Bindu Gopal Rao finds a stay at Noor Mahal hotel in Karnal is guaranteed to make you feel like royalty.
A three hour drive from Delhi crossing several industrial hubs and plenty of farmlands brings me to the grand entrance of Noor Mahal. Located slightly off the main city, my initial impressions are that it looks like a grand palace. And once I enter, this thought is further amplified as I am in a large reception space that looks straight out of a palace.
The walls are dotted with exquisite paintings and local tikri art work, there are huge doors and mirrors that adorn the walls and all the seating is large and furnished with rich fabrics. Welcomed with a traditional garland and an aarti, with live musicians performing, I am given a choice of two welcome drinks before I am led to my room.
Built by retired Colonel Manbeer Singh Chaudhary, the elegant interiors have been overseen by his wife Binny. The hotel is headed by their son Roop Pratap Choudhary, a second generation hotelier and has 125 keys and is located on the old course of river Yamuna and is surrounded by lush green farms. My room is located on the second floor; all rooms are spread over the first and second levels over this 11 acre property.
I am lucky to be staying at the special royal sleeping chamber called the ‘Khwabgah’ which has an ornate wooden carved door that is an old one sourced from neighbouring villages. There is a regular door as well that can be used to access the room. Once the door opened I was blown away to see a massive eight seater dining table, a huge sofa set, an ornate bar counter and more all in the expansive living room.
Each and every item of furniture here is made of wood and carved intricately. Many of the accessories are again sourced from nearby areas and are vintage pieces that have been restored here. The space has two large bedrooms with their own bathrooms, television, study tables as well as a massive private terrace that gives a bird’s eye view of the city of Karnal. There is also a table with four chairs here to enjoy a cup of tea surrounded amidst a natural environment.
I certainly cannot recollect a room that is more ornate and grand as this one from all the hotels I have stayed in and naturally felt a little overwhelmed. However as I got my bearings right, the space grew on me and soon I was at complete ease with the room that is spread over 2700 square feet. Incidentally this room’s name loosely translates to a dream home and I certainly could not agree more. The hotel has 78 Club Rooms, 31 Club Royal Rooms, 6 Club Royal Deluxe rooms, 6 Heritage Suites, 1 Presidential Suite apart from one Khwabgha.
Dine in Style
The Brown Sugar is the all-day diner where a buffet is laid out for breakfast and dinner (lunch buffets are based on occupancy). This is where you can enjoy an international dining experience that offers a generous spread of Indian and continental fare. Attached to this place on the outside is the in house deli ‘The Cake Factory’ that has a delectable spread of freshly baked hand-crafted breads, tarts, cakes, pastries, pralines and truffles and savouries.
The Polo Bar is a colonial style English bar whose walls are adorned with trophies and memorabilia and serves signature cocktails inspired by the royal sport of polo. This is where you can try the finest rare whiskies, single malts, cognacs, wines, liqueurs and a hand-picked selection of Cuban cigars as well as indulge in a spot of snooker.
My pick however is The Frontier Mail, the in house award winning restaurant that actually has a train setup and is inspired by the legendary Frontier Mail train that plied between Bombay and Peshawar during pre-independence. The menu comprises of dishes and food from the regions through which the train made its initial journey.
The food here is superbly crafted, rightly spiced and is simply amazing to taste and must be a stop you make in your journey to Karnal. This restaurant is only open for dinner except on the weekends when it is also open for lunch. And if you looking for a bespoke meal you can request for the Khaas Mahal an exclusive al fresco table on the terrace for a unique meal under the skies.
Activities & More
While you are here, there are lots of things that you can do to keep yourself and each member of your family engaged. The 13m wide swimming pool is a great option to chill with family. There is a fully equipped gym with state of the art equipment that will please health watchers. The in house 7th Heaven spa offers an array of massages and treatments that will elevate your holiday experience several notches higher.
The hotel is known for being a wedding destination and hence has an array of allied services like a photo studio and a designer boutique showcase as well. Apart from a souvenir store, the hotel has a well-appointed make-up studio and salon, managed by renowned make-up artist, Tarun Kapoor that offers all kinds of grooming services.
If you like sports the hotel has lawn tennis, basketball, cricket, commando net, wall climbing, hand ball, badminton, volleyball and indoor games like table tennis, billiards and board games. A separate kid’s play area is also available to keep young guests busy. There are several large banquet spaces and huge lawns on the premises that are a favourite for not just weddings but large corporate meetings. For me I was glad to spot many varieties of birds on my morning walks when I was here. In all a perfect break and one that I highly recommend you take.
Address: Noormahal, NH1, Sector-32, Karnal (NCR).
Phone: 09996787884 / 891 / 892
Images courtesy of Noor Mahal Hotel