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EXPERT REVIEW Escape the chaos of vibrant Bangalore to this grand five-star hotel, which has a surprising amount of green energy running through it

Eco


Overall eco rating


Set in the heart of India’s ‘Garden City’ the Gardenia in Bangalore is one of ITC’s flagship properties. The company bills itself as one of the most progressive, sustainable companies in the world (it claims itself to be carbon, water and waste-recycling positive) and so the Gardenia has to set the bar high. This it does with aplomb.

Built in 2009 and certified as the first LEED Platinum* hotel in Asia (and the world’s largest LEED Platinum hotel at the time), the building exhibits good-practice energy-efficient systems and an impressive water recycling facility. There is also an innovative solar concentration system for steam production. Green spaces are in abundance including green roofs.

The management stay faithful to the building’s environmental morals by procuring locally wherever possible and employing a comprehensive waste recycling scheme. The company also engages in community outreach, assisting in developing good-practice farming procedures in India which helps the hotel in turn by offering a local and partially organic food chain for catering.

Despite the green design of the building, there is still room for improvement. As with all luxury hotels, the main focus is on guest comfort, but certain elements of the hotel suffer from over-servicing and further efficiencies could be realised from optimising these items. This need continuous improvement will test the company’s commitment to its tag line “Responsible Luxury” with the need to endeavour to be even more responsible without compromising on luxury.

  • LEED Platinum rating from Indian Green Building Council
  • ITC have built a remote wind farm which supplies more than sufficient renewable electricity for the hotel
  • Efficient centralised cooling system making use of recycled water
  • Solar concentrators produce steam for majority of hotel’s cooking needs
  • Rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling system used to flush toilets, feed cooling towers and irrigation of landscaping together provide (~40% saving in water consumption)
  • Blackwater treated on site
  • Take positive steps to employ disabled staff and promote increased opportunities for disabled people in the hospitality industry in India
  • Operate a range of outreach programmes to schools and others and promote environmental practices to their competitors and suppliers
  • 'Green concierge' at the hotel provide bikes for guests as well as offering guided green walks through the local botanical gardens and visits to local wildlife reserves for guests who want a break from city life

  • There is no formalised organic product certification process in India making it difficult for ITC to source fully organic products
  • There is no formal local system available to check products for animal testing or toxic chemicals
  • There is no evidence that ITC branded toiletries are made from natural products and some products exhibit chemical content
  • The guest bedrooms seem over-conditioned, air conditioning set-points are maintained very low in both occupied and unoccupied scenarios
  • Default key-operated switching turns all lights on when entering the bedroom
  • When leaving the room and removing the key from the electricity override, the time-lag is excessive meaning electricity remains on for 30 minutes after occupancy
  • Inefficient tungsten-halogen lighting fixtures are the primary source of overhead lighting throughout the hotel
  • Shower fixtures are high-flow

 

People

The diverse nature of ITC’s business allows the company to engage the local community and India at large in areas of sustainable development. Outreach programs are designed to encourage sustainable farming practices in Indian agriculture which assists in the hotel’s procurement of quality products and ingredients for their guests.

  • > 70% of food is sourced from within 160km
  • The hotel takes steps to employ disabled staff and promote increased opportunities for disabled people in the hospitality industry in India
  • ITC runs a Hotels Management Institute to train young Indian staff for the hospitality industry
  • Hotel staff are encouraged to use bicycles or public transport for commuting
  • ITC operates a voluntary Corporate Social Responsibility program
  • Locally sourced, handcrafted furniture is used in abundance throughout the hotel
  • Locally sources, handmade textiles are used for soft furnishings
  • Locally-sourced spa products (~30%)

  • There is no formal policy for hiring local people

Animals & nature

The garden-style design of the hotel means that the communal areas reside in beautiful natural surroundings. During construction great efforts were taken to maintain as much of the resident flora as possible and trees that needed removing were relocated as opposed to being cut down. The green roofs are the cherry on the cake.

ITC has made efforts to ensure that cleaning, spa and toiletry products are locally sourced and not tested on animals, however the lack formal accreditation schemes in India make this difficult to certify. Where possible chemical-free products are used, however there is still evidence of chemical content in some products where there would be better fully-natural plant-based options.

  • Trees were relocated instead of chopped down during site construction
  • Choice of cleaning products is designed to reduce use of chemicals harmful to the environment
  • Green roof on part of the hotel
  • 'Green concierge' at the hotel provide bikes for guests as well as offering guided green walks through the local botanical gardens and visits to local wildlife reserves for guests who want a break from city life
  • Local flora species are incorporated into the landscaping
  • Green cleaning products are used
  • Green walls located within the hotel
  • Some spa products confirm no animal testing

 

  • There is no formalised organic product certification process in India making it difficult for ITC to source fully organic products
  • There is no formal local system available to check products for animal testing or toxic chemicals
  • There is no evidence that ITC branded toiletries are made from natural products and some products exhibit chemical content

Environment & buildings

ITC Gardenia undoubtedly has all the elements of a green building, clearly demonstrated by its LEED Platinum status. To maintain accreditation, the building operation also has to undergo annual review to make sure performance is sustained. The hotel also received the Confederation of Indian Industries national ‘Excellence in Energy Award’ in 2012 further demonstrating that this is a stand-out building in an Indian context.

As well as having developed an offsite wind farm to provide 100% of Gardenia’s electrical supply, the hotel has also installed onsite renewable technologies in the form of roof-mounted solar concentrators to provide steam for kitchen use. Good-practice high-efficiency systems are used to condition the building and there is a significant proportion of efficient lighting fixtures.

