Have you ever found yourself in a predicament so embarrassing that it’s not even funny? You’ve told everyone around you that have planned on going on a holiday – but eventually did not. Of course, there could be a number of reasons but do you really think they care. All that matters to them is that you didn’t go and you end up becoming the butt of every joke at work.
This is probably not the best time to say “Been there, Done that”. Most of us are slaves to the corporate world; we spend months planning an elaborate vacation but it remains “a plan” and nothing more. Personally, even a weekend getaway has become a difficult proposition considering the fact that our weekdays swell into our weekends. Now, is there a solution to this?
Over the past few years, I’ve been hearing about travel enthusiasts check-in to hotels in their cities. While one can indulge in absolutely everything that the hotel has to offer, it is an expensive affair. I’m talking about a swimming pool with a view, a fabulous spa, comfortable and spacious bedrooms and bathrooms, multiple dining options and provision for all kinds of indoor and outdoor activities.
All this, literally, a state of exuberance concealed subtly behind a word coined not long ago- “staycation“. Personally, I found this idea to be utterly ludicrous but boy was I in for a revelation. I was invited to spend the weekend at ITC Gardenia- one of the notable 5 Star hotels in Bengaluru. ITC Gardenia is located in Bangalore’s most elite neighbourhood and it overlooks the century old Bangalore Club.
The hotel is equipped with 292 luxury rooms and suites – each offering splendid views of the city and its green surroundings. The moment you walk into the lobby, you notice the wind-cooled Atrium and the vertical hanging gardens.
The lobby then extends out to a courtyard, in the midst of which stands the multi-pillared Lotus Pavilion, inspired by Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace. The interior of the hotel is carefully designed and visually arresting. The decor draws inspiration from nature and it’s many manifestations. Each floor of the hotel has a certain theme- based on the moods and representations of various elements of nature.
The check-in process was seamlessly done within the confines of my room- Towers Suite. ITC Gardenia houses 10 of these suites and each of them named after a bird native to the region. The Rose Finch (name of my suite) is an oasis of indulgence- loaded with a range of state-of-the-art amenities. The welcome amenity was utterly heart-warming and the pillow with my name embroidered on it was a very sweet gesture.
The itinerary curated for my weekend included dining at the in-house speciality restaurants and also a visit to the world-class spa- Kaya Kalp. ITC Gardenia has a wide range of exclusive dining options like Kebabs & Kurries, EDO, Ottimo and Cubbon Pavilion. Kebabs and Kurries is a culmination of ancient culinary secrets , long forgotten herbs and exotic flavours. The melt-in-the-mouth Kebabs from the restaurant’s clay ovens and iron tandoors are too delicious to pass up on multiple portions. Not to forget, the rich and delicious curries like Rara Gosht, Dal Bukhara- simply brilliant.
EDO is ITC’s Japanese flagship award-wining restaurant and also my favourite Japanese restaurant in the city. While at EDO, try the set menus as it brings to you an exquisite spread of authentic Sushi, Sashimi, Tempura and Japanese Grills. It’s always a delightful experience to have Itamae Shokunin Amit Patra attend to your table and tell you about the intricacies of each dish served.
Ottimo is ITC Gardenia’s signature Italian restaurant and it also represents their endeavour to bring a slice of Italy to Bangalore. Chef Chirag does a fabulous job in presenting his interpretations of quintessential Italian dishes complimented by the finest local and imported ingredients.
While Lotus Pavilion is a wonderful space in the courtyard to meet over toast and tea, Highland Nectar is the hotel’s lobby bar. Highland Nectar offers world class beverages and signature bar eats to kick start your evening. Cubbon Pavilion is the all-dine restaurant that serves a la carte and buffets over breakfast, lunch and dinner.
If you are a spa enthusiast, then ITC hotels’ Kaya Kalp spa is something you should indulge in. Kaya Kalp is spread across an area of 10,400 sq.ft. with 7 Treatment rooms, Jacuzzi, Sauna and Steam Baths, a Salon and a 1100 sq. ft. Gym, with the latest fitness equipment. I always fancy a run after a tough day at work but in this case- after indulging in rich delectable food.
The kind of experience I had at ITC Gardenia was unlike any other staycation that I had before. I have frequented this hotel on numerous occasions to visit their speciality restaurants but my stay at this impeccable property gives new meaning to phrases like “indulge and spoil yourself”.
ITC Gardenia has also been conferred the highest rating for green buildings in the world- Asia’s first LEED India Platinum rated hotel. This epitomises ITC Hotels’ belief in the philosophy of #ResponsibleLuxury, offering the finest luxury services to guests without an impact to the environment. It is not an exaggeration when I say that properties like ITC Gardenia poses as one of the few reminders why Bangalore is India’s Garden city. In the end, however luxurious, it is now, my second home and my 45-min drive to an unparalleled weekend staycation.