Conrad might be the new kid on the block in Bengaluru’s constantly growing hotel industry, but make no mistake—this 24-storey colossus is making well-established old-timers sit up. That shouldn’t surprise anyone though, considering this is Hilton Worldwide’s latest offering in India. One of the largest hospitality companies in the world, Hilton Worldwide’s properties are spread across 100 countries with over 8,00,000 rooms. Conrad has just raised the game in Bengaluru’s flourishing hospitality trade, where outstanding amenities and service are taken for granted. As a guest, what more can you ask for?
After a quick introduction with the charming Conrad team, and a vermillion tika welcome, I head to my King Deluxe room on the 15th floor. Bengaluru, the Garden City of India, is dotted with picturesque lakes that add to its lush landscape. The bird’s-eye view of the tranquil Ulsoor Lake from my room is one of the best panoramas I’ve witnessed in a city hotel. Its silver waters with islands of green keep me gazing out of the floor-to ceiling window for a long time.
Tearing myself away from the charming view, I make for Caraway Kitchen, Conrad’s multi-cuisine restaurant. Chef Praveen Shetty, the food maestro of the hotel, is in charge here. His team orchestrates a multitude of flavoursome cuisines with military precision across the five restaurants in the hotel.
The buffet counters at Caraway Kitchen are equipped with live stations, enough to woo any discerning foodie. I am spoilt for choice. Since I am in the mood for a light meal, the chef recommends a mulligatawny soup with coconut cream foam and rice crisps. Paired with a burrata and tomato salad, it hits just the right spot.
After that king-size spread, I need a pick-me-up to calm the nerves. It comes in the form of a perfectly made Cosmopolitan and a dip in the temperature-controlled infinity pool. The sun crawls its way down, a cool breeze picks up, and the calmness of a beach holiday settles over me, a sensation not always replicable in the midst of a bustling city. To complete my relaxed holiday postcard, Tiamo, serving Mediterranean Bistro Classics, is conveniently located on the pool deck. My relaxometer reads a perfect 10 on 10. Could it get any better than this?
Next, it is the turn of Mikusu, the speciality Oriental restaurant, to reveal its cards. A restaurant that offers Chinese, Thai and Japanese cuisines must walk the line between tradition and originality. And boy, does Chef Shetty have some tricks up his sleeve. His wide array of carefully selected traditional recipes, presented with modern aesthetics, allows the ingredients and flavours to take centre stage. The tori tsukune (a garlic pepper-flavoured broth with chicken and a boiled egg on top) is light and perfectly balanced. The wasabi prawns with tobiko (a signature recipe of tempura prawns with flying fish roe) and the melt-in-your-mouth barbecue chicken dim sum hit all the right notes. The chef’s signature platter of assorted sushi and sashimi served on a platform of dry ice adds drama to the Japanese delicacies. The braised lamb (with chilli bean sauce, garlic and hot chilli oil) served with steamed jasmine rice and yaki udon elevates the meal to heavenly standards. A dessert platter of mango petit gateaux with a hazelnut sauce and matcha ice cream completes a satisfying Oriental voyage. These are only the highlights of the seven-course meal paired with sake of choice. Back in my room, the sleep that follows can best be described as a food-induced coma.
If you thought a hotel bang in the centre of a bustling city could hardly be tranquil, I’m delighted to inform you that you are wrong. The Conrad Spa is an oasis of relaxation. The sports massage is a combination of stretches (Thai techniques) followed by a relaxing oil massage (Swedish style). It is the perfect way to unwind after a hectic day in the open. Conrad Hilton once said, “If you climb Mount Everest, no matter how carefully you plan, anything can happen. Your ice axe slips, your oxygen gives out, a concealed crevasse swallows you up. Well, that’s about the way it was building my first Hilton Hotel.” I’m glad he took that risk so we can relish the fruits of his labour. As for me, a smooth elevator ride to the 15th floor of the Conrad Bengaluru was summit enough in my two-day expedition.
Location: 25/3, Kensington Rd, Someshwarpura, Ulsoor, Bengaluru; 36 km/1 hr from Kempegowda International airport
Accommodation: 285 luxurious guestrooms including 21 suites (all offering panoramic views of Ulsoor Lake)
Tariff: From ₹10,000 per night (subject to dynamic pricing and availability), taxes extra
Contact: +91-8022144444, conradBengaluru.com