Hyderabad Marriott Hotel & Convention Centre – A Review By Punam Mohandas
As most Hyderabadis know, the Hyderabad Marriott Hotel & Convention Centre is the erstwhile Viceroy hotel, occupying a prime position overlooking Tank Bund and the only property strategically poised between the twin cities of Secunderabad and Hyderabad.
Much of the old façade still remains, along with these beautifully inlaid entrance doors to the lobby, with delicate bidri work around the glass panels; very regal and nawaabi in style. One enters into a small, friendly lobby, with a low-level, flower-bedecked water body in the centre.
With 295-keys to its inventory, the room categories are classified as: Deluxe; Deluxe Executive (with the only difference being the access to the Executive Lounge) Lake View; Deluxe Suite and the Presidential suite.
I was in the Lake View room, which truly offers a great view of Hussain Sagar lake. There is some traffic noise disturbance from the busy Tank Bund road right outside but thankfully, this dies down from about 10pm. The room is large enough, simply nonetheless pleasingly furnished, with a comfortable bed, armchair and footstool. The bathroom is compact, with smaller, narrower bathtubs than usual, however, still comfortable. There is no separate shower area; the rain shower is positioned above the bath tub.
All rooms are equipped with large screen television, electronic safe, tea/coffee maker, iron and ironing board and plenty of complimentary bottles of drinking water.
Guests have access to the Executive Lounge only via their key cards and a very sensible thing too. The Lounge is open from 6am until midnight and provides breakfast, high tea and ‘Happy Hours’ in the evening. Lunch and dinner can be made available here on request. Guests can also request for the use of a laptop.
F&B options include the Great Room adjacent to the lobby, where one can indulge in coffee or bakery items while relaxing in comfortable armchairs. There is a ready stocked cooler with ice creams and beverages. This outlet also has imported chocolates and books on sale. Free wifi in this area gives browsing a whole new meaning. This space gives the impression of an atrium court, accentuated by the clear glass-enclosed lifts that take one to the rooms. Apart from this, there is the 120-covers all-day dining restaurant, Okra, which serves a really lavish breakfast spread including an egg station, extensive bakery counter, fresh juices, innovative smoothies and an absolutely lip smacking south Indian delicacies live counter. The Atrium outlet is used primarily for small groups or conventions, while the Altitude Bar on the 8th floor (open evenings only) has a stunning view of the lake. There is a DJ and live band in attendance here and a private dining room as well. The signature restaurant at the Hyderabad Marriott is the 45-covers Bidri, which prides itself on serving nizaami or riyaasati (royal) cuisine from the kitchens of India and is the winner of many food awards. While the biryani here justifies the restaurant’s reputation, the highlight for me was the humble mirchi ka salan; an ubiquitous accompaniment to Hyderabadi biryani, not many can get this right and Bidri certainly hit the mark. The traditional dessert khubani ka metha was a disappointment, though. This outlet also has a private dining room overlooking the garden and light ghazal (live) entertainment daily.
Recreational facilities include a relatively small, outdoor pool, located outside Okra restaurant. There is a small children’s play area off to the side as well. The Sky gym is small and basic, with essential fitness equipment on offer. The changing areas for men and women have a steam room each. The hotel also has the Tattva hair salon (outsourced management) on its premises, as also the Tattva Spa with three single and one couple room, where the signature treatment is the 90-minute Tattva massage with sesame and olive oil blended with herbs.
However, the outstanding feature of this property is the aesthetically landscaped garden, rare to find right in the heart of this somewhat arid city. The Elephant Garden has various stone sculptures of this benign mammal overlooking a verdant space and complementing the elephant head artwork on the stone façade of the hotel.
The Marriott continues to maintain Muse, the art gallery that was started by the hotel in its Viceroy avatar and that promotes local artist talent. Muse also connects the Hyderabad Marriott Hotel & Convention Centre to the adjoining Courtyard by Marriott Hyderabad.
Convention facilities are at a boggling 13 indoor spaces to accommodate anything from 9-1,300 pax!with two outdoor options available as well. Of course, this is taking into account the facilities at both the Hyderabad Marriott as well as the Courtyard by Marriott. The convention centre has a separate lobby and check-in area and, most unusually, it offers a balcony seating as well. Three drop-down screens allow the audience to have a birds-eye view of the goings-on. Although this space can take 1,300 pax, it cannot be sectioned, while the Sapphire Ballroom that can accommodate 350 pax cluster seating and has a commodious pre-function area, can be partitioned into three.
The Business Centre offers three computers for complimentary guest use and also provides printing and scanning facilities.
Service is largely good at this hotel; F&B is on its toes, while Housekeeping is very courteous. Front Office can sometimes get lackadaisical. In keeping with the Marriott ethos, the Security team here looks sharp, with sniffer dog et al and are very respectful towards guests.
Once again, I cannot but be impressed by and remark on what a warm and welcoming touch it is to have the Marriott staff here too greet guests with the traditional ‘Namaste’ and folded hands.
As mentioned before, the hotel is located between the cities of Secunderabad (the Army cantonment) and Hyderabad. IT takes about 20-25 minutes to reach the areas of Panjagutta or Somajiguda, for upmarket shopping. The old city – Charminar – is at least 45-50 minutes away. The prime locality of Banjara Hills is approximately 40-minutes away; further in this direction is the area of Gachi Bowli where Hi-Tech City is located (the IT sector.)
Hyderabad has possibly the most modern and state-of-the-art international airport, with most international carriers flying in to the city. However, as the airport is located on the outskirts, it does take a while to reach the city centre. Airport bus tickets cost just Rs 150 per head; you can also book a taxi or reserve the hotel pick-up services.
Hyderabad Marriott Hotel & Convention Centre
TEL: +91 40 27522710
Punam Mohandas asserts her right to be identified as the author of this work. Any views or opinions expressed in this review is that of the author.