Features

Flying solo India

30 Nov 2014 by Clement Huang

If your schedule allows, it’s always preferable to escape the confines of the conference room and have some downtime in the city where you’re doing business. If India is on your agenda, you’ll find that many hotels in the country are becoming more accommodating to lone travellers, particularly in the increasingly cosmopolitan cities of Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. 

Indeed, from swish boutique offerings like Mumbai’s Waterstones Hotel to tranquil retreats like Shreyas just outside Bengaluru, Indian hoteliers are becoming aware of the challenges faced by single visitors and are stepping up to make their visit enjoyable, be that inviting lone guests to mingle in the lounge or encouraging wait staff to initiate conversation with solo diners. Menus and table set-ups tailored for one also go a long way to making guests travelling alone feel more comfortable.

So once you’ve wrapped things up in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, add a few days of pleasure to a business trip in one of the following hotels, which have been equipped to optimise your stay. 

Mumbai

Palladium Hotel

Approximately 50 minutes away from Mumbai's international airport, this hotel sits between Mumbai’s two main commercial areas – Nariman Point and Bandra Kurla Complex. Indian tikri work specially commissioned from the master craftsmen of Rajasthan gives all the rooms a distinct character. 

Culinary standouts include The Sahib Room, which showcases the rich, flavoursome food inspired by the life and times of the ‘Sahibs’, and is one of the biggest highlights for those who wish to get acquainted with Indian cuisine. Pause for a pre-dinner drink first in the colonial-style Kipling Bar, where cocktails are blended with Indian spices. Want a meal with a view? Head up to Yuuka by Chef Ting Yen on the 37th floor – a 50-seater Japanese restaurant with an elegant black and gold interior housing an interactive sushi bar. This lofty level also hosts bar and lounge Li Bai, which features the city’s best percussionists and other live music performances.

In addition to food, wellness is also taken seriously at the Palladium, with a 2,045-square-metre leisure centre housing a gym, spa and outdoor infinity pool. 

ADD: 462 Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel

Tel: +91 22 6162 8000

palladiumhotel.in

 

Waterstones Hotel 

Just five minutes away from Mumbai’s international airport, Waterstones Hotel combines the comforts of a five-star property with the creativity and attention to detail of a boutique offering. Part of a gated, ten-acre compound, all five floors in the hotel proffer their own unique theme, from the cool minimalism of the glacier level to the rustic warmth of the mountain level. 

The Club & Spa is one of the city’s most exclusive hangouts, winning guests over with cool design details like the plush red seating in the movie screening room, timbered eaves in the card room and the Van Gogh Bar’s distinct wood panelling. In addition to a spa and salon, there are extensive fitness facilities including an Olympic-size pool, tennis, squash, badminton and basketball courts and gym. 

On the food front, options include the Bar & Grill, which serves up Indian dishes like Chettiyar grilled paneer alongside more Western steaks and burgers, all against a stunning backdrop of cascading waterfalls. Meanwhile, Moon Girl dishes up dim sum and wontons, and the White Barn serves salads and sandwiches all day.

Aimed at lone women travellers, the ‘Luxuriously Hers’ package offers discounts at the spa, salon, laundry and hotel restaurants. It also includes private transfers in luxury cars, a free training session at any of the sports facilities, a 4pm checkout, chocolates, a fruit platter and a bottle of wine in the room. 

ADD: Near Mumbai's international airport, Sahar

Tel: +91 22 4090 6633

waterstoneshotel.com

 

The Westin Mumbai Garden City

The Westin Mumbai Garden City is located just 8 km away from Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. Shopaholics don’t need to travel too far as Inorbit Shopping Mall and Oberoi mall are just 100 metres away from the hotel. A cool combination of Indian warmth and contemporary design, this hotel scores on many fronts and is popular with international tourists. Its four dining options include Kangan Restaurant for authentic Indian food, Prego for Italian cuisine, 24 hour coffee shop Seasonal Tastes and Pronto, a patisserie for quick bites. Those who enjoy a drink along with music in a chic lounge can visit Eighteen Lounge and Bar. To unwind, one can head to the Heavenly Spa or take a dip in the landscaped swimming pool. There is also a well-equipped fitness centre for those who can’t afford to miss their fitness regimes. 

