That night, after our first full day in India, Mr. M decided to take us to Leela Palace. Raj showed up again and whisked us all off to Leela Palace for what I thought would be a tour of a palace of historic importance in Bengaluru.
Nothing could have been further from the truth.
Leela Palace, as it happens, is one of the most attractive hotels and restaurants I have ever visited. In fact, there are four restaurants in the hotel – among them there is a French Restaurant, Le Cirque Signature, having recently been added.
The Leela Hotels were founded by C P Krishnan Nair, owner of The Leela Group, which he named after his wife. Nair bought 11 acres of land near his house in Sahar Village, Mumbai to build his first hotel, The Leela Mumbai, in 1986. It was the first luxury hotel near the current Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.
In 1991 a second hotel was opened in Goa. The Leela Goa was designed keeping the overall architecture of the state in mind. The luxury seaside resort has taken its inspiration from Portuguese heritage and is spread over 75 acres of land in South Goa near by Cavelossim Beach.
In 2001, the group’s first modern hotel was built with 357 rooms in the IT capital of India, Bangalore, inspired by the Mysore Palace and the
architecture of the 13th century Vijayanagara empire, and is surrounded by seven acres of gardens.
The Leela Group opened its second resort in 2005 – The Leela Kovalam in Thiruvananthapuram. By 2009, two more properties were added to this portfolio: in Udaipur (Rajasthan) and Gurgaon. The Leela Kempinski Gurgaon is the group’s first non-owned, managed property. The Leela Palace New Delhi opened in April 2011; the palace is inspired by Sir Edwin Lutyens Delhi.The group opened a new hotel in Chennai in 2013.
We ate at the Indian restaurant on the patio with access to a beautiful walled garden with walking paths. The paths lead through lush green gardens with small waterways. As you walk the paths, you can see the magnificent structure of the Leela with its myriad rooms.
A number of famous people have stayed at the Leela Palace during their stay in Bengaluru and it is no small wonder. The service is first class and there is something for everyone here.
That evening, we were joined by Mr. M’s wife who told us stories about how she came to own an Internet web developing company.
In subsequent years, I have returned often to the Leela Palace frequently with western tourists in tow to experience the magnificent ambiance of the bar and restaurant.
However, be warned, the Leela Palace is not inexpensive. You can check the current costs of staying at the Leela for a single night on most travel websites. You should not let what you see discourage you from visiting the Leela and having one of the best meals of your life. A truly gustatory experience!
And, if you end up in the bar, try the cheese plate. It’s an experience!