The generous sprinkling of foreigners lounging in the tastefully-done lobby here is no coincidence - Mercure is a 4-star packaging all the frills of 'international standards'.
But a quick glance at the room tariffs and the extremely hospitable staff make you realise that you have actually made quite a discovery in a non-descript alley of Abids - a hotel that serves you exactly what you would want in your stay at a 4-star, at suprisingly kind tariffs.
Replete with Wi-Fi connectivity (charged extra), LCD TVs, minibars, tea/coffee makers, electronic safes and sleek bathrooms, the 82 rooms in the hotel exude understated elegance. The most basic of their offerings, the Standard Rooms, come with the afore-mentioned amenities, at Rs. 4,143.75 (with one Queen Bed) including taxes (at the time of writing in March, 2011).
Taking your comfort level a notch higher are the Privilege Rooms, which come with complimentary breakfasts, laundry, Wi-Fi, cocktails, 2 meeting rooms to use as you require, and even a secretary to ease your daily business affairs. They are priced at Rs. 4,656.25 (with one King Bed).
The Junior Suites are marginally larger than the Standard Rooms, with dining space, massage-chairs, iron-boards and large bathtubs as their exclusive features. They are priced at Rs. 5,655.63 (with 1 King Bed).
As much as it takes care of your accommodation needs, the Mercure also comes with 2 Meeting Rooms (each with a maximum capacity of 50 persons) and a Board Room (capacity - 25) for people who strictly mean business.
And if you're looking to entertain a larger group, the expansive Banquet Hall, which can accomodate 500 persons, comes to your rescue. All these rooms/halls come with modern audio-visual aids and projection screens.
The USP of the entire range, however, are the rooms tailor-made for differently-abled individuals. Looking at the low-level beds, bathroom fittings and other features that facilitate the physically-challenged, you cannot help but marvel at how much thought has been put into the concept and design.
So now that you are quiet snug in the rooms of your choice, the next in your list of concerns are the dining options on offer, and a major gripe (unless you are a vegeterian, of course) in this category is that the Mercure is an exclusively vegeterian hotel.
The hotel has one restaurant, the Abids Bistro, which boasts of an exhaustive lunch buffet (priced at Rs. 390), and Rajasthani, Awadhi and Thai delicacies as well (the highest price in the menu is Rs. 350). Right next to the bistro is a bar called the Scotch bar, which stocks all premium international liquor labels.
And just in case you have binged more than you should, then head straight to the adequately-equipped gym in the hotel to take care of your guilty conscience. If you need help in soothing your strained nerves after a day at work, then the spa-cum-saloon with steam and sauna baths can work wonders.
Mercure also has a pearls and jewellery shop if you want to take home a souvenir, and you can rely on the travel-desk to make your travel arrangements.
If you're grumbling about the absence of a swimming pool (which one of its higher-priced neighbours
is offering), just focus on the extra bulge in your pockets and be content.
In all, Mercure takes care of your business and pleasure in a smart way, with intelligent pricing, and luxury and hospitability that won't make you feel any less than a coveted guest.