In November 2022, I visited the state of Odisha for the first time. Bhubaneshwar was my entry point. From the airport, we went straight to Puri for Lord Jagannath Ji’s darshan. From there, we visited Pipli, Chilika lake, Raghurajpur and Konark. In the last leg of the journey, I touched upon the capital and the largest city of the state. For my stay, I chose Welcomhotel by ITC Hotels, Bhubaneswar, which is an year old and is one of the premium hotels in the capital city. I spent 2 days and 1 night there and I am glad I could include it in my itinerary. Now coming to the capital city, one day is just not enough to learn about its age-old history, thousands of temples and lots of Kalingan architecture but I am glad I touched upon it to get acquainted with it for the first time. In one day, I visited Lingaraja Temple, Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves, and met Sudarshan Sahoo ji, an eminent stone sculptor from Odisha at his museum. The stay turned out to be very comfortable, the hotel’s cozy and inviting vibe set the right note and the food experiences turned out to be more than my expectations. I wholeheartedly indulged in its various restaurants but the Odia thali or the WelcomSthalika (regional treat) stood out from the rest. WelcomSthalika is an exquisite thali (platter), an assortment of delicacies that acquaints the guest with the Odia cuisine in the most palatable way. The preparations were the finest and the combination of the various items on the thali were the best mix. It was hard not to drool over the food before eating it. The Odia flavours are subtle, not very spicy, not even too greasy and yet the food is quite enjoyable. And I still crave their sweet lassi or ‘Dahi Pana’. It is different from Amritsari or Varanasi Lassi, made from nuts, coconut and curd. Everything about the platter was delicious!
Overall, I was very impressed by the hotel, from the moment I walked in to the moment I checked out. The service, staff, food and the decor were all superb. Every small detailing made the difference. My favorite parts of the hotel decoration would be the spectacular pot installations/structures inspired by the pots in the kitchen of Lord Jagannath Temple.
Read More – My 4 days Itinerary for Odisha
The Hotel and My room
Welcomhotel by ITC Hotels, Bhubaneswar opened during the pandemic in the latter part of the year 2021. It was fully functional in 2022. It is build over huge space, with more than 100 rooms and sprawling gardens. There are two noticeable things about it – the architecture and the interior décor. Together, they are a perfect blend of modern and old. The sculptures at the entrance, the stone carvings are inspired by the Odia history and the interiors/lightings in the rooms as well as restaurants are very modern. The common spaces have a very luxurious feeling about the hotel.
My room was spacious, well lit and modern in its appeal. I would say it was effortlessly stylish. The dressing area inside the washroom was the best part. Large comfortable beds with crisp sheets and a good pillow are something that I always lookout for. And I always appreciate the ecofriendly toothbrush and comb in the Welcomhotels as part of their responsible luxury initiative. Rather, I have been using one that I had opened an year ago at WelcomHotel Katra and I carry it everywhere. Nothing could be more ecofriendly than carrying your own toothbrush and toiletries. Why open a new packet in every hotel? The room also had a elegant working table, smart TV with satellite channels, minibar, coffee maker, and enough storage space with safes. It meets the needs of both kinds of travellers, business and leisure.
I was not able to use the other services but the hotel has a full-service spa, 24 hours open gym and an outdoor pool as well.
This picture aptly speaks about the strikingly contemporary restaurant, paying homage to the creative and cultural heritage of the state of Odisha. The entire hotel is blended with modern/trendy as well as traditional style and amenities. The elongated structures near the walls depict the pots of Lord Jagannath temple. In the kitchen of the temple, nine earthen pots are placed and cooking is done simultaneously.
Read more – The temple kitchen of Lord Jagannath
4 Restaurants and the Food
If I am not sleeping or exploring the city, I like spending my time in the in-house cafes and restaurants. Welcomhotel by ITC Hotels, Bhubaneswar has four modern, state-of-the-art, beautifully decked up eating places. WelcomeCafe is main dining arena which is operational all day. This one serves dishes from across India and other countries. Also, the place is quite popular for it local Odia offerings. This is where I had WelcomSthalika during lunch and was bowled over with the platter and all the effort gone into making the preparations.
I also had my breakfast here. Breakfast is usually my favorite meal of the day and I love variety. There were enough choices. Also, you must not miss the Odia delights- Dahi Vada Aloo Dum, Ghungni and Chakuli to learn more about Odisha. The staff members were very polite. I also loved the paintings and the traditional Odia décor in here.
The second restaurant is Peshawri. If you have not visited it yet, what are you waiting for? For the cuisine of the North-West Frontier, this one is the best. Also, if you are missing the Northern flavours, this is the place. You have to be here if you like kebabs, rich curries, grills and tandoors. They are very particular about the spices, cooking style, presentations. The methods of cooking, the serving style and the taste is almost the same in every Peshawri restaurant in India. This one did complete justice in Bhubaneshwar. In fact, more than once, I was reminded of Bukhara in Delhi. The food here is absolutely delectable. And I loved it for thoughtful touches, friendly service and impeccable taste.
The third one is Swizzle for finger food and drinks. It is very attractive lobby bar. The décor is very appealing and I totally loved the artsy lamps and lights. This is the place to gang up and chill with friends. And last but not the least, there is Sunbean Cafe for the coffee lovers. With lots of natural light coming in and cool vibes, this is the place where you may pair your cozy coffee with finger food and short bites.
Every corner of the hotel has its own sophisticated appeal at par with WelcomHotels. I really enjoyed the food and I must congratulate the kitchen staff for being pro at their work. Also, I not only indulged in my meals but also enjoyed my conversations around food. I learned a lot from Mr. Animesh.
All the amazing food that we had at Peshawri WelcomHotel by ITC Hotels, Bhubaneshwar
When ITC Hotels had launched their Bento Box, I had absolutely loved the concept. And it is so good to see that WelcomHotel has also adapted to the Bento Box concept to go with its zero-waste policy. One can enjoy gourmet cuisines, indulging in a number of delicacies and without wasting food. This box is a perfect meal for one person.
I loved eating it in WelcomHotel by ITC Hotels, Bhubaneshwar. I am so glad Chef Animesh made it possible.
USP of Welcomhotel Bhubaneswar
- We chose it because it is hardly 15-20 mins drive from the airport.
- It is newly built and I like to explore new hotels.
- I love good food during my vacations and a video from Rocky and Mayur assured me that I wouldn’t be disappointed here. I was impressed rather.
- If you follow my travels, you would know I often go for hotels under the ITC brand. I support responsible luxury and vouch for their breakfast spread.
- The hotel helps in arranging your tours around the city and to the Golden Triangle as well. They helped us with our visit to the caves and the Lingaraja Temple.
- The staff is very friendly and helpful.
“Odisha is one of the best kept secrets of India.” The statement stands true in many ways. I had a four nights itinerary but I had some of the best experiences there.
Note : My 1 night stay at the hotel was a collaboration with WelcomHotel but my views are absolutely personal.