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President’s Lair

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US President Barack Obama's first stop in India, Mumbai, would see him checking into the city's iconic Taj Mahal hotel, where he would stay in, naturally, the presidential suite. And as presidential suites go, the Taj undoubtedly offers one of the best in the country. While the hotel declined to disclose details of the suite, renovated especially for Obama's visit, what is known is that the President and his entourage have booked the entire hotel (yes, all 570 rooms) and all banquet halls and restaurants. Presidential suites, as the name suggests, are reserved for the most influential people, usually royalty or heads of state. They are several notches above regular suites, both in terms of the amenities as well as services on offer. From the most stunning views to having the best chefs churn out on-demand, customised food with special, rare ingredients; from private helipads to help avoid delays to top-notch security facilities; and from private gyms to ultra-luxurious interiors, presidential suites offer the ultimate experience in hospitality. We bring you a peep into some of India's finest presidential suites.

Grand Presidential Suite, ITC Maurya Sheraton, New Delhi

That Obama chose to stay here, while in Delhi, is probably not a surprise, given that the suite has hosted three of his predecessors — Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush in 2006. The Grand Presidential Suite is spread across the entire 14th floor, and includes bedrooms, private dining areas, meeting rooms, and a hi-tech office with the latest gadgetry. Also part of the space is a large summit room, a family room, a satellite kitchen and pantry, and a wellness centre. Security features are top-notch, and suite residents get parking slots. For Obama's stay, the entire presidential floor has been secured with bullet proof glass, an independent security control room, and even a microbiology laboratory for food testing.
Tariff: Rs 4 lakh per night

STAR ATTRACTIONS: The Grand Presidential Suite of Taj Palace, New Delhi, has hosted many dignitaries including George W. Bush (Taj Hotels & Reuters)
Grand Presidential Suite, Taj Palace, New Delhi

The 2,750-sq. ft suite, adorned with Swarovski chandeliers, comprises a living room, a fully equipped conference area, a special study-cum-library, a gym and a round-the-clock butler. The bathroom, made of Italian Satvario marble and fittings from Dombratch, is as hospitable as the suite itself. Guests are welcomed to Bvlgari toiletries, Italian Frette linen, Posture Pedic Mattress, and custom-designed acoustics from Bang & Olufsen. The suite has hosted many dignitaries, including George W. Bush in 2009, Tony and Cherie Blair, General Pervez Musharraf and Hillary Clinton. Clinton, in fact, was served a south Indian breakfast, made with special ingredients including special nuts and artisanal cheese.
Tariff: Rs 3.15 lakh per night

Kohinoor Suite, Oberoi, New Delhi
Occupying 3,600 sq. ft on the seventh floor of the Oberoi hotel, the Kohinoor suite lives up to its name, with a master bedroom, a living room, a dining room with a service pantry, a study room, and a ‘relaxation' room that comes with a treadmill and a massage bed. The 350-sq. ft master bedroom features a king-size bed and a single-seater ottoman. The entry hall of the suite has a collection of shivalingas and a life-size bronze statue of a woman by sculptor Dimpy Menon. The special executive suite and luxury room, adjacent to the Kohinoor Suite, provide suitable accommodation for family members of guests, security personnel or personal assistants. The suite overlooks the well-manicured grounds of the Delhi Golf Course on one side and gives a bird's-eye view of Lutyen's Delhi on the other. French president Nicolas Sarkozy and Hamid Karzai are among the heads of state who have graced the suite.
Tariff: Rs 3 lakh per night

Maharaja Suite, Leela Kempinski, Mumbai
Occupying around 1,720 sq. ft, the Maharaja Suite on the Leela's eighth floor has two luxurious bedrooms with king-sized beds, a living room that has natural light flowing in, and huge floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the hotel's poolside and garden. Adorning the room is exquisite Rosenthal crockery. The room is equipped with a Bang & Olufsen audio visual system, Frette bath linen and aromatherapy toiletries. Guests can choose their breakfast timings, pillows, and customise every meal in terms of spice temperament, cuisine, the choice of fruits and even the newspaper. There's a 24-hour personalised butler service, too. Among those who have stayed there are the Dalai Lama, and the prince and princess of Belgium. For the Dalai Lama, special incense sticks are flown in from McLeodganj (Upper Dharamsala), and fresh lotus flowers are arranged in the room every day.
Tariff: Rs 1 lakh per night

FIT FOR KINGS: For Dalai Lama's stay at Leela Kempinski's Maharaja Suite, incense sticks were flown in from his hometown (Reuters)


Four Seasons, Mumbai

The 3,336-sq. ft presidential suite, located on the 32nd floor, offers a bird's-eye view of the Arabian Sea and the Mumbai skyline, with the Mahalaxmi Racecourse in the foreground. The master bedroom offers a king-sized bed, walk-in closet and LCD television. The living area has a home theatre system, in-room safe and bar. An eight-seater mahogany dining table is adjoined by a kitchen. Plus, there's a private study. The hotel is mum on who has stayed there so far since it opened in 2008.  
Tariff: Rs 2 lakh per night
Peacock Suite, ITC Gardenia, Bangalore
Fit for kings, the Peacock Suite is spread across  5,040 sq. ft across the 20th and 21st floors of the hotel. Designed by UK-based designer Francesca Basu, the suite, as its name suggests, is embellished with peacock-inspired themes. It has its own helipad, and a fitness centre that includes steam and sauna facilities. The suite was considered for President Obama's stay, only the Prez isn't going to Bangalore.
Tariff: Rs 6 lakh per night

RISING GLORY: The presidential suite of Four Seasons, Mumbai (above); and the Peacock Suite of ITC Gardenia, Bangalore