A writer's journal and photography blog documenting 900km of hiking End-to-End on the Bruce Trail from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Tobermory, Canada
2AM, Wednesday November 30, 2011
In spite of 23 hours of travel, 8 hours of wakeful rest, 7 hours of work, and two martinis, I found it difficult to fall asleep while my body adjusted to the new time zone. Besides, I needed to stay up to talk to my family at home in Switzerland. So instead of sensibly going to bed, I poured myself a glass of remarkably passable Indian Shiraz and settled down at midnight for a little historical research on this amazing hotel that is spoiling my middle class Canadian steel town girl sensibilities.
With its dark hardwood parquet floors, vast marble foyers, crystal chandeliers and black pillars with inlaid mother-of-pearl, the old world opulence of the Taj Krishna Hotel in Hyderabad cannot be overstated. Yet this hotel is relatively new. Originally built by the GVK Reddy Group in the Banjara Hills of Hyderabad in 1987, the operation of this five star luxury hotel was assumed through a partnership with The Taj Group of Hotels, Resorts and Palaces in the year 2000, with a view to catering to the hi-tech industry developing here.
But as the Taj corporate logo affirms, “Landmarks are not made by the date on the cornerstone”. The Taj Krishna Hotel offers business and tourism travelers a taste of old world luxury and unmeasured Indian hospitality.
This can include slightly bizarre attentions to detail. For example: although I appreciated my breakfast coffee this morning was served by a smartly dressed and flawlessly professional young man with impeccable manners and white gloved hands, I found it rather disquieting to come home to my room this evening after work to find every single item I had carefully set out in the closets, the bathroom vanity and on top of the dressers, entirely rearranged in a different but inexplicable order (I actually checked my underwear drawer, to determine if anyone had ‘explored’ it … thankfully not!). As a North American, I am unused to this amount of attention. But all the same, what a thrill to look around this room and indulge in the warmth of quality linens, hardwood parquet and mahogany furniture and cabinetry, and a thankfully unobtrusive flat screen TV (which on principle I will never turn on, preferring to read if I’m not tapping away sleeplessly at this silly Mac Air!).
As our driver brought us back to the hotel after work about 9:30 this evening (Tuesday), the road approaching the hotel was jammed with vehicles. A large celebration (a wedding, we think) was taking place at the hotel, and it took us more time to cover the 150m distance to the hotel gate than it had taken us to cover the entire cross-town trip from the Deloitte offices. Orange silk and glitter and beautiful sari-clad women floated everywhere around the grounds.
The valet crew were dressed in their finest black and silver uniforms. There were more cars in the courtyard than you can count in a Costco parking lot twice its size all disgorging the finest examples of Hyderabad society.
From my window, even now, I can see the orange silks streaming from the central column erected in front of the guest of honour’s dais. But at this hour, the guests have gone home to sleep, and so, finally, must I.