With most of the flights still not open and skies shut for international travel, Staycations are the order of the day. One such staycation that I experienced recently was at the newest Accor hotel in Bangalore – the Grand Mercure Hotel at Gopalan Mall, which offers an experience in terms of flavours, art and culture of the state. Accor’s sixth and second Grand Mercure in Bangalore, this is a place that thrives on story telling.

From the time one steps into this elegant palace hotel, one is surrounded by intriguing stories at every step, stories that embrace cultural tradition, stories of inspired artistic expressions, stories of coffees around the world, stories of locally influenced cuisine and so much more.

The palatial yet thoughtfully and designed hotel is inspired by the iconic Hoysala architecture, incorporating local touch points to the overall ambience. Intricate detailing in the façade offers the hotel an artistic appeal, while every corner immerses one further and piques your interest into many lores from the past. At the grand entrance, notes of Nadaswaram welcomed me in with rose petals being showered from above. The signature fragrance at the hotel is a mix of Mysore sandalwood, which was once a symbol of royalty for the state and continues to be one of the most expensive fragrances in the world and vetiver, an endemic fragrance from the grass family. The aroma helps to cool oneself, calm the nerves, and help relieve stress.

After checking into my palatial suite with a living room and a comfortable bedroom with a private terrace, I was looking forward to the coffee tasting session. To pay homage to the beginning of Hoysala Empire, Grand Mercure Bengaluru at Gopalan Mall has named its lobby bar after this era – 1026 AD. It is an alfresco space; casual yet rustic and perfect to unwind after a busy day of work or just catch up with friends over a cuppa coffee. The menu features a great selection of local favourites, an inhouse classic cold brew called 1026 AD and speciality coffees including Vietnamese from Vietnam, Turkish coffee from the Ottoman empire, Chemex coffee from the US and Vacuum coffee from Germany. After our coffee tasting session, we tasted some of the local snacks like KBC or Khara Bun Congress as it is popularly called, Mangalore buns, Masala vada, fried chicken and more.A quintessential part of the South Indian snack or breakfast culture is filter coffee, with its distinctive addition of chicory, is served in the dawra, a true south Indian way. To make the perfect coffee, the hotel sources its coffee beans from the oldest organic estate in Yelligudige, Chikmagalur. We ended our coffee trail with a filter coffee.

The hotel features 212 well-equipped rooms and suites, complemented by a multi-cuisine all day dining restaurant – La Utsav, celebrating flavours of the cuisine Karnataka treasures, bringing back ‘the lost recipes’. Our lunch was the thali from Karnataka that served buttermilk, Rawa fry prawns, Avarekai Beans paliya, Chicken ghee roast, Urlai Vattakal, Mangalore fish curry, Karnataka sambhar, Thakalirasam, Bajra roti, Curd rice and Dharwardpeda. We ended the meal with some filter coffee ice-cream.

A hearty meal like that deserves an afternoon siesta. After a nap, I was charged up for some retail therapy at the neighbouring Gopalan Signature Mall. The evening was made special with an alfresco dinner in the lush lawns under the stars. A riddle-based menu with drawings and a line description kept us engaged guessing the names of the dishes. We began with a Floral Tea called the Thumpulu Peppermint Tea, which was very refreshing and an Amuse Bouche of Beetroot ke Thande Parche, that set the tone for the dinner. Our soup was Gajar Nariyal keAab and appetizers included Nimbu Makhanke Tawa Salmon with Hassel back Potatoes on the side. Next up was the Tarbooze ka Thanda, a sorbet to cleanse the palate for the main course, which was a delectable Dum Nalli Ka Zaika. There was also a Dal fondue, with dal makhni simmered on low flame for a long time with bread. For dessert it was a beautifully plated Baked Zauk–e-Shahi Tart.

Every nook and cranny of the hotel appeals to the imagination and insatiable sense of discovery. At the fifth floor is a terrace gym & Tattva spa, where I indulged in a relaxing Swedish massage. The Tattva Spa features six treatment rooms and offer a selection of modern and traditional therapies. As part of its wellness culture Grand Mercure, Gopalan Mall is embracing yoga, the pre-vedic mental, physical and spiritual practices. It was Ratha Saptami, the next morning, which is considered very auspicious to do surya namaskar. During our morning yoga sessions, we focused on surya namaskar, besides other stretches that were so energising. To keep the reading enthusiasts engaged, the executive lounge is designed as a library with a great selection of reads. The fifth central is an entertainment zone, featuring an array of interesting games and recreational alternatives.

Inspired by the empire’s influence on art, the hotel celebrates art and culture of Karnataka in all its glory. The interiors are roused by the king’s necklace and have vibrant dashes of colour all over the hotel. In the lobby, we see traditional elements blending in subtly with modernity, creating an elegant yet sophisticated atmosphere. Inspired by Mysore style gesso art, the pillars are gold washed, adding in an element of opulence to the lobby. All artefacts pay reminiscence to a long-lost period in the history of Karnataka. The lobby boasts of an art gallery encouraging local artists from across the state, to highlight their creations.

The hotel makes a perfect venue for meetings, social events and exhibitions as it boasts more than 10 event spaces including an expansive terrace, a quaint alfresco and multiple indoor venues. A team of dedicated wedding experts ensure a 360-degree wedding support.

Puneet Dhawan, Senior Vice President, Accor India and South Asia states, “The opening of our second Grand Mercure property at Gopalan Mall, Bengaluru, showcases our confidence in this brand to offer something truly distinctive to cater to the area’s need of a business hotel. Authentic and original experience is at the heart of what our guests seek, and this new property truly speaks of heritage and culture from the area.”

“It is truly a milestone as we open our second Grand Mercure property in Bengaluru”, said Sachin Maheshwary, General Manager, Grand Mercure Bengaluru at Gopalan Mall. “The brand believes in bringing locally inspired stories to life. Continuing our legacy from existing properties, we will provide our guests with an enriching and personalised experience whilst maintaining global standards of hygiene.”

Book your stay at Grand Mercure Bengaluru at Gopalan Mall, Swami Vivekananda Road www.all.accor.com and enjoy the opening offer, which includes hotel credits worth INR 2,000, buffet breakfast and Wi-fi. Call: +91 80 6843 0000. Email:h8908-re@accor.com.

— By Namita Gupta