Mar 30, 2015

Boutique and Mid-segment Hotels, Bangalore

Continuing my series on hotels of Bangalore, this post is on boutique hotels and mid segment hotels in Bangalore. There was a time in 2007-08 when accommodation prices rose up to Rs20,000 a night. There was a severe scarcity of good hotels and accommodation facilities in the just emerging high tech city Bangalore then. Industrial sector had slowed down a bit, but the rush to city for new business ventures never slowed. Add to that there is tremendous increase in quality of specialized fields in treatment of ailments. Hotel industry of Bangalore has judged this requirement well and has done well to utilize this opportunity to expand its wings.

Hotel operators are expanding their business and developing new concepts to compete and thrive in this field. One new concept that is gaining popularity and demand is the boutique hotels in Bangalore that exude quality. These are exclusive property both in the heart of the city as well as in the peripherals that cater to different budget segments of client. They offer exceptional level of services at premium rates. There is a good combination of affordable luxury and home comfort and also combining state-of-the-art business and recreational facilities in a boutique hotel setting. Boutique hotels in Bangalore, I find are unique in character. They are distinctively charming, while some are quirky, cutting-edge, and some trendy, some others funky or classic; all characteristics cater to different interests of travelers. The hospitality industry sector of Bangalore has raised its standards just has the customers have varied their interests while traveling.

There has been a spurt in the number of branded mid segment hotels in Bangalore. For the past one year this sector has seen a significant growth partly due to the Centre extending the 'Tourist Visa on Arrival' scheme to Bangalore airport to foreigners arriving from 11 countries. So there is a good demand of good hotel rooms due to increase in inflow of tourists to the city. Multiple brands have mushroomed suiting different budgets of the travelers. Cost of rooms could be Rs.4000 to 8000 per night. Each hotel is distinct, meaning each offer different facility catering to different affordability level of the customer. The market which was earlier ruled and dominated by 5 star and luxury hotels is slowly giving way to mid segment hotels. The mid range hotels are as good as the luxury ones, only they differ in terms of size. A full fledged mid range hotel will have only 40 to 50 rooms compared to 300 to 400 rooms in luxury hotel. They take care to offer their uniqueness especially to the foreign business travelers and tourists so that brand loyalty remains and they return back again and again to only them.

Hotel bookings in Bangalore is now easy and pleasant experience. Whichever the hotel, one factor is common, they ensure your stay is relaxing and indulged with leisure, so that you emerge invigorated after your holiday or work related stay!

Mar 28, 2015

Faces of India - 206

Exams over, fun time now! His smile says it all. “Move aunty, else I may bang into you!" He was laughing away.

Faces of India, a series through which I intend to portray the various characters of my country whom I met during my travels. See more here.

Mar 26, 2015

A Morning in Meteora, Greece

Again a photo essay! I have taken so many pictures there and I want to share them with you here. I hope you are not bored with monastery photographs.

The morning of 29th Dec 2014 was spent clicking the glorious sights of Meteora. The sky exhibited huge contrasts in terms of color and brightness. At the east end it was blue and bright but the other end was dark and grey. Whatever the weather the Monasteries seemed to rule perched on the peaks! Photographers who did not want to miss the magic moment, the sunrise positioned themselves well at various locations.

(You can click on the pics to enlarge them.)

The westward sky that day, grey clouds threatening to rain any moment. St. Nikolaos Anapafsas Monastery.

The dead end? Motor-able road ended here  but there was a way for the trekkers.

This picture has 4 of the 6 monasteries. To your left bottom is the Roussanou Monastery, the one slightly above it with red roof is the St. Nikolaos Anapafsas Monastery, the topmost one is the Great Meteoron Monastery and the one to you right is the Varlaam Monastery.

