In an attempt at mock vanity I will quote myself (unless I read this somewhere and forgot where):
"In order to find yourself, you must first get lost" - Mike Totah
Today when writing to family I said that in order to discover true 5 star service, everyone should visit India at least once in their life. On a friend's recommendation I booked a club level room at the Taj Mahal hotel in New Delhi. The room included airport pickup amongst other things.
After a very nice long flight I landed in Delhi a bit tired, but in good shape considering that the trip took almost 24 hours and with the time difference I was truly lost in time. I was received outside customs by a very nice uniformed driver who took my suitcase, led me to the hotel's brand new jaguar sedan and gave me a bottle of water before very quickly driving me to the hotel. In my travels I've checked into many hotels all over the world, including supposedly "premier" service, but nothing like my reception at the Taj. When we arrived (after the regular bag examination via X-ray machine) I was received by a concierge who greeted me by name (the taxi driver posted the sign on his windshield after we passed through the gates) and then led me up to my room, where she proceeded to take me through the hotel amenities and had me check in, in my the comfort of my own room. Then she recommended some restaurants for dinner, and even got me a reservation to one of the great hotel restaurants for the same night, and when she found out I was on vacation went to get me several tour and site suggestions for my visit.
The ease and beauty of it all just made me feel very welcome to a great country.
I grant the point that this is not the regular traveler's fare and experience, but it was a very smooth arrival compared to the contrasting description I've received from multiple friends.
On an extra note, the dinner at Varq, the recommended restaurant, was wonderful, given my recent arrival and exhaustion level I decided to do a "tapas" style dinner of multiple appetizers that allowed me to try different local cuisine styles. Everything was delicious and left me wanting for more (though by the third dish I was full).
I will add pictures in the near future, but the menu consisted of grilled tandori-style prawns (grilled seafood), followed by tomato mozzarella samosas (vegetarian menu) and a chicken trio that included grilled chicken (tandori), chicken in creamed sauce and skewered chicken. As an extra surprise I also was given a Guava sorbet in a steaming cup. The sorbet is to cleanse the palate before the main dish, but by that point I couldn't eat anymore, so I took the sorbet as my desert and made a quick visit to the hotel bar for a Kingfisher beer before falling asleep in my room.