The combination of well-trained staff, beautifully appointed spaces and great food makes this hotel especially attractive. Each of the spacious guest rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows and afford great views of the Maximum City. The hotel is surrounded by greenery from all sides  – a rarity in a city like Mumbai. The hotel offers late checkout on Sundays and extended breakfast hours to help your weekend last even longer. Keen runner? Lace up your trainers and try the three- and five-mile running routes through the city, along the beach or into rural landscapes. Runners of all levels can join a group run with the hotel’s run concierge at many locations, or grab a running map and take off on their own. 

ADD: International Business Park, Oberoi Garden City, Goregaon East

Tel: +91 22 6147 0000

westinmumbaigardencity.com

 

DELHI 

ITC Maurya

Located amid the green environs of New Delhi’s diplomatic enclave and just a few minutes’ drive from the airport and the city centre, ITC Maurya showcases the best of Indian design and heritage in its 440 luxury rooms and suites, which also offer sweeping views over Delhi’s largest stretch of green belt. 

The hotel’s 76 hypo-allergenic ITC One Pure rooms and suites cater for guests with respiratory sensitivities and allergies. 

Book a table at award winning restaurant Bukhara – rated among the top 50 restaurants in the world – or Dum Pukht, winner of Asia’s first Golden Fork Award. There’s also contemporary Chinese cuisine restaurant My Humble House, West View for contemporary Western cuisine and the 24-hour coffee shop  Pavilion for breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets. Unwind with a drink at Irish pub Dublin or the Golf Bar. 

Once you’ve sampled the extensive dining options, kick back in the spa, sauna, jacuzzi, or burn some calories in the outdoor swimming pool. 

ADD: ITC Maurya, Sardar Patel Marg, Diplomatic Enclave, New Delhi, Delhi

Tel: +91 11 2611 2233

itchotels.in

 

The Manor

It comes as a pleasant surprise when you drive into the upmarket Friends Colony area and spy a hotel that resembles a well-designed bungalow. This is the Manor, a stylish boutique hotel located 30 minutes away from Indira Gandhi Airport that’s all about understated elegance. 

Unique to the hotel is its Old World Experiences programmes, such as walking tours in Old Delhi, sampling Wazwan, a traditional Kashmiri feast, plus exposure to Indian classical music, dance, art exhibitions and theatre. Its walking tour includes untold tales of Old Delhi by an expert guide, a rickshaw ride, entrance to temples and a planned three-course meal at Chor Bizarre, Delhi’s best traditional Indian restaurant at Hotel Broadway.

The award-winning Indian Accent serves contemporary Indian food with a unique amalgamation of global ingredients and techniques with the flavours and traditions of India. Ingredients from all over the world are used in home-style regional Indian favourites: try the masala miso Scottish salmon for a fusion favourite.

ADD: The Manor, 77 Friends Colony (West), New Delhi

Tel: +91 11 4323 5151

themanordelhi.com

 

Vivanta by Taj – Surajkund, NCR 

Vivanta by Taj is a recent addition to the vibrant hotel scene in Delhi, and showcases a design based on a traditional Indian stepwell. The resort is surrounded by the spectacular Aravalli Hills, and is just a short distance from the ancient Tughlaqabad fort. The lush location makes it difficult to believe that this is an urban resort, but it’s just 45 minutes away from Delhi Airport. 

The hotel offers curated experiences and journeys, such as historical tours to the ruins of the 14th century fort, where the guide delves into an account of the advent of Islamic architecture and religious practices in India, including the first Muslim rulers of Delhi and the changes in culture, customs, and urban milieu that their rule brought about. 

