The Best of India at ITC Hotels

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The Kaya Kalp spa at ITC Mughal in Agra

We finally make it to India, a patient country with patient people, and it’s emotional and inspiring and overwhelming for the naturally impatient. But after a couple of days, we know to look for the namaste-inspired logo of ITC Hotels to soothe and pamper our edgy selves while we try to mix business with pleasure, as so many of their clients do.  ITC Maratha in Mumbai is so very different from ITC Windsor in Bengaluru—and even from ITC Grand Central, also in Mumbai. Walk into each property and you’ll be greeted by a “welcome diva” wearing a sari that is typical to the region. Walk out of all hotels and you’ll know you’re leaving a special place where guests and staff are well tended to. “They look after their people,” says ITC Grand Chola v.p. and general manager Philippe H. Charraudeau.

They do have the art of hospitality down to a beautiful and palpably Indian science, even when it comes to the eco side of it all: ITC Hotels is now said to be the greenest luxury chain in the world, with all properties awarded the LEED Platinum rating. But that’s only the beginning; there are quite a few more things that ITC does spectacularly.

rooms to remember

We swear there is a grey cloud of foul air hovering around us after a full day of flying, so we thank our lucky stars for the air purifiers in the ITC One Pure rooms at ITC Maurya in New Delhi…and for all the Ayurvedic elements waiting for us, like lemons and honey to help cleanse the body of toxins and the copper tumbler to leave water overnight and drink in the morning to help prevent anemia and skin problems. An incongruous yet sorely needed massage chair is a welcome sight as well. The compact stepper? A great addition for those who have limited time to exercise; after the first of many outstanding meals we strongly consider using it.

Each of the properties that make up the five-star group of ITC Hotels, also part of Starwood’s Luxury Collection, is very much its gorgeous own, with a distinct personality.

But by far, our favorite part of our time at the ITC Maurya was Pallavi, no doubt the best dedicated butler in the world, who gets our medicine when we’re under the weather and helps us pack when we run out of time. If there were to be a queen of the butlers, she should be it.

It’s little wonder heads of state and VIPs know to head straight to this iconic hotel when they’re in town—but truth be told, when it comes to accommodations at these luxury hotels, one room is more exciting than the next. In Chennai’s ITC Grand Chola, the brand’s very new, palatial property, we walk past hand-carved marble, a cigar lounge and one of the largest ballrooms in India to reach another now-beloved place to rest our weary bones. Besides its giant size, we love that we can use the in-room iPad to control lights and the air-conditioning; order room service; see who is at the front door through a security camera; and even open the aforementioned door.

The atrium of ITC Maratha in Mumbai

At ITC Gardenia in Bengaluru, we got to try one of those Eva rooms we’d long been hearing about, tailored specifically for female travelers and housed in their own wing. Part of the ITC One suite category, they’re about 700 sq. ft.—not that we’ve seen a small room at ITC properties. Only females tend to these Eva rooms, whether it’s security guards or attendants, and they feature in-room amenities specifically aimed at ladies, including more shampoo for long manes. We also enjoyed the non-gender-specific TV in the bathroom for in-tub entertainment. But the grand dame at ITC Gardenia is the 2-story Peacock Suite—a vision of blues and greens and peafowl motifs complete with its own infinity pool that was chosen as one of the “Top 101 Suites” in Elite Traveler.