Mrs. Bronson’s Guesthouse

Located at the ‘West End’ of the Bangalore Cantonment, in the year 1887, Mrs. Bronson’s 10-room boarding house was the goto place for the Upper Class Officers of the British Residency for a taste of home. If the rooms were all taken, one could find solace in the fine dining experience that the place dished out to the Officers and Ladies.

Times changed. Mrs. Bronson’s guesthouse grew, the ownership changed hands, it was re-christened as the West End Hotel. Currently the 23 acre property with its 7 blocks of 117 rooms is looked after and managed by the Taj Hotels and is called the Taj West End. While green spaces are rapidly diminishing in Bangalore, this property is one of the few oases of foliage. The hotel blocks are nestled beneath the canopies of many grand trees like the gulmohars, banyans and rain trees.

While walking through the property I found myself taking deep breaths unconsciously, like as if my body needed to take in all the clean air as was possible before stepping out into the heat and dust and pollution!

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The first and oldest block, and below, its covered verandah. This block now functions as a spa.

The hotel has hosted many well known people in its 130+ years’ history. World Presidents, Prime Ministers, Royalty, Actors, Painters, Scientists, Kings & Princes, have all called it home, some for a few days and some others for a few decades!

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Facade of the Tata Suite duplex block – for the exclusive use of heads of state
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The Bollywood movie “Coolie” starring Amitabh Bachchan was shot in this block. Dame Peggy Ashcroft stayed in this Hotel during the shooting of David Lean’s ‘A Passage to India’.
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The Prince of Wales Lawns commemorates the 1991 visit and stay of Prince Charles at the hotel
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Nobel Laureate Sir Ronald Ross who discovered the cause of Malaria called the “West End’ home for a certain length of time
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The second oldest block
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The monkey top window that was typical Bangalore architecure was seen in Mrs. Bronson’s boarding house and the theme has been carried on and used in the blocks that came up subsequently (see below).

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The hotel boasts of an art corridor with works of famous Indian artistes, if you fancy any artwork on display, you can buy it!
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The history corridor has pictures related to the evolution of the hotel in its 125 years of existence
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A functional India Post Box with a history of its own can be found outside the hotel lobby!
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The quaint little Muneshwara Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is supposed to have been in existence from even before the hotel. According to legend, a Jamun tree that fell on the temple split in two leaving the temple intact. The hotel staff believe in the power of the residing diety and his ability to make wishes come true. I prayed that Bangalore goes back to being the Garden City that it used to be. I hope my wish comes true….

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