Once called the Taj Residency Hyderabad, in line with its similarly named siblings in other cities, the Taj Deccan comfortably manages to cater to the suited visitor hallowed with a blooming business, as well as the looted visitor hollowed with a booming family. Its secretarial service and finely equipped business center make sure of the former, while its lawns and gardens take care of the latter.
The erstwhile Holiday Inn became a part of the Taj Group in 2000, and has managed to reshape its mental image, from that of a hotel with hammocks, cocktail umbrellas and lazy late-morning breakfasts, to that of a value-for-money top star hotel.
The soul of the auberge, however, has a hint of the wild and the untamed in it. The essence of this spirit is driven home, made tangible, even touchable, by the huge IMAX screen sized sculpture of half-a-dozen wild horses prancing around and being just that. Wild.
Bringing to life the works of the painter Aziz, this paneling inside the hollow center of the 4-5 storey hotel, is truly the custodian of its spirit. Meaning, its not like Buckingham Palace where everything works like clockwork. Nor is it like the streets of Italys, where clocks dont work at all. Its more like a Buckingham Palace inside Italy, where things would work efficiently, but theres no escaping the carefree spirit that fills the atmosphere. Lets put it this way. If hotels wore clothes, this would be the best in Friday Dressing.
All right then. Down to the wooden flooring. 35 standard rooms, for around Rs. 8,000 for someone single. 58 Residency rooms for around Rs 9,500, and 48 Premium Residency rooms. 5 Junior Suites come for Rs. 12,000 each, while the 4 available Deluxe Suites will cost you Rs. 25,000 a room. The unique Presidential Suite comes with a price tag of Rs. 35,000. Cheap. Peanuts. Hey there banker, got some extra cash?
The hotel has three dining areas / watering holes. The first is the Paradise Lounge, the 24-hour coffee shop cum international eatery. This occupies the hollow center that we spoke about, and looks up on the Aziz. A few of the Italian fares promise an interesting engagement. The lounge is a few feet below floor level, walled in with curvaceous paneling. Were it not for the sofas and the tables, you could easily overlook it as some fancy indoor swimming pool.
The next to tease your palette is the Blue Flower
. This is the sit-down lunch & dinner service, which has a heavy bias towards North-West Frontier Province cooking. Meaning Murgh. Mind you, it's not just any chicken... its Murgh. There is a lot of difference in what comes to mind between the expressions in the two languages. A Murgh by any other name, doth NOT taste as good.
A lunch or a dinner here can cost around Rs. 550 plus taxes. If you fought in the Vietnam war and liked the food while you were out there, you could try out some more of it right here. Not the war, the food. In case you didnt fight in the Vietnam war, and missed the chance to try their food, you could try that here, too. Again, not the war, just the food.
Then comes a favorite, the Atrium Bar
. Cozy and uncrowded, it comes with unmatched personalized service, the works. Did I forget the liquor? And liquor. The menu reads out, and I quote, "A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine ~ Louis Pasteur". The menu also reads out the following: Dom Perignon (Rs. 25,000), Chablis (Rs. 5,500), Beaujolais Villages (Rs. 3,000). Aperitifs like Campari, Sherry, Port and Vermouth come at Rs. 395. The usual blended and single malt whiskies are available along with the usual fares, and the popular cocktails.
However, if you think that the menu is the be all and end all of Atrium, then "by eggs and by bacon, youre sadly mistaken." In the even chance that you dont find something to tickle your fancy, ask for bartender Laxman. No relation to Rama, this Laxman did spend some time on an island, though. An island by the name of Maldives.
After mixing drinks at this hungovers hangout, hes been doing the tcha-tcha-tcha at this place for 7 years now, and is an absolute authority on mixing and matching. Once this bartender comes over for a chat, he will ask you to challenge him to make absolutely anything you please, in the full faith that it will taste excellent.
For non-residents, there is membership available to the fitness centers and the swimming pool. There are many types of membership, with prices ranging from Rs. 28,500 for single, to Rs. 83,200 for corporate membership. Includes steam room, showers, massage room (extra), gym, jacuzzi and swimming pool.
So, whether you're hallowed or hollowed, or, even better, both, you can take a call on Taj Deccan.