Luxury/Expensive (over US$35IRs1000 per room night)
Three of the best properties in Bangalore are managed by the Taj Group but in August 1992 an Oberoi hotel opened making the city one of the few with hotels run by all India’s major chains. The oldest hotel in Bangalore, the Taj Group’s I magnificent West End Hotel in Race Course Rd (tel 269281, tlx 0845-2337 WEND IN, fax 0812-200010), is set amid 20 sweeping acres of landscaped gardens, splendid trees and bird life. Rooms start at US$90 single, US$100 double, and vary depending on their layout and location. Welcomgroup’s Windsor Manor Sheraton, 25 Sankey Rd (tel 269898, 296322, tlx 0845-8209, fax 0812-264941) is a first-rate hotel, with exquisite decor, immaculate service, nice restaurants, and well-furnished rooms from US$85 single, US$110 double. The Taj Residency, 14 M.G. Rd (tel 544444, tlx 0845-8367 TBLR IN, fax 0812-544748) caters more to business than to general travellers, and has rooms from US$60 single, US$75 double. The new Oberoi Hotel, M.G. Road (tel 542220, tlx 845-8696 OBBL IN, fax 0812-544118) opened in August 1992 and has rooms from US$100 single, US$110 double. The Ashok Hotel, High Grounds (tel 269462, tlx 845-2433, fax 0812- 260033) has rooms from Rsl000 single, Rsl200 double.
Mid-range (US$10-35IRs250-1000 per room night)
Perhaps the best value of any hotel in India is the Taj Group’s Gateway Hotel on Residency Road, 66 Residency Road (tel 544545, tlx 845-2567 LUX IN, fax 0812- 544030) with rooms from Rs825 single, Rs 950 double. Comfort Inn Ramanashree, 16 Raja Ram Mohun Roy Road (tel 235250) has rooms from Rs525 single, Rs800 double including breakfast. Cauvery Continental, 11/37 Cunningham Rd (tel 266966, tlx 0845-8112 HCC), is a favourite spot for Sai Baba devotees, with cosy rooms at Rs300 single, Rs400 i double and a cheap vegetarian restaurant (‘Executive Lunch—limited thali’ for Rs20).
Budget (under US$10/Rs250 per room night)
Budget hotels are mainly in the city market area. Hotel Luciya International, 6 OTC 1 Rd (tel 224148, tlx 0845-8360 LUCY IN), has a popular restaurant, tourist bus service, and smart rooms at Rsl50 single, Rs200 double. At the cheaper end of the range is Sudha Lodge, 6 Cottonpet Main Rd (tel 605420), with central situation, good information, hot and cold running water, and clean rooms at Rs50 single, Rs70 double. It’s a great meeting-place, often full. The next-door Hari Priya restaurant does the cheapest Indian breakfast (Rs3.50 for masaia dose and coffee). Sudarshan Hotel, near the bus-station, is a friendly place with rooms at Rs40. The Tourist Hotel on Race Course Rd has many rooms at Rs50, but is often packed out with local tourists. Further into the city centre, Hotel Ajantha (22 M.G. Rd) and Hotel Brindhavan (40 M.G. Rd) are reliable cheapies: Rs40-50 for single rooms, Rs80 for doubles.
Food in Bangalore is excellent and it is one of the few cities, Bombay is another, where there is a wide range of cuisine available outside major hotels. In order to compete, the hotels themselves have good restaurants. Among the Indian restaurants, the Coconut Grove, Church Street (tel 579132) and the Karavati at the Gateway Hotel both serve excellent Malabar, Konkan and Coorg food from Rs75 per head. The Windsor Manor Hotel has the best NW Frontier food.
For continental food there are excellent non-hotel restaurants; the exclusive Prince’s Restaurant, 9 Brigade Rd (tel 580087, wise to book) with amazing steaks, popular Indian food, lovely decor, great service, and attached ‘Knock Out Disco’ (Bangalore’s only one, free to restaurant customers Tuesday-Thursday, otherwise Rs75 per couple). Peacock in Residency Rd has top-notch Indian/Western cuisine; MTR Restaurant, by the main entrance of Lal Bagh, has a famous bar and a solid reputation for good mid-bracket food. It’s open 7 to 11 am, 4 to 7 pm. For Chinese food, try the Rice Bowl, 215 Brigade Road (tel 572417) or Memories of China in the Taj Residency Hotel where a meal would cost Rs150. The Paradise Island at the West End Hotel serves Thai food and a multi-cuisine buffet at lunch time for Rs135 per head.
Most restaurants in Bangalore serve draft beer and there are numerous pubs throughout the city. Tasty snacks are served at Excel Restaurant in Tank Bund Rd, behind the bus-station. This place also has a well-stocked bar, and lots of ‘local’ character. Over in Gandhi Nagar, Kempe Gowda, travellers favour Hotel Blue Star (opposite Tribhuvan cinema) for its ‘well-experienced cook’ and tasty chicken dishes. Nearby Sukhsagar Food Complex (opposite Majestic Theatre) has Gujarati/Punjabi food on the 3rd floor, south Indian meals on the 1st floor, and mouthwatering ice-creams, sweets and juices on the ground floor. Finally, there’s Chit-Chat on M.G. Rd one of the ritziest ice-cream parlours in India. It has chandeliers, musical fountains, and toffee-nosed waiters who won’t serve you unless you sit on the groundfloor and look very rich.
KSTDC Tourist Office, 10/4 Kasturba Rd, opposite the Aquarium (tel 212901, 578753) gives information in slow motion (essential to visit with precise questions) but is generally helpful. It’s open 10 am to 5.30 pm daily, except Sunday. A second KSTDC office, at Badami House, N.R. Square (tel 215883), sells the useful Bangalore city tour (7.30 am-1.30 pm, 2-7.30 pm daily), the comprehensive day tour to Mysore, Sriringapatna and Brindhavan (7.15 am-10.45 pm daily), and the over-ambitious tour out to the famous temple spots of Belur and Halebid (7.15 am-10.30 pm daily). There are several other ‘tourist offices’ dotted round Bangalore. If visiting Nagarhole Wildlife Sanctuary (see also Mysore section) you can advance- book accommodation at Jungle Lodges and Resorts, Shrungar Shopping centre, M.G. Road (tel 575195).
Higginbotham’s bookshop on M.G. Road and inside the rail station, does a good range of 1TK city/state guidebooks. Another bookshop on M.G. Road is Gangarams who have the widest selection of both books and magazines.
The post office is at Vidhana Vidhi (but poste restante at the old GPO by Bangalore International Hotel, Crescent Rd), State Bank of India is in St Mark’s Rd, and Indian Airlines is at K.G Road (tel 211211, 211914, apt 566233) and Cauvery Bhavan complex, District Office Rd (tel 572605). A useful listing is Bangalore This Fortnight, available from most hotels and bookshops.