Dusit Devarana is architecturally enriching and aesthetically energising with a host of options for the spa junkies, the gastronomes, and even those who wish for a quiet time out near the city itself
The drive to Dusit Devarana New Delhi on NH8 is not so much an indicator of an entry into an uber luxury urban resort, but once you have arrived, and literally so, what lies beyond is a sight for city-sore eyes. Beautiful landscaped greens studded with a thousand mature trees, blending seamlessly with the tranquil water bodies criss-crossing 8 acres of lushness, with the romantically lit up resort rising in the middle greet you ceremoniously, once you are within the folds of this first Dusit hotel in Delhi.
Designed by Thai architect and interior designer, KhunLekBunnag, there is a running motif of the “five elements” in the hotel. There is the giant rotating pendulum on the staircase of the lobby, there are the lunar designs emerging from large cut-outs on the marble walls, and then there are little flower details everywhere.The genius of it also lies in how effectively the noise from the highway is cut off, and you’d notice the solid wall made of brass leaves as the first sound barrier.
The verandahs fringing the resort, the regal Isfahan pillars, high dome ceilings are all combined to create a modern yet inspired aesthetic. Ankur Bhatia, Executive Director of Bird Group which is in association with Thailand’s premier Dusit Hotels & Resorts, speaks of the uniquely designed resort where“The most interesting element is [Bunnag’s] three dimensional architecture in the dome area. It incorporates light and shadow plays, which changes hue as the day progresses.”
The predominance of water in this man made oasis of calm is apparent in the 102-meter long temperature-controlled swimming pool while the stained glass of the lobby overlooks another shimmering pool. Even the pathway leading to the Spa is flanked by water bodies. To bring in the aspect of nature unbridled, there is a large pond next to the restaurant, which is said to be housing a family of ducks.And you have all of this in the middle of a city, or rather cities, given the resort’s convenient location midway from Delhi to Gurgaon.
While the artistic touchpoints are not its only strong points, the resort has other reasons to justify it having won the Conde`Nast Traveller Reader’s Award 2014 for being the Favourite New Leisure Hotel in India. Inspired by the ‘garden in heaven, there is the Devarana Spa which is situated amidst serene water bodies and has outdoor treatment areas coupled with four indoor treatment suites with private verandahs. The wide range of therapies, trained therapists and the international ambience calling in the best of nature keep up the claim of a ‘high-end sanctuary experience’.
There is an extensive Spa menu with a la carte massages, body scrubs & wraps, facials and there are stand-outs therein, like the Signature Hammam which is long [75 minutes] and lavish with olive oil soap, Rhassoul clay and the precious Argan oil to finish. The other option for a complete face and body reboot is the Half Day Harmony which takes about 5 hours which starts with an aromatic Thai herbal steam, and goes to a floral bath, body scrub, massage, facial and foot reflexology.
For the gourmet lovers, there is also Kiyan, the restaurant which calls out with its Isfahan columns, surrounding water bodies and zen-like ambience. The friendly and attentive staff is more than willing to tell you about the ‘world cuisine’ served with élan on beautifully turned out plates. With recipes from Europe, Far East and India, the kitchen uses only select organic vegetables, free range meats and imported ingredients.
There is a selection of new age wines, stock malts and cigars to keep the night going. And for a more food-focused outing to Dusit, think of going for the Sunday Champagne brunch where chef Nishant Choubey and team prepared a melange of appetizers like Lagan ki Boti, Cinnamon Tart, Robatta Chicken and, Cajun Spiced Fish Finger, prawn salad, Mushroom Yakito go with Mumm champagne. The cold cuts and dimsums platters are also tempting to try.
For the main course there are some robust Asian flavours to compete with European delights. The Massaman Curry and pan fried red snapper might stand out for who love their curries a bit sweet and their fish with the skin crispy.
The bar Iah is where you can take to after, should you be loath to bid the place goodbye. The bar’s red toned façade with dim lighting inside is where you will find time stopping, even as the huge windows overlooking the patio will keep you grounded enough. The bar’s mixologist is always happy to mix it your way or you can settle for the summery, breezy Tom Yum Mojito with lemongrass, basil and galangal awing you. The cheese platter is worth a nosh and the drinks are all the more innovative, so that you can sway in a mystical daze so induced by Dusit Devarana – the perfect in-city hideout.