Known as the “Garden City” for its parks and green spaces connected to Royal residences, and as “The Silicon Valley of India”, for its past moving tech sector, Bangalore is one of India’s most progressive cities. Also named Bengaluru, it’s the capital of the state of Karnataka but began life as a mud fort, later becoming the headquarters of the British administration in India, from 1831 to 1881 and more recently a hub for artistic culture. Bangalore is home to two significant palaces, one dating to the 19th century and built to resemble England’s Windsor Castle, the other, a teak construction, created for Tipu Sultan as a summer retreat.
The Leela Palace Bengaluru
The epitome of luxury, the Leela Palace is a magnificent and enormous pink sandstone castle set within nine acres of continuously maintained gardens (you’ll spot a tribe of landscapers constantly at work among its coconut-producing palms). Everything here delivers on a grand scale; from the 50-foot pool to the cathedral-like candles and floral displays, extravagant lobster-abundant seafood nights and a club lounge with separate cigar, champagne and billiard rooms. Service is exemplary (among the best you’ll find anywhere). And there are four restaurants, a spa and a kids’ pool onsite.
The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore
Over 1000 artworks are found throughout this property, showcasing national and international artists, while the building’s exterior is punctuated by intricate latticework. 277 bedrooms come with 400-ply Frette linen, Asprey bath products, Krug coffee machines, retro Tivoli radios and a personalised welcome note from management. Indian food is served in Riwaz, with Chinese cuisine in the Lantern. The Market is an all-day dining outlet, the Lobby Lounge serves an indulgent afternoon tea and Bang is the rooftop bar. The spa is possibly the best in town and guests can enjoy a dip in the long, thin swimming pool.
ITC Windsor, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Bengaluru
Built in 1982 in a neoclassical style, this Marriott property accommodates 218 bedrooms over five floors, including suites with butler service. The decor harks back to another era, with canopied beds, chandeliers, gilt finishes, dark wood furniture and heavy drapes. The columned, white exterior overlooks a large pool area to the rear, with a fountain, day beds, palm trees and a dining terrace. Guests can also eat in Dakshin and Dum Pukht Jolly Nabobs Restaurant and the Raj Pavilion. There’s also a Fabelle chocolate boutique cafe, the Dublin Bar and The Royal Afghan.
The Oberoi, Bengaluru
At the centre of The Oberoi, is a raintree which has stood in place for over 12 decades. Indeed its horticulture has won awards, with balconies overflowing with blooms, lotus-covered ponds, manicured lawns and rainforest-like vegetation separated by aristocratic fountains — and its flowers go into the hotel’s exclusive tea blend. The spa here opens around the clock and the salon until late. Bedrooms have organic herbal bath products, espresso machines, blackout drapes, iPad controls and private outdoor spaces. Like the grounds, the four restaurants have received many accolades, each providing menus for kids.
JW Marriott Hotel Bengaluru
Travelling for work? This hotel in the central business district – with views of Cubbon Park – couldn’t be more convenient. Open every day from early to late, JW Kitchen serves a la carte food and fantastic Sunday brunches. Uno is the Marriott’s Japanese restaurant; Alba serves Mediterranean dishes; Spice Terrace has a menu of Indian cuisine; the Bengaluru Baking Company is the place for coffee and a cake, and there’s The Merak Brewhouse for a pint. Guests also have access to a fitness centre, an attractive outdoor pool area and a spa.
The height of this skyscraper ensures its roof terrace — home to the funky Hype Bar with live DJs — boasts panoramic views. The Far Eastern connections of this chain are evident in touches such as staff uniform design and spa treatments. Dine with all the family any time of the day, in the Asian and continental B Café with its show kitchens and enormous breakfast buffets. Then there’s Caprese for Mediterranean food, Yataii for some of the best sushi and kaiseki dinners for miles, Ssaffron for local flavours and the Shang Palace signature Chinese restaurant.
ITC Gardenia, a Luxury Collection Hotel
With its open helipad, the ITC Gardenia allows you to arrive into the heart of the city, in movie-star style, greeted by a staff member in tails, presented a chilled glass of champagne. The building was created as a tribute to Bangalore, and pays homage to the region’s culture throughout. It was the first hotel in Asia to have a Platinum rating under LEED®, thanks to its eco-conscious approach; its vertical lawned wall proving a notable feature. Take a medicinal or spiritual journey at Kaya Kalp – The Spa. And feast on everything from kebabs to robatayaki and tapas, at the seven eateries, which include a semi-open-air, grass-roofed Lotus Pavilion.