The ever-clamorous Lakdi-ka-Pul has always been a hotel haven, with some of the foremost giants like Dwaraka
calling it home for around half-a-century (and still going strong), and Central Court
and Peppermint adding more recently to the area's hotel lore. Following suit and taking luxury hotel experience to a new level, is Hampshire Plaza.
The facade is a brilliantly-lit Georgianesque white, and one step inside transports guests into a world that manages to contrast starkly with the neighborhood's deteriorating silhouettes and hyper-modern new constructions. The lobby is as grand as it is subdued, with its traditional European decor and gleaming travertine marble flooring only made glossier by the lights, plush sofas alluring guests to take a plunge, and vases with decorative shrubs. The lobby extends to the restaurants: Bombay Palace, Cassia, and the lounge bar / nightclub HYDrate.
The one thing that first caught my eye is the restaurant Bombay Palace, which no question is India's culinary ambassador spreading the message across the United States, Canada and Europe. It was my personal go-to Indian restaurant abroad with its under 15-dollars buffet which is a rage, ideal also for businessmen who want to get back to the office in under an hour, well-fed.
This is a first for Hampshire - to have gotten the globally-renown Indian restaurant to India, and to Hyderabad. Indian food aside, there's a multi-cuisine restaurant that also doubles up as a coffee shop offering a vast array of divine food, calling itself Cassia. And Hampshire struts its draft and malt savvy with a bibulous array of wines, ale, malts and cognacs made complete by crafty commeliers and helpful bartenders. Late, after 10 pm that is, this drinking oasis transforms into a hip, frenzied nightclub with glitzy lighting, and jiving music manned by a DJ.
Hampshire Plaza's innovative and hip accommodation spanning 100 exquisitely-furnished rooms and suites can spoil you like no other. All rooms are equipped with electronic key cards, electronic safes, irons and iron boards, flat screen TVs, personal weighing scales and hairdryers, and are outfitted with individually controlled air-conditioning & Wi-Fi connectivity (chargeable).
Each room typically has glossy marble flooring with an oversized fluffy-linened bed, and French windows giving an enjoyable vantage point of the bustling Lakdi-ka-Pul. Art-deco furniture adorns the rooms, with slick tables, chairs and controlled lighting. The bathrooms are a tad small, though - they have a showering space, a toilet and a rather sleek sink.
For the discerning few for whom suites are the only place to stay, there are spacious, upper-echelon living spaces, each one with a living room and a bedroom, with swanky furniture effortlessly matching each room, two LCD TVs, a minibar, and oak parquetry.
The one state-of-the-art convenience in suites that's truly top-end, making Hampshire a standout, is the Massage Chair, to relieve its classy guests of stress and fatigue. Being innovation personified, the hotel also offers its exclusive guests customized bathrobes with their names on it!
Also, the suite dwellers have same-floor check-in and check-out, besides same-floor complimentary breakfast, which is as innovative as it's invitingly hospitable. To add to the mystique, there's a stunningly minimalist lounge adjacent to the business center, with crushing high-backed, off-white leathered chairs embodying art-deco, and elegant glass cocktail tables ideal to while the time away sipping exotic cocktails.
The hotel doesn't have a pool, which is understandable for a Lakdi-ka-Pul luxury hotel fighting for space in all that occlusion. Hampshire still makes a valiant effort to be big in every detail, and it does an admirable job at that. Stellar, friendly service makes it all feel - if not look - like home.