Bangalore’s Terrace Gardens Guest House: good, but could be better

It is hard to imagine that there is a quiet corner in Bangalore just off MG Road, where you can get a bed and breakfast under the shade of a giant raintree. That place is Brunton Road Cross, connecting Primrose Road, and the B and B is Terrace Gardens Guest House.

The main unit of the guest house, which they call TG I, is located at the end of a sylvan avenue, with the most frequent sights being people walking their dogs on the footpath. The B and B itself is verdant, and colourful with a splash of assorted floral plants, displays of garden paraphernalia, hanging plants and so on.

I stayed there for two nights during Christmas week of 2009 in a deluxe A/C room, that cost Rs. 3,000 plus taxes for double occupancy (nett Rs. 3350 or about $ 72 US).

Terrace Gardens has apparently built its reputation on the “hanging gardens” that give it its name. This is certainly a charming feature of the guest house. Yet, we could not help noticing some fundamental issues that the management has handle, to become more tourist-friendly.

For one, the tariff is quite stiff in relation to the facilities that the rooms provide. We would have liked to see an electric kettle and some tea/dairy whitener sachets offered with compliments. This is generally the norm in mid-sized hotels in the country now.It is also essential because TG does not have a restaurant that is open except for breakfast and pre-ordered food. Where would guests go for a cup of tea?

The idea of charging heavily for mineral water bottles is not friendly at all. True, the management offers you plain water, but this is not an item on which you make a fat profit. We noted that everything in the food tray, which is an assortment of small eats, chocolates and mint lozenges, is priced, and not very attractively at that. Ditto for soft drink cans and water kept in the mini-bar. It would be good ethical practice to inform guests up front that all items in the room are for sale, rather than let them discover that later. Better still, put up a notice on the desk along with the food tray, that the items are priced.

Note that although the TG advertises availability of wi-fi internet, it is only at a charge. This needs to be free at a hotel in this price range.

Another point that badly needs attention is the quality of towels. Those that we got had been to the cleaners too many times, and had completed their useful lives many weeks ago.

Breakfast is good in quality and the ambience where it is served is nice. Here again, the management needs to widen its offering, though. Not everyone may relish oily pooris, high-carb toast and vadas. The wise thing would be to add oats, muesli and milk, fruit juice and fresh fruit (rather than print in bold in the room service literature that the TG does not serve fruit or fruit juice, indicating an impending health deficit for guests).

We were left wondering whether the TG I has a stand-by generator, based on our experience during a power outage. Perhaps it does. But do check. In summer, this would be a major issue given that Bangalore’s ambient temperature has been rising.

Barring these concerns, this is a nice place to stay in fair weather. Its location is very convenient to visit the main shopping areas of the city, such as Brigade Road and Commercial Street. The Blossoms bookshop on Church Street is also conveniently located nearby.

During our stay, we were greeted in the morning by the refreshing calls of a spotted dove, a green barbet and some Milvus migrans kites. In fact, on the first day, our first sighting was that of a raptor, a hawk, on the raintree. It is also a great place to take portrait pictures, against the floral backdrop, garden furniture and so on.

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