Explore Bengaluru, India’s High-Tech Center, With a Local ConciergeBy Malavika Bhattacharya
In the heart of Bangalore’s tech district, the smart Sheraton Grand Bengaluru Whitefield Hotel & Convention Center is surrounded by numerous IT and international company offices. This means the newly minted hotel is conveniently located for all manner of visitors, including business travelers.
The property’s Assistant Front Office Manager, Eric Mathew, feels especially connected with the property as he played an integral part in the hotel’s launch. A Bangalore resident for six years, Mathew strives to ensure that guests take home the best memories of his city and the Sheraton Grand.
What do you love about your role in the front office? What inspires you to exceed guests’ expectations?
“When I see guests leave the hotel with a smile on their face, share positive feedback and write emails of appreciation, I feel like I’ve done my job well. I enjoy interacting with guests and surprising them with gestures that they don’t expect.”
What are some unexpected things you’ve done to surprise your guests?
“Our opening in April  was great. We had a traditional Indian welcome for our first guests. There was a dhol [vibrant drumming accompanied by dancing] with aarti and teeka [flower garlands, lamps and a sandalwood dot on the forehead].
Some of the guests joined in the dancing, as well. They were not expecting such a grand welcome. When we showed them around the rooms and the hotel, I felt very proud that our months of hard work had paid off.
When a guest checks out, we give them a ‘fond farewell.’ We take pictures with our guest and share these with them along with a pastry cake and a little note. It’s a nice memory that they can take back.”
You must receive some unpredictable requests. How do you accommodate them?
“We once had a guest who was 7 feet tall and needed a longer bed. At Sheraton, we promise a great sleep, so we arranged a specially assembled extension to his bed. When we walked him to his room, he was thrilled and said that other places had not been able to cater to his request of a longer bed. It was the first time we received such a request, and I’m happy that we were able to satisfy our guest.
We also once had a guest with a gluten allergy. At breakfast, we asked him his preferences and then our chef made up a takeaway basket for him with his meals for the day, which he could eat at the office. He hadn’t asked for this, and he was so surprised and touched.”
What do you recommend guests do on the property to unwind?
“On a weekend afternoon, I suggest that guests unwind by the poolside. They can sunbathe, have a drink and relax in the cabanas, which are especially nice during the day. There’s a separate pool for children, as well.
After a long workday, if a guest is looking to relax, I suggest a drink at the Chime bar. They specialize in gin cocktails and food pairings.
The food at our hotel is really good. I would suggest a booking at Upper Cut, our barbecue and grill dinner restaurant.”
Do you have any personal favorite spots in the hotel?
“There’s a pastry counter in the lobby, which I love. You can have chocolates, breads, cutlets, pastries, which are freshly made every morning, in-house.
I’m a foodie, and I love Chinese food. I think the food at InAzia, our Pan-Asian restaurant, is excellent. The spa has many relaxing treatments — the Thai treatments are very popular.”
What are your favorite things to do in the area and in the city?
“My favorite shopping spot is Phoenix Marketcity, a huge shopping mall, which is around 4 miles away. I love Chinese food, like I said, so I’d recommend a number of Chinese restaurants in the city: China Pearl and Mainland China in Koramangala. For a night out, I’d suggest a beer at Toit, a popular local brewery, or a drink at the Skyye rooftop bar. If guests want to go to these bars, we book them a table and ensure that someone greets them there.
Bangalore is culturally rich. If guests are interested in local culture, I’d suggest the peaceful Bull Temple or Nandi Temple, and also the ISKCON temple. On a free day, I’d recommend going to Nandi Hills for the sunrise. It’s quite far, but the views are beautiful, and it’s best to go early. It’s also a nice spot to catch the sunset.”