One happy family staying at Taj‘s luxury hilltop hotel outside Hyderabad, Falaknuma Palace, was so happy with the 60-room beauty that they extended their four-suite booking twice, cutting out Delhi. The gal can understand. This is a theatre that just feels right. After yet another early start and lots of driving and flying, lunch was needed. A room service meal, specially designed, just fitted the bill. It was set out on the balcony of 203, the two-floor Nizam Suite. Lightly-poached halibut, resting atop a mixed salad with baby asparagus, was cooked absolutely à point.
The Nizam Suite is top of a brilliant class, here. Downstairs there is an octagonal salon, with Indian and other antiques. The central circular dining table is set, with Versace porcelain – the hotel’s interior designer is Ruya Muan, cousin of the palace’s current owner, London-based Princess Esra Jahl, first – of five – wives of the current Nizam, His Exalted Highness Rustam-i-Dauran, Arustu-i-Zaman, Wal Mamaluk, Asaf Jah VIII, Muzaffar ul-Mamaluk, Nizam ul-Mulk, Nizam ud-Daula, Nawab Mir Barakat ‘Ali Khan Bahadur, Sipah Salar, Fath Jang, Lieutenant-General, Faithful Ally of the British Government (born 1939, Harrow and LSE, ran a giant Australian sheep station but when all his wives sued him he fled to Turkey…). He seems to be out of the picture as far as Falaknuma is concerned
I am beginning to see why that family staying here has extended its stay. On my way to the gym I pass an ancient Japanese garden, being renovated. I skirt the main swimming pool, which looks like a basin along a winding river. A couple of bikinis are sunbathing and reading. This is a recovery, rejuvenating place but when you need education you can head for Hyderabad to learn its history, or stay here and simply walk the public areas. Look at early likenesses of visitors of yesteryear, of the calibre of Lord Curzon, 1903, a year before the celebrated Durbar; and the 1903 visit of a Russian Grand Duke, and the 1911 arrival of the Crown Prince of Germany.
It is all too overwhelming, like trying to do a History PhD in one day. I will concentrate right now on feeling pampered, and head to the Jiva Spa, past a delicately-stencilled wall. One Canadian couple, on their fourth visit to this luxury hotel, are staying this time for a month, which would just allow one at least to check the spine titles of the books in the many libraries, and perhaps check out some of the sites in town. For me, I am merely staying put.