After Conrad’s big debut in India two years ago, Conrad Bengaluru has launched in the country’s IT capital. SHIKHA PUSHPAN checks in to find out what the buzz is all about.
During the British rule, the Kingdom of Mysore saw an unusual trajectory under the Wadiyar Family, earning it the title of one of the most progressive princely states of India. King Chamarajendra Wadiyar, who was at the helm of developments at the time, called the shots from the Bangalore Palace, a two-level granite structure with an avant-garde interior he lovingly built along the lines of the Windsor Castle in Berkshire. Today, the palace sits pretty in the heart of Bengaluru as a testimony to the progressive pulse of the city. About three miles from this iconic landmark, looking out through the floor-to-ceiling windows of the Executive Lounge on the 20th floor of the new Conrad Bengaluru, I try to trace the city’s journey—from a preferred destination of the elite for its salubrious climate to the world’s second fastest growing startup ecosystem.
Complementing the dynamic vibe of the country’s IT capital, a young and vibrant team at Conrad Bengaluru is all set to provide what is termed as ‘intuitive service’. The newest entrant in the club of five-star properties in the Central Business District, the hotel rises 24 storeys high and offers expansive views of the Ulsoor Lake and the city’s skyline from each of its 285 rooms and suites. Inside, a whole new world of intuitive motion technology awaits: the curtains open automatically, the air-conditioning switches into gear, and the lights turn on to match the time of the day when you walk into the room. The vanity mirror in the bath, with an in-built television, is testimony to how the guests will be spoilt with creature comforts. A swim in the temperature-controlled infinity pool and a deep-tissue therapy at the Conrad Spa are the star favourites at the hotel.
Go on a gourmet trail across the five restaurants at the hotel. While the Mediterranean fare at poolside-restaurant Tiamo is best saved for evenings, satiate your taste buds with Japanese, Thai, and Chinese cuisines at Mikusu, where Chef Dolphy Lobo doles out the best Shrimp Tempura Roll. The Indian Durbar, however, is the most sought after for its time-honoured dishes from 28 Indian states. The all-day restaurant Caraway Kitchen and The Lobby Brew are recommended for a high tea experience.
Bengaluru enjoys benevolent weather through the year due to the city’s enviable location at the centre of the southern peninsula. This favourable climate has led to the establishment of some of the best vineyards in the country. Though Sula has been the face of Indian wines for decades, not many know that most of the award-winning varieties come from Karnataka. To explore these on your own, drive down to Grover Zampa Vineyards for an experiential tour. Sign up for a winery tour and learn the finer nuances—from crushing of the berries to the bottling and storage of wines. On the way back to the hotel, Mysore Silk Udyog on Commercial Street is a good stop to shop for authentic Kanchipuram silk sarees. The store is a favourite with city traditionalists, so spend some time here to learn how to spot artificial silk. “A traditionally woven Kanchipuram silk saree will have the body and border woven separately and then interlocked together,” I remember the sales person telling me, beaming with pride at the century-old legacy of the store.
Bengaluru, arguably one of the most cosmopolitan cities in India, has always been my favourite destination down south. Something about the place evokes a sense of inspiration and positivity. I found the same traits in the warm hospitality of Conrad Bengaluru, because you know you have had a great stay when you look back at your room and smile, hoping to be back soon.