In the Diplomatic Enclave, with easy access to embassies
Classically designed rooms with marble bathrooms
All rooms include flat-screen TVs, air-conditioning, and mini-fridge
Luxury Amatraa Spa with Ayurvedic treatmetnts and high-end fitness center
Multiple meeting and event spaces including pillarless convention hall
Eight on-site restaurants, many specializing in regional Indian cuisine
Room service available around the clock
Free welcome gifts including fruit baskets and cookies
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Style is dated and style doesn't match luxury claims
Not within walking distance of a metro
Fitness center open to non-resident guests with membership
Busy, impersonal atmosphere; can get noisy at times
A landmark hotel in Delhi's Diplomatic Enclave, The Ashok is a massive four-pearl property with 550 rooms and suites. Rooms here are classically decorated and showing their age a bit, and all suites have separate living areas and bedrooms. The on-site spa -- Amatraa -- is considered one of the city's finest and is attached to a modern fitness center. The restaurants are another huge draw, and include a couple of Indian vegetarian options and another that specializes in the famous cuisine of the city of Lucknow. While it's suitable for both tourists and business travelers, The Ashok is known as a convention hotel; those looking for something more intimate may prefer The Lodhi instead, though it's far more expensive.
Huge convention hotel with golf course-like lawns and regal, if stuffy, interiors
Spread out over 25 acres, The Ashok is one of the larger properties within the center of Delhi, and its large, grassy grounds dotted with deciduous trees resemble a golf course, but without the holes. It's that sort of exclusive vibe that the hotel is aiming to capture, but unfortunately the look throughout the property, while often regal, can be a bit stuffy and dated, and doesn't live up to this hotel's own luxury claims. Guests enter into a long marble lobby with grey-and-black marble floors and a few large marble pillars that support a false ceiling from which hang multiple elaborate crystal chandeliers. There are also a few seating areas with dark-wood Edwardian-style furniture and a discreet staircase that leads up to a mezzanine level with a few more areas to sit. While it's largely a convention hotel, attracting Indian business travelers in town for business, a hotel of this size is bound to get plenty of tourists (and group tours) from around the world.
In Chanakyapuri -- Delhi's diplomatic enclave -- a short drive to area attractions
The Ashok is located in Central Delhi, on the eastern edge of Chanakyapuri, also known as the Diplomatic Enclave. It's a little far to walk to the nearest metro (Race Course; a 25-minute walk away), but the station can be reached in under six minutes by car or autorickshaw. Otherwise, it's a 10-minute walk to Santushti Shopping Complex, a small shopping area with a few eateries and upscale shops. Hip Hauz Khas Village -- with lots of shops, bars, and restaurants -- is just over a 20-minute drive away, as is Connaught Place, home to upmarket shops, restaurants, and a large cinema hall.
Humayun's Tomb, a UNESCO-designated site, takes about 10 minutes to reach by car, while Jantar Mantar and the UNESCO-designated Qutub Minar, and Gurudwara Bangla Sahib -- Delhi's best-known Sikh temple -- are all a 20-minute drive from the hotel without traffic. It's about 15 minutes by car to the New Delhi Railway Station, 25 minutes to Old Delhi, and around half an hour to Indira Gandhi International Airport, traffic permitting. The corporate suburb of Gurgaon takes about 40 minutes to reach by car, but can take much longer to get to during the morning rush hour.
Elegant rooms and suites with traditional decor and chic marble bathrooms
The Ashok has a total of 550 rooms, including 161 suites. Room decor is relatively consistent throughout room types, with colonial styling including dark or light hardwood floors, neutral-toned walls and upholstery, and cream-colored marble bedside tables. Accents like simple framed sketches on the walls and embroidered throw cushions and bedspreads add a bit of color to the rooms. However, the look is a bit stuffy and dated, particularly in rooms like the Executive Double, which pair patterned bedspreads with oak furniture, none of which looks particularly fresh.
Rooms come in Standard and Executive (300 square feet, or 28 square meters) configurations that range from 264 square feet (24 square meters) to 300 square feet (28 square meters), with king, queen, or twin beds. Executive Rooms have garden views. Executive and Luxury Suites are larger and have separate bedrooms and living spaces; Luxury Suites add dining areas. The Ashok also offers 10 gigantic Deluxe Suites (1,200 square feet, or 111 square meters), which have separate meeting or dining rooms with their own entrances for guests who want to entertain plus a pantry, a work station with a computer, and butler service. The finest room in the house is the 3,000-square-foot (279-square-meter) Presidential Suite with panoramic city views, two bedrooms with their own bathrooms, an office, a dining room, and a living room.
Amenities include safes, scales, mini-fridges, air-conditioning, and tea- and coffee-making facilities. It's a bit surprising that a self-proclaimed luxury hotel doesn't offer minibars in all rooms, and electric kettles are just cheap plastic numbers. Bathrooms are done in older marble and have walk-in showers, makeup mirrors, and robes; some also have separate tubs.
Extensive meeting and event space, luxury spa, tour bookings, and free hotel-wide Wi-Fi
Facilities at the Ashok are aimed at business travelers, with a business center, multiple meeting rooms, including a huge pillarlesss convention hall with a stage, board rooms, a banquet hall, and lots of outdoor spaces. The spa -- Amatrra -- is also a huge draw, and features all sorts of Ayurvedic massages and treatments along with a juice bar, a modern fitness center, and a pool -- just note that the facilities are open to outside membership and thus can get busy. Other hotel facilities include currency exchange, an ATM, a concierge, and valet parking. There are also plenty of shops in the lobby, most selling traditional handicrafts and shawls. Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel.
The Ashok has a huge variety of on-site dining options as well as 24-hour room service. The Samavar serves food from around the world and is open 24 hours a day (it's called a "coffee shop" by the hotel, which is a typical term for 24-hour eateries in India, but it's menu is much wider than just coffee). Frontier serves rich, heavy foods from the North-West Frontier of Pakistan, while The Oudh serves Awadhi cuisine most typically associated with the city of Lucknow. Shraman focuses on vegetarian food from Rajasthan and Gujarat and there's also a branch of vegetarian South Indian chain Sagar Ratna on the premises. For those wanting something more international, Zerruco has Italian food and NomNom specializes in food from across East Asia, with all sorts of interpretations of Chinese, Vietnamese, and even Burmese dishes. There's also a range of different types of food served at Pangaea, the on-site nightclub.