. After a day of sightseeing in the heat and dust, there is no greater comfort than sinking into these cool, temperature-regulated reservoirs. From this gloriously private vantage point (especially on the upper floors) open up vistas of lush green, dotted with historic domes.
Beyond its architecture, The Lodhi is a custom-tailored refuge, with a pre-arrival menu that lets guests choose everything from style of service (“pampering” to “discreet”) and preferred Ayurvedic toiletries, to complimentary indulgences such as reflexology massages or aromatic baths drawn on arrival. With a playground of gym and spa facilities, including tennis courts and hammams, guests can remain as satisfactorily sequestered within the hotel as long as they wish.