Comprehensive rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling systems are employed to minimise city water use and there is an impressive waste recycling scheme despite local infrastructural challenges.

As with all buildings there is always room for continuous improvement as technology improves. In some instances the hotel is also over-conditioned, although this issue is mitigated by the temperate local climate.

  • LEED Platinum rating from Indian Green Building Council
  • Environmental management accredited by ISO14001
  • ITC have built a remote wind farm which supplies more than sufficient renewable electricity for the hotel
  • Efficient centralised cooling system making use of recycled water
  • Solar concentrators produce steam for majority of hotel’s cooking needs
  • Natural ventilation used in lobby area
  • High-efficiency condensing boilers
  • Some LED and CFL are in use
  • Rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling system used to flush toilets, feed cooling towers and irrigation of landscaping together provide (~40% saving in water consumption)
  • Blackwater treated on site
  • Green construction materials includes FSC certified timber and avoidance of products containing VOCs
  • On site composting
  • Nearly all solid waste is segregated and recycled
  • CO2 sensors are used to provide optimised demand-controlled fresh air
  • Non-CFC refrigerant is used in the cooling system
  • Bedroom tap water is drinkable

  •  
  • There is no evidence that ITC branded toiletries are made from natural products and some products exhibit chemical content
  • The guest bedrooms seem over-conditioned, air conditioning set-points are maintained very low in both occupied and unoccupied scenarios
  • Default key-operated switching turns all lights on when entering the bedroom
  • When leaving the room and removing the key from the electricity override, the time-lag is excessive meaning electricity remains on for 30 minutes after occupancy
  • Inefficient tungsten-halogen lighting fixtures are the primary source of overhead lighting throughout the hotel
  • Some incandescent bulbs still in use
  • Shower fixtures are high-flow
  • Marble was sourced from Italy
  • Lots of bottled mineral water is provided and there is no encouragement for guests to drink tap water, nor information stating the tap water is safe to drink

Reviewed by Ryan Glancy


Luxury


Overall luxury rating*


The ITC Gardenia provides all the grandeur of traditional Indian design with the warm welcome and exuberant service one can expect when visiting India. Marble-clad interiors are supplemented with subtle wood finishings, reflecting a contemporary version of a traditional Indian palace.

The hotel offers a plethora of dining options from traditional ‘Kebabs and Kurries’ to European and Japanese cuisine, set within appropriately designed restaurants. Al fresco dining and snacks are also available from the pavilion and surrounding porticoes.

There is a large and energetic staff force here, eager to take care of your every want and need. 

The scene

As the name suggests, the motif for the Gardenia is a testament to the surrounding ‘Garden City’. The architecture is conceived from time-honoured Indian concepts and executed with an open-air approach to allow guests to experience what it might have been to reside within a traditional Indian palace.

The courtyard centres on the idyllic Lotus Pavilion, a columned structure, based on the design of a nearby palace built by the respected local former king, Tipu Sultan. If the Sultan were alive today, this is where he would check his emails, surrounded by the beautiful courtyard garden supping south Indian filter coffee.

The 292 guest bedrooms are broken out into two wings and ten floors, each floor allocated a unique theme, based on locally relevant elements and nature. The common areas generally reflect the colours of India’s national bird, the Peacock.

  • The beautiful open-air lobby and garden courtyard
  • Green roofs and green walls (wall gardens)
  • Cosy rooms with large comfortable beds laden with pillows and cushions
  • In-room ‘Incomm’ interface system for room control
  • Marble-styled bathrooms with large baths and showers
  • Traditional and contemporary Indian artwork in corridors and bedrooms
  • Most rooms have balconies overlooking courtyard or the city
  • Large, flat screen TVs in every room with a good range of channels and languages

  • The city centre location means there can be some background noise
  • There are a fair few pigeons around, which can be an occasional nuisance

The style

The style is based on traditional Indian stonework complemented with authentic soft furnishings and wood features. The hotel provides a blend of colonial style opulence with authentic Indian arts and features. 

  • Handcrafted Indian furniture
  • Handmade local textiles
  • Decorated ‘blackout’ screens for long sleep-ins
  • Uniquely decorated restaurants and bars, traditional and contemporary

  • Some areas are showing the first signs of wear and in need of facelift, but these are minor and unnoticeable to a large extent
  • Some TV channels suffer from imperfect reception on certain channels

The facilities

There are four excellent restaurants as well as a comprehensive spa, health and beauty centre as well as a large rooftop swimming pool area. There is also a beautiful central pavilion for tea or coffee and snacks as well as a Whiskey bar and business centre. Indian, European and Japanese restaurants provide a huge variety of culinary options.

  • Rooftop infinity pool
  • Sauna, steam room and massage facilities as well as beauty/hairdressing salon
  • Wide range of available Indian and Asian treatments
  • Well-equipped gymnasium

  • The pool is overlooked by the rooms
  • There is limited outdoor space

We love

  • Beautiful gardens
  • Huge choice in food
  • Cosy bedrooms
  • Lotus Pavillion for al fresco tea/coffee/snacks

You might not love

  • It can feel a bit businessy during the week, while weekends are more given over to couples
  • There is limited outdoor space, and the pool is overlooked

Reviewed by Ryan Glancy


ITC Royal Gardenia, Bengaluru

1 Residency Road, Bengaluru 560025, Karnataka

India
+91 80 2211 9898

Standard room rates from €325

Eco

Luxury*