I must seem something of a snob when I say that hotels don’t move me. Don’t get me wrong. They did, initially, when I began life as a travel writer. Then the sameness, the impersonal homogeneity, the tired plasticity of the smiles began to get to me. When Outlook Traveller asked me to review the newly launched Ritz-Carlton Bangalore over a weekend in late March this year, I accepted. I was curious to know what it felt like to stay in a hotel in my own city. A night away from the familiar bed. In a city with hundreds of friends and relatives, it was unthinkable to pay for a night’s sleep. So, I’ve never done that, oddly enough, except for one exhausted New Year’s night at a hotel with a bunch of inebriated rock musicians (but let that pass).
It turned out to be an experience I cherished. And I have gone back again, especially to The Lantern, its lovely Oriental restaurant. There’s an un-snobbish feeling of Bangaloreness about this hotel. It’s a new face in our crowd, yet it has learned to fit in, to make itself at home, and make itself home to those who want to get away from home.
Here’s an excerpt from my review in the May-June issue of Outlook Traveller Luxe (click on the attached PDF to enlarge and read):
The Ritz-Carlton debuted in India on October 31 at Bangalore’s Residency Road, the cusp of the downtown business and entertainment precinct and the colonial-era neighbourhood of Richmond Town. It didn’t wait long to make itself at home. Grapevine goss hinted at the city’s plushest, priciest rooms and word of its fine restaurants wafted ahead of my arrival whetting, if not yet my appetite, certainly an epicurean curiosity. One March evening, as the pale mauve of jacaranda faded into indigo twilight, I was ushered into an L-shaped building of 16 floors (minus Level 13 in keeping with tradition), its Jerusalem-limestone façade emblazoned with the recognisable leonine crest of the Ritz-Carlton franchise.
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