CHUMKI BHARADWAJ DISCOVERS THE CHARM OF A POST- MODERN HOTEL THAT SITS COMFORTABLY AMID OLD WORLD HYDERABAD
Maybe it’s because he’s Bhutanese that he exudes an infectious Zen charm that almost seduces you to surrender. Or is it just that I find myself appreciating the Buddhist concept of being aware of your oneness with the world and everything in it. Either way, as Sonam Zangpo’s healing hands get to work on my tired soles, my soul takes a vacation from the distractions and illusory conflicts of the material world. The resultant bliss lulls me into believing that I am tucked away in a Buddhist monastery savouring salvation, while I am actually simply vegetating on a spa bed in a city hotel in glorious Hyderabad.
Much of my masseuse friend’s fresh energy, vibrance and easy, yet efficient work style, mimics the Park Hyatt’s architectural and organisational vernacular. The modern, and spanking new, eight- story hotel, sits calmly amid the midmorning chaos of Hyderabad’s Banjara Hills. Clad in natural Madurai granite from South India, the clean and modern lines of the façade complement the shimmer of the abundant natural light bouncing off expansive glass.
It’s secured like a fortress, and has a remarkably short driveway for a hotel of this stature. It’s only when you enter that you get a sense of space and tamed grandeur. The atrium is dramatic, with wide open spaces, hemmed by tall columns, short plants and a sparkling water feature in the cen- tre with an island patisserie. The piece de résistance however is a giant 35- foot tall white, abstract John Portman sculpture. As with most abstract art, it is open to conjecture, making it a contemplative corner for the restful eye and restless brain.
The hotel has quite a few firsts to its credit. It is the first Park Hyatt property in India to feature Hyatt’s innovative residential- style meeting concept. Let’s not forget it is a business hotel. But, it tries its utmost, and quite successfully too, to avoid looking officious without compromising on efficiency. And the design concept follows this seamless philosophy. The meeting facilities are designed to reflect the entertainment areas in private homes. This unique concept translates into a pil-
lar- less ballroom that can be divided into three different spaces, a pre- function area, and seven meeting rooms, each equipped with the latest technology, high- speed internet access and audiovisual systems capable of being choreographed into small cordons according to the size of the event and number of people with a quiet privacy and home- like ambience.
It is also the first hotel in Hyderabad to offer 42 fully serviced luxury apartments, The Residence, with five- star facilities and amenities, including a complimentary fruit basket that boasts fare seen mostly in exotic farmers’ markets abroad or at best on an engaging food show on television.
The remaining 185 guestrooms and 24 Suites, located on the first six floors ( the 42 service apartments are parked on the uppermost floors which also houses a terrace garden to relieve the eye of the concrete load) are sized comfortably with a design aesthetic that’s more soothing than stunning. Each room offers an espresso machine as well as an iPod dock for the pernickety among us. While the facilities qualify, the layout is a tad quirky especially the bathing and vanity areas, which are split on either side of the corridor making it a little inconvenient and much too voyeuristic. After all, this ain’t the Caribbean.
Away from the funky chandeliers and the dark woods, the heart of this hotel is the hearth. Or more traditionally, the Italian restaurant— Tre- foni ( literally means three ovens). Much like a family kitchen, the ovens are the focal point of the restaurant and responsible for churning out the incredibly alluring ambient aromas of freshly baked bread.
The menu features nearly a dozen antipasti options such as Parmigiana di melanzane ( Eggplant, mozzarella, sun- dried tomato puree), insalata tiepida di polipo ( Ligurian octopus, steamed potatoes, black olives, cherry tomatoes and pesto), petto d’oca affumicato ( Smoked duck breast with caramelised pear), carpaccio di manzo alla piemontese ( cured sliced tenderloin, mushrooms, parmesan, arugula, extra virgin olive oil) and an assortment of Artisan meats and cheeses.
Our meal began with a glass of prosecco and ended on a happy note of grappa. Between numerous courses irrigated by different Italian wines, most of the details of the meal are fuzzy except that it was incredible, ingenious and wholesome. Since our visit, the hotel has also opened it’s second speciality restaurant, Oriental Bar & Kitchen, that boasts South- East Asian cuisine and single malts.
Fantastic food and fine alcohol, now there’s the alchemic magic that transforms straightforward greatness into formulaic legendary; here’s defining my ultimate Zen moment.
THE GLASS AND STONE FACADE OF THE HOTEL BLINKS IN THE TWILIGHT SHADE
A COUPLE’S SPA THERAPY ROOM ( ABOVE); THE BATHROOM AT THE DAYLIGHT SUITE IN
THE HOTEL BOASTS A FANTASTIC 360 DEGREE VIEW ( BELOW)