Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi
Like the Oberoi, the landmark Taj Mahal (a.k.a. the Taj Mansingh) is beloved by Delhi society as a central evening gathering spot, be it for a charity auction, wedding banquet, or dealmaking over drinks. With its pink Dholpur sandstone façade, glittering Moghul motifs, opulent fountains, and zardozi domes, the Taj is all about bling, and if it’s not the most contemporary or tasteful-looking place in town, it’s easily the most fun. While its smallish 296 rooms will not win major design awards, and business travelers complain of off-again, on-again Wi-Fi, the overall service is top-notch. There are no fewer than five on-site restaurants (including a sushi bar), and the well-regarded spa lures guests and locals alike with its exceptional Ayurvedic massage treatments.
Room to Book: For slightly more space, book a room on the Taj Club floor, whose rates also include limo transfers and dedicated check-in and butler service.
Insider Tip: It’s hardly a secret, but on weekdays Rick’s Café is the late-night haunt for the city’s beau monde, once the non-hotel bars have shut down.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.