SkyWatch Friday

Pen Drives: The Choices You Have

Once upon a time CDs and floppy disks were used, for temporary transfer of data from one device to another storage device. Well, they have almost disappeared from today's markets. The fast pace at which technology is developing that electronic gadgets and devices become outdated within months not even a year and sometimes within weeks too. The data storage device is one such device which has seen a huge leap in terms of capacity. It is estimated that the world's technological capacity to store information in analog and digital devices grew from less than 3 (optimally compressed) exabytes (1018bytes) in 1986, to 295 (optimally compressed) exabytes in 2007 doubling roughly every 3 years.

Why do we need a storage device? Usually they are used for back-up, or for permanent storage of important documents or for storing wonderful memories; obviously larger the capacity to store the better. CDs and floppy disks had this major disadvantage of ‘size’ factor. Pen drives have replaced these ancient storage devices; they are handy and pocket friendly. Companies have spoiled the consumers by flooding the market with innumerable brands, storage capacities, physical size and even looks. Name a purpose and there is not one but many to choose from wide range of branded pen drives for Indian consumers. Before you settle down for one you can consider studying the following factors:

What is the purpose of the device? What kind of matter is it required to store? Once the need criterion is fixed, you can decide storage capacity, transfer speed, compatibility and durability of it. Then have a study of the different brands offering these desired features. And finally you can have a look at its physical size and price.

Which brand? This question can bug you endlessly. The best option here would be to go by the buyers’ feedback on the brands. A happy customer gives honest opinions just as the disappointed ones. Browsing through some of these comments can help you judge the brands better. The various brands popular in India are: Microware, Sandisk, Transcend, HP, Sony, Toshiba, Xelectron, Kingston and Strontium Pen Drives

What should be the storage capacity? Well, you can buy a huge storage capacity device if your pocket permits you, but if you are the kind to invest money wisely then it is advisable to go for the needed capacity only. For simple activities like data transfer from one computer to another then a 8GB or 16GB devices would suffice. If you wish to store pictures and that too in RAW format you will have to go for huge storage capacities.

Other features. Transfer speed is an important factor to consider if you need to transfer files of huge size. More so if it is done on a daily basis. Here price factor can affect, cheap drives have transfer speeds of less than or around 1 MB per second. For a drive that would serve every purpose, you need to choose one that is 3.0 compatible. Size and looks: Today you can get funky looking pen drives in all ranges of storage capacity, size, color and design. Kids usually go by these factors while making a choice of storage device.

Mar 23, 2015

St. Stephen’s Monastery, Meteora, Greece

St. Stephen’s Monastery (nunnery) on the Holy rock of Saint Stefanos includes two cathedrals; the old 16th century chapel which was severely damaged during WWII and the consequent Greek Civil War, and the 18th century main cathedral that is dedicated to Saint Charalambos. It includes his holy relics (His head). The monastery was virtually abandoned till 1961. It was accidentally discovered in the plundered and ruined state by some herders. It got converted to a nunnery after that. The second cathedral is being frescoed by a modern artist, a hagiographer (a painter that specializes in the study of saints). There is a small museum which displays Aristotle’s works, robes, old bibles, cross and more. The nunnery is being run by around 30 nuns.

St. Stephen’s Monastery is the only monastery visible from the town Kalambaka. And for all pilgrims and tourists who can’t climb long flight of stairs, this monastery is a boon. The interiors are almost same in all monasteries. It is the easiest of the 5 to access with just a bridge to crossover. And since this is the easiest to access, this nunnery is the most crowded one too. It was hard to find space to stand in the gift shop and browse through the beautiful stuffs. I found the nuns here very helpful; one English speaking nun took all efforts to explain the story of these monasteries to us.

This monastery had ample space around it and they have maintained beautiful garden. They have good toilet facilities too. Tourists were spilling on to this place after touring the interiors. Amazing views of the cathedrals, view of Kalambaka town and the scenery all around. I am sure this monastery has the highest attendance of tourists; the nuns here know what makes tourists happy.!


View of Kalambaka town

Our World Tuesday