An ideal stay for solo female travellers in South Delhi, India
It was desperation that drove me to Red Maple Bed & Breakfast in Delhi … but delight that kept me there! In January, I was staying with friends in Gurgaon, a huge, new suburban community south of Delhi, and the temperature kept dropping and dropping. One day, it hit a 50-year record low: high of 9 C. and low of 2 C. Now, you might be thinking, “She’s Canadian, what’s that to her?” And you’d be right: in my home city of Toronto, temperatures can drop to minus 25 C. in winter. But we have insulated houses, indoor heating, hot showers, continuous power, and so many other things that make living in a cold climate bearable, and even cosy. No such luck in Delhi, where the houses are built to keep the heat out, and floors are usually made of marble.
In short, it was bone-chilling at my friend’s place, and also far from my favoured stopping grounds, South Delhi. Yes, I am a South Delhi girl. I like frequent stops at Barista or Cafe Coffee Day. I shop at Fabindia in Khan Market and go for ice cream treats at The Big Chill. I meet my friends in Hauz Khas and get my mani-pedis done in Green Park. And my idea of a perfect market is GK1 N-Block. So, I reached out to Harminder Saini at the Red Maple Bed & Breakfast to find out if he had availability, and when he said yes, piled all my suitcases in a taxi for the long ride from Gurgaon.
I knew about the Red Maple from Canadian friends of mine who stayed there, including Janice Waugh of Solo Traveler. But it wasn’t until I got there and met owner Harminder that I fully understood the name of this charming small hotel is in homage to Canada: red and white are the colours of the Canadian flag, and the maple leaf is one of our symbols, if you don’t know. Canada has inspired the Red Maple in other ways, too. Harminder explained to me that he intentionally designed the small hotel so that the amenities are on par with the quality of creature comforts we are accustomed to in Canada. That means, powerful room heaters and full-pressure hot showers, lots of western food options on the menu, high-end furnishings, flat screen TVs, free WiFi, super comfortable beds, on-site laundry facilities, bottled water, air conditioning … and everything is spotlessly clean.
After arriving, I put the heater on and jumped in the shower and felt I was in heaven! I was truly warm for the first time in a week. And it just got better and better. Even though it’s a small guest house, with only eight rooms, they offer a full menu of both Indian and continental cuisine, and much of it is available 24/7. My room was spacious, with a balcony overlooking the street. Breakfast was ample, buffet-style, and you can meet other travellers while eating in the shared breakfast area on the main floor.
I also liked the location in South Extension, only a short walk from the busy market. Unfortunately, there is no metro stop (yet) in South Extension, but you can easily get to one in an autorickshaw. The market itself has lots of shops, including a large bookstore and some of the best shoe stores in Delhi, and a few restaurants and cafes. And the residential area that surrounds the market is nice enough to feel safe and funky enough to feel exotic. There are ancient tombs nearby, and lots of street action: shortly after checking in, I heard the unmistakeable sounds of a wedding outside and ran out with my camera.
To me, Red Maple Bed & Breakfast is the perfect option in Delhi, especially for solo female travellers. It’s safe, clean, well-run, well-located and has everything you need. Plus, you feel that you are staying in a real residential neighbourhood, with local people. It really is the best of both worlds: the comfort of Canada and the colour of India. Also, owner Harminder Saini has a wealth of knowledge about travel in Delhi and India and can help with bookings. As he has spent a lot of time in the west, including in Canada — one of his favourite countries — he understands foreign travellers, and is a great resource and contact to have in India.
As I usually stay with friends in Delhi, or as the guest of a five-star hotel like the fabulous ITC Maurya, I have not been able to personally recommend a mid-range option, until now. I’m very happy that I can now recommend the Red Maple without hesitation.
To contact Red Maple Bed & Breakfast
RED MAPLE BED & BREAKFAST
49, Amrit Nagar, South Extension Part-1, New Delhi, India 110 003
[NOTE: I was a guest of Red Maple Bed & Breakfast for the duration of my stay, but that does not alter or affect my opinion. I am truly thrilled to be able to recommend this place to people who are wary of Delhi or don't know where to stay or want to avoid Pahar Ganj. Word.]
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