S Hotel J P Nagar Bangalore India review

I stayed at the S Hotel for a week during January 2009. As I was unable to find any reviews, I thought that it might be helpful to post a review of my time there. Not to mention that this is a shameless attempt to get traffic to my blog.

The room was nice, just as it appeared on the web site. It was a little stuffy though, and the fact that there were no non-smoking rooms was unfortunate (the room had the smell of smoke). The only window opened to a ventilation shaft.

The bathroom was also nice, though the biggest problem with the room was that there was no hot water beyond a certain hour. I only found hot water between 19:00 and midnight; there was certainly no hot water in the morning.

The staff were always very friendly, if not always too capable. One receptionist never seemed to understand anything I wanted, with the other on shift always coming over eventually to help. I asked for a wakeup call every morning. The first morning it was 20 minutes early, a couple of times it never came at all. I think it was on time twice.

The breakfast was not bad, though it got a little monotonous. At least my situation was better because I ate the Indian food. It seemed that there was even less of a selection of Western food.

The location of the hotel was reasonable for me, though only because it was close to my work. It was quite a long drive from the center of town to the hotel in the evening; site seeing wouldn't be easy from the hotel.

Driving in Bangalore

The full chaos of driving in Bangalore has to be experienced to be believed.

First of all, there's the use of the horn. I arrived at 2 in the morning. The streets we drove along to the hotel were quite empty. But my driver still constantly honked his horn. They do it as they approach intersections, where ever pedestrians may be considering crossing or other cars might want to merge. Or even for no discernible reason. There is constant honking.

Next, is keeping high beams on most of the time. This is for lit city streets when there is oncoming traffic!


Another thing is the use of speed bumps. They seem to be everywhere; small streets or major roads, you never know when you might encounter a speed bump (though they are evidently marked well because my drivers always managed to slow down before reaching them).


But the main thing is the matter of right of way; the concept doesn't seem to exist. Drivers are not so much aggressive as simply unwilling to give the right of way unless they are forced to.


At first glance, it would seem that this is similar to how driving is done in Israel. I think that one of the main differences is that Indian drivers cut it a lot closer than Israeli ones. So in India stopped cars will merge into flowing traffic in cases where in Israel it would cause other drivers to panic and slow down or stop. Fortunately, speeds are bit slower than in Israel, so it is easier to avert accidents.


Not giving right of way is also very much felt when stopped in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Each car, auto-rickshaw and motorcycle driver feels that he must go forward as far as possible. Even if this means blocking cross streets while the way forward is completely blocked with no progress in sight.

Dinner, Day 6

Vegetarian Biryani (if I'm not mistaken)
Vegetarian Biryani (if I'm not mistaken)

Lunch, Day 5

The guys I was trained in Bangalore took me out for lunch. We went to a restaurant in a mall.

Buffet lunch
Buffet lunch
Washing bowl
After meal snack

Quiet night street

Quiet night street
Originally uploaded by daver667
I took this on the street my hotel was on.

Something strange I've noticed

There are lots of stray dogs on the street. NO stray cats that I've seen. The opposite of what you see in Israel. I wonder why?

Dinner, day 3

Last night I took a picture of the menu at the local restaurant I've been having dinner at (Chaithanya Cafe). This came in very handy; instead of being reduced to pointing at someones plate (as I did yesterday), with the help of google I was able to choose something that appealed to me. And after getting a little bored with the Indian food I've been having, tonight I picked a winner: malai kofta. Delicious!

For desert, I went to a sweets shop and got 3 different kinds (again, complete with edible tin foil). Being steeped in syrup, they reminded me of baklava. It was quite good; the long brick was the best.

Security in Bangalore

I thought security was tight in Israel. Here in Bangalore, I've seen a few of these (at my hotel and at the EMC campus): mirrors to see that there are no bombs planted on the bottom of a car. I was told that these are new, only appearing since the terrorist attack last month in Mumbai.

Dinner, Day 2

More southern Indian food. Paper masala dosa. Inside is a kind of vegetable stew (very thick).

Insistent room attendant

At around 19:00 an attendant comes to the room to make the room ready for the night. The first night I guess I was more firm in telling him that I didn't need anything -- he didn't come in the room.

Yesterday he kept gesturing to different things he wanted to attend to and I let him in the room. I kept on telling him that he didn't need to do any of his tasks: replacing any used towels (though there were unused spares), laying out the slippers, rearranging and fluffing up the pillows. After a while, I figured that at least I could get some pictures.

Dinner, day 1

Good news: there is hot water! This hotel is improving.

I just returned from dinner. I asked the reception if they knew any Indian restaurants in the area I could try. They directed me to a "international cuisine" restaurant and said that there were no Indian restaurants in the area for me. Luckily, I was able to find a nice one quite near the place they directed me to. I'll have to wait until tomorrow to see if they were right that there was no Indian place nearby for me :-)

The place was full of locals eating all kinds of dinners. Fortunately, there was a menu in English. Of course it would have been more helpful if the menu had pictures as I'm not exactly familiar with Indian food options. But I could choose the Northern Indian food, and after someone helpfully explained that the cashier asked if I wanted to have a dali(?) (i.e. bread and bowls of curries) I got this:

The food was good. The only problem was eating it solely with my right hand (because I understand that it is rude to eat with your left one). I ended up eating both rotis, but leaving a lot of the curries because I wasn't able to mop them up. It is especially hard to tear off a piece of roti using only one hand, though I saw people there doing it very nicely. Eating the rice with my hand was definitely interesting. I was sure messy though! Lots of good food was wasted :-).

Sightseeing in Bangalore

I spent my one day off around in Bangalore with an Indian friend of mine named Vikram.

He took me to the main shopping and eating areas of Bangalore. We then joined up with a friend of his who took us to the main architectural sites of the city.

Pictures here.

Breakfast, day 1

I just had the "south Indian" breakfast. The service was "full service", not buffet. After I got to the table I took my plate and wandered a little, looking for the food. They told me they'd bring it to me.

One funny thing that happened during the meal was that a waiter stood a meter from me, facing me. Attending to me I guess. I managed to ignore him and eat my meal.

* Spiced buttermilk (which had seeds, green chili pepper slices and curry leaves)
* Idly
* Vada
* Sambar and Chutney (the chutney was a coconut chutney; very spicy and delicious!)

These are all shown in the picture here (from Wikipedia -- tomorrow I'll be bringing my camera to breakfast)

Actually, the menu says that there is a choice of either idly or dosa. So I lucked out when the waiter asked me if I wanted dosa and brought it when I said yes.

And this is what was inside the dosa.

The coffee was with tons of milk.

Arrival in Bangalore India

After flying all the way to Frankfurt for a connecting flight (multiplying my travel time by roughly 3), I arrived in Bangalore at 1:30 (AM).

I was told that I would be picked up by a driver from my hotel. At first glance, I wasn't able to find him. But after withdrawing some money from an ATM machine I went and looked for the driver again, and this time I saw the sign for me.

The ride over was pretty uneventful (though it is unsettling to be on the left side of the road, even just as a passenger). The route we took seemed to be going around in circles, but we got here eventually. We managed to pass by some big modern buildings, though on the whole the buildings we passed were low, mean and quite dilapidated. Things built wily nily.

Once at the hotel, I immediately went to take a shower. As you can see from the picture, I won't be soaking too much in the tub :-). Unfortunately, there was no hot water! Oh well. At least it was not freezing cold. And the most important thing at the hotel is working: I have WiFi to connect to the internet. So I'll manage.

That's all for now. I'm going to rest up for my one day of seeing some sights in the city tomorrow.