Words by Bindu Gopal Rao
It was a personal visit to the Little Rann of Kutch that brought me to Ahmedabad, and Gandhinagar in particular, where I was invited to the plush Leela Gandhinagar. A stately property with a large inventory, this hotel has several unusual elements that I discovered during my two-night stay there.
The design of the hotel is unique as it is built over the Gandhinagar railway station. Jointly owned by the Government of India and Railways Ministry, the property is managed by The Leela group of hotels. There are elevated ramps on either side that serve as entry and exit paths to the hotel.
Designed in such a way that you cannot hear any noise from outside and certainly nothing from the trains, the hotel’s architecture combines modernity with subtle inspirations from local influences and culture. The interiors pay homage both to the railways as well as the rich archaeological and architectural antiquity of the state of Gujarat. The flooring patterns are inspired by the Adalaj Stepwell, and the coffee shop is where you will see several elements like hanging lights as well as a large railway mural that quietly acknowledges the railway connection.
The property has a range of accommodation options consisting of a deluxe horizon view room, luxury garden view room, central vista view room, and premier club. The bevy of suites also consists of royal and four presidential suites each offering a distinct magnitude of unparalleled opulence, ultra-modern facilities, and luxurious amenities.
These top-tier suites routinely host dignitaries and heads of states and have bullet proof glass. The design sensibilities of all rooms draw heavily from the local art and culture and there are several unmissable elements that are seen across the rooms. The hotel houses 318 tastefully appointed, spacious rooms and suites and my expansive room overlooked the Dandi Kutir, the museum showcasing the life and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi.
Once my booking was confirmed, I was sent an online check in link on WhatsApp that allowed me to upload my ID card and choose my preferences of a room as well as food preferences. This ensured I had a contactless and seamless checking process into my room.
Food and drink
The Leela Gandhinagar is also the place where you can sample the best of food with choices that are as eclectic as traditional Gujarati food, while international delicacies can be sampled too. Executive chef Ashis Rout and his team ensures that every meal here is a superlative experience. When I was here, chef Tejas Patel laid out an extensive and authentic traditional Gujarati thaali meal that is an ode to culinary genius.
I recommend you reserve a table at Diya, the in-house Indian speciality restaurant that is open for dinner. Helmed by legendary Indian master chef Mohammad Javed, this is where you can sample dishes like the Hyderabadi jalli kabab, delicate Indian Ocean lobster, biryanis, dals, and breads.
Citrus Junction is the all-day coffee shop that serves buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner and has an à la carte menu, The Moksha Lounge, located at the lobby level, is a great place to try the teas and coffees. The teatime ritual where you can sample a selection of carefully curated teas is a must do. If you have booked into the club rooms and suites, you have access to The Royal Club where you are served breakfast and sumptuous afternoon snacks.
When here, do book yourself an appointment at the luxurious in house spa that offers several body treatments that combine the best of ancient and modern techniques. I tried a relaxing aromatherapy massage that uses a blend of essential oils that left me feeling both relaxed and rejuvenated. After all that is what a holiday is all about, right?
The hotel has extensive meeting spaces and a beautiful grand ballroom as well. The boardroom space is equipped with state-of-the-art technologies and the outstanding banquet planning services ensure business and social MICE events can be conducted successfully here. The hotel is in Gandhinagar which has a nice buzz about it. You can check with the concierge for local recommendations that will ensure you experience some of the best the city has to offer.
Address: Railway Station, The Leela Gandhinagar Sector 14 Airspace, above Gandhinagar, near K Road, Gandhinagar, Gujarat 382014
Phone: 079 6902 1234
All images courtesy of The Leela Gandhinagar