It is a grand accomplishment to redefine luxury. By recalling the traditions of India’s rich heritage of hospitality, when luxury was a living romance language, and meeting the demands of modernization, the Taj Falaknuma has found a way to enliven the standards of luxury.
The 32-acre Taj Falaknuma Palace is one of the finest palaces in the world, designed by British Architect William Mard Marret. Sir Nawab Vikar-Ul Umra commissioned the palace in 1894. It started as the home of the 6th Nizan of Hyderabad, then was passed to the 7th Nizam who in 1937 was the world’s richest man. Today, the palace has been leased by the Royal Family of Hyderabad to the Taj Group of Hotels and Resorts. The history, provenance, and long list of distinguished visitors and guests at Falaknuma is fascinating. Its history brings to life the spirits and traditions that make this palace, perched 2,000 ft above Hyderabad, mystical in stature.
The moment you enter the gate you feel something special. You quickly understand that this is where grandeur lives. A horse drawn carriage mini tour of the grounds and massive front lawn overlooking Hyderabad below will undeniably make you feel like royalty. During my carriage ride sounds of the muessin’s call to prayer from the nearby Mecca mosque resonated. My senses were truly overwhelmed.
What would I behold upon entering the Palace? Aided by the family and influenced by Princess Esra, wife of the 8th Nizam, the Taj Group refurbishment has been done with precision and exquisite attention to detail. Grand, is not grand enough of a word to describe the finery and glorious flamboyancy that welcomed me. Scenic frescos, opulent moldings, delicate wood inlays, immaculate marble floors, marble benches, and center fountain defined the first chambre I encountered.
The public rooms include the Chinoserie-style Jade Room that once housed one of the world’s most extensive jade collections. Dinner was once served on solid gold plates in the Nizam’s dining room where magnificent Belgian chandeliers are hanging over the world’s longest dining table. The Palace library, with over 5,000 books and rare manuscripts, is bedecked with a teak and rosewood coffered ceiling to replicate the one found at Windsor Castle.
The 46 guest rooms and 14 suites are fabulously regal with finery from the world’s most accomplished craftsman. They feature antique furnishing, Turkish carpets, embroidered silk drapes, and Italian marble baths. The work of fine craftsman is on vivid display at every turn in the historical public rooms where the carved mahogany ceilings, Venetian chandeliers, marble work, and wood inlays adorn the environs and provide a striking contrast to the refrained elegance of the guest rooms and suites.
The past and present live side by side at the Taj Falaknuma Palace and time must be spent in each room to truly absorb the grandeur. Take afternoon tea in the Jade Room overlooking Hyderabad, lounge in the study, stroll the gardens, and then treat yourself to a signature treatment at the Royal Jiva Spa, or a refreshing swim in the pool.
At Adaa, menu items from the royal kitchen prepared for state Banquets are recreated and updated to offer diners a taste of traditional Hyderbadi cuisine. Guests can also dine on exceptional classical Italian and Mediterranean fare at Celeste. I highly recommend arising early and enjoying breakfast at Jade Verandah, open only during the winter months. Wake up with the palace peacocks and the sounds of the city in the distance; it is a marvelous start to a day at the Taj Falaknuma Palace Hyderabad. Taj Falaknuma Palace Hyderabad.
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