THE IMPERIAL, NEW DELHI
VIJAY WANCHOO Senior Executive VP & GM The Imperial New Delhi
Earning the moniker of being India’s ‘Museum Hotel’, The Imperial, New Delhi is all about period art, which fits ever so perfectly with the essence that this unique property exudes. The hotel’s relationship with art is a long-standing one. Since its inception, over 70 years ago, it has not only been a repository of art, but also a home to many famous artists. The Imperial, New Delhi has carefully preserved its collection of original engravings and lithographs and has added steadily to it over this period. With a lofty history that very few hotels can boast of, The Imperial’s love affair with Indian history is a longstanding one. Here, guests can literally dine in an art gallery. It is perhaps the only museum hotel of its kind. Each floor of the hotel is dedicated to an artist whose original works adorn the walls of the rooms and the corridors. Care has been taken to recreate the room décor and ambience of the period of British Raj. The rooms offer a choice of marble or parquet flooring with artistic borders and exquisite Persian hand-knotted carpets. Each room also has unique antique pieces of furniture and paintings from the hotel’s art collection. The Imperial, New Delhi proudly displays a priceless art collection of the ‘British Art on India’ that includes the works of great artists who worked in India in the late 17th and early 18th century and produced etchings, wood engravings, lithographs, aquatints and mezzotints based on sketches of landscapes, architecture, topography and life and times of India. The hotel has three main art galleries and a collection of life-size oil paintings of the princely rulers of India. No area of the hotel has been left deprived of the magical influence of art – its presence is felt in the ballroom, the rooms, the public spaces, and of course the lobby. Vijay Wanchoo, Senior Executive VP & GM, The Imperial, New Delhi, talks about why the hotel chose this theme. “Art adds to the sheer splendour and luxury of any hotel. For historic hotels like ours, art is an important element to showcase the valuable heritage while it contributes to the repertoire and enhances The Imperial experience. Art is heavily showcased on each floor of our hotel and is an intrinsic part of our heritage–on every level of Imperial’s sprawling four-
For historic hotels like ours, art is an important element to showcase the valuable heritage
storey structure, in every public area, in lobby, stairwells and canopies, adorning fountains and furniture, covering walls, keeping vigil from ceilings, cosying up in restaurants, accompanying you in royal carriages, in rooms graced with four-poster beds,” he says. The grandiose architecture of any art-based hotel is duly complemented with thematic or historic art that it has preserved, restored and displayed. This hotel also has curated art tours for the residents accompanied with high tea at ` 2,500. All the artworks and lithographs displayed across the hotel have been preserved and collected by the owners. Some have been sourced from the London Museum of Art and some have been their own collection acquired through years. Of course, such exuberance comes at a fee. Wanchoo reveals, “The regular maintenance is a big challenge in terms of handling but we have yearly restoration works conducted across the hotel for keeping each artwork absolutely immaculate in its form and finish. Also, we have a special department handled by a Director-level person who is responsible for the maintenance of the artworks and lithographs, and has been doing this beautifully over the years.” His favourite piece is a painting of the coronation of King George V and Queen Mary at the Delhi Durbar, at the entrance of the hotel’s 1911 restaurant. The Imperial, New Delhi is all about period art so contemporary art will not find space here.