New ITC hotel restores a bit of green Bangalore

ITC's newest luxury hotel

Ready to welcome guests from Oct 5, The Royal Gardenia is located at Residency Road, one of the busiest avenues in Bangalore's upscale central business district.
Its location overlooking the century-old Bangalore Club -- of which former British prime minister Winston Churchill was a member and whose debt of Rs.13 has been written off -- is one of the hotel's USPs.

Inside, there's the wind-cooled atrium lobby, with its vertical hanging gardens leading to the central courtyard garden, in the midst of which stands the multi-pillared Lotus Pavillon, with its sloping roofs covered with a lawn of fresh green grass. The hotel tries to blend nature in each of its aspects.

"The hotel is a tribute to Bangalore the Garden City and the green cover it once used to host. We're trying in our own special way to recreate a slice of Bangalore's greenery in the hotel," Nakul Anand, chief executive, ITC Hotels Division, told IANS.
"An eco-responsible ethos is an inherent part of our system and in creating ITC Royal Gardenia, the challenge was to see how luxury and responsibility could be in harmony. Bangalore has always been India's ultimate garden city and in our small way we hope to be able to give back to the city what time took away."

In recent years, Bangalore has lost around 50,000 trees to various "development" projects, according to a report by the Environment Support Group (ESG), an NGO and part of Hasiru Usiru (Greenery is Life), which is a conglomeration of various city-based community organisations and has been in the forefront of protests against the "illogical destruction" of Bangalore's greenery.

The Royal Gardenia gives back the greenery with its vertical hanging gardens, said to be the first hotel in India to use the concept. The vertical gardens are in the hotel's main lobby and at The Cubbon Pavilion, its multi-cuisine coffee shop. The gardens rise right to the ceiling.
"The vertical gardens are created to bring the mood of tropical forests to the interiors of the hotel. The vertical gardens have used a soil-free gravity-defying method to grow plants. The plants are supported by a vertical wall and divided into two layers," said Shona Adhikari, consultant of ITC Limited Hotels Division.

The plants are watered through a state-of-the-art drip irrigation system placed at the top. The hotel management has ensured that the lighting system is energy efficient.
The four strips of vertical gardens at the lobby have 1,500 plants each. The one in the coffee shop reaches the second floor and has around 25,000 plants. The plants belong to the Philodendron family and have all been grown locally.

The 300-room hotel spread over 11 floors has been designed by architect Rajinder Kumar, while the interiors have been created by Britain-based designer Francesca Basu.
"Since nature is the theme, I have drawn inspiration from different layers of life forms and each floor follows this theme through colours, motifs and textures. The themes are based on moods and representations of various elements of nature, ranging from stones and fossils, to earth, trees, wood, water, fire, foliage, animal life, flowers, the winged species, including birds and butterflies, sky and cloud," said Basu.

Other prominent features of the hotel include a banquet hall spread across 8,000 sq ft and a party hall measuring 2,500 sq ft. There are also three meeting rooms, a board room and a business centre. ITC's Kaya Kalp Spa, with eight treatment rooms, jacuzzis, sauna and steam baths, a salon and gym with latest fitness equipment are parts of the experience.

"The hotel has lip-smacking and exclusive cuisines, to be served in signature restaurant Kebabs and Kurries. The menu for the restaurant has been drawn from ITC's heritage restaurants -- Peshawri, Dum Pukht and Dakshin," said Adhikari.
At The Cubbon Pavilion -- named after Sir Mark Cubbon, who gave Bangalore its very own Cubbon Park, the city's largest lung space -- along with sipping coffee and enjoying breakfast, patrons get an idea of the Cubbon Park, as large photographs of it cover the walls.

"ITC's branded restaurant West View, known for its Mediterranean-style grills, is expected to open in November, followed by opening of ITC's first Japanese restaurant Edo, during Christmas and New Year celebrations," said Adhikari.

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