Monday 21 November 2011

Alila's Got Bangalore's Best Toilets

Alila Bangalore
#100/6, HAL-Varthur
Main Road,
Whitefield, Bangalore – 560066,

Where is it?

You will be drive through the usual security measures on to a gravel drop off point. Exit the car and head toward reception. Keeping the water features to your left continue on and you will find the toilets on the right. Walking in you find sinks to your left, urinals around to your right and the stalls ahead.

What's it like?

Asked by a colleague within an hour of arriving ‘How’s India?’ I replied ‘Bumpy but pleasantly warm’. By the end on my 24 hour trip to Bangalore I guess I’d add mostly unfinished and friendly to that. But then what can you really find out in 24 hours?

Well for one even luxury hotels can be tagged with unfinished. Alila has been open for four months and still has some rooms to be fitted out and the odd finishing to done here and there. But this does not detract from the fact that this is a medium scale well finished hotel. The room was a delight, well finished and thoughtful in its design. The restaurant / bar / lounge areas were pleasant – all situated alongside water features and nicely finished gardens. Throughout the quality of the materials and finish (when finished) stand out as beyond those you would find in any international chain.

So what of the toilets? Well I arrived at 4am and was checking out just before midnight the same day to catch a 3am flight when waiting for a colleague I decided to use the facilities. A propensity for impatience and general grumpiness about toilets might creep in under those circumstances, no? Well these toilets were pretty much faultless and smoothed away any travel induced weariness.

Walking in you are surrounded by polished wood slats before being enveloped in a cool, dark calm. First you are struck by the black floor tile and grey granite sinks. Then by the simplicity of the flowers in the tall narrow vase that brings just enough colour to liven things up.

The urinals are something you’d expect to find in Germany. Toto is isn’t a brand I know – but I suspect the same factory makes fittings for Kohl. Right now you could not tell the difference.

When using the sinks you find the soap in metal dispensers that are pleasing to the touch. Top quality soap with a relaxing scent is provided too. The taps provide a good splash of water pressure – which is just as well given the size of the sinks. And the sinks – I just love these sinks. (Can if fit them in my bag?)

Was I surprised by the quality of these toilets? Given the hotel’s general eye for finish, noI was not. Let’s just say I was reassured that the owners had not left the toilets to be fitted until last or neglected the quality. Rather they had made them central to the experience and equal if not better than their surroundings. Bravo!

Marks out of 10

11 out of 10. Thoughtful design and high quality finish.

Comments to the management

Great toilets. Fantastic service. Now just finish off those odds and ends and you’ll have the business crowd flocking in.

Sunday 30 October 2011

Spotless Chic in Sothern Africa

Sir Seretse Khama International Airport
Airport Road

Where is it?

A long way from here I am right now. The appalling state of Newark’s apparently first world toilets have spurred me to ditch catching up on work and write. Outrage has it some benefits?

Go through the security into the cathedral like terminal waiting area following the right hand wall. Half way down you’ll find a corridor signed for the toilets. Follow the corridor and they are on the right.

What's it like?

Let’s be clear Botswana benefits from diamond and tourist income. Their new airport puts most I go through to shame. Brand spanking new. Hotel quality chic. And so few people that you feel like you have got the whole place to yourself.

The small bar / restaurant before check in has a utilitarian feel, but when you can have a burger made from Botswana’s excellent quality beef and a beer who cares if it’s got paper table cloths.

Once through to the lounge the quality only increases. The lounge is big. No, strike that, it’s huge. The cathedral like ceiling means it dwarfs those you see elsewhere. Then the kid in
you kicks in. Glass windows front the runway and you can see everything. If it wasn’t for the odd plane you’d think you were right in the bush. Bb233

The signage matches this. Clear – it practically smacks you around the face! But what I like about it the most is that all the signage is set in UK format. Perfect.

The corridor leading to the toilets has black marble floor tiles and luxury wall tile. Go into the rest rooms and you see a phalanx of sinks and a Dyson replica hand dryer. Add to this that the stalls are spotless and of international quality all you can say is that these toilets are top class.

Marks out of 10

Marks out of 10

8. Fantastic quality in a great setting.

Comments to the management

If “this is Africa” there are great things ahead! Bravo
PS Newark - look at this. You are being trounced by Botswana!