Luxury hotels in India tend to fall into one of two camps: the lavish Western-style resorts, with the sobering divide between corporate travelers and locals; and the new high-design boutiques, cool and intimate but strangely ahistorical. The Taj West End transcends both categories. Opened as a ten-room boarding house by a British couple in 1887, the property, Bronson’s West End, was considered Bangalore’s first hotel. The gabled colonial house, graced with old-fashioned dormers, trelliswork, and carved fascias, changed hands a few times, first serving as a stopover for foreign officers, and later being purchased by the Taj group.
Today a massive jacaranda tree still sits in the central courtyard of the 20-acre garden property, and English-style butlers cater to the whims of guests in 117 rooms and suites. Standard rooms, housed in the 1905-vintage Heritage Wing, offer wireless internet access and private verandas over the garden. Spacious club rooms come stocked with wine and chocolates; villas scattered about the property contain luxury suites with separate living rooms. The decor throughout the guest quarters and public spaces is a mix of vibrantly hued fabrics, proper tea sets, and high thread-count sheets (read: a blend of traditional Indian, English colonial, and contemporary styles).
Dining options include the Blue Bar, situated amidst water gardens, and the Vietnamese Blue Ginger restaurant. Masala Klub, a gourmet Indian eatery, is the Taj West End’s newest culinary venue. And if two modern swimming pools and a slick fitness center clash a bit with the colonial-era vibe, there’s always a hike in the nearby Nandi Hills.