My wife and I had a five night stay here in February 2013. Perched 2000 feet up on a hill overlooking Hyderabad, and conveniently on the right side of town for the airport, the Falaknuma Palace is a special place. It was built by the prime minister of Hyderabad in the late 19th century, and then bought by the Nizam of Hyderabad after the building bankrupted the prime minister. Abandoned for years after Hyderabad was absorbed into the state of India in 1948 (a year after the British left), the palace was been taken over by the Taj Hotel group in 2005, and after a lengthy restoration reopened as a 60 room luxury hotel in late 2010.
The palace is a magnificent building, with marble floors, ornate ceilings and beautiful chandeliers. It has a vast 101 seat dining table, a fine library and beautiful artifacts, such as a magnificent Chinese cabinet in one of the drawing rooms. The marble staircase is a work of art in itself. In terms of amenities, we stayed in one of the basic rooms (120), but this was spacious and well appointed. The shower was superb, the bed comfortable, and the room had a separate sofa and desk, and plenty of wardrobe space. The place is spotless throughout, carefully maintained by 350 staff for the 60 rooms. There are several attractive terraces with view over the city where you can have a drink, or arrange dinner. There are two restaurants, an Italian cafe for those who want to travel all the way to India to eat European food, and Adaa, the Indian restaurant. Adaa is superb, producing some truly magnificent dishes over the many meals that we tried here. Biriani is a must, a Hyderabad specialty, but the Malabar prawns, chicken tikka and bhindi were all examples of terrific cooking. I have travelled widely in India 14 visits and counting), and this is some of the very best Indian food in the country. As an aside, the croissants at breakfast here are brilliant, made in the pastry section of the kitchen in a temperature controlled room at 16C to ensure optimal conditions for the butter when making the pastry.
It is a difficult place to criticise. There is a very small swimming pool, presumably needing to be in keeping with the,original palace design, and of course it is a short drive into town (perhaps 15 minutes from the Chowmella palace, depending on traffic) as it is situated up on a hill. However this gives fine views over the city, and there are some small but attractive gardens at the front of the palace. There is a regular series of people arriving at the room to provide turn-down service, present little nibbles or just to check up on housekeeping, though of course you can always put your privacy sign (a red cord) on he door to minimize this should you wish.
When we checked in we were taken from the entrance up to the palace by horse-drawn carriage, which was a nice touch, though golf carts are the more usual way to get taken from the place to the gate.
Overall, this is a truly magnificent hotel, a rare chance to blend relaxation with some genuinely interesting history, and get a glimpse into the life of the Nizam, the richest man in the world in the 1930s.
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- Also Known As:
- Taj Falaknuma Palace Hotel Hyderabad