ITC Luxury Collection's eleventh hotel, ITC Grand Bharat is a confluence of various Indian architecture styles and movements.
Set amidst the ancient Aravali hills and located 45 kms from New Delhi, the ITC Grand Bharat jumps a few notches over ITC Hotels´ ethos of ´responsible luxury´ - this mint-fresh resort epitomises ´unhurried luxury´. Sprawled over a 1.2 sq km estate, the hotel with 100 suites, 4 presidential villas and a 27-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course looks straight out of an Indo-Saracenic archi-tecture textbook. Bearing striking resemblance to the Laxmi Vilas Palace in Baroda, ITC Grand Bharat pulls out of history the nearly-forgotten gems of Indian architecture. Built over 4 years and 8 months and designed by the US-based firm Archiventure Group the property is replete with capitals, domes, frescoes and plinths, intricately carved stones, regal pavilions, rambling courtyards, and gurgling fountains.
Paint me Pink
A long curved driveway leads into the porch from where begins the dominance of locally sourced pink sandstone. There is no anomalous colour palette in the façade - the blue of the water body and the insignia offer a harmonious contrast to the mellow sandstone. The doors are dark engineered wood while flooring ranges from Rajasthan, Italian marble to engineered wooden planks. The verandah is circled with thick sandstone columns and lit by black mesh lamps. Low-hanging metal fans whirr incessantly and on the tables lie dainty brass figurines of musicians, deer, tabla and tanpura.
Every small design detail in ITC Grand Bharat is a confluence of myriads of Indian architectural styles and movements. The main entrance to the hotel block resembles the famous ´torana´ (arched gateway) of the Muktesvara Deula of Bhubaneshwar. Hints of Odishan temple architecture are evident in the central dome over the atrium as well as all other domes. The elevations, the capitals on columns over the pavilions and their detailing borrow heavily from Gujarat´s Adalaj stepped well while glimpses of the Varanasi ghats are obvious in The Yamuna, a waterbody that hems the residential blocks. The area that houses 100 suites and 4 villas resembles the layout of old cities with narrow lanes cutting at right angles.
Beyond the hardened glass door lies Sangam, the ornate lobby, which is symbolic of the meeting of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati, rivers. There are eight pillars that signify the eight stages of life as indicated in the Vedas. Glass vases sit on a wooden table and the floor is covered with a red/blue floral carpet. Sangam´s beauty lies in the three-storey high dome with the hand painted Tree of Life. Red, pink and green floral motifs are painted on a golden background. The floor has beige marble squares rimmed with dark brown borders with black flowers on white squares at each right angle.
In ITC Grand Bharat, each restaurant has distinct décor. The Peacock Bar is all blue and turquoise. A large peacock is carved in a wooden jaali; bright glass chips are pieced together as large peacock feathers for the bar wall; teardrop lamps and silk cushions share the turquoise of a peacock. The ´India Room´ is ornate with loads of blue and gold while the ´Aravali´ has mellow grass green cushions, white table cloths with creeper embroidery and marble flooring with black diagonal lines interspersed with white squares. The walls of The Sandpit in Country Clubhouse have Mughal paintings while the boardrooms have blown-up replicas of ancient Indian currency postage stamps. A marble staircase with iron balustrade leads to the top floor.
The 70 sq m suites have marble and rich engineered wooden flooring interspaced with hand tufted carpets. The four 545 sq m Presidential suites are inspired by the four great Indian dynasties - Mauryas, Marathas, Mughals and Cholas. There´s Maratha wood carvings, Mughal marble cusped archways and cove ceilings, pediment inspiration of the Cholas, and decorative stone motifs of the Mauryas. Even with so many architectural influences and styles spanning centuries, surprisingly, no design element at ITC Grand Bharat seems anomalous or discordant. Each brick, every colour, every stone fits in harmoniously in this ITC Luxury Collection hotel.
Architects: Archiventure Group,
PC Architects Denver, Colorado
Lead Architect: James D. Nordlie, AIA
Lead Designer: Rebecca Kenny
ITC Grand Bharat, P.O Hasanpur, Tauru, Mewat, Gurgaon, Haryana 122 105.
Tel: 01267 285 500.