Once you’re inside the property, there’s absolutely no traffic noise, just the sound of birds chirping, especially in the morning…
When people first arrive at the Taj West End, they’re amazed to find somewhere like this in the heart of Bangalore. We have 20 acres of grounds, so there’s an incredible feeling of space. In 2014, a team of scientists discovered that the hotel is at least two to three degrees cooler than the rest of the city because of the sheer number of trees – almost 450 varieties, including an ancient raintree that’s 160 feet tall. Once you’re inside the property, there’s absolutely no traffic noise, just the sound of birds chirping, especially in the morning.
As for the architecture, it’s very much in Victorian colonial style, with 117 rooms in two-storey blocks arranged around the gardens. The original building dates from 1887 when a British couple called the Bronsons opened a small inn with just 10 rooms, but when Taj took over the property in the 1980s they added more blocks in exactly the same style as the original one – and I think the result is magnificent.
The dining choices are superb, too. Blue Ginger is a Vietnamese restaurant, rated as the best in the country for the past 10 or 11 years, and the setting – an open-sided pavilion – is gorgeous. There is Masala Klub, which is part of the Taj ‘Masala’ brand of speciality Indian restaurants that you’ll find in all our five-star hotels. We also have Machan, an all-day diner which specialises in Italian, continental and Lebanese food apart from the regular Indian and oriental food as well. And next to Blue Ginger we have an open-air bar called Blue Bar, overlooking the gardens and a lily pond.
The whole atmosphere is very romantic, so it’s not surprising West End is popular for lavish proposals and so on. Lots of couples have got engaged in our signature Tata Suite, which has a private pool, and probably even more at the Paradise Table in Blue Ginger, where it’s just the two of you with the water all around and the works in terms of candles and flowers and champagne and all of that. Because of the outdoor space, the hotel has long been a number one destination for weddings, too, so you’ll almost certainly catch a glimpse of one during your stay.
As I said, we’re so central that none of the sights are far away, but we have lots of facilities that make it easy not to go anywhere. We have two swimming pools, for instance, which not many five-star places have. We have our Jiva Spa, which is in the original heritage building, and we recently gave our salon a new look and concept and name, niu&nau, for a younger audience. Every day at 5pm, we also do a one-hour heritage walk which I thoroughly recommend because there are so many anecdotes about the hotel. For instance, we have the first postbox in Bangalore, which is still functional, and we have customised Taj West End postcards and stamps for our guests to use. You’re surrounded by history and heritage here, as well as greenery.