Day 12: 30th June 2015 – Varanasi to Delhi

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The routine every day so far has been to start early, so another early day in India. We have a flight scheduled to Delhi today for our last two nights. I am feeling quite a mixture of emotions about this, I am excited to head to the city but I also know that this will be over very quickly.

After breakfast we head to the lobby and check out, we then call Guddu to collect us and take us to the airport. Our flight to Delhi is an early one because we would rather maximize the time in Delhi. Guddu reaches our hotel and we set off for what mostly seems to be a smooth journey. Just as we thought we will get to the airport early we get stuck in a lorry pile up. The roads are not the widest or in the best condition, it seems as if one or two lorries have tried to go around one another and basically got stuck. There seems to be about 20 long lorries in front of us so don’t think we can overtake. With neither truck maneuvering it starts to set a frightening realisation that we may be here for another night if we miss the flight. The plus side to this, I suppose, is that the rain has stopped and the sun is out, this is typical weather as we are leaving.

Eventually the drivers all brain storm and start to figure out a way to maneuver around each other allowing us a gap to squeeze past. Finally, we make it to the airport and manage a very quick check in. There is a tiny flight delay due to the plane coming in a bit late however once it is here we are boarded and off, so they make up the time.

Our flight from Varanasi to Delhi is thankfully very uneventful and turbulent free which has me practically cart wheeling off the plane in celebration. Once we are out the airport and grab our bags we find our good old pal Ranjit waiting to drive us for our last two days. I do believe we all missed him and by the look of the huge grin on Ranjit’s face, he missed us too!

The first plan in Delhi is to visit the Trident located in Gurgaon, this is an area of Delhi not too far from the airport and a main business area, it is also a very modern and trendy part of Delhi. Next door to the Trident is the Oberoi Gurgaon. Oberoi has two hotels in Delhi; we are staying in the more central located Oberoi however the one in Gurgaon is the newer of the two. Because Gurgaon is located close to Delhi airport these hotels are ideal for quick stop overs and still have the luxury experience.

Before we head to the Trident and Oberoi we make a quick stop off to see our pal Manan at his office which is also located in Gurgaon. We haven’t spoken to Manan since we left Mumbai so quite eager to fill him in on our trip. As his office is en-route we want to invite him along to lunch if he is available. It is a very weird feeling as it has only been an extra week since we saw him but feels like we haven’t seen him in ages, this is because of the amount we have done in this short time. Unfortunately, Manan cannot join us for lunch but we have a farewell dinner planned together for the following evening.  We leave Manan to continue working hard while we carry on towards the Trident and Oberoi.

For some reason, I have set my mind that the two hotels will not be that impressive, perhaps because it isn’t as centrally located it won’t be as nice. Well, I am pleasantly surprised; we approach a modern and very art deco looking building with a water feature outside. The building is bright offering a very clean look, this building belongs to the Trident.

Once you step into the lobby, everything is bright and spacious giving a modern fresh feel to the hotel. I am quite drawn to modern and artistic architecture so I am already sold on the design.

We meet the sales manager in the lobby who will be showing us both the Trident and Oberoi, both the hotels are linked to each other like the one in Mumbai. As you exit the lobby of the Trident there is a walkway that leads to some very trendy and smart restaurants. If you are in Delhi and not staying in one of these hotels then I would recommend coming here for dinner, it is a very trendy hangout. The choice of food is vast as they serve both the hotels, within the Trident you have Cilantro which is the main restaurant offering Mediterranean, Asian and Italian. Saffron is the Trident Specialty Indian restaurant and lastly Konomi which is the Japanese option. The Oberoi then have Amaranta which is their Indian restaurant however the place to do a bit of Bollywood celebrity spotting is the Oberois main restaurant “Three Sixty-One”.

The other top feature at the Trident is their pool area, in fact both the pools in the Trident and Oberoi are stunning, extremely big for city located hotels. The first room category we see is the Trident superior room which is the leading room type and offer either a pool or garden view. The next category from this is the deluxe room which are a touch bigger than superior with either garden or pool view. The room to go for is the Deluxe pool view room, they are a great size and the pool is such a stunning feature at the hotel, so this is a great view. All the rooms are spacious and keep the height, light and space concept with the floor to ceiling windows. I fall in love with the Trident and regret not choosing here to spend my last two nights.

We make the cross over via a short walkway to the Oberoi and head to see a premier room. The rooms in the Oberoi are a little bigger than the Trident, the Deluxe and Premier rooms are the base categories. The rooms are located on higher floors offering views of Gurgaon and some with a view of the Oberoi Pool. The Oberoi, like the Trident has a very modern and trendy feel. Delhi has become a very modern and trendy city so the newer hotels are being designed with the London or New York hotel style in mind. The premier suite is the next category we see in the Oberoi and you do feel like you’re in a posh city apartment, a family could quite comfortably fit into one of the spacious suites.

I love both the hotels and will definitely keep them on my radar for my next visit to Delhi. They are not too far out from the city and still with easy access to the centre. With the tour complete we head to Three Sixty-One for a light lunch. I make a few silent prayers to see a few Bollywood stars. No such luck on the star spotting but the lunch is a hit.

