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The alluring ITC Narmada offers top-notch Gujarati hospitality

ITC Narmada- Hotel Review

Narmada, one of India’s seven sacred rivers, is the longest river of Gujarat. Perennial in nature and ubiquitous in the southeastern part of Gujarat, Narmada is the lifeline of the state. As soon as I walked into this shimmering foyer of a magnificent building in Ahmedabad, I could not agree more that the name had been appropriately borrowed and upraised by one of the largest luxury collection hotels in the city. Standing tall in the prime territory of Judges Bungalow Road and only two kilometers away from the IIM Ahmedabad, ITC Narmada is an opulent five-star stay whilst being a prized landmark in the city.

If you can imagine an inverted stepwell for its facade (inspired by Adalaj Ni Vav), a magnificent waterfall in the atrium, a giant mural near the escalators, characterful interiors in every corner, robust flavours in plush restaurants, dreamy rooms occupied by global travellers, and soothing atmosphere permeating through the walls of a 19-storey structure of 70 meters, you have successfully visualized ITC Narmada.

Also Read – 11 Highlights of my first trip to Gujarat

ITC Narmada -Hotel review
Beautiful Atrium

During my sojourn at the hotel, every day, I was blown away by the convergence of its aesthetic, design, architecture, art, culture, and food, spotlighting Gujarat’s artistic legacy and rich heritage. It felt awesome to wake up in a place that conspired charm and character at every step. I spent a lot of time simply walking around the different floors and getting inspired by this modern-age architectural marvel which seamlessly melds indigenous grandeur with graceful contemporary design. The vibes inside were a true testament to the progressive spirit of India.

Touched by the top-notch Hospitality

The distance from the airport to the hotel is 15 kilometers, and it takes only 30 minutes to be there. I was greeted with a very hospitable, courteous staff, a shining, and dazzling atrium, and a gregarious personal butler who was going to be with me for the next two days. Without wasting a minute and my relentless eyes taking notes of every little detail, I was already being escorted to my deluxe suite. The series of vibrant frames and attention-to-detail tribal portraits hung along the well-lit passages covered with soft carpets sensitively married the contemporary with the traditional. A very simple and convenient check-in happened only when I had made myself comfortable in my ultra-luxurious room. While the interiors of the living area were very pleasing to the eyes, the personalized cake with the name of my book, a photo frame with a beautiful greeting note, and a basket full of snacks and fruits made me feel at home, almost immediately. The bedroom interiors and sparkly clean washroom were aligned with the ethos of the hotel. Overall, my suite was massive.

Luxury, comfort, and convenience

My suite had everything that a luxury traveller wishes for – architectural finesse, artistic legacy, huge rooms, large glass walls, immaculate amenities, a gleaming washroom, touch-controlled mood lighting, a huge bathtub, sustainable toiletries, an intimate touch, all-the-way. It had all the elements that dreamy indulgences are made of.

I gained other perspectives while I toured the property.  With 291 rooms and suites, a grand banquet, versatile events, grand convention spaces, and Kaya Kalp – The Spa, this uber-luxury property had already become the talk of the town with its grand weddings, social gatherings, and intimate ceremonies.

I enjoyed stumbling on local stories told by the collection of antiques, latticework, motifs, and portraits. Had it not been for the ‘Toran of Vadnagar’ at the entrance or the ‘Jaali work inspired by Sidi Saiyyed Mosque’, I would have never been curious about their historical significance.

Before the end of my stay, I did not forget to pamper my senses with a rejuvenating Kaya Kalp signature body massage and take a dip in the hotel’s sparkling pool which offers gorgeous views of the city skyline.

All about my stay at ITC Narmada hotel
This has to be one of the most beautifully curated corridor to the rooms

Food curated experiences

Gujarat is synonymous with interesting food, so eating well at the various restaurants at ITC Narmada is fun and soul-nourishing. With the promise of sumptuous flavours and the use of forgotten grains (locally sourced in-season produce), the dishes encompass local love and responsible luxury, designed for improved energy levels and better sleep. Adalaj Pavillion, Yi Jing, Royal Vega, and Peshawari, offer a melange of domestic and international flavors.

With respect to food, let me begin with my favourite part of the day. On the ground floor, I indulged in an extensive breakfast buffet at the Adalaj Pavilion, named after a centuries-old world-renowned stepwell near Ahmedabad – Adalaj ni Vav.  It is a signature a la carte restaurant and all-day-diner where you will also find the Gujarati farsans and delicacies.

I would highly recommend going for the elaborate and lavish thalis at Royal Vega restaurant. This royal experience is uniquely different. The popular ‘Karnavati Khasa’ celebrates the vibrant palate of Gujarat and integrates different cuisines from across the state. The other thalis that one can try are Ritu Khasa, Ranjit Khasa, and Suvarna Khasa.

My gastronomic voyage continued to ITC’s signature restaurant, Peshawri where the succulent kebabs, flavorful curries, fragrant biryanis, and the signature Dal Bukhara and Naan Bukhara are unmissable.

And finally, I was pleasantly surprised by Yi Jing, where I was drawn to the menu made from regions of China such as – Hunan, Shaanxi, Canton, and Sichuan, among others. The flavours and shapes of mushroom, edamame, and lotus stem dim sums are still fresh in my mind and the hand-pulled noodles were the best that I have had.

Royal vega
The amazing platter at Royal Vega is unmissable

Heritage Walk and Introduction to Patan Patola

The commitment to responsible tourism and community engagement is exemplified at ITC Narmada. Every staff member that I interacted with filled me with information about local art, craft, food, and shopping. The best takeaway from my stay was my introduction to the local culture and history of Ahmedabad through a heritage walk in the old part of the city arranged by the hotel. To assuage my further quest, they also arranged a meeting with a key member of the Salvi family (local artists of Patan), who gave me exhaustive insights into the making of the Patan Patola.

Green Credentials backed with Sustainability

The ITC Hotels are beacons of sustainability. Keeping up with their green pledge to safeguard Mother Earth, ITC Narmada is Gujarat’s first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) platinum-certified hotel. The architecture is built with sustainability in mind, and thus, right from selecting sustainable materials and implementing ways to use less energy impactfully, they also educate and influence the mindset of the customers. While practicing rainwater harvesting, recycling greywater, and using locally sourced ingredients from within a 100-km radius, they also aim to improve constantly, year after year.  

The Forever Moment with MS Dhoni

My stay at ITC Narmada will always be special with the memories of the IPL frenzy and Dhoni fever that had gripped the city of Ahmedabad. The CSK (Chennai Super Kings) players were also staying in the hotel. It was so much fun to be a part of the cake-cutting celebration at 5 in the morning when MS Dhoni and the team returned with the IPL 2023 trophy in tow.

First anniversary and many more

Just one year old, the hotel has been welcoming guests from around the world, including dignitaries, Bollywood personalities, and top-notch cricketers. This magnificent destination offers world-class service right down to the chauffeur-driven luxury cars for pick and drop and movement around the city. A fitness room, spa, and multiple dining options on-site ensure you have all the comforts and relaxation you desire. Without an iota of doubt, this one pushes the timeless spirit of innovation of the brand, several notches higher. I found it an ideal place for a stopover, for traveling for business or leisure.

NOTE – A slightly different and appended version of this write-up was published in Namaste Magazine.

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