History of The Imperial
The Hotel is connected to a fascinating part India’s history. Presently managed by the firm M/s Akoi Saab and owned by Sardar Hardev Singh Akoi and Sardar Jasdev Singh Akoi , grandsons of the Late Sardar Bahadur Ranjit Singh who built the hotel. Conceptualised in 1934 by Blomfield and inaugurated by Lord Willingdon in 1936, The Imperial is a fine confluence of a rich historical past and a slick international appeal. The 24 king palms that lead up to the porch are an integral part of and witness to the very creation of New Delhi. The Hotel was designed to be one of the finest monuments of Lutyens’ grand vision of the Capital City’s original master plan presenting a unique blend of Victorian, Old colonial and Art Deco styles. The hotel was named and conferred the exquisite Lion Insignia by Lady Willingdon. It was the first amongst the legendary “Four Maidens of the East”, which some say included The Strand hotel in Rangoon, Raffles Hotel in Singapore and The Great Eastern & The Oriental in Calcutta.
The Imperial was placed on the second most important social boulevard of the nation, the prestigious Queensway, now called Janpath, the first being the grand and ceremonious Kingsway, now known as Rajpath. From the time it opened its doors in the 1930s, when India was beginning to write the last chapters of its saga on independence, there was little space in New Delhi for an Indo-British rubbing of shoulders. The Imperial provided such a space. Pandit Nehru, Mahatama Gandhi, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Lord Mountbatten met at The Imperial under congenial conditions to discuss the partition of India and creation of Pakistan. The Nehru family had a permanent suite here.
If only walls could speak, here indeed was a repository of fascinating anecdotal material for authors of romantic and detective fiction. It was here at The Imperial, where you could clink your glasses on the same table as the King to the war efforts or Gandhi to the quit India movement, to the strains of Blue Dambe or the belly act of a belle from Beirut with an orchestra from London to serenade you at lunch and invite you to take the floor with candle – lit dinner in the evening.
Silver tea service, tableware from London, Italian marble floors, Burma teak furniture, original Daniells and Frasers on the walls, a vision of undulating green lawns, turbaned
waiters in red, all create the aura of an early 19th century English Manor in the heart of Imperial Delhi.