The stats boggle the mind. The newly opened Shangri-La Bengaluru has the largest inventory of accommodation in the city at 397 rooms. It rises 19 glimmering storeys high (there are three basements beneath), features eight sophisticated dining options, there’s a round-the-clock gymnasium in a state-of-the-art health club, the 739-sq-m ballroom can entertain 900 guests at a go plus there’s an additional level of five ‘versatile’ function rooms, and the 9-m high lobby is obviously among the loftiest in India (they don’t even need to say so). Their fleet of Mercedes E 280s and GL 350s is also equipped with high-speed internet. Every zero-lead crystal in the enormous chandeliers has been crafted by hand. It’s a strange quirk of the mind that all of this registers peripherally, or perhaps that’s how deep luxury is designed to be. Shangri- La Bengaluru is a world of understated beiges and muted browns, with subtle floral patterns in the tiles, carpets, fabrics and wooden screens evoking the southern metro’s fabled heritage as a garden city.
Marble, in fact, is a motif in itself. Again, it’s been selected in fawn, taupe, cream and buff with some daring shades of dark chocolate and coffee thrown in, and all of it polished to opulent perfection. The marble has been sourced both locally and from places as far away as Turkey, Italy and the Czech Republic, and it more or less defines the interiors. This makes for lavishly sweeping floors, pillars, sconces and staircases, of course, but the exquisite mottling also surprised me on the walls of my bathroom and even the tea service counter—I was peering with wonder at the stunning artistry in nature as my kettle bubbled. Later, I learnt that no paint has been used on the walls of Shangri-La Bengaluru’s living spaces.
Having arrived just on time for a very high-profile launch, I wasn’t really expecting to test the merits of a super-luxury business-and-leisure hotel quite as much I did on this trip. I did appreciate the formal and relative brevity of the inaugural event, which was followed by extraordinary roomfuls of authentic cuisines showcasing the hotel’s aim to be a major gourmet destination in Bengaluru, but I had both deadlines and people to meet. Nobody could have loved the quiet retreat of my expansive room more than I did that night, and the one after, the thick carpet soft under my feet as I tapped away at my laptop and paced intermittently to stay awake, city lights twinkling beyond translucent curtains, the partying belowstairs blessedly invisible and unheard.
My mind was on other things. The freely available high-speed broadband was a marvel, the turn down service had already come and left quietly by the time I returned to my room, their in-room dining menu wasn’t even ready but they still delivered a request for sustenance very late into the night. Oh, I love large bathtubs, I actually do, but what really wins my heart when I’m feeling less than languid are less conspicuous things like a great shower (with fittings that are instantaneously comprehensible!), a nice selection of teas, and a complimentary shoeshine service.
On the subject of exceptional sensory experiences, two among Shangri-La’s renowned signature brands make their debut in India here. The Chi Spa has a delectable selection of therapies delivered in sublime surrounds. And Shang Palace, their Chinese fine dining restaurant, plates up superb Cantonese and Sichuan specialities, plus regional vegetarian delicacies. I felt rather saintly having laboured away on my laptop till it was time to leave for the airport, but then I remembered their 24-hour gym makes it possible for overworked executives to hold conference calls during training sessions via an Android interface. Though the next time I go, I think I would prefer to silence my phone and enjoy all of the above even more.
Location: Centrally located on Palace Road, a mere 40mins from the airport (32km). The railway station is 8km away. Accommodation: 397 rooms: 90 deluxe, 178 ‘Bangalore view’, 27 ‘Panorama view’, 24 ‘Horizon Club King’, 41 ‘Horizon Bangalore view’ and 7 ‘Horizon panorama view’ rooms, plus 30 premier suites incl. three ‘Governor’ suites and one palatial Shangri-La suite Tariffs: ₹10,000 (deluxe), ₹10,500 (‘Bangalore view’), ₹11,000 (‘Panorama view’), ₹13,500 (‘Horizon Club King’), ₹14,000 (‘Horizon Bangalore view’), ₹14,500 (‘Horizon Panorama view’), ₹17,500 (premier suite), ₹44,000 (‘Governor’ suite), ₹1,25,000 (Shangri-La suite); taxes extra Contact: 080-45126100, shangri-la.com
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