This sprawling hotel in the midst of the evolving business district of Whitefield – a busy and buzzing district on the outskirts of Bangalore – has 321 rooms, un-intrusive service, great restaurants, and an amazing spa.
Whitefield used to be a distant suburb of Bangalore. Today, it is a vibrant district with great brewpubs, restaurants, jazz bars, hotels and malls, all drawn to the area by the software companies that are based here. Getting to the hotel from the airport or Central Bangalore takes two hours or so, depending on traffic. The hotel’s Benz or Audi cars make this commute a tad more comfortable.
Clean lines, subtle furnishings, beige marble and dark wood furniture give this hotel a sense of spaciousness and scale. After the colour and chaos of India, the uncluttered spaces of the hotel are a respite. The dual-storey lobby has many cosy nooks for guests to congregate – and many do, discussing deals and teams over a cup of excellent coffee from MBC or Marriott. Public areas exude this sense of space, skipping ornate Indian decorations for unobtrusive, if forgettable artwork.
The service is quiet and unobtrusive. Guests whose taxis arrive in the midst of a coffee are offered takeaway cups; diners who appear lost amidst the sprawling breakfast buffet are asked if they need help; water bottles appear beside those working on their laptops in the lobby. All little things that add up to make a stay that bit more comfortable.The concierge recommends and guides guests to the numerous bars and restaurants in the area.
The Serenity Spa is excellent, and has an array of unusual treatments. Try the signature 90-minute Marma massage where a therapist rubs oil all over the body and massages knots away with not just her hands but also her feet, in the style that is common in Kerala ayurvedic centres. A homemade scrub made of fresh turmeric and red rice removes the oil. Beyond the five treatment rooms including a couples room, are the comfortable and clean changing areas include a jacuzzi, steam room, sauna and showers.
The L-shaped curved outdoor swimming pool offers succor to tired guests in the evening. The fitness centre is open from 5am to 10pm and has treadmills, weights and elipticals.
The 321 rooms have all the amenities that global travellers would expect: four-piece bathroom – even the base category ones have a bathtub, which is a nice touch – luggage rack, safe, tea and coffee and a minibar stocked with local goodies for those late night cravings. Most rooms have cool and comfortable king-size bed.
The rainshowers in the bathroom and fragrant Thann toiletries offer a mini-spa experience for harried businesspeople. Each room comes with a couch and a functional glass-topped work bench. The artwork on the wall has a touch of Indian style, without feeling overdone.
Open 24 hours, M Café is the dining hub of the hotel, serving a buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner. The breakfast buffet is large with juices, fresh baked bagels, croissants and pastries, Indian dishes including a millet dosa (crepe) with a savory filling, an omelette and soup station along with cheese, fruits and bread. WBC or Whitefield Baking Company is just off the lobby and conducts baking classes for corporate teams or children (the difference is perhaps slim). It serves good Italian coffee.
Alto Vino, the hotel’s Italian restaurant is open for dinner. Try the pasta with chicken, the baked salmon, and the asparagus ravioli. Also open only for dinner is the poolside restaurant, Whitefield Bar & Grill, which serves a good selection of grilled meats, pizza, signature mojitos and craft cocktails – try the guava martini with vodka and tamarind, garnished with fresh guava slices. M Bar serves finger food, locally sourced wines, beer and stiff drinks for returning office-goers.
Double rooms from 12,800 rupees (£148) in low season (May through August) and from 20,480 rupees (£237) in high (September through April). Breakfast is included. Free Wi-Fi.
Access for guests with disabilities?
Five dedicated rooms are equipped with handrails, grab bars, alarm buttons, and are spaciously designed to allow free flow for a wheelchair.
While this is predominantly a business hotel, several rooms and suites can be connected. “Hazard free” baby cots built to Marriott standards are available as are extra beds for a nominal charge. There is no kids club but the pool has a children’s area with lifeguards. Babysitters can be arranged with 24-hour notice.
8th Road, EPIP Area, Whitefield, 560066 Bangalore, India.
Shoba Narayan is an author, journalist and columnist. Besides writing, she is interested in nature, wine, gadgets and Sanskrit. Her lifelong mission is to get fit without exercising and lose weight without dieting.