Overlook the very bourgeoisie Tank Bund road
that sits on its fancy fringes; like most ritzy hotels, the Hyderabad Marriott And Convention Centre (the erstwhile Viceroy Hotel) is not for 'pedestrian' traffic, pun intended.
To begin with, the cobble-stoned path connecting the main gate to its rather unimpressive entrance has been macadamized for the gently rolling tyres of a corporate-driven Mercedes Benz, not for those who don Kohlapuri slippers. As for ladies sporting spiked heels, they will simply have to brave the crossing (and later perhaps, foot the hefty bill, equally bravely).
Once inside the modestly-sized lobby (the lounge is open for meals and serves exquisite gourmet coffee) and about the hotel, you observe, once again, that the Hyderabad Marriott is similar to its revered counterparts in the hospitality industry. It bears all the usual signatures; let us commence with the small gift shop situated on the same level as the lobby.
It houses a meager collection of costly coffee-table books, as well as exotic artifacts (Hyderabad's famous lac glass bangles, a pictorially beautified hukka and imported tea canters are some of them) carefully selected for - and purchased by those - with a discerning eye and a fat bank balance, usually foreigners (of whom Hyderabad Marriott seems to have no dearth of).
Stroll through the gleaming, off-white and brown marbled foyer towards Okra
, the "city's culinary theatre", and you will encounter more foreign faces, briskly consuming meals fit for royalty, round-the-clock.
The aroma of freshly powdered doughnuts lingers teasingly on your senses before a flash of blue from outside interrupts, beckoning you - the poolside, which sits in the shadow of this 7-storied building, presents a serene picture, while the pool itself is rather shallow at approximately 4 feet.
On the other side of this same level lies the super-expensive Bidri, the Indian cuisine restaurant open exclusively for dinner. Bidri, with its dark interiors, wide chairs and lac bangle napkin-rings, reeks of sophistication.
Gain a high at the Bridge Bar, facing the Hussain Sagar Lake
at a higher level. Or pound the treadmills lining the black-marbled floors of the Lakeview Fitness Centre on the top floor, with Hyderabad lying sprawled beneath. Adjacent to it is The Club House, the executive lounge, where guests with extra privileges can down an all-American breakfast with a breath-taking, full-frontal view of the Hussain Sagar, complete with bobbing sailboats, and beyond.
Also in alignment with other plush hotels, Hyderabad Marriott, like Novotel
at Hi-Tec City, is in the midst of constructing a spa on its premises.
In all its indistinct glory, there are some things about Hyderabad Marriott that nevertheless stand out as unmistakably Marriott - the trademark muted brown stone that makes up the building, and the neutral-colored, well-furbished bedrooms (there are 297 of them) among them.
Hyderabad Marriott is, overall and surprisingly, somewhat less grand than the other 5-star properties in Hyderabad. One reason for this may be that it has not been developed as a luxury property, like athe Taj Krishna
. Hyderabad Marriott is a business property. (The first-floor is littered with business centres, while the massive, state-of-the-art Convention Centre
is one of the city's best).
Another may be that the Hyderabad Marriott has been re-designed largely vertically. Frugal horizontal development, by way of vast lawns etc, makes it seem much smaller than it perhaps is. However, in all likelihood, this will change in the near future. The hotel is literally going to expand its wings; the adjoining plot of land is a crater on the threshold of activity...