In Bengaluru, a city fast losing the luxury of space, The Paul, Bangalore's motto 'space as luxury' is bound to work. Its Premier Suites are, at 1,050 square feet (care is taken to advertise the dimensions), the size of a standard Bangalore apartment and these are not their largest — there is the even bigger Club Suite with its living room, dining area and two large bedrooms. Having thus used up their precious real estate, the hotel has no grounds — despite the expectation created by all that lush indoor foliage of a rainforest just around the corner. It makes up for this lack of a garden with a lovely, soaring atrium, naturally air-conditioned and lit by a semi-open, tensile fabric covered top. The pool is similarly covered which makes it great for a swim in the monsoon but more than a bit chilly because it never catches the sun. There are plans afoot for a heating facility, though.
Having successfully run the Kumarakom Lake Resort in Kerala’s backwaters for the last eight years (with its artful combination of a cosy old Kerala homestead feel and a chic, modern one), the group Paul Resorts and Hotels launched The Paul, Bangalore, this February. They seem poised to take on the competition from the Taj by offering a clever combination of large suites in a relatively small hotel (a total of 54), impeccable service and what is known as the ‘Kerala touch’. This mostly consists of lots of gorgeous dark teakwood furniture, a red laterite brick façade, lashings of wrought iron and a fascination with windows — charupadi (traditional window seats), louvred windows, French windows, bay windows...
As in the Kumarakom Lake Resort, the aesthetic is stylish understated rather than colourful Baroque (thereby avoiding the path taken by some other five-star Bangalore hotels). Swedish blond wood saunas and jet showers in the swanky health club sit comfortably with the traditional, tiled, gabled roofs outside. The conference facilities are deliberately small because, as the Director of Operations points out, they don’t necessarily want two hundred noisy medics pouring into the lobby every week.
All rooms are en-suite and even the smallest allow for double occupancy, while the largest have a third, spare bathroom and kitchen counters with a sink, storage space and bar. No cooking allowed, of course, but it all helps to further the spacious feel, as do the balconies and the preponderance of natural light.
The Kerala touch extends only fleetingly to the menu at Sidewalk — the hotel’s only restaurant at the moment, which doubles up as a coffee shop. There is the stray mutton coconut fry and aviyal on a menu of standard North Indian and Continental fare. More specialised cuisine is promised in the form of an Italian restaurant as well as a Mughlai one — both of which will be running by the end of the year.
The Paul, Bangalore is looking to attract leisure travellers by opening more hotels on the Karnataka tourist route—there are plans to open hotels in Mysore, Hassan and Coorg. Expect thoughtfully-designed, well-maintained properties—The Paul appears serious about the boutique hotel concept.
Location 39/28 Domlur Layout, off Intermediate Ring Road, Bangalore
Accommodation 54 suites, in the categories of Studio, Junior, Executive, Premier and Club
Tariff Rs 15,000 (Studio), Rs 18,000 (Junior), Rs 20,000 (Executive), Rs 25,000 (Premier), Rs 30,000 (Club). Rates include breakfast but are exclusive of taxes.
Contact 080-40477777, www.thepaul.in