The Oberoi, New Delhi, which initially opened its doors in 1965, is set in the city center, overlooking the 16th-century garden tomb of Emperor Humayun, a Unesco World Heritage Site. Rai Bahadur M.S. Oberoi founded his eponymous brand, the Oberoi Group, in 1934, and although the Delhi location was the fourth hotel in the company’s portfolio (there are now 32), it was the first that he actually had built from the ground up in an undertaking that lasted four years. Mr. Oberoi’s wife, Ishran Devi, laid the building’s foundation stone but before doing so, she placed five gold coins in the pit for good luck.
Luxury accommodations abound in India today, but back then, the Oberoi was one of a kind; it lays claim to be the first property in the country to offer 24-hour room service and butler service as well as have a 24-hour restaurant.
One of the biggest changes in the property’s new incarnation is larger guest rooms with spacious baths: instead of 283, the old number, the Oberoi, New Delhi now has 220 rooms. Wi-Fi will go from being fast to super speed, and there will be both indoor and outdoor heated swimming pools. To help counter New Delhi’s increasingly problematic pollution, the hotel will have an indoor air purification system that it says prevents the entry of harmful air particles into the building.
The acclaimed New York City-based interior designer Adam Tihany is behind the property’s new, more contemporary aesthetic throughout the public spaces and in the guest rooms. “I wanted to bring the Oberoi into the 21st century without disrupting its DNA,” he said. “That means a look that’s brighter, less elaborate and a mix of old and new.”