The Claridges is a 5-star hotel in New Delhi near Connaught Place. Of all the large hotels, this one stands out because it is not a high-rise and has a very homely, old-world charm. According to the website, the hotel was started in 1952, which explains the presence of a lot of wood furnishings throughout the different rooms and the fact that not everything inside the hotel is accessible.
The corridors are laced with paintings and double up as a display area for their in-house Crayon Art Gallery.
Of all the restaurants, I visited three. Pickwicks, the multi-cuisine restaurant, doubles up as a 24-hour coffee shop and the breakfast buffet area. The Dhaba offers North Indian delicacies and the interiors are very much like a roadside dhaba with a lot of props and colours. Pastries are available at Ye Old Bakery. All these are easily accessible in a wheelchair.
Sevilla serves Mediterranean cuisine and is extremely popular for its ambience and outdoor seating area. I’ve been there earlier (before my SCI) and loved the space. But unfortunately, it is not accessible in a wheelchair.
I was travelling on work and had booked a meeting room in the business centre which is on the first floor. There is a lift from the ground to the first floor, but I had to cross a couple of steps to reach the meeting room. The staff helped lift my heavy motorised wheelchair over the steps.
My favourite is the lush-green lawn area in the front, which had a seating area and I could bask in the glorious sun.
Address: The Claridges, 12, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Rd, Tees January Road Area, Motilal Nehru Marg Area, New Delhi, Delhi 110011.
Cost for a disabled-friendly room: Rs 11,000 per night. Rs 2,500 an extra bed. Taxes extra.
Features of the accessible room
Out of 132 rooms in the hotel, only one is disabled friendly/ wheelchair accessible. It is situated on the ground, towards the right-hand side of the lobby. Also, the window does not have any view – it faces a wall of bricks. As if it was mandated for them to make at least one room wheelchair accessible, and they chose the room which no one is likely to use.
The room as all the usual amenities offered by a five-star hotel including a king-size bed, television, mini bar, work desk, and a 24 x 7 menu that can be ordered in. The room is spacious enough to accommodate an extra mattress on the side and still have space to move around
The bathroom is compact, but I could move around in my shower chair. In terms of accessibility, they have provided grab bars around the commode and there was a roll-in shower. The bathroom had a sliding door.
Overall, this 5-star hotel is an option if you ‘have’ to say stay in the city centre. As a wheelchair user, you will not have any problem in accessing the room, most of the restaurant and amenities.