When I wrote the story on Bangalore must-dos for the Singapore Airlines magazine, one the the things I remarked on was the sudden appearance of stylish hotels with contemporary decor in the city. Minimalism is a design concept not well known or welcome in India, especially when it comes to hotels. There, the song seems to be, the plusher the better.
So it was a nice surprise to walk into Aloft hotel and see all that space in front of me. The reception / check-in area is an open circle in the middle of the room and the staff welcome you with a smile. Of course, it is not all white and bereft of colour and character – the lounge adjoining the reception area – Recharge – is filled with comfortable chairs you can sink into, each in a different colour. And on the other side of the reception circle is a small grab as you go counter of easy to buy and consume packed foods and drinks. The ground floor also has a bar, wxyz – again with a variety of seating options.
In fact, this is one of the things that struck me about the hotel, the number of nooks and spaces where there are seats and chairs to plonk into, and each of them slightly unusual, even quirky in form. I guess this makes sense given that Aloft is located in Whitefield, bang in the middle of the ITPL (International Tech Park Limited) and the hotel is used regularly by IT professionals and their guests. In fact, someone there mentioned that the hotel is much busier in the week than in the weekends.
I saw evidence of that in the night when I went for dinner at Estia, their Mediterranean specialty restaurant. The muted blue and creams of the room perfectly complement the riot of colours on the cushions strewn all over the sofa seating options. What I found particularly interesting was the common table in the middle of the room – a space for single guests to sit together – what a change from the dreary idea of having to eat all alone or order room service. The food was excellent and chef had a light hand when it came to the mild spices of the region.
The large swimming pool is also on the same floor; one of the little things I found jarring. The pool looks out on concrete constructions in the neighbourhood. Perhaps nothing can be done about it – or perhaps a low glass wall will make it better. It just didn’t feel right. Other than that, the afore-mentioned quirky seats were in attendance here too, large coves into which to lie back, sipping on a cold drink on a warm Sunday morning.
The hotel has clearly been designed to cater to the business traveller in every possible way – there is a convention center, a well-equipped gym and soon, a spa. Some of the restaurant staff were in jeans and t-shirts – I found that very refreshing for a high end hotel. It matched perfectly their attitude of polite and friendly behaviour towards guests. If you are in that area, drop into Estia for a meal or try their lavish Sunday brunch buffet.