Clean & Green: A Trip To Delhi’s Oberoi Hotel In An Electrified Bentley

By Jeremy Taylor

4 weeks ago

Test driving the Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid


Delhi’s top hotel offers ‘free’ fresh air to tempt guests – motoring editor Jeremy Taylor and Jessica Talbot-Ponsonby discuss arriving at the legendary Oberoi in a Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid.

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A Trip To Delhi’s Oberoi Hotel In A Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid

Black Bentley flying spur hybrid

JT-P – So, how was your stay in New Delhi – I understand it was a little warm, to say the least?

JT Yes, 48 degrees Celsius is off the scale! The world record for the hottest place on Earth is a thermometer-popping 56.6C, in Death Valley, USA. I’ve visited in the summer and only a handful of hardy souls survive in air-conditioned luxury. By comparison, some 34 million people sweat it out in Delhi.

The Indian heat was all over the news in the UK while you were away. This has been the country’s longest heatwave and topped out at almost 53 degrees. Fortunate that you were in an electrified, air-conditioned Bentley yourself then?

I’d say. The Flying Spur Hybrid was like an Indian palace on wheels. All the usual Bentley luxuries but this time powered by a smaller, 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine and a plug-in battery pack. 

That sounds a world away from the Bentley’s of old, with their thumping V8 and V12 engines. We are still waiting for the first all-electric Bentley in 2026 but how was the £201,000 Flying Spur limo?

Well, Rolls-Royce won’t thank me for saying so but the Spur is my favourite luxury car. Even with a hybrid powertrain, it retains Bentley levels of performance, near-silent running and possibly the best cabin of any car.

And the downside?

Charing port of the Bentley flying spur hybrid

Apart from the price, the electric-only range is a modest 25 miles. In the polluted atmosphere of Delhi, you wonder if that’s quite enough. At least my destination hotel was doing its bit – the Oberoi has installed an air filtration system to help guests stay fresh and cool.

That’s neat – how does it work? I know that in Delhi the smog can be appalling. The government has imposed traffic restrictions and shut down schools because of toxic air. Pretty dramatic.

The most obvious clue for guests is when they arrive at the front door. A screen displays levels of air quality outside and inside the hotel, plus the current World Health Organization standard. The hotel is said to offer the cleanest air in the city. The system was part of a two-year re-vamp that has ensured the Oberoi remains at the very pinnacle of Indian hospitality.

The Oberoi is definitely something of an icon. Set in five acres of lush landscape, at the heart of one of the city’s most upmarket areas, I imagine that once inside, there were few clues to the withering temperatures in the outside world?

Staff at Oberoi Hotel opening a car door for a guest

When temperatures climb in the UK, people head to the seaside or a swimming pool. Of course, at 48°C it was too hot for guests to use the outdoor pool, so the only option was the indoor pool and spa – not exactly a hardship! Otherwise, there was cool jazz playing in the foyer and a selection of three top restaurants to forget the chaos outside.

Did you eat at Michelin-starred Andrew Wong’s roof-top restaurant? His A Wong place in London is to die for.

Yes, I had lunch in the Baoshuan Chinese restaurant. Apparently, it’s busier in the evenings, with the great and good of Delhi then moving on to a rooftop bar for some late-night music vibes.

I’m surprised that you were still awake for that!

I wasn’t. In the evening I dined at ground level in Dhilli, created under the watchful eye of Vineet Bhatia – another chef with Michelin credentials. The food here was contemporary Indian and an homage to the best grub in Delhi. Fantastic.

And then you stumbled back upstairs to your high-rise room, I suppose?

I did. Magnificent views from the floor to ceiling picture windows, black kites flying below and ridiculously high standards of service.

Dining room at Delhi's Oberoi hotel at dusk

That good?

Oh, yes! Possibly the best I have experienced in a long time. Highly trained, eloquent and professional to a fault. 

Good enough to outshine a trip in  a Bentley even?

Difficult to imagine but the Oberoi is a genuine jewel in the crown of India. 

DISCOVER

The Oberoi offers rooms from £250 a night plus taxes. oberoihotels.com

Jessica Talbot-Ponsonby is Director of Programmes at London College of Fashion, studying for a PhD in sustainable e-textile design.