What makes a hotel great – good rooms, good facilities, good location, décor, service, food … right? The Taj Hotels around Banjara Hills in Hyderabad have all of these. You will rarely find one location with three 5* hotels within walking distance of each other! Quite surprising though.
But one of them is an exception – the Taj Banjara. An example of how sheer government apathy and bad luck can turn a great hotel into a not-so-desired one. Located next to a lake, with walkways and open air restaurant restaurants facing the same, dancing colorful fountains in the middle designed to offer a magical backdrop in moonlit evenings as one sips wine with the world famous Hyderabadi cuisine, the spell is broken by the stench of sewer emanating from the very lake!! What a let down!
Indian cities woefully lack planning and you have drains and sewers emptying themselves into once pristine lakes rendering them dead. It is sad to see the Taj Group spending so much to keep its Banjara establishment going, without any government so far converting this cesspool of muck and waste into a haven for people to enjoy. Mosquitoes breeding in the water finish off whatever is left to experience outdoors.
Pity that a nice hotel wasting away. Although not not as grand as the Taj Krishna or Taj Deccan, Taj Banjara is a nice hotel, with decent facilities. The staff is good, rooms are standard – some little old with need of refurbishment. The lobby is a replica of other Taj hotels in India with the coffee shop behind it. There is a nice walkway outside the hotel next to the lake with seating, leading to the swimming pool. Nearby is the open air restaurant serving delectable grills and delicacies with few takers. We went to the pub – again empty with clueless staff and bartenders, a few rude waiters hanging around chatting among each other. On the way to the pool is one of the cutest little snack room you will find – called ‘Chai …). Its designed after the Irani Coffee Shops in Mumbai with posters of old Bollywood stars & movies adorning the walls. It really makes you want to sit, grab a tea and enjoy reading a book or chat over some light snacks.
I heard that Taj spends thousands of dollars trying to treat the waste flowing into the pool and it’s the chemicals that probably allow the hotel to still operate. The location is amazing, just walk out and you are in initial part of Banjara Hills with good pubs and restaurants nearby. The famous Paradise restaurant has take-away joints nearby and you must pick up packets before you head off to the airport.
The only positive side to the above is that the hotel rates are fantastic and probably half of that of the adjoining Taj properties. It offers great value for money if you are travelling to Hyderabad on business.