It’s always an experience staying in a good hotel in India. There is something missing in the customer service culture in Europe that runs through everything they do in Asia. I think it must be something associated with the insecurity and relative equality that we experience in Western Europe, and the UK in particular, that prevents us treating the customer as someone really special. The Vivanta in Bangalore is a delightful mix of chaos and friendliness all wrapped up in an Asian 5 star hotel. Never short of staff to help with whatever you want, the hotel has a family-owned feel about it and an intimacy that doesn’t overpower or intimidate. This hotel lacks the grandeur of the Leela or the Oberoi (I still think the Oberoi is the best hotel in Bangalore), but has nice touches in comparison, such as really good showers and a great bar.
Situated on the corner of MG Road right in the heart of the city, the chaotic organisation surrounding the entrance as you arrive delivers you gently into an oasis of quiet and calm. As there is no effective mass transit in Bangalore everything revolves around the car. This means it takes an hour to get anywhere and every hotel has a chaotic vehicle access problem. I say no effective mass transit, but in fact they have recently built a metro system that runs on a high level roadway through the centre of town, destroying the pleasant aspect of MG Road that used to be. You now stand outside on the street and the sky above you is dominated by concrete pylons and roadway. It’s unbelievable. Anyway, the hotel is a real heart-of-the-city place, complete with local colour, unlike the bland and formulaic places in the fast-expanding new office block campus districts.