In May this year, I went to stay at the ITC Maurya for three days. I was hosted by them, as I was a part of their illustrious Responsible Luxury initiative. I had already stayed with them before and had loved the entire experience to bits. I mean, famous restaurants like Bhukhara, beautiful pool bar like Ira and an entire floor that’s only for solo women travellers? What’s not to
love completely obsess about, right?
I am anyway turning into a luxury traveller with age – three out of five of my travels are now luxury. I still do the backpacking trips that were my favourite back in the day. And I still take the kid out for treks and offbeat vacations in the Himalayas. But I have started liking my rooms to be bigger (with turn down service available, please!), and the service to be prompt. It’s got something to do with traveling with a kid and getting older, I guess.
So yeah, I was anyway a fan of the ITC Hotels chain because they sure know how to treat you right. What else do you expect from one of the country’s top luxury hotel chains, right? So, when you go to an ITC Hotel and get treated like queens and kings, it is nothing out of the ordinary. You kind of expect it.
The service is grand, the food is to die for and the people at ITC Maurya – oh, the people! They are simply the best. And most travellers will agree when I say that it’s the people who make or break an experience.
I am also a big fan of ITC Maurya’s water treatment process that’s a part of their elaborate Responsible Luxury initiative that they care deeply about and not just as a side project to keep some good PR coming. Trust me, I’ve met the behind-the-scene people who take care of these processes, I know.
I also love looove LOVE their concept of only women floors especially designed for solo women travellers like me!
The Eva floor at ITC Maurya is for women ONLY, with lady security guards and delightful lady butlers – it’s a complete delight, let me tell you.
And if just having the entire floor to woman-kind wasn’t enough, there is an evening knock service that brings snacks and wine (or whatever your poison is) right to your door. You know, in case you’re too exhausted to dress up and head to one of the famous ITC Maurya restaurants and would rather chill at the room. Thoughtful, and how!
These are just a few reasons why ITC Maurya is one of the best luxury stay option in Delhi, and my all time favourite.
But in May, during my last stay with them, it all changed. My perception of the ITC Hotel chain changed. My understanding of the term “hospitality” changed. I experienced the kind of hospitality that matched no other and took my appreciation to a whole new level.
Very briefly, this is what happened – I was supposed to shoot for ITC Maurya’s Responsible Luxury for three days and then leave for Dehradun. From there, I was scheduled to fly to Mumbai and then to Israel in a week and I had loads to stuff to do. But on the morning of my last day, I fell sick. In what feels like an impossible turn of events, I went from chatting merrily over breakfast in Tian, to throwing up and burning up in an hour.
I had fever and my old intestine infection resurfaced. I also caught a bad throat infection and the pain was enough to make me cry without realising I’m crying. Yeah, quite pathetic. I don’t generally fall this sick, and away from home, I couldn’t handle it at all. Plus, I panicked because I had to leave in the afternoon to catch a train and my daughter was already waiting for me back home, I missed her like crazy.
But within an hour, I felt so weak that I couldn’t believe it was possible. All the throwing up seemed to have drained me out. The combined effect of all this weighed in on me and I broke down.
But the ITC Maurya staff – oh the lovely people! – helped me, took care of me, and made me feel so special that I was overwhelmed with gratitude. First, they insisted I stay for one more day. They did not pay attention to my protests, or when I offered to vacate the lovely room on Eva Floor and stay with the blogger who had come for the shoot after me, and was a friend. No sir, they did not shoo me away to share the room with someone else.
They had me stay in the same room, during one of ITC Maurya’s busiest seasons when the IPL teams and corporate guests and all kinds of foreign diplomats where coming in. Giving that incredible room to me for an extra day must have meant loss of business but I didn’t see a single frown on their faces.
Chef Anirudh, who was taking care of The Pavalion kitchen at the time, called me regularly to check on my health. He didn’t have to do that, right? But that fact that he did, made me feel taken-care-of in a situation that can be a teensy weensy bit intimidating. He even sent yummy khichdi and curd up to my room. If you still didn’t get how big a gesture this was, you have to know that with 24 hour service, The Pavilion is the busiest kitchen in the entire property.
I have been quite fond of a lady in the ITC PR & Marketing team from my previous stay with them, and she was the golden touch to this entire experience this time around, really. Waving my massive concerns and embarrassment away, she gave me some much needed company and assured me that my health is ITC Maurya’s first priority.
She didn’t need to sit through a lunch of khichdi with me, she had helped me enough already. But she gave me some much needed company anyway and I am never going to forget it. For real, I will put this incident in a book some day, I was so touched.
In the evening, the General Manager sent me a huge bunch of flowers with a Get Well Soon message.
I got internal calls and visits from a number of concerned people – the housekeeping staff that I had spoken to a day earlier, the lady guard who was at Eva Floor the day I had checked in, the reception, the PR team and a few more. Sneha, the personal butler assigned to my room, was every bit helpful and very concerned about my health.
Even in my sad state of high fever and aching throat, I felt pretty special.
And that is what hospitality is all about, isn’t it?
I say it with utmost sincerity – the ITC Maurya brand of rich hospitality is unmatched and heartwarming to the extent that they’ve spoilt me for all future luxury stays that might be in my future. And I do hope that there are loads of high-end luxury hotel stays for me, obviously.
But it has its downsides. Knowing that nothing will match the supremely service and personal touch I experienced at ITC Maurya during my last stay with them – it’s kind of like a wet towel over my future luxury travel plans. Sigh.
But that’s a worry and a rant for another day. For now all I want to say is:
I thank the kind, compassionate and very warm people at ITC Maurya with all my heart, and I wish them all the best. Which is kind of unnecessary because a team of people so committed to providing the best brand of hospitality to their guests, don’t need wishes. They excel anyway. That is the magic of the ITC Brand of Hospitality.
Kudos, team ITC Maurya!