One of the hotel brands I’ve adored ever since I got on the road was the Ritz Carlton. It is one of the hotels I’ve stayed at only a couple of times, but I wished it was in India too. And about a year and a half ago, it did. The first Ritz Carlton Hotel in India was opened in Bangalore as of October 2013. Most of my trips to Bangalore are day trips, so I never truly got the opportunity to try out this hotel.
A few months back, I happened to plan a trip to Bangalore, and I planned this hotel for my stay, followed by a day at the JW Marriott Bangalore. We arrived by an evening flight, which was delayed due to a technical fault, and hence cut down our time at this hotel. On the luckier side, there was some sort of a strike in Bangalore on the day we were there, so we spent a lot of time indoors, and got more time to appreciate this hotel.
Cut to the chase, we pulled over after a 45-60 minute ride to the hotel, and the Ladies & Gentlemen of the hotel already knew my name when I arrived. I had to give it to them when they opened the door of the car and welcomed me as, “Welcome Mr. Awtaney”, instead of the bland looks you’d usually get at other places. We were informed we were upgraded to one of their executive suites this evening and brought straight to the lounge for processing our check-in.
We reached the lounge a shade after 10 p.m., and by now even the desserts round was wrapped up from the lounge. The Lady processing our check-in already knew about the delay on my flight, and chatted us up about our plans during our stay in the city. She informed us about the strike as well, and requested us to be careful if we chose to step out.
The Lounge was located on the 15th floor, and the suite was on the 16th floor, their top-most floor. She then walked us over to the suite, which was a fabulous cosy place to spend the night. Along the way, there was a very well done up hallway too! Once on the 16th floor, we realised it wasn’t the Ritz Carlton Suite, though
The suite had a large walkway inside, which opened into the living room. Being careful about every minor detail, they did add a couch in the walkway, where you could dress up, or just sit and kick off your shoes. There was small washroom adjacent to the door, for the visitors.
The living room was done up with a very nice and comfortable vibe. There was tonnes of space, but our favourite corner was the couch. On one end of the living room, the television was set up, along with a swanky little minibar, a selection of teas and a Nespresso coffee maker.
Inside the room, on the working table, there was a welcome letter, which informed us of all the benefits we could avail of with the hotel. Like you notice, the Club Lounge was perpetually stocked with different kind of food and we had the invitation to try it out any time of the day. Additionally, there was butler service, and I could help myself to 5 pieces of garments being ironed on the day of arrival.
Additionally, there was a plate of sweet treats that was placed in the room to welcome us. The work desk had an iPad placed right next to it, however, over the course of our stay it would not connect to the internet. So, we were happy to use our own iPad’s and other devices to be online. The custom stationary was a welcome touch.
Since we were hungry and it was pouring outside, we found it better to get ourselves a bit of room service for dinner. The dinner was brought to us by a butler, in a room service trolley which kept the food warm. Those were excellent fried rice to try out on a tired evening, along with catching a movie on the couch.
The next morning, we woke up to draw the blinds to a lovely green cover in Bangalore.
The bedroom had a lounging chair in one corner, and a retractable TV unit next to it. In the midst, there was one of the most comfortable beds I’ve slept in a hotel room. But the best part was the radio set which was placed in one corner, and had a retro funky thing about it.
Got to note there were ample plug points all across the place, including by the bedside.
The bedroom had the big bathroom open up, with a walk-in closet adjacent to it. There was a bright big mirror on the wall with a his and hers basin. There was a big soak tub on the other side. There were separate washrooms and baths as well.
The hotel provided us with Asprey amenities, which were quite nice.
The next morning, we headed to the restaurant for breakfast, because it was included in the rate we paid for at the hotel. Breakfast was served at The Market, which was very spacious and a very elaborate breakfast. The space was set out as a lounge, a wine cellar and a restaurant all rolled into one, and we chose ourselves a nice corner to help ourselves to breakfast.
In terms of food, there were tonnes of options. Pan Asian, North Indian, South Indian, and a lot of stuff made fresh off the menu apart from the bakery items.
We were in the mood for some local delicacies, so we started gorging on some Appam and Chicken stew, to be followed by other stuff served hot on the table later, and rounded off with a nice plate of waffles served with compote.
We did need to get some work done, so we decided to park ourselves at the lounge on the 15th floor to get it all rounded up before we could get back to our room. On the side, one of the best part about the hotel was that they had customised the hotel to Indian tastes, and there was a lot of Indian Jaali work to be seen through out the hotel, including this lounge. Here are some pictures of the lounge.
We ran into the General Manager and the Sales Director of the hotel at the lounge, and had a little conversation started around here. We talked about the challenges of bringing the Ritz Carlton brand around to India and a lot of things under the sun. Here is where things got interesting, because while it was going to be a 5 minute conversation, when we ordered some tea, the Sales Director himself got a cup of tea to carry on the conversation with us. There is a lot of chatter about how intuitive is the Ritz Carlton Hospitality, and we heard tonnes about how so many guests were helped over a period of time. The conversation lasted a whole hour, and we were not bored even for a minute.
We went to the room eventually, to pack up and check out, and I had my clothes back, in a nice basket with paper bows on each shirt. Also waiting for us in the room was a nice handwritten note from the Gentleman we just talked to a while back, along with a gigantic box of macarons.
After we packed up, we came back to the Lounge to get our check-out processed. We were invited to join them for lunch. They had a large collection of small warm bites and some hot plates as well set up, and we figured since we were thick in the midst of the afternoon, we might as well sample the fare before getting out.
The gentleman at the lounge asked us again about our next destination, which was going to be the JW Marriott Bangalore, about a mile away from where we currently were. We were a bit worried about getting there since there was strike going on, and then we were reminded that we could get a complimentary ride from the hotel anyways as a part of our privileges from the hotel.
While they organised a car and got our bags delivered to the bellman, we decided to stroll a bit around the hotel and see the parts of the hotel we hadn’t noticed the night before. For instance, there was a lovely pool, along with some cabana’s which I would love to come back to another time.
The lobby, which we did not visit the night before, was pretty well lit, and had the Indian restaurant on one side. We seriously wished we had another opportunity to eat with them, but it wasn’t possible on this trip anymore.
Overall, it was a great stay, right in the centre of the city, and a good reminder of the Ritz Carlton Hospitality. Interestingly, the prices for our stay were only INR 1,000 more than the JW Marriott which we proceeded to stay the next night at, and I would happily pay the difference to come back to the hotel. Because, nothing beats the Ladies & Gentlemen of the Ritz Carlton, and their hospitality is the difference between living in a hotel and a hotel living up to your expectations. I’m now looking forward to the next Ritz Carlton opening up in Mumbai next year.
Any one of you stayed at this hotel? How has been your experience with the Ritz Carlton Bangalore?