Though its history is rather short by the subcontinent’s standards – a paltry 500 years – the central Indian city of Hyderabad has seen its fair share of comers: from Arabian traders and Mughal invaders to British governesses and French mercenaries. Most recently, it’s been the IT multinationals which have arrived in droves, catalysing the transformation of this once-sleepy city of four million into a buzzy urban centre, complete with hip cafés and restaurants (the trendiest right now is Syn (synicious.com), an East-Asian grill), as well as a new international airport and the country’s second largest film industry.
The economic boom has heralded in a wave of new development, and the recently opened 285-room The Park Hotel Hyderabad (theparkhotels.com/park/ Hyderabad) is one of the most talked- about buildings in the country, thanks to its perforated metal façade, which is based on the traditional jali screen but looks absolutely out of this world. For those who prefer more stately accommodations, the Taj Falaknuma Palace Hotel (tajhotels.com) offers uncompromised Raj opulence. Constructed in 1884 in a blend of Italian and Tudor styles, the former royal guesthouse of the Nizam, which will open later this year after a decade-long restoration, features 60 sumptuous rooms decked out in ornate Kashmiri furnishings, tapestries and brocades from France and hundreds of artworks and artefacts from the Nizam’s personal collection.
And the energy permeating through this riverside city show no signs of letting up either: there are rumblings about a new Oberoi property or two later this year, and the Leela Palace Kempinski, a 186-room new build in smart Banjara Hills, is slated for 2011. Proof positive that the city’s next wave of arrivals – the sybaritic jet set – can’t be far behind.
June 2010, Departures