I used to live in Hyderabad between 2009 and 2011. After moving to Bangalore, I did not get the chance to go back. When I was invited to spend a weekend in Hyderabad by Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre along with my friend Lakshmi, in the month of August this year, I was eager to visit to the city that was once home. That weekend was full of torrential rains but great weather. We managed to pack a few activities when the whether permitted. When it poured, we stayed indoors and enjoyed the good food and hospitality at the hotel.
Comfortable stay with good design
Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre is the flagship property of AccorHotels in Hyderabad. The spacious lobby is beautifully designed. The corridor leading to the convention centre displays vibrant art from a bunch of local artists.
A lot of multinational companies are located in the vicinity, so it is a convenient choice for business travellers. Our weekend stay here was a quiet and relaxing experience. Their 24 hour fitness centre along with the O2 spa are great for those who want to stick to their daily workout goals or to unwind with a massage or spa treatment at the end of the day. The pool view room had a plush bed, an espresso machine, a work station with hi speed wifi and a couch near the window to enjoy the view. All this combined with helpful and courteous staff made for a comfortable stay.
After a day full of sight seeing and shopping, The Bar is a warm cozy place to relax with a drink and bar snacks. Do not miss the podi idli that the chef here makes incredibly well. While the bar menu has all the regular spirits and cocktails, do ask for the bartenders specials unusual ingredients like tamarind, marigold, coffee etc. On weekends, there’s live music with dancing late into the night.
We savoured a couple of the bartender’s special cocktails and then proceeded to dine on authentic Pan Asian food at La Cantina. You can choose to be seated either indoors or by the poolside. The steamed dumplings with the delicate wrappers and generous filling were beautifully made. For the mains, try any of the Clay Pot Curries with either the rice or the noodles. The coconut tres leches is a must try from the desserts.
A renewed dining experience
You will be spoilt for choice for breakfast at Food Exchange, (what used to be known as The Square earlier). We tucked into the varieties of dosas (pesarattu, uthapam, regular dosa) and a special vada made using black eyed peas served with sambar and chutneys. For those with kids preferring pancakes and waffles, they have live counters with chefs happy to tend to your kids’ preferences.
The Sunday buffet at Food Exchange is much loved by the locals and it is mostly always booked to full capacity. There is a special section laid out for kids at their height so they can pick and choose what they like. Shelves with toys, soft toys and kid friendly activities are sure to keep them busy while the adults enjoy themselves. The weekend we were there, it was a Friendship Day special brunch, with a creative use of emojis across the numberous desserts. The outside section had a selection of street foods from around India, to suit both vegetarians and meat eaters – such as vada pav, pav bhaji, mirchi bajji etc.
Also read: Things to do at Church Street, Bangalore
Places to visit during your stay at Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre
Over Saturday afternoon and evening we visited IKEA and Shilparamam, both of which are very close to the property.
Even since my favourite decor and kitchen brand opened in Hyderabad last year, I have been meaning to make a trip, so needless to say this was high up on my things to do list. We were there around the 1st anniversary week and it did get quite crowded, given that it was also the weekend. I bought a bunch of useful things for my kitchen and cooking (for this, head straight to the Marketplace section). For any bigger purchases, I’ll just have to wait until they open in Bangalore. Don’t miss checking out their cafe for fresh bakes like muffins, frozen yogurt, coffee and tea. Trust me, after jostling through the crowds and walking the entire shopping stretch, this fuelling up is mandatory. (IKEA is less than 5km away from the hotel.)
During my Hyderabad days, we would often visit this open air hub to buy all kinds of arts and crafts from around the country. Choose from a range of fabrics, handloom products, metal work, wood work, arts, jewellery etc. This is the ideal place to choose souvenirs for your family and friends. We managed to have an engaging conversation with 3rd generation Madhubani artist Amit Dutta who was happy to share his work and discuss his family’s involvement with this art form since the years. A lot of stalls had mass produced clothes and artefacts, and not the handmade ones you expect to find in a place like this. I wish local artists and crafts are highlighted more over here than factory made products that you can find anywhere else.
Charminar, Lad Bazaar, Chowmahalla Palace
On Sunday, we spent a few hours visiting Charminar and the adjoining bangle market called Lad Bazaar where we tried on quite a few bangles and bought some too. For those not familiar with Hyderabad, Charminar is a mosque and monument built in 1591 and it is the most important landmark in the city.
Chowmahalla Palace was the palace of the Nizams of Hyderabad, constructed over the 18th and 19th century. Spend some time enjoying the glory and grandeur of the days passed. You can also take a look at the collection of carriages and vintage cars, exhibits, personal possessions, arts-crafts and other items from that period.
If you are looking for a place to stay for a weekend getaway to Hyderabad, either to spend quality time with your partner or with friends, Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre is a good place to stay.
Do you have any other tips for spending a weekend in Hyderabad?
[I was hosted by Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre on this trip. Opinions in this post are my own.]