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Lonely Planet Magazine India, August 2011 – Hotels under Rs 5,000 SMART STAYS

03 March 2015

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The Estate, Mehrauli

A BREATH OF FRESH AIR. You don’t have to go very far outr of Delhi to take a bit of a breather, On the outskirts of the city, The Estate in Mehrauli sits at the end of a winding lane , shaded by a canopy of green. This charming bed-and-breakfast is the perfect place to unwind and renew your spirits at,in fact, its proximity to Delhi also makes for a great stay option for visitors to the countrys capital.

The Estate threw open its doors in March 2008 as the city readied itself for the Commonwealth Games. A quaint establishment, the courteous staff and homely ambience ensure a relaxed experience. The red brick building with its white trim contrasts beautifully with the emerald green of the lush gardens that surround it.

There are six guest rooms, each named after an Indian flower. The rooms are bright, modern, and well appointed with subtle artistic touches, and all have private balconies looking out into onto the well-manicured garden. Ask for the room with the private terrace garden if you are looking for that extra bit of privacy.

Its splendid waking up to the chirping birds on your window sill, listening to the breeze through the trees, the pitter-patter of rain on the cobblestones or simply watching the sun rise behind tall, green trees. As you soak in the sounds of nature, it is hard to resist the aromas of breakfast, which lead you by the nose to the dining table. The simple yet delicious breakfast of piping-hot stuffed paranthas, served with a dollop of butter or yoghurt and pickle is hard to resist. The cup of masala tea that follows energizes and refreshes. All meals are freshly-made, and menus can be tailored to suit guests’ preferences. You can also order food from nearby restaurants if you want something more flamboyant than home cooked meals.

The Estate offers yoga sessions, spa treatments and gym facilities, all of which are available on request. They even have game boxes and a reading corner- a cozy nook with plenty of books for you to browse through.

Manager Bane Singh, who served in the Indian Army for 24 years, runs The Estate with the same precision the military has drummed into him. The staff works in a quiet, efficient way, almost lulling you into thinking that everything on the premises is done by magic or automaton.
The Estate’s location with ease of access highway and the Sultanpur Metro Station, makes it a convenient base from which to discover Delhi (Or to get an outsiders perspective on the city you live in). The highway is 10 minutes away, and the staff will be happy to arrange cab services at fixed rates to ferry you to wherever you want to go.

The Bed-and-Breakfast can also arrange and book city tours for you, although they are a bit pricey (Magic Tours: Rs 2000 per person for 4 hours.) It’s easy enough, anyway, to independently visit ancient remnants of past dynasties- The Qutb Minar and Mehrauli Archeological Park, (or even the relatively new Chhattarpur Mandir), stroll thorugh markets in Old Delhi that once used to cater to royalty – Kinari Bazaar, Dariba Kalan and Chawri Bazaar, and take in the sights of the more contemporary parts of Lutyen’s Delhi.

The Estate also supports Aagaz and Ssrishti, NGOs that provide learning centres for underpriviledged children. A portion of every bill goes into supporting these two organizations, and guests are encouraged to donate to the cause.

WHERE TO STAY
The Estate:
00-91-9873360002,
00-91-26802727/ 2828;
Theestatebnb.com, contact@theestatebnb.com; House no 29, Sultanpur Estate, Mandi Road, Mehrauli; Rs 4200 Onwards with Breakfast

WHAT TO EAT
The Estate provides a wholesome Breakfast with Indian or Western options. Ask for the masala omelette, sausages and hash browns, or hot, stuffed parathas. Lunch and Dinner are freshly made and need to be ordered at least an hour in advance (Rs 400 per person per meal). The food is simple and consists of one vegetable dish,a dal, a chicken/paneer preparation (You can get fish/mutton instead for an extra Rs 100), raita, rice, salad and rotis. Let the kitchen know what veggies you’d prefer. Nearby restaurants – Sbarro and Slice of Italy are most popular- will also deliver to The Estate (minimum order Rs 150)

WHAT TO PACK
Good, sturdy shoes are a must, as the city tours can have you walking through winding lanes and ruins. Avoid shorts and revealing clothes while in the city. An umbrella and sun block are essential, as the weather can be unpredictable. Books and games to keep the little ones entertained will also come in handy.

SHOPPING
There are a number of shopping centres and malls close by. Saket and Vasant Vihar (About 10km /20-minute drive); Vasant Kunj (7km/10-minute drive), and Gurgaon (about 18km/20 minute drive) all have malls that house the most popular national and international brands.

CLEAN LOO GUIDE
Clean loos are available all across the city, However, it is advisable to go at your hotel before you leave on city tours, as the ruins and smaller establishments do not have the best facilities. There are some paid public toilets along the roads and at every metro station and are not always clean (Rs 2 onwards)

SAFETY
Thanks to 24-hr security , The Estate is a safe place to be in, even for women. Although you can find your way down winding streets, its always better to go with someone who knows the place, as it is relatively easy to get lost.

MEDICAL AID
The Estate has a doctor 7kms away on call for all kinds of medical emergencies. You can ask to go to bigger private and public hospitals in the city, but there are no large hospitals near The Estate

CHILD-FRIENDLINESS
The Estate, although great for adults , may get tiresome for children. You can keep your kids occupied with board games, or bring along some fun stuff

GOOD TO KNOW
Cars and cycles are commonly used to travel between different structures in the Mehrauli Archeological Park (5km, 5.30am-8pm; free) though walking is still best.
The Qutb Minar has an entry fee (6km; sunrise-sunset;Rs10)
Delhi weather is at its best between September and March. You can happily explore and traipse about the city without feeling drained as in the summer. Carry woolens though, and check weather forecast before you travel

FACT SHEET
GETTING THERE
Closest Metro: New Delhi (24km from Connaught Place) Mehrauli is on the south western outskirts of Delhi and an hour’s drive away.

Closest Airport: Indira Gandhi International Airport (newdelhiairport.in) is about 14kms and 30 minutes away. Indigo, Spice jet and Go Air operate from Terminals 1D and 1C, while Air India, Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines operate from Terminal 3.You can take a Government or private prepaid taxi from the Airport to The Estate for as little as Rs 250. Meru and Mega cabs operate from Terminal 3, while Easy Cabs ply from Terminal 1C.
Closest Railhead: Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station (NZM:20km) and New Delhi Railway Station(NDLS:24kms). A taxi from Hazrat Nizammudin costs upwards of Rs 200 and about Rs 300 from New Delhi Railway Station. Sultanpur Metro Station is closest(delhimetrorail.com;1.5km/Rs 8 onwards/journey).

GETTING AROUND
Since The Estate is deep along a line of farmhouses, hire a car to get about in the city (Rs 600 onwards for 4 hours). You can also take the metro from Sultanpur



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