We head back out the main entrance and meet up with Ranjit to take us to our hotel which is the Oberoi in the city centre. I have stayed at this hotel before from my trip a few years ago. Oberoi Delhi is located next to quite a few of Delhi’s main landmarks, such as Humayans tomb or India gate. The Oberoi Delhi has a sentimental memory for me as it was the hotel I stayed in on my very first visit to India. I was very lucky at that time as well, the first night I got to Delhi I spotted a Bollywood star in my hotel, we had taken a walk around the hotel after dinner and in the lobby stood Bobby Deol! I stood star struck as he walked past me, he didn’t speak to me which is just as well as I stood gormlessly as he passed. It was very exciting, even though I didn’t get to speak to my hero, it was a great start to my India trip.

Five years on and here we are again, pulling into the main area of the hotel. The security team are on standby to check our car. The security team are dressed in UK police uniform which I remember being fascinated by this the first time I saw them. We all head inside and everything looks just how I remember with the large bright lobby and a water feature in the centre. Our check in is completed very quickly and we are being shown straight to our rooms. The rooms have had some refurbishment since my last stay, the interior décor seems a lot brighter now. I know that the hotel is quite old and have been told they are planning to close to have some major refurbishment. They need to keep on par with the other top hotels in the area.

Later in the evening we head down to the main restaurant where we meet with the hotel sales manager for a welcome drink, dinner is offered as well but Ishveen has promised to show us Delhi’s nightlife. My last visit to India I didn’t get to experience any trendy nightlife spots so I am really looking forward to seeing this side. Many friends of mine who have been to India have told me how cool the nightlife is in the major cities like Mumbai and Delhi and that we should see it, so tonight is the night.

The main restaurant at the Oberoi is Three Sixty, we meet the sales manager and have a few drinks with him. He asks us where we will be going tonight, Ishveen fills him in which he agrees are great spots. He is quite young so recommends a few trendy spots, he tells us that they have a lot of happy hours so drinks are cheap. In between our chat I notice a bowl of crisps that are shaped like mini poppadum’s, sprinkled on top of these is the famous Chaat Masala (spicy seasoning), the smell of this masala is quite distinctive (perhaps not the greatest of smells) however the taste is one of my favorite flavors. I taste one of the crisps, oh dear, we have a problem! They are delicious and have the Pringle effect of “once you pop, you can’t stop”. We won’t be able to leave until every single crisp is in my stomach. The bowl is emptied very quickly with the help of my pals who also devour it, we get ready to leave, I ask where I can buy these crisps from as I cannot leave India until I fill my case up with at least ten packets.

Ranjit is ready for us so we all pile into the car and leave Ishveen in charge of picking out our evening venue. Ishveen instructs Ranjit to take us to an area called Hauz Khas Village. After about twenty minutes we stop near a closed off road that looks very busy and bright. We all jump out the car and walk towards the closed off road, I start to see what Hauz Khas is all about, it is a long strip where there are loads of bars and restaurants, there are a few stores and souvenir shops. You will not feel like you are in India anymore, I feel like I am in a European city in the heart of their club region. The place is buzzing with a young crowd heading to various bars, the bars have people outside touting for business offering 2 for 1 on drinks.

It is after 8pm as we are walking through, trying to pick from the wide choice of bars. The weather tonight is like a beautiful summers evening which we don’t want to waste, we are looking for a place with outdoor seating to enjoy a few drinks. We stop in a few of the stores and buy some souvenirs before we continue on our bar hunt. We pass a venue called Raasta, this makes me laugh to myself as I wonder if this is a reggae bar, I ask if we can check it out and I was right. It is all colored in red, gold and green inside with a dim lighting and a huge bar and dance floor. The Dj is dropping some heavy reggae beats, this could be a fun place to hang out, however tonight is really quiet, there is hardly anyone in here which is disappointing because there are some songs I could really get down to. We don’t stay as it is too quiet, plus there are no outdoor seating areas. After walking for a couple more minutes along the strip, a tout hands a flyer and utters the magic words to us “Two for one cocktails”, we stop in our track, he grins and points towards a set of stairs and repeats the winning offer to us. As we look up we see where he is pointing, we spot a terrace with outdoor seating. The bar we have chosen is called Garage, inside is wooden flooring a bar in the centre and plenty of seating inside as well as outside. Unlike Raasta, this bar is buzzing with people who are equally enjoying the weather and cheap drinks. With a quick look around, I also notice that everyone in this bar is very attractive, this is a great venue for a bit of eye candy.

We are seated outside and order our cocktails, the drinks arrive and I can already confirm this will be a get drunk very quickly evening as the drinks are strong. Each drink we order we have a free one so two large drinks are placed in front of us.

It is starting to set in that our trip is ending and we all re-cap the highlights of the trip. The drinks continue to flow and we are becoming more and more sentimental and loving (this is a polite way of saying we are merry). We call Ranjit to collect us as it is definitely time to call it a night. Hauz Khas has been a real eye opener and I am so glad Ishveen brought us to see how cool the nightlife in Delhi is. I honestly never imagined to find an area like this in India and highly recommend it for a great night out, other than the bars there is a wide variety of restaurants. We didn’t actually make it for dinner as we spent all night taking advantage of the cheap cocktails. Poor Ranjit will have a horrible job of dropping three giggling drunks. Ranjit can clearly see we have had a good evening and very sweetly asks if we have eaten, we tell him that we have been on a liquid diet. Ranjit scolds us for not eating, we all fall silent like three naughty children but then roar into fits of laughter, poor Ranjit!

Back at the hotel we order a few late night snacks before crashing out into a drunken snooze. We will have to make the most of tomorrow, it will be our last day!

Like the sound of my trip? get in touch @ throughjesswindow@gmail.com

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