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Getting around Delhi

Public transport

Delhi’s metro system (tel: 155 370, in India only; www.delhimetrorail.com) comprises six lines which criss-cross the city, serving most important tourist areas. Single-journey tokens are available, as are preloadable smartcards and one-day or three-day tourist cards.

Most of the city's thousands of buses are operated by the Delhi Transport Corporation (tel: +91 11 2337 0209; www.dtc.nic.in). Others are privately owned but run the same routes. However, finding the right route can be challenging, as can dodging traffic to get to bus platforms, most of which are in the middle of busy roads.

Another option is auto-rickshaws. Although all have meters, drivers rarely use them, so agree upon your fare at the start of your journey. There's a 25% surcharge for travelling between 2300-0500. Bicycle rickshaws are great for getting around Old Delhi, though fares may be even more subject to the whim of the driver than auto-rickshaw fares. Tipping is optional but encouraged; 10% of the fare is the usual starting point.

Taxis

Yellow and black Ambassador taxis are readily available, especially at local taxi stands, where taxis can be booked and prices fixed in advance – which may also be safer than hailing a taxi on the street. There is a 25% surcharge between 2300-0500. Fares should be negotiated before the journey, as even metered taxis can be misleading. You can also call one of several radio cab companies to book a taxi in advance without having to visit a taxi stand (www.delhitourism.gov.in/delhitourism/transport/radio_taxi.jsp).

Driving

Driving in Delhi is not for the faint-hearted. Traffic regulations are routinely ignored; in Old Delhi, vehicles compete for space with ox carts, wandering cows, goats and dogs. Night driving can be particularly dangerous.

Car hire

Car hire companies include Avis (tel: +91 11 2430 4452; www.avis.com) and Hertz (tel: +91 11 124 301 4724; www.hertz.com). An International Driving Permit is essential for drivers in India, and in most cases the driver must be 25 years or over.

Hiring a car with a driver is the safest and easiest way to explore Delhi. Meru cabs (tel: +91 11 4422 4422; www.merucabs.com) is a reputable and reliable outfit offering air-conditioned cars, and many hotels can arrange a car and driver for you.

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Optus Sarovar Premiere

In the heart of the Gurgaon commercial district to the southwest of New Delhi, this is a business hotel with a difference, in that it has a genuinely Indian character to its modern and comfortable facilities. It's not a bad place for relaxation either, with its rooftop swimming pool, lobby lounge bar and up-to-the-minute gym facilities. The hotel has 80 rooms, all equipped with the latest TVs and other technology, and also offers a choice of meeting/conference rooms. Central Delhi is connected to Gurgaon by metro link.

Hotel Marble Arch

A new property conveniently located at Karol Bagh – 10 minutes by metro from Connaught Place, and little further from the New Delhi railway station, this is a comfortable and friendly place to base yourself for a short stay in Delhi. The accommodation floors surround an open-air courtyard restaurant area. Wi-Fi access is available, and the hotel will arrange collection and drop-off at both the airport and main railway stations if arranged in advance.

The Lodhi

Formerly the Aman New Delhi Hotel, The Lodhi is an contemporary, upmarket resort featuring exquisite Indian decor such as hand-made rugs and jaali screens. It offers 40 rooms, with balconies offering city, courtyard or garden views, deep bathtubs, a spa, tennis courts, 50m-long (140ft) pool, restaurants and even a library and a cigar lounge.

The Imperial New Delhi

Built in 1931, this contemporary colonial hotel was a favourite haunt of Nehru, Mountbatten and other luminaries. It continues to welcome many dignitaries and affluent Delhiites who drop by for Sunday brunch (one of the best in Delhi). There are 233 beautifully appointed rooms and 43 suites. Additional amenities include a swimming pool, beauty centre, shopping precinct and a selection of superlative restaurants and bars.

The Oberoi New Delhi

An elegant and modern hotel, The Oberoi occupies a peaceful position overlooking New Delhi's principal golf course and the historic Humayun's Tomb. Ideal for business travellers and well-heeled tourists, it offers a state-of-the-art business centre, spa, swimming pool and gym. Fine dining options are plentiful and include the excellent Italian restaurant Travertino and the popular Threesixty, which is also the setting for The Oberoi's indulgent breakfasts.

The Claridges New Delhi

Positioned among the leafy boulevards of New Delhi, The Claridges is one of the capital's most elegant and atmospheric places to stay. There's a touch of art deco to this low-rise building, which dates from the mid-1900s. Its 137 rooms and suites are a blend of classic and modern styles, all spacious and well presented. There is also a decent health club, swimming pool, beauty parlour and a choice of several restaurants.