The Leela Bhartiya City: Understated luxury and practical magic in North Bengaluru

Discover a new side to Bengaluru through a stay at the new Leela property that’s adding gravitas to this new hub for work and fun.

In many ways the debut of Bengaluru’s latest luxury address is part of a bigger trend. The hospitality industry that bore the brunt of the COVID pandemic is fighting back. The dynamics and market mix might have changed, but the second half of this calendar year has seen a resurgence in the industry driven by a spurt in travel and dining. I can’t remember the last time I strapped on my cycling helmet during a stay in a city hotel; the Leela Bhartiya City is not your conventional city hotel.

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The elegant lobby. Image: Courtesy The Leela.

“North Bengaluru is the new city’s new hotspot for work and entertainment and the Leela Bhartiya City is perfectly positioned to leverage this shift,” Reuben Kataria, General Manager, sums up the optimism for this new hotel. The location of this luxury hotel sets it apart.

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The Club Lounge is the perfect setting for that business meeting . Image: Courtesy The Leela.
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Sweeping view of Bhartiya City from the sumptuous bath area in the Presidential Suite. Image: Courtesy The Leela.

To call Bhartiya City a green bubble is not an exaggeration. It’s less than half hour from the airport, 45 minutes away from MG Road, the city’s CBD, and yet it’s a world away. The vision for Bhartiya City was fuelled by travels to European metros by Snehdeep Aggarwal, founder and chairman of the Bhartiya Group. He envisioned a fully self-contained mini city of sorts where residents could cycle or walk to work and shop or dine after hours. The Leela Bhartiya City, part of an urban oasis of sorts, is spread over 125 acres. This integrated township also includes workspaces, residences, and a vibrant mall.

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The rooms are certainly well-appointed. Image: Courtesy The Leela.

Unwind: The hotel’s well-appointed rooms are in sync with the overall design aesthetic in the hotel. It’s more understated luxury, a vibe I’ve come to expect in a Park Hyatt or Four Seasons property. It’s a large hotel with 281 keys and yet it’s quite intimate. A total of 23 suites form part of its 281-room inventory and will go live early next year. It’s also a departure of sorts from the opulence we’re accustomed to in the Leela Palace Hotels across India’s metros. A decadent spa is just a few weeks away from launch. I’d also recommend curling up with your Kindle at the hotel’s Pool Deck. Bengaluru’s balmy weather allows you to do this on more days than in any other Indian metro.

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The outdoor areas are as tempting as the indoors. Image: Ashwin Rajagopalan.

Indulge: There’s already a palpable buzz around the hotel’s upcoming signature restaurant launch. Falak is all set to elevate the Indian fine dining scene in Bengaluru; literally. This rooftop restaurant boasts of sweeping views of the city and Nandi Hills, a popular weekend getaway. The hotel has roped in seasoned master chef Farman Ali to front this restaurant.

My current favourite dining spot is Lotus Oriental, a casual restaurant that showcases contemporary Asian cuisine with views of the pool. It’s just the kind of spot to let your hair down with your co-workers with sharing plates and Asian-inspired cocktails.

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The Lotus Oriental has a lovely vibe. Image: Courtesy The Leela.

Local wines (Karnataka’s wine labels continue to grow and evolve) come to the fore at Quattro, the hotel’s all-day diner. The highlight of my stay was a private dining experience masterminded by Chef Eliyaz with a fine selection of wines. His modern take on Italian cuisine with responsibly sourced ingredients is a popular option within the Quattro culinary offering. The all-day diner also offers buffets with interactive counters. Look out for the local breakfast signatures.

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Chef Eliyaz reimagines the Magnum bar at Quattro: Image: Ashwin Rajagopalan.

Bengaluru’s colonial connection — this was one of the major Cantonment towns during the Raj — is reignited with the hotel’s high-tea ritual. Mousumi, their dedicated tea sommelier walks you through their tea flight as you savour delicacies neatly arranged on a three-tier high tea stand. Do sample their exquisite tea scones with clotted cream. The tea flight has an array of global and Indian teas including my favourite, Pu-erh, a fermented tea from China’s Yunan province. Don’t forget to slurp your tea, a technique connoisseurs use to mix more oxygen in your mouth. This helps you pick up the aromas better.

If you’re looking for the perfect corner to unwind after a long day in the office, the Library Bar might be your best bet. This intimate, colonial era bar takes you back to the time when virtual meetings and work stress was unheard of. The library bar features one of the city’s most exhaustive collection of malts — their Islay malt selection is quite impressive. Look out for Sagar, one of the hotel’s creative mixologists who has crafted a whole bunch of artisanal cocktails.

Explore: The cycling trails and tree-lined avenues of Bhartiya City present the perfect setting for an after-work run or a morning bicycle ride. The hotel has a fleet of cycles but recommends you carry your own cycling gear and helmet. You can choose to cycle within Bhartiya City or opt for one of the hotel’s longer cycling trails that go as far as Nandi Hills. You will need to be a pro and set aside a few hours for that ride though. I’d also recommend a stop at their gym, it’s one of the larger luxury hotel gyms in the city with state-of-the-art equipment. One of Bengaluru’s biggest craft breweries — Byg Brewski Brewing Company — is only 10 minutes away from the hotel, just in case you need a pit-stop after your long weekend ride. Malleswaram, one of the city’s most traditional neighbourhoods, is about 45 minutes away. The concierge can plan a visit for you around breakfast that takes you through some of the area’s popular eateries and the vibrant flower market.

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Flower market at Malleswaram. Image: Ashwin Rajagopalan.

Address: The Leela Bhartiya City is at 6/2, Thani Sandra Main Rd, Devin Paradise Enclave, Tirumanahalli, Bengaluru: 560064.

Tariff: Room rates start at Rs 8,000/night, plus taxes.

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