Hyderabad, known for its pearls, gets another gem in the form of ITC Kohenur, perfectly tailored for the corporate traveller. Or a luxury vacay!
By: Suman Tarafdar
Posted on: August 28, 2018
LF Says: ★★★★.5
Hyderabad has had a special place in modern Indian history – from its rich cultural and culinary traditions, remarkable palaces and public institutions built during the Asaf Jahi Nizami era (1724-1948), and a noteworthy peaceful coexistence amongst followers of different religions. Royal patronage saw it emerge as a centre for carpet weaving, Bidri metalwork, fine handlooms, a cuisine where the biryani starred, and of a variety of gems, including pearls and diamonds.
It is from this last, lustrous tradition that ITC’s newest hotel, ITC Kohenur takes its name and inspiration. The ultra-sleek business hotel has just opened amidst Hyderabad’s IT hubs, chock-full corporate entities, from mega Fortune 500 companies and local start-ups.
The 271-key hotel has a multitude of amenities designed specially to meet the work requirements of a corporate traveller. The hotel has a well-anointed business centre, a variety of spaces to cater to meetings and functions large and small. The hotel is interspersed with a number of lounges – an inordinately large number of them smoking lounges though – and of course the ITC Prive Club, for those seeking even more exclusivity. Then there are the restaurants and bars, again, a rather larger number than what the usual business hotel is building these days, and each a destination in itself.
Design and décor
The most notable aspect of the hotel is the detailing in its aesthetics. The design inspiration is unsurprisingly from the famed Kohinoor (literally 'mountain of light') diamond. Most surfaces of the hotel have a geometric interpretation of the diamond pattern, carried through the hotel’s public areas, guest rooms and corridors. Walls, floors, even lattice jaalis have this pattern executed – a diamond that is rounded at the edges, lending a softer visual. The gems theme extends to the rooms too, with each room category represented by a different gemstone - sapphire, emerald, turquoise, amber and amethyst.
The sense of this being a design-led hotel begins as soon as you step in. A sparkling white lobby clad in marble welcomes guests to the hotel. Closer looks reveal the wall behind the reception with the signature diamond pattern carved into the stone, while atop is a chandelier-like installation of 1865 suspended lac bangles, another hallmark of the city. Corridors open to the two towers of the hotel, which is shaped roughly like the letter S.
To the right is Fabelle, ITC’s chocolate destination, which for the first time has been integrated into the lobby of a hotel (the other ITC hotels were built before Fabelle was launched). Adjacent to it is the Peacock bar, sparkling in emerald and turquoise, with a matching signature drink. Note the peacock adorning the ceiling and a silver throne like chair. Right in front is Golconda Pavilion, the all-day dining restaurant. The lobby itself is dotted with artworks and island seating spaces defined by Persian carpets - another link to the city’s traditions.
The Golconda Pavilion’s French windows offer stunning views of the Golconda Fort, while its walls are adorned with wallpaper designed to resemble Bidri metalcraft. Dum Pukht Begum’s is regal in shades of purple, lit by Belgian cut glass chandeliers, while silver cutlery heighten the palace experience. Note the similarity in décor to an erstwhile Nizam era palace, the Chowmohalla, the former residence of the Nizams. Ottimo is inspired by terracotta pots of Italy, a stunning Travertino Rosso floor, brickwork and copper accents. Skypoint has a vintage red Fiat 500 hanging atop the bar, while offering stunning rooftop views of the city.
Room with a view, and a tablet!
The guestrooms are stunning, offering an amalgam of comfort and technology, personalised to a considerable degree. And spacious. The base category room (Executive Club), at 496 square feet is the biggest room size in the city. At the other end is the Grand Presidential Suite – Koh-i-noor, at 4,008 square feet, the largest Presidential Suite in the area! Incidentally, there is also a Presidential Suite, Daria-i-Noor!
All amenities expected of a luxury hotel, and then some, are available - from welcoming beds to spacious closets, a huge workdesk, a sofa ideal for snuggling in, ITC’s Sunbean coffee and Essenza Di Wills cosmetics, a balcony… The headboard is adorned with signature diamond shape, while the wall art highlights the city Kohenur is located in.
Another star is the technology, via the tablet, which has all the electricity controls, including a variety of mood lighting, a camera to view who’s at the door, options to order valet or laundry service. And perhaps more. Fiddling with gadgets is not my thing, but perhaps those more inclined can discover more!
A special category of rooms are the 13 Wellness Rooms, which have additional features such as in room exercise equipment, Vitamin C showers – yes, in a little pod below the shower head, plants that improve air quality, guilt-free minibars and healthy meal options.
Wining, dining, relaxing…
Bukhara, Dum Pukht, Pan Asian, Ottimo… ITC’s Luxury Collection hotels are known for their extensive F&B offerings – an example is Chennai’s 600 room Grand Chola, with 11 outlets. Kohenur keeps up the tradition, with a wide array of restaurants and bars. While Golconda Pavilion is a cornerstone, look beyond the buffets to local dishes on offer, which Executive Chef Yogen Datta highly recommends. Dum Pukht Begum's is a variation on the original Dum Pukht, here with the added recipes from the kitchens of Nizami households. Then there is Yi Jing, a new ITC brand for Chinese cuisine. Venues to get throats wet include Upper Crust Lounge and ITC Club Prive.
The 5,820 square feet Club Prive, an exclusive members-only club is located on the 12th floor with alfresco seating and includes private dining rooms and meeting rooms.
With meetings and banqueting rapidly increasing their share in hotel revenues, new hotels are putting an increasingly bigger focus on them. Kohenur features nine versatile and state-of-the-art meeting, banquet and conference spaces, including the pillar-less Deccan State room, which can be divided into two separate halls, each with its own pre-function area. The hotel also boasts of two sprawling outdoor venues, the Pearl Deck & the Golconda Greens.
Of course, there is ample scope to relax too. Besides a well-equipped gym and an outdoor pool, ITC’s signature Kaya Kalp spa is in-house, with five treatment rooms, spread over 10,000 square feet on three floors.
It may have been built for the corporate traveller, and is part of Marriott’s The Luxury Collection, a brand it inherited with its acquisition of Starwood Hotels, Kohenur is a design-led hotel which wouldn’t be out of place in the Design Hotels portfolio! ITC Kohenur raises the bar in an area dotted with competing hotel brands, and definitely worth budgeting some time for.
LF Says: ★★★★.5
Coordinates: Plot No. 5, Survey No. 83/1, Hyderabad Knowledge City, Madhapur (HITEC City), Hyderabad, India
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