From the main reception area, you walk through several rooms, each exquisitely decorated and furnished (of which more later) to a rectangular grassed courtyard about 300 yards long, 100 yards wide, surrounded by white buildings.
Turn right, through a gorgeous archway to another courtyard, about 50 by 50 feet. This is the Zenana courtyard, where the women used to congregate.
The current design has been overseen by the current owner of the palace, the Turkish-born Princess Esra Jah. She is the first – of five – wives of the current (eighth) Nizam, Barkat Ali Khan Mukarram Jah Asaf Jah VIII.
He was born in Nice in 1933, and after Harrow (the English boys’ school whose alumni include Sir Winston Churchill), Cambridge, London School of Economics (LSE) and Sandhurst, he ran a 200 square mile sheep station in Australia.
Not surprisingly, the signature accommodation, to use the Ozzie word, is called the Nizam suite. It has an upstairs bedroom, with a sensational central bathtub, and the rear garden, bigger than a tennis court, has an ogee-shaped pool, about 45 feet long, with fabric parasol umbrellas – some double height – around.
The Nizam suite can be joined to the more-friendly Shehzaardi Suite next door (it is named for Princess Esra’s only daughter). Here, the one-floor suite has a fabulous marbled bathroom, with an all-mirrored alcove for the bathtub. Supplies include a silver tray bearing a do-it-yourself face pack.
You get instructions, and a spoon, and a jar of Fuller’s Earth, Multani Mitti, with instructions to make a paste (with water) and put it on the face, leave it for 15-20 minutes and wash off in lukewarm water.
The tub is filled with rose petals for your arrival. The walk-in closet doubles as a yoga room, with mat, a book and plenty of CDs. Everything is so stylishly done. There is a pink defoliating mitten to buff your skin to silk-feel.
Drawers are all lined, sides as well as base, in local silk, to match one set of robes and slippers (you have white terry, as well). Blue ribbon is also used to tie magazines and newspapers. There is personalised notepaper, with self-stick envelopes.
The big Sony LED screens offer BBC as well as a good Taj promotional channel. At night, you find a silver tray on your bed bearing a silver pot and a sign that it contains a body lotion of petitgrain, lavender and coriander.
After an early start in Delhi and a flight and a drive and a look around, it is lunchtime. Order room service, more or less design your own. Butler Varun Dogra, who previously worked in Kable’s restaurant in Four Seasons Sydney, brings the order, and sets it up, as requested, on your terrace on the private garden shared with the Nizam Suite next door.
There are local breads wrapped in linen in a silver basket, and oil and vinegar come in a conjoined bottle. Black hawks swirl occasionally, far overhead in the blue sky.
Most guests would now plan a stay, which would typically last three days. One would be spent exploring Hyderabad, started 1591 by Muhammad Quh Qutb Shah of Golconda and absorbed into the Union of India in 1948.
Places to see include the Charminar, Golconda Fort – which does a memorable Son et Lumière performance – and Mecca Masjid. Back home, there would be afternoon tea in the magnificent, jewel-like Jade Room, with French and home-made jams, and a selection of 12 teas, plus a violinist.
But I head to the 24-hour fitness area, which has a good selection of Technogym equipment, plus more – untied – reading supplies, and chilled and ambient water and fresh fruit. I could swim in the main pool, that meanders as a river.
I head for the Jiva spa, and while waiting I look through to what looks like torture equipment (no, it is a modern hairdryer and an equally-21st century apparatus for having one’s pedicure done).
The spa has three rooms, some walls delicately painted and inset with semi-precious stones. They use Arcania products, as in the pump-pots in bedroom showers.
Products are presented, for your inspection, first – the rose-covered tray reminds one of the arrival, when you came in from the mundane Normal World, and rose petals rained down at you.
Now here, in the Ideal World of the Jiva Spa at Faluknuma Palace, the signature treatment, Nawab-e-Khaas, is inspired by the city’s princely heritage – in order, you get a foot wash, an almond-rose-saffron-vetiver body scrub, a facial scrub and a massage. The finale is a sherbert with flowers, fruits and herbs essence. Live as a Nawab, girl!