This hotel– with 397 rooms in central Bangalore — is a favourite for glittering Indian weddings — ably represents the Shangri-La global chain with an outstanding spa; Chinese, Italian, Indian and Japanese restaurants; and a rooftop bar that offers sprawling views of the city
Set on a quiet road near the National Gallery of Modern Art and the Bangalore Golf Club, the hotel is a little away from the business districts or shopping area. That said, it is near the highways that take guests to the airport or the outer reaches of Bangalore like Whitefield.
The double-height lobby has a lot going on. On one side is a lounge with live piano music, while check-ins take place on the other. Décor is all dark wood with soothing hues of gray and beige with a splash of colour. Proportions of all public spaces are generous for a city-centre hotel.
The staff, dressed in mustard-coloured uniforms with an Oriental touch, are unfailingly courteous, but slow. Things fall through the cracks because of the sheer size of the hotel. Requests made from the room, be they for an extra pillow or a snack, take a while to be responded to.
The heated pool open to the sky is lovely, particularly for a night swim. It’s located right beside the fitness centre and spa, so guests can work out, swim and enjoy the sauna and steam room before heading for a massage. Hype Bar on the top floor is the place to be for young, sophisticated Bangaloreans, with a DJ spinning tunes and mixologists serving good-looking cocktails through the night.
The Chinese restaurant in house is excellent.
The location may not particularly suit business travellers but for those who like art, the NGMA or National Gallery of Modern Art is walking distance.
Craft fairs often occur at the Chitrakala Parishat which is five minutes away.
Even the standard rooms are fairly spacious and well appointed with Frette linen, the odd abstract painting and a minibar. Bathrooms are spacious with a marble tub, shower, and space for a suitcase and safe. Through the large windows — no balconies —patches of green in the low-lying cityscape of Bangalore can be seen.
The huge all-day dining option, B Café, has show kitchens serving Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and continental. The breakfast buffet is arguably the largest in the city. Friendly chefs perform for giggling kids who wait for pancake faces or pasta.
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.