Business hotels aren't usually designed to be especially relaxing, they're crisp, functional and polite. The Movenpick Hotel & Spa in India's Garden City, Bangalore is different. It's warm, homely and even a little eccentric.
Bangalore's not short for luxury hotels. India's tech capital is booming, so it's unsurprising the Swiss luxury hotel group, Movenpick chose the city as their first Indian home. From the outside, the hotel is sleek and glassy, dwarfing the maze of colourful houses in the surrounding neighbourhoods, but inside, it's somehow cosy.
The open plan lobby is styled like a sophisticated drawing room of a stately home with a chandelier hanging over a floral centrepiece in front of the check-in desk. Walk twenty steps to the left and the ceiling opens up into an imposing twelve storey atrium, surrounded on all sides by doors leading into the one hundred and eight-two bedrooms with a huge, surreal metallic light sculpture hanging down the middle.
The best views over the sprawling skyline are from the executive suites, located on the tenth floor. Huge floor to ceiling windows make the lounge and bedroom feel bright and spacious, whilst interiors are light, using a cream colour palette, natural woods and stone to create a calming and cool environment. The large, marble-floored bathroom is fully open plan with sliding doors so that you can bathe with a view (a word of warning – the floors can get quite slippery).
Executive guests are also given access into the exclusive club lounge. Whilst the name makes it sound official and upright, it's more like a beautiful sitting room with comfortable sofas and arm chairs, a fantastic little library stocked with photographic travel books and a dining area. Open all day for complimentary tea, coffee and light snacks (the mushroom toast is particularly tasty), there's also an evening cocktail hour from 6.30pm if you're keen for something stronger.
The hotel's compact spa is designed in the style of a South Indian Hindu temple, and offers a program of ancient Indian and European healing treatments alongside steam and sauna. Located on the same level, the half-covered infinity pool juts out from building's black facade, reaching towards the trees beyond.
It's an interesting harmony between the industrial and natural, playing into the city's overall design concept with parks woven between the high-rise business districts. On the top floor, the gym offers a different perspective with windows covering two sides of the walls. It's quite possibly one of the few places in the world where you can run on a treadmill whilst watching an eagle diving for its prey within reaching distance.
Somewhat surprisingly, the hotel is especially well known for it's authentic Italian cuisine served in the opulent Mezzaluna restaurant, but for a more casual dining experience, the downstairs restaurant, My Place All Day Dining serves food all day. The breakfast buffet is the highlight with an enormous spread of options to choose from.
The crispy thin dosas are divine and the cappuccino, served in a giant mug, is rich and creamy – a rarity for India where coffee is more often than not milky and sweet. It's the staff though, that make the hotel truly special. Attentive and friendly, they put you immediately at ease and really go the extra mile to make sure you feel comfortable, which is especially valuable if you're new to the chaos of an Indian city.
After a day wandering the crowded streets of Bangalore, the Movenpick feels like a true escape. It's peaceful and welcoming, the kind of place you could spend a Sunday in your dressing gown and slippers with a cup of hot cocoa.
Movenpick Hotel & Spa Bangalore Tel. +91 80 4300 1000) has rooms from approx. £112 (INR?9000) per room per night, based on two people sharing a Superior Room.
Words by Millie Walton