Feeling creative? There is a pottery studio at the hotel where you can learn how to make clay pots and beautiful diyas (lamps). The hotel also offers a visit to the textile galleries at the Sanskriti Foundation Museum, while those who enjoy bird watching can visit the Asola-Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary, where more than 190 birds can be spotted. 

Traditional North Indian food is available at Paranda, while alternative options include alfresco dining at coffee shop Oasis, the bespoke private dining experience in the Terrace Suite, and sampling the Violet Line menu inspired by the metro line that links Badarpur with Central Secretariat. 

ADD: Shooting Range Road, Faridabad 

Tel: +91 12 9419 0000

vivantabytaj.com

 

Bengaluru

Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park

Located within the 418,000 sqm Prestige Cessna Business Park, Starwood’s Aloft brand is big on design and tech-savvy features and represents an affordable option for guests watching the budget. The Bangalore City Railway Station and the Kempegowda Bus Station are 15 km away while the Kempegowda International Airport is 45 km away. 

What sets this hotel apart from others is the socially-minded public spaces, where guests can mingle, work or just relax with a good book. At the Re:mix lounge one can kick back with a drink and the W XYZ bar is a great place to enjoy live band performances by young emerging local artists. The hotel has easy accessibility to major IT parks and shopping malls and is also close to local attractions. Curated tours of city attractions are arranged on request, with a pickup and drop-off service to a nearby mall. For fitness fanatics, gym Re:charge is an upbeat space with a lot of natural sunlight, while outdoor pool Splash is the place to take a leisurely swim.

ADD: Cessna Business Park, Sarjapur - Marathahalli Outer Ring Road, Kadubeesanahalli, Bellandur Post 

Tel: +91 80 4510 1010

starwoodhotels.com

 

Bengaluru Marriott Hotel Whitefield

Located at Whitefield, Bengaluru’s IT hub, Bengaluru Marriott Whitefield is situated close to the offices of several multinational company headquarters, making it an ideal spot for any business traveller. Bangalore city centre is a 30-minute drive away while it takes 50 minutes to drive to Bengaluru International Airport. There’s a mall connected to the hotel and multiplexes within walking distance. Culinary options include signature Italian restaurant Alto Vino, MCafe for international cuisine, and the Whitefield Baking Company for baked goods.

 ??A round-the-clock fitness centre is complemented by a spa offering a range of body rejuvenating treatments that include aromatherapy and essential organic oil massages.  

For guests wanting to tour the city, the concierge service offers tailor-made accompanied tours including bike rides with a detailed map of each locality and key attractions such as Lalbagh Botanical Garden, Bangalore Palace and Iskcon Temple.  

ADD: Bengaluru Marriott Hotel Whitefield, Plot No 75, EPIP Area, Whitefield

Tel: +91 80 4943 5000

marriott.com/bangalore

 

Shreyas retreat

Spread across 25 km of lush greenery and frangipani gardens and located just outside Bengaluru, Shreyas is the perfect place to spend a few days getting away from it all. As you’d expect from an Indian retreat, it’s big on yoga, with offerings including Hatha, Ashtanga asanas, and Vedic chants, along with inhouse consultations with the Ayurvedic doctor and naturopath. Each guest is offered a unique customised plan designed to suit their wellness needs. 

The retreat offers three types of accommodation – poolside cottages, three bedroom cottages and garden tented cottages, each of which boast spacious bathrooms that open into pebbled yards. The retreat does not allow smoking or consumption of alcohol and the nutritious and well-balanced food is vegetarian, much of it sourced from the kitchen’s own vegetable garden. A cooking class is available for those who wish to learn healthy cooking. 

Offering spiritual solace in a luxurious setting, the resort is well equipped with facilities such as a Jacuzzi, pool, home theatre and steam bath, plus a range of wellness packages including a Silent Retreat, Ayurvedic rejuvenation, and Culinary Retreat. After a busy business trip in Bangalore, Shreyas Retreat might be just the ticket.

ADD: Santoshima Farm, Gollahalli Gate, Nelamangala 

Tel: +91 80 2773 7102

shreyasretreat.com

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