As ITC Windsor turns 40, we explore the hotel’s history and sign up for a one-night staycation
We explore the restaurants and spa of the iconic hotel
The ITC Windsor, with its Regency-style all-white facade and towering raintree, which we’re told is 100 years old, was the epitome of opulence back in 1982, when it first opened its doors. Now, 40 years later, the hotel continues to be a favourite, serving to take you back in time with its old-world luxury everytime you step into its lobby and corridors.
To mark 40 years since it opened, we were invited for a one-night staycation to get the complete ‘ITC Windsor’ experience. In 1982, the hotel had 140 rooms. An additional 100 rooms were added in 1993, in another wing of the property. Our room, for a duration of a little over 24 hours, was located in the newer section of the hotel on the third floor. This floor is popular with guests as it has rooms built around the Lancelot Garden, a space so green and well manicured that you would be forgiven for being confused if you’re on the third floor or down on the hotel grounds. The room in the Towers wing, where we stayed was cosy, comfortable and charmingly vintage.
After we checked in, we headed to Dakshin, their award-winning restaurant specialising in cuisines from South India. Their signature thalis, though quite elaborate and excessive for one, are must-trys and so that’s what we tucked into. That heavy lunch could only be followed with a nap and we headed back to the room and nodded off on the luxurious bed while checking our emails. Later that afternoon, we found ourselves making our way to the spa — Kaya Kalp — for a signature treatment. For 90 minutes, we were in a state of pure bliss as the masseuse pampered our skin and smoothed away all the knots and tension in our body.
Feeling fully relaxed and rejuvenated, we made it back to our room to get dressed for another chef-curated dinner, this time at the popular spot known for its Anglo-Awadhi cuisine — Dum Pukht Jolly Nabobs. From the Jingha Dum Nisha Dum (tandoor-and dum-cooked jumbo prawns), to the Dum Pukht Biryani and Begum’s Pudding (baked khoya with almonds, saffron and brandy sauce), we were treated to the restaurant’s most exquisite and popular dishes and we were not disappointed, though we were concerned about our calorie intake and the damage control we’d have to do at the gym the next day!
The following morning, we woke up and headed straight to Raj Pavilion for an elaborate breakfast, having completely forgotten our resolve to cut back. With options like Eggs Benedict, flaky croissants, silky dimsums and an elaborate dessert counter, the all-day diner, whose decor is inspired by Lalbagh’s glass house, is not the best for your diet. After a thoroughly indulgent breakfast, it was time to take a break in the gardens adjoining our room. We spent a few hours reading on the wicker chairs while enjoying the feeling of being out in the open without the cacophony of traffic.
It was soon time for lunch, which was at The Royal Afghan, a restaurant that prides itself on its North West Frontier cuisine-inspired menu. An array of kebabs such as Tandoori Jhinga, Murg Malai Kebab and Barrah Kebab were presented to us, apart from an assortment of rotis and curries. Once lunch concluded, it was time to check out and head back home after a mini-vacation that will stay with us forever.
In addition to its ability to offer a window into a glorious and luxurious past and having kept its old-world charm intact even after four decades, the hotel has been adept at moving with the times with initiatives like Responsible Luxury (dedication to sustainable practices). It was even given the LEED Zero Carbon Certification by the USGBC (United States Green Building Council). Bengaluru today, unlike 40 years ago, is home to numerous luxury hotels. However, it is initiatives and recognitions such as this that are testaments to why ITC Windsor continues to be relevant and much-favoured.
Rooms start at Rs.6,500++. At Race Course Road.
The writer visited the property on invitation from ITC Windsor.
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