With a focus on nature and sustainability, ITC Gardenia is the ideal staycation destination for the eco-conscious traveller
There are few hotel chains that focus on sustainability as much as ITC. So, when we got an invite to experience their brand of ‘Responsible Luxury’ as part of a special promotion to mark ITC Gardenia’s 10th anniversary, our response was ‘where do we sign up?’
It was a gloomy and wet Satur-day, when we packed our bags and made our way to the central Bengaluru property for a weekend of unadulterated pampering. At the lobby, designed in such a way that it is naturally cooled by the winds, we were given a traditional Indian welcome, which instantly put us at ease.
Our home for the night was one of their 10 Towers Suites. Staying true to their nature-driven approach to luxury hospitality, each of the suites is named after a bird that is specific to the region. After a quick in-room check-in, we settled into the Bulbul suite. The spacious room includes a plush sitting area with an attached balcony offering views of the Bengaluru skyline, while the bedroom has views over the infinity pool. With amenities and services like a massage chair, lounge access, floor butler, and in-room breakfast, this category of rooms is sure to make you feel like royalty. After lounging in our room, snacking on the complimentary fresh fruits and sampling local snacks like kodubale and Dhar-wad peda, we headed to the award-winning Japanese restaurant, Edo, for a leisurely lunch. We tucked into a decadent spread that began with Maguro and Avocado Tartar (Yellowfin tuna with Hass avocado and ponzu drizzle), and ended with the Nihon No cheesecake (traditional Japanese style fluffy cheesecake). Other highlights of this meal included Buta Gyoza (slow-cooked pork belly potstickers), Hotate Usuzukiri (slices of Hokkaido scallops topped with salmon roe and yuzu) and a sushi and sashimi platter featuring red snapper, salmon and amberjack.
The lunch lasted for well over two hours, and when we finally got up from our table, we headed up to our room to get some sleep. We nodded off within seconds of hitting the bed and woke up feeling refreshed and energised. The late monsoon downpour did nothing to dampen our spirits and we enjoyed the gorgeous views of the rain soaking the city from our perch on the balcony, where we sipped on hot cups of tea.
Later that evening, we found ourselves relaxing over cocktails from Highland Nectar, their signature bar, at the al fresco area of the Lotus Pavilion. The Mauryan Sour is one of their most popular drinks and this is what we opted for as we sat back and let ourselves be calmed by the cool evening breeze. Combining cardamom with Scotch whiskey and hints of citrus, this is just what you need on a chilly evening.
The cocktail session was followed by another indulgent meal at their restaurant known for its authentic North West Frontier cuisine, Kebabs & Kurries. Here, we sampled traditional delicacies that included Nadru Ki Chaap (minced lotus stem galettes with ginger, onions and green chilies), Gilawat Ke Kebab with Warqui Paratha (traditional Lucknowi lamb kebab with flaky paratha), and Nehari (lamb cooked overnight with herbs and spices). Post dinner, we returned to our room and had a long soak in the bathtub before we were ready to call it a day.
The following day, we requested a late checkout, as we were keen to sample everything their brunch had to offer. We woke up early for a swim in the pool, after which we showered and made our way to the ground floor. It was an elaborate spread, and extended across their restaurants. It included everything from Indian staples to Italian and Japanese favourites. As the brunch drew to a close, we were waiting in anticipation for the final activity on our itinerary, a session at Kaya Kalp, their spa. A few hours later, we headed to the spa, where we sipped on green tea while we waited for our therapist to prepare the treatment room for us. We opted for the Kaya Kalp Massage, their signature treatment. Designed to relax the body, it blends soothing strokes with aromatherapy to relieve muscular tension. The one-hour session was pure bliss and we felt thoroughly rejuvenated, peaceful and happy when the time was up. Back in our room, we packed up and said goodbye to the luxurious suite.
While we thoroughly enjoyed the delicious food, the indulgent spa session and the plush room, it was also small touches, like customised pillows with our names embroidered onto them and a chocolate frame with our photograph printed on it, that added to the experience of this quick staycation.
The writer was at ITC Gardenia on invitation by the hotel.