Where the walls dazzle

Walk around these four hotels in Delhi, which are no less than art galleries, to experience a world of creativity

The Imperial
From an old world porch to corridors decorated with paintings and artefacts, The Imperial’s ethos has a dazzling effect on the senses. Begin your journey from the fragrant lobby and be prepared to get lost in time here. The idea is to showcase valuable heritage, enhancing the guest’s experience.

What stands out is a priceless collection of British art related to India. This includes works of 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 the life of India. Among these are the works of the prolific Daniells uncle-and-nephew duo Thomas and William, James Ferguson, William Simpson, William Hodges, Johann Zoffany, James Bailie Fraser, Emily Eden, Charles D’Oyly and others.

The Indian restaurant is christened after Daniells and a banquet space named after Emily Eden. Gaze a little more and you will see works depicting the Mughal era too. There are battle scenes, forts, monuments, ghats, city life, royal durbars and the countryside splendour spread across four storeys. Each floor has a theme — Views in Lucknow, Views of the Himalayas, people and scenes of life in northern India.

Walking through the famed restaurant Spice Route, you find yourself surrounded by ancient temple art. As there are almost 5,000 lithographs and engravings in the hotel, it has been aptly dubbed a ‘museum hotel’. In fact, you can call and book yourself an art tour.

The Metropolitan Hotel & Spa (The Met)
People know this hotel for its sushi. But once you’ve dined at Sakura, do walk to the Art Spice gallery, an eight-year-old hub of contemporary art. The brainchild of Babita Gupta, the gallery gives a boost to works that inspire the senses. There are works by upcoming and talented artists. “We host art exhibitions regularly and most of the clients are hotel guests,” says Gupta. The gallery offers guests a complete experience of what contemporary India is all about. The works change every few months and there are many art exhibitions also held during the tourist months — October to March.

“Our aim is to boost the interest of international galleries and guests in Indian art,” says Gupta. There is a permanent collection too, and many artists: A Viswam, Abhishek Singh, Alpana Ahuja, Harish Ojha, Poosapati Parameshwar Raju and Vijay Kiyawat have displayed their works.

The current exhibition, Masters of the South (November 20 – January 15, 2019), hosts works by 15 artists from South India.

Sporting a colourful lobby with peppy works, Aloft in Aerocity brings another perspective to art. The lobby has very a smart, modern interior and a vintage car is where eyeballs rest the longest. The best part is that all the works are for sale, including the old vehicle.

The hotel’s philosophy ‘Different by Design’ applies not just to the exterior but interiors as well. It showcases various art, design and musical aspects of different genres. With a focus on protecting ‘the aesthetics of our core values of promoting art, design and music’, the hotel has started curating art tours in collaboration with Conferro Heritage within the premises. What you find here is a blend of the old, the modern and the contemporary as ‘art is not subject to time’. You can see a complete wall in the lobby with ancient Madhubani art form. “Contemporary and vintage are two sides of the beautiful art coin,” says Pratyush Mohapatra, complex manager-marketing and communications.

Moving out of the purely functional domain, he adds, “We hope one day hotels will be renowned to be showcasing art pieces revered for their workmanship and aesthetic value. Going by the current scenario, as more hospitality stalwarts support this, it won’t be long before art enthusiasts are seen strolling in luxury properties.”

Among the works that turn eyes in all directions are those of Veer Munshi, Niladri Paul, Vinita Dasgupta, Kishor Shinde, Mukesh Sharma and others. The hotel has a series of workshops, exhibitions and events lined up with its art partner Conferro Heritage. “We wish to give a deserving opportunity to skilled personalities to showcase their work and add value,” says Mohapatra.

The Lalit
Located right in the heart of the city, this hotel bustles and sizzles all the time. There’s a lot to experience here — such as the famous Baluchi with its northwest frontier cuisine and the glam nightclub Kitty Su. But spend a few minutes in the lobby and your eyes will find a magnificent sculpture of three bulls ready to rush at you. These are Nandi bulls by the famous Satish Gujral. And gracing the magnificent walls are Raj by MF Hussain, Anand by Paresh Maity and Delhi by Satish Gujral. But like most, you would be surprised to see one by the chairperson and managing director Dr Jyotsna Suri in association with Naresh Kapuria. Titled ‘In Conver-sation’, this acrylic in gold leaf is all about inner and outer conversations.

Take the elevator and explore different floors to see beautiful art pieces like Kaliya Krishna, Bogashakti, Vishnu resting on Sheshnag and Somaskanda. Do explore the art gallery opposite the spa for that’s where more works by other prominent and talented artists are displayed regularly.

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