New Delhi (DEL) Where to stay and what to do for one night

Daver6

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I should have said "if you wish to venture more than a block or two out of the transit hotels". No harm in just walking around the block. You can assess the area yourself.

I did this on a few of my stays very much against the wishes of the hotel staff.

It depends where the hotel is actually located of course!

Was that from a security perspective? Or they just thought you were some sheltered westerner?
 

Austman

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Was that from a security perspective?

I think so. The security staff in some locations were a bit concerned that a guest would just walk out of the hotel grounds. I must admit, in some of the locations where I've stayed, it was a bit confronting out there. I remember thinking how the world changed from 5-star luxury to something quite different at the hotel gate. Also, just outside the hotel, were any number of touts etc ready to pounce on wandering hotel guests.

Other locations were absolutely fine.

I would say, regardless of location, that when I've had just a few hours transit time to spare and wanted to see a bit of the place I was transiting, that hiring a driver/guide/car for a few hours has always been a good experience for me.
 

Scarlett

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Had something similar with the ‘wandering out of the hotel’ concern from staff, which in this case was a resort in the Dominican Republic. (but more a locals resort anyway in Juan Dolio and with open beachfront anyone could have got in there if they wanted to…)

Confirmation of what they were saying was pretty quickly confirmed with seemingly every third male openly carrying a weapon on ‘security’ duties. Our impression was that if 33% of the male population were acting as security, then another 33% were probably the people they were deterring…

To return to the topic at hand, keen to hear of OPs thoughts post trip. I’ll definitely be getting to India one of these days.
 

RooFlyer

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I frequently wandered out of the Pullman at Aerocity, with never a qualm by the security bods - but it obviously wasn't a common thing! Aerocity is a well lit, business district and I always felt OK walking around, even at night.

In fact, I (at the time 45-55 yo male) never felt unsafe in any Indian city I've been at - Mumbai, Delhi, Agra, out west in Rajasthan. Obviously not the 'back blocks' but city streets +/- 'heaving' , including at night in Mumbai (where I wasn't staying 5 star). Dress down, make do with a phone camera and learn to walk like a local - on the roads! Edit - there are less likely to be deadly, leg breaking holes in the surface on the road compared to the footpath!!
 
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kermatu

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I'd also vote for the Pullman at Aerocity, and strongly encourage securing transfers from and to the airport through the hotel (free or paid) as well as eating at the hotel for your stay.

As reported here How does Accor treat you as an Elite guest? I had a very good experience here in early 2020, as a stopover enroute to Jaipur to catch-up with my family who started our holiday earlier than I was able to.

Have Platinum status. Contacted the hotel in advance to enquire about transfer options as the room I booked didn't have complimentary ones. Was willing to pay even though probably 10x more than a taxi, but still ok when converted to our $A. Was offered free airport transfers per my status (and was ultimately upgraded to a suite which would have included them), as well as use of a driver and town car for variable hours and reasonable rates during my stay. As others have stated, the transfers significantly ease the arrival experience - eliminates the uncertainty, no need for cash, (which can be an issue in India given restrictions on bringing currency in and out) and quick entry to the hotel. I'd happily have paid.

I've been to Delhi a couple of times in the 90's and 00's so no need to revisit the main attractions, but I was keen to re-acquaint myself with the city. While I have heard very good things about the Metro, I now do not prefer walking or public transport. So the town car was an excellent option. Modern and safe vehicle, with an excellent driver who spoke perfect English, was happy to take me anywhere within the hours allocated and ensure my comfort and safety, including purchasing entry tickets at local rates (which I declined). In the end we just spent a few hours driving around with a few stops for photos and short walks. It wasn't a planned itinerary but you could ask for or advise one. Traffic was fine. Could be an option for your first afternoon and evening to get a night experience.

May not be what you are seeking but worked well for me, so thought I'd mention. Note I did give the driver a good cash tip.

The lounge was good (if you qualify or book an eligible room) - quiet with very decent service and good views. Restaurant for breakfast an excellent, safe option. And with an extensive 24 hour room service. You'll get an acceptable taste of India but should be assured of a safe experience.

Like others, I'd regard India as one of the safest places for a male to wander around just using basic common sense. There are people around everywhere, 24/7, and they'll help strangers if needed.
 

RooFlyer

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Was offered free airport transfers per my status (and was ultimately upgraded to a suite which would have included them),

That's just reminded me. I recall now that on one of my stays, I didn't have enough Accor status to qualify for the ride back to the airport, so when I booked, I expected to pay - but no, they said, your room qualifies you. That was odd, because I knew it didn't. Then they said I had been upgraded on arrival, but - oops - I hadn't noticed. :rolleyes:

And for any India first timers:

Modern and safe vehicle, with an excellent driver who spoke perfect English, was happy to take me anywhere within the hours allocated and ensure my comfort and safety, including purchasing entry tickets at local rates (which I declined).

Same when I toured the 'cave' temples of Ajunta and Ellora out of Aurangabad. I had a private tour/driver of Heritage India (which I always used) and one of the best services he provided was to buy tickets for me. There was always a major scrum - and I mean loud, pushing scrum - at ticket huts, so he simply walked round the side, went in through the entry door and bought the tickets that way!!

Where there's a will, and a few rupees extra, there is a way! For that reason, I think, there was never a question of 'local rates' :)
 

Daver6

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I made a cancelable booking with the JW Marriott. I contacted them and they want ~2000INR for an airport pickup. While $35 AUD isn't ridicuous, it hardly seems cheap for a 5km ride. Is that roughly what I should expect?

I'm a lowly gold with Accor so I doubt I'd get an upgrade to a suite which is what seems to get you the included airport transfers.
 

kermatu

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I made a cancelable booking with the JW Marriott. I contacted them and they want ~2000INR for an airport pickup. While $35 AUD isn't ridicuous, it hardly seems cheap for a 5km ride. Is that roughly what I should expect?

I'm a lowly gold with Accor so I doubt I'd get an upgrade to a suite which is what seems to get you the included airport transfers.
Seems steep for one way. Bare in mind most prices quoted in India are exclusive of GST - can add 18% I think is the most common rate.

I've taken taxis from airports in India and they are fine. Pre-paid rates at some from memory. I suspect there'd be quite a bit of competition at the airport so might be a better option for you.

From memory the Pullman's Exec rooms also offered transfers - I don't think it was only suites.
 

Daver6

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Seems steep for one way. Bare in mind most prices quoted in India are exclusive of GST - can add 18% I think is the most common rate.

I've taken taxis from airports in India and they are fine. Pre-paid rates at some from memory. I suspect there'd be quite a bit of competition at the airport so might be a better option for you.

From memory the Pullman's Exec rooms also offered transfers - I don't think it was only suites.
That rate was with the 18% added on.

Unfortunately work travel policy means I have to book a base room. I'll survive 🙂
 
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