Review: The BRAND NEW Le Meridien Hyderabad: The Best Hotel in the City Yet?

Background:

My place of residence in Hyderabad (during visits) has been the Westin Mindspace (find my review here) for the past 6 years or so. I’ve never really ventured out to try new hotels because this hotel is by far the closest one to my aunt’s apartment and I didn’t find the alternatives too enticing. My one foray into trying a new hotel (the ITC Kohinoor) had its shortfalls.

On this visit it just so happened that the Westin wasn’t available for one of the nights during my initial stay period. The available alternatives were the ITC Kohinoor or the newly opened Le Meridien Hyderabad. Given that the rate at the Kohinoor was nearly double that of the Le Meridien(~12000 INR vs ~6000 INR), it was a no brainer for me to go for the Le Meridien.

Rate Booked:

For this 5 night stay I booked the Long Stay Package for around 6000 INR + tax, which included roundtrip airport transfer, buffet breakfast (also available to me as a Marriott Platinum), and welcome drinks.

Arrival:

Before my arrival I messaged the hotel using the Marriott App on my phone to arrange my airport pickup. I was informed that the driver would be waiting for us in arrivals displaying a placard with the hotel name on it.

Sure enough upon arrival, the driver was already there waiting for us. I always prefer the hotel picking me up because it beats having to push through the throngs of taxi drivers trying to negotiate an otherwise flat rate airport transfer.

We arrived early Sunday morning and it took us no more than 30 minutes to get to the hotel. The hotel is situated quite ideally just a km or two away from the outer ring road connecting Hyderabad airport and the city.

Check In:

As soon as we arrived we were ushered into the lobby and handed welcome drinks, while the check in formalities were finished up. The lobby of the hotel is quite small compared to other hotels in the area, but was one of understated elegance.

Rooms:

Despite being Marriott Platinum, and the hotel being pretty much empty, we weren’t given a suite upgrade. This is perhaps the greatest shortfall I’m finding with Marriott in general because as an SPG Platinum I was always guaranteed a standard suite if it was available. It’s not a big deal, but I certainly something to take note of going forward.

Welcome Amenity: 

My sister and I were in a club queen room with two queen beds, a desk, and a flat screen television. The room we stayed in was probably never used before given the fresh smell of wood, the disconnected TV, and nonfunctioning Wi-Fi signal. The last two points were swiftly sorted out of course, but I just thought would make a note to indicate just how new this hotel was at the time of our stay.

To the right of the entryway was a restroom featuring a large walk-in shower and some nicely scented, Inara branded toiletries.

No need to fumble around your pack looking for that adapter because all the rooms feature a multitude of conveniently placed USB and 120V power outlets. I can’t say enough how much I appreciate this given the amount of stuff I need to keep charged while on the go. European hotels should really take note of this.

About the TV:

Being located in Hyderabad where the main language is Telugu, the TV in the room featured no Telugu channels. i suppose most clientele don’t speak Telugu like me? Furthermore, there was no provision for Chromecast in any of the televisions to stream your own content so that pretty much limited your entertainment options further.

About the Window & Road Noise:

While my parents’ room was perfectly insulated from the sounds outside, ours was a concert of road noises from the busy street outside. After closer investigation, I found that the difference arises from the design of certain windows. An openable window meant there would be road noise. In our case, my room happened to have a openable window, while my parents’ room did not.

Do note that the reception offered to change my room, but we never had the energy left at the end of the day to move rooms.

Breakfast @ Turquoise 

Breakfast is served everyday from 6am to 11am at the hotel’s restaurant: Turquoise.

My favorite part of the restaurant (other than the food and service) was the view outside. I enjoyed watching all the chaos of the streets of Hyderabad unfold before my eyes everyday.

 

The breakfast spread is as over the top as you would expect from a major hotel in India. It had everything from ice cream to waffles to Indian breakfast options. I don’t think there are many places in the world that have better breakfast options than Indian hotels because they cater to everyone: Westerners, Easterners, and locals.

The service during our stay was just as ridiculously good as the spread. The on duty managers: Sanjay and Avishek were always walking by to make sure that we had everything we needed. And the on duty chefs Raju and Vijay happened to be from the Westin (from where he recognized us) so they would often bring us new creations to try out every morning. If something on the menu was to our dislike, the staff would make it for us on the spot (there wasn’t much to our dislike). Altogether this meant that we ate much more than we should have, but it was thoroughly enjoyable. Service is certainly over the top.

Gym and Rooftop Pool:

The hotel features a rooftop pool, bar, and gym, all of which are firsts in the city. At the time of my stay, the rooftop bar wasn’t  quite open yet because the hotel had yet to obtain its liquor license, but I expect that’s not the case anymore. I lost the pictures I took up at the pool so if you want a glimpse, here is a video from my Instagram story.

The gym itself is relatively small, but very well equipped with the usual treadmills, bikes, ellipticals, and a few strength training machines. Cold towels and bottled water are also readily available.

The Lounge:

As a Marriott Platinum member I had access to the lounge located on the second floor of the hotel adjacent to the main restaurant. The lounge serves breakfast as well as drinks throughout the day. During my stay, I was pretty much the only person there. Service at the lounge was very good from experience. As soon as I sat down every time, there were at least two people there asking if I needed anything.

Location:

The hotel is located very close to some new shopping centres, malls, and entertainment options in Hyderabad. Escape the Room Hyderabad happens to be located just a few doors down. In a year or so the hotel will also be adjacent to a brand new Starbucks, the local favorite sweet shop: Almond House, as well as an array of shops.

Checkout: 

Check out from the hotel was fairly swift and the hotel had arranged for our transport to the airport once again (included in our rate). Just as we were about to step out of the hotel, they brought out a farewell cake for us. Certainly a nice touch to seal off what was a fantastic stay.

Bottom Line:

I would say that my favorite hotel in Hyderabad has been the Westin, but the Le Meridien may have overtaken it by the tiniest of margins based on this stay. The service standards at this hotel are certainly beyond any of the other hotels I’ve seen outside in the city. Every time I needed something, it was almost as if someone appeared out of thin air to help me out. Every staff member I met certainly seemed proud of their new hotel and it showed in how they worked and conducted themselves.

A Personal Note: 

I would probably relocate all my stays to the Le Meridien if it weren’t for the Westin being more conveniently located (closer to family and work). I do understand that this hotel was hardly occupied during my stay in the city, so I would be very interested to see if the service is kept to these lofty standards as more people stay here. I certainly look forward to staying here once again in the future.

As of now here is how I would rank Marriott hotels in Hyderabad: I’ve stayed at: 

  1. (tied) Le Meridien Hyderabad & Westin Mindspace Hyderabad
  2. ITC Kohenur (review coming soon)
  3. Courtyard by Marriott
  4. ITC Grand Kakatiya
  5. Hyderabad Marriott Hotel & Convention Centre (rooms need renovation)

Yet to be reviewed: 

  1. Sheraton Hyderabad (too far from the city centre)
  2. Fairfield Inn  (too far from city centre)
  3. Marriott Executive Apartments Hyderabad (across the street from the Le Meridien Hyderabad)

 

 

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