Mesmerizing and sprawling, Delhi serves up a cornucopia of history, culture, commerce, cuisines and experiences – built up layer upon layer over millennia – along with a vibrancy that’s like no other capital city. American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) offers a useful guide for business travelers heading to this unforgettable city.
Arriving in Delhi
The Indira Gandhi International Airport is India’s busiest, with international flights operating from Terminal 3 (T3). It is important to organize a visa before traveling, with tourist and business e-visas easily obtained online. Print the visa ahead of departure and get it stamped by the immigration department on arrival.
Traveling to the city
You can get to the center of Delhi, which is approximately 10 miles away from the Indira Gandhi International Airport, with relative ease. Taxis can be found at T3. Ola and Uber app-based taxis also operate here and Carzonrent in the arrivals hall organizes chauffeur-driven and self-driven cars. The journey time is generally in the region of 45 minutes. Shuttle buses can be crowded and confusing, but the Delhi Metro, with its Airport Express Line from T3, is simple to use and can take less than 20 minutes.
Delhi may not always be the most walkable city; its sheer size, the roads without lanes and a relaxed adherence to traffic rules mean that driving is best left to experienced locals. The extensive metro offers a quick and cheap way to travel, and the first coach on every train is “women only.” Buses can be tricky for visitors and it may be best to avoid both buses and the metro from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. – the city is much too busy for only one “rush hour.” Black and yellow radio taxis are efficient and can be hailed on the street; there are also women-only taxi services, such as ForShe.com. Cycle rickshaws mostly offer experience
over convenience, but the yellow and green autorickshaws can be a great way to cover short distances. However, do check the fare first and make sure the meter is set at zero.
Where to stay
The famous Taj Palace, spread out over six acres of lush gardens in the heart of the city, provides a convenient base for both business and leisure stays. The attentive Taj service, a large outdoor pool and first-rate dining facilities make any stay a pleasure. Don’t miss the historic pieces of Indian art throughout the hotel.
One of the grandest hotels in the capital, the Leela Palace is well worth a visit. Many pieces in the property, ranging from textiles to the silverware, have been custom-made by local skilled artisans.
Andaz Delhi (Hyatt)
After a long flight, a quick hop from the airport to your hotel can be an ideal start to your trip. Unlike other hotels that are situated closer to the city center, Andaz Delhi has more space to spread out and therefore can afford to offer spacious, light and airy bedrooms. The courtyard, with its pool, provides a pleasant escape from the busy city too.
Hilton DoubleTree Gurgaon
This property is conveniently located on Golf Course Road, so it is great for getting to Gurugram’s business district and nearby Cyber City. An array of quality restaurants are located close by as well as shopping and recreation options. Additional amenities include a spa and 24-hour gym.
Where to eat
• Bukhara Restaurant located at the ITC Maurya Hotel recreates the authentic charm of the traditional clay oven with its tandoor dishes and robust flavors.
• Indian Accent is known for inventive local food with an international accent.
• Town Hall has colonial interiors and a varied menu but remains popular for its sushi.
• Leela Palace’s Jamawar is probably one of the best places to try butter chicken, a dish that has its roots in Delhi.
• Chor Bizarre serves Kashmiri dishes amid charmingly eclectic décor.
Where to meet colleagues or friends
• Reclaimed furniture and a relaxed atmosphere give each of the seven Social bars in Delhi a modern “urban hangout” vibe.
• Wood-paneled walls, 540 wines and 172 whiskies make The Library Bar in the Leela Palace Hotel a memorable venue for catching up with friends and colleagues.
• Enjoying creative cocktails at Pass Code Only (PCO) needs a bit of planning. Guests will need a (regularly changed) passcode for this speakeasy.
• With rattan chairs and gazebos, the Kylin Sky Bar is a stylish terrace bar with great music.
• The colorful Ek Bar makes cocktails which are inspired by India’s regions. D17, First Floor, Defence Colony, New Delhi 110024
What to do
Have some free time before your return flight? Here are six great ways to spend it:
• Marvel at Humayun’s Tomb – the inspiration for the Taj Mahal – and the Mughal Gardens.
• Visit Asia’s largest spice bazaar in Khari Baoli Road and see the colorful 18th-century Jain merchant houses nearby.
• Explore Indira Gandhi’s former house, which is now a memorial museum.
• Shop for traditional handicrafts at Central Cottage Industries Emporium.
• Take a walking tour of Sanjay Colony, an authentic Delhi community with a rich culture. The organizers of the tour reinvest 80 percent of profits in the community.
• Visit one of the most prominent landmarks in the city, India Gate – a 42-meter war memorial reminiscent of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
*Please drink responsibly. The minimum drinking age in Delhi is 25 years. Don’t drink and drive.