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‘Eco-logical’ hospitality: The Royal Gardenia
The Hindu Business Line - 21 Oct 2009

In the world of luxury business hotels, ITC Hotels’s new The Royal Gardenia, Bengaluru comes as a breath of fresh air, quite literally.

Based on the concept of marrying luxury and eco-friendliness, this new property takes that purpose to a whole new level, while retaining the unique charm and local flavour of the city popularly called the Garden city of India.

Located in the heart of Bengaluru, the new ITC The Royal Gardenia attempts to blend into the city’s ethos with its focus on integrating greenery and cultural influences into its architecture and décor. Now, that would sound like a big deal if you consider the level of attention that has been lavished into making every little aspect of the hotel green.

The eco-friendliness focus is per se nothing new. But often, in many hotels, it doesn’t go beyond mere lip-service. Attempts at reducing their carbon-footprint start and stop with a placard in the bath that urges guests to save water.

It is also a fact that beyond a certain degree it becomes difficult to weave in eco-friendliness without compromising on the level of luxury that can simultaneously be offered. And often, it is also the lack of materials that can be the cause of the handicap in being more eco-conscious.

The Royal Gardenia deals with this in a bold and unique way. For a start, the hotel’s Atrium lobby is not air-conditioned. Leading you into the hotel is just a simple glass arch. There are no doors and the whole lobby is wind-cooled. In addition to a square lotus fountain in the middle, the lobby features vertical hanging gardens with a mix of plants that are watered using drip irrigation.

The atrium leads out to the central courtyard garden, in the midst of which is the multi-pillared Lotus Pavilion. With sloping roofs covered with a unique lawn of fresh green grass, the Pavilion’s pillars and structure has been inspired by Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace at Srirangapatna. The local, cultural influences of Karnataka can be seen all around in the choice of table décor and artefacts, the Tiger style chairs and parrot-shaped pillar adornments inspired by the Mysore palace and in the friezes and murals on the walls.

The hotel’s vertical gardens are built on steel structures and are irrigated by a state-of-the-art drip irrigation system that is placed on the top. The water drips evenly and after providing moisture to all the plants, collects at the base and is recycled for use again. Rainwater harvesting is also practiced at the hotel, with the collected water being recycled for use. Garden lighting has been provided from natural sources or through an energy-efficient lighting system. Most of the plants being used are of the Philodendron family and have been locally grown in Bengaluru.

Royal Gardenia’s eco-friendliness has also been extended into the architecture with the choice of fly-ash bricks, double-sandwiched cladding glass, huge roof gardens and use of eco-friendly piping. Further, the wood that has been used for the flooring and doors at the hotel are all engineered wood that has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

The 11-storeyed hotel with about 282 rooms has been designed by renowned architect Rajinder Kumar. The exterior uses beige Gwalior sandstone and Malaysian red bricks interspersed by panels of specially treated smoked Oak and highlighted with strips of copper in a matt copper-sulphate patina. The same material has been used for the roof, while the flooring of the entire hotel is in blonde Italian marble.

The hotel’s interiors have been created by UK-based designer Francesca Basu, and references to nature and the hotel mascot – the Gardenia flower – can be seen throughout the property. The designer has drawn inspiration from different layers of life forms and so each floor follows this theme by adopting different colours, motifs and textures. The themes are based on moods and representations of various elements of nature, ranging from stones and fossils, to earth, trees, wood, water, fire, foliage, animal life, flowers, birds and butterflies.

The rooms are categorised in the hotel chain’s premium brands of Towers and ITC One, with a number of suites on each floor. The first floor of the hotel houses the banqueting areas including a pre-function area covering approximately 8,000 sq ft and a separate 2,500 sq ft party room. Also on the same floor, the right wing will house ITC Kaya Kalp Spa, spread across an area of 10,400 sq ft (under construction at the time of Smartbuy’s exclusive preview).

Also in the pipeline is a Presidential suite spread over 5,400 sq ft and a women’s-only-floor with ‘Eva’ rooms.

Once all the restaurants are completed, dining options at the ITC Royal Gardenia will include the group’s acclaimed brand ‘Kebabs & Kurries’ with its open kitchen concept. In addition to this, other options are the multi-cuisine coffee shop – The Cubbon Pavilion and the courtyard garden lounge – the Lotus Pavilion, there is also the Whisky bar – Highland Nectar.

ITC branded restaurant – West View – known for its Mediterranean style grills is expected to open in November this year, and will be followed by the opening of the group’s first Japanese restaurant ‘Edo’ during the Christmas and New Year celebrations.

The ITC Royal Gardenia is a unique example of the marriage between luxury and eco-responsibility. A must stop destination the next time you are in Bengaluru.

Property: ITC Royal Gardenia
Location : No. 1, Residency Road, Bengaluru
Room rates : Rs 12,000 (Tower rooms)
Rs 14,000 (ITC One and Eva rooms)
These are introductory rates valid till January 31, 2010

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