Joanna Lester-George

Hauz Khas - hotel review for Delhi's coolest new neighbourhood

KOKOindia the Travel Company Facebook Page | December 28th, 2012 | Visit the original article online

Hauz Kaas Village in South Delhi is officially up and coming. As you enter the jumble of narrow streets, you can catch glimpses of ancient Moghul ruins- a backdrop belying the village’s thirteenth century origins. With the onward march of ‘modern Delhi’, the area has recently become a showcase for the hope-to-haves and the may-never-haves who must now learn to co-exist harmoniously. Fancy houses nestle cheek to cheek with scrappy hovels, whilst art galleries, antique shops and boutiques spring up all around them at a rate of knots.

There are glass fronted ‘couture’ shops with mannequins proudly displaying expensive and heavily embroidered salwar kameez, whilst suspended directly above them is a terrifying spaghetti mess of wires. Old wooden vegetable carts and a seemingly inevitable trail of rubbish sit where they have probably always done, but these days they sit beneath signs advertising funky lounge diners with names like ‘Verve’ and ‘Allure.’ There is a Bagel Shop boasting sixty different varieties, and a sign for an Asian Fusion restaurant that points ominously down a dark alley.

Somewhere in the middle of this is an unassuming white door marked ‘The Rose.’ Owned by French partners, it is a quirky oasis of stylish and thoughtful décor and is somewhat surprisingly surrounded by dense forest. Birds sing their hearts out in a garden that was, until recently, a dumping ground for rubbish. Now it is a green green lawn filled with trees and flowers and happily scampering goats. The neighbourhood is full of personality and a sense of real excitement for what is to come, not least because of contemporary and eco-minded ventures like The Rose.

As a concept, the place is relaxed, friendly and simple. Furnishings are in soft, muted shades, beds are deep and luxurious. The café serves international dishes as intriguing as Emu Lasagne (I kid you not), as well as big fresh salads and mezze platters. Its the ideal place for someone travelling solo or with a young family — well located yet peaceful, with a sense of serenity rarely found in Delhi. All the services of a modern hotel are effortlessly provided (wi-fi, babysitting, massage, tour guides) yet for once this is a boutique guesthouse that actually lives up to its genre.