What makes the ITC Hotels so different? Probably the fact that they take the word ‘responsibility’ seriously. Their aim is to provide responsible luxury to the consumers, and so, every ITC hotel tries to promote an experience that combines local elements with their formal theme. This gives the people staying there a feel of being a part of the local scene with the professional outlook that they look for from a business resort. My stay at ITC Sonar was a reflection of this throughout the time I spent there.
I checked into ITC Sonar with the help of the smiling Sushmita, who ushered me in with a big smile and made me feel at home immediately. Dumping my luggage quickly inside my room, I ran to the Spa because I was late for my appointment there! The Kaya Kalp Spa is one I have been hearing about a great deal, and as its an exclusive spa with treatments that combine indigenous ingredients with professional massaging technique.
My Gondhoraj lime and Gobindobhog Rice treatment began with my masseuse Jiriporn rubbing in crushed Gobindobhog Rice all over my skin (I took a quick five-minute steam to open up my pores) and then she used a Gondhoraj Lime aroma oil for the massage. To my chagrin, I fell asleep halfway through the treatment but it was very relaxing.
Lunch was served at Pan Asian. Now, Pan Asian hosts a Sunday Brunch every week that features a huge array of sushi, Korean barbecue, and sinful desserts, and the day I went they had Peking Duck.
The brunch is priced at INR 2600/- per person plus tax with unlimited soft beverage, and there’s a couple of interesting liquor packages that you can add on. I loved the duck, the tenderloin served over noodles, and made inroads into the giant sushi display. Throughout our meal, a server kept on replenishing our cups of tea and diet coke.
Dessert was Tub Tim Krob, one of my favorite Thai delicacies of all time, featuring pearls of water chestnut colored and served in cold coconut cream.
We languished in the exclusive Darjeeling Lounge, where Fatima, who has been working there for a while now, explained to me about the two different kinds of Sunbeam coffees they had on offer. There are two distinct types, which are blends of local and exotic coffees – Panagiri is a combination of Panama and Nilgiri, while Nicamalai is a blend of Nicaragua and Annamalai. I picked Nicamalai because it promised a hint of chocolate and wood and didn’t disappoint!
I went back to the Kaya Kalp Spa in the evening for a second session of pampering – I got a superb head massage with Bhringraj in it to promote hair growth, and that was followed by a pedicure which left my feet looking clean and I refused to apply nail polish because I was suddenly in love with my shiny pink, buffed nails.
Once back in my room, I decided to check out the amenities. The room featured a large bed, comfortable seats, and a lazy boy. Plus, a large tub to relax in after a day’s hassles.
I had some work to finish so dinner was pretty late. However, the people at Dum Pukht were incredibly sweet, and Chef Zubair Qureshi made an appearance to speak about the two dishes he was about to serve. I am a major fan of the Dum Pukht Biryani, and the Chef suggested the Kakori, and I happily went along because he promised Sheermal with it. The Kakori melted on my tongue.
The biryani was light, mildly spiced with a slight superiority of mace over everything else, which is the primary reason for me liking it. The meat was tender, yet it held its form till touched with a fork, where it gave up resistance and fell apart. I was so full that I had to refuse the paan afterwards. Relinquishing my plans of going to Fabelle for an after-dinner chocolate, I waddled over to my room.
Did you know ITC has a dedicated pillow menu and a sleeping kit? I was pleasantly surprised to see a tray on my bed which featured pillow spray, eye mask, ear plugs, stress relieving oil. I checked out the pillow menu, ordered an extra thin pillow from it, and then lay back, watched television, and quietly zoned out.
Early next morning I woke up for a swim. The pool is open from 7 am, and I caught a few early-morning laps before breakfast at Eden Pavilion. As ITC strongly believes in weaving local flavors into the menu, items like Petai Porota and Luchi Chholar Dal was in the menu alongside bacon and ham. I had a plate of both because that’s the way I roll. The meal ended with a giant cup of excellent latte, and a croissant with flaky almonds on top.
On my way back to my room, I fed the eager fishes in the huge pools built within the property. ITC Sonar is created on about 16 acres of land, and 8 acre of it is water – the idea is to provide the guests with an experience that combines the essence of a business resort with the feel of a ‘baaganbari’, a house with plenty of gardens and pools that zamindaars of the bygone days used to have. For the upcoming Durga Puja, ITC Sonar currently has attractive Staycation packages starting from INR 5500/- plus tax. For more information, check out this link.
Disclaimer: Poorna Banerjee was invited to stay at ITC Sonar to celebrate #15yearsofITCSonar by the management.