Philip is always interested in finding new places to stay in Delhi and so I’ve decided to write a few words about Jyoti Mahal before my impressions evaporate into the fug and chaos of what’s left of my memory. I heard about this hotel through Penelope, and as she and I share a similar taste for quirky comfort, I decided to give it a go.
I should warn you, though, about the photos I’ve posted. My camera just adores India and makes everything look impossibly gorgeous, so in practice this hotel may not quite live up to the images I’m offering. And I hate the area around it (near the railway station—avoid at all costs unless you intend to travel by train). Given all that, I really enjoyed the one night I spent there, and would stay again.
The first room I was given wasn’t a great advertisement for the place. Room 206 overlooks the interior courtyard by reception and is noisier than a Wembly Cup Final. I discovered, quite quickly, fortunately, that it isn’t really a guest room at all, but belongs to the owner’s brother, who takes care of favoured guests’ bags for them by slipping them under the bed. How do I know? Because someone turned up to collect his and I was called from the restaurant to let him in.
Such interruptions threatened to be repeated all night, actually, but I had a stroke of luck. Once the brother realized he needed easy access to the hoard of expensive boxed whisky he kept in a padlocked wooden chest in that room, (and was giving away as Diwali gifts at a rate of knots), I was moved. Room 312 was a huge improvement (see the photo below), relatively quiet (apart from the fireworks—nothing I write could convey the horror of the din they made until 1am next morning), a decent bathroom and prettier ceiling. I missed the illuminated glass display case containing more than a dozen dust covered bottles of said whisky that greets you as you walk through the door of Room 206, but you can’t have everything, right?
The best things about the hotel, from my point of view, are the friendly and willing staff, and the rooftop restaurant. Fairly ordinary food, but the atmosphere is charming. And it was a great bonus that we could sleep and eat in the same place because the whole city ground to a halt as the celebrations hotted up, and the only way to get anywhere was to walk! Not a good idea in what was, effectively, a war zone.
I’ve also added a couple of pictures I took of Penelope over supper. I feel unreasonably proud of them, but they only turned out well because all cameras loves her so much that even if a cow had been pressing the shutter, it would have been impossible to produce an image that is less than lovely.