Conrad Pune ~ Luxury by Hilton

Conrad Pune ~ Luxury by Hilton

Review

 

Travel ~ The stunning vistas, culture, customs, and novelty of the place become a blur as I take a trip into myself only to discover new things that I never knew existed.

A crown jewel in the business district of Pune, Conrad Pune is the epitome of curated services, eclectic style, plush and richly textured experiences. The hotel ever so graciously hosted my husband, Vikram and me for 3 nights in the city.

Arrival

Our ride from the airport to the luxury property was a short but interesting one. Like so many of the lively Indian cities, Pune has a unique atmosphere ~ the colours, the sounds, the people ~ it has that something that makes one instantly fall in love with the city!

Being all about luxury and opulence, the gold “Conrad” logo at the exterior entrance to the Conrad Pune truly sets the tone for an unmatched experience! Upon entering the Conrad lobby the contrast couldn’t have been more striking to what we had experienced on our cab ride where we could observe a little bit of the real life of the city. The reception area in shades of purple and gold is spectacular and spacious, and leaves you with an air of the roaring 20s given its impressive Art Deco sculptures and decor.

We were warmly greeted by the affable Deepa Chandiramani, Marketing and Communications Manager along with her team, and experienced the heartfelt satisfaction that emanates from a serene and ceremonial Indian welcome with the tikka and aarti that had all the characteristic traditional attributes.

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Onset

Something has always enticed me about the Conrad hotels. As with most of them, the whole design at the Conrad Pune is thought out perfectly and is timeless and distinctive. The design language of the property takes you on a journey of innovation and tranquillity owing to its distinctive features. The mesmerizing facade of 40 feet high ceilings, beautifully crafted lighting, carefully curated collection of original artwork, the use of water as a design element, and ample sunlight reaching out with its warm fingers into the spaces completed my literary fantasy.

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Room with a view

There’s nothing better than experiencing the beauty of a city at a certain height. Defining this statement, we were provided with a room on the thirteenth floor that provided an unobtrusive view from where Pune could be perceived in the most magnificent way. The city looked calm and peaceful from up there ~ so close yet so far away.

Weary from our journey, I was relieved to simply stretch my arms out, fall down in on the comfy bed, and take a deep breath. Our room fit perfectly into the overall design of the property, and was equipped with everything one could wish for ~ from a spacious bathroom equipped with a luxurious soaking bathtub, to an impressive snack bar and a very welcome espresso machine.

Now it’s not just the calming atmosphere that makes one appreciate the Conrad, it’s also the unique application of technology. The room had touch panels to control the electronics, and motion sensors that automatically turned on the light in darker areas, so you didn’t need to search for the switch in unfamiliar territory.

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I reluctantly tore myself away from these creature comforts and after a quick recharge, Vikram and I set out to explore the city; but with plans made in mind to schedule an appointment with the deep-soaking bathtub later on in the evening, in the company of some aromatic bath salts. Keeping in mind the heat of the city, there’s no denying the comfort of a bath after a long day of sightseeing. Adding to the appeal is a rubber ducky by the tub {this is fairly iconic to most Conrad hotels globally}, and what’s even better is that you can bring it home with you as an entity of reminiscence.

But if a deep soak is too much for you, be assured that the on-room marble tiled overhead rain-style shower will leave you feeling pampered with its custom mixed Aromatherapy Associates shampoo, conditioner and body wash. And with the, once again, great light design and imposing mirror you will be able to contemplate your body in all its glory!

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Exploration ~ The City, its essence, sights, and sounds

The Conrad acts as a nucleus for explorative activities in the area and depending on how much time you have on hand, they chalk out good travel itineraries with intended places to see and exciting activities that are 1, 3, and 5 hours long, making it easy to incorporate them in your schedule. And yes, they are novel and unorthodox.

Since we had a day to spare for sightseeing, and were interested in the famous cultural destinations of Pune, we decided to do a 5 hour tour. Our tour began at the iconic Vohuman Café, where we were treated to a scrumptious breakfast. It was a good way to start and from there we went on to visit Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum followed by Shaniwar Wada Palace.

The palace is actually more of a fortress and looks daring and quite intimidating with its dark colours and bulky architecture ~ they don’t call it a haunted fort for nothing… But it is surrounded by a huge geometrical garden that invites exploration. The museum on the other hand offers a great display of historical artisan works and gives a glimpse into the rich cultural history of the region. What makes museums special to me is that with a little fantasy they are a time machine into a past long forgotten and enable you to explore a world usually unreachable and unimaginable.

Vikram and I truly enjoyed walking around the streets of Pune, getting lost in the markets, browsing through colourful stalls, taking in the vibrant colours of the saris women wore, and searching for hidden corners where we could observe the beautiful people of the city and its traditions. The whole premise of the tour was a way of connecting with the city and you could feel the deep love the guides have for their own culture ~ a love for sharing.

Our entire day tour that was made a reality by the hotel as they helped us knit together landscape, folklore, and food has been documented here. Feel free to browse through… 🙂

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As twilight settled in, and on our return to the hotel, we decided to head down to the temperature-controlled pool for a swim. The light design really complimented the ambience, and the gurgle of the water cascade tickled my ears. Floating on my back, the water warm against my skin, I looked forward to day 2 of our stay at this gorgeous property. But something lured me back up ~ the delicious evening snacks and curated cocktails offered up by the poolside lounge, Kabana that renders you with a feel of the city.

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Getting back to the room had wonderful surprises awaiting us. Apart from an assorted selection of hand-crafted chocolates and cookies, and a fruit platter by the bedside {the room’s evening turn down service}, was a warm letter of welcome from the GM, as well as two Conrad Pune Teddy Bears placed against the fluffy pillows. And this, my friends, is what I call perfect service ~ the hallmark of a world-class hotel!

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Unique Dining Experiences

The next morning I woke up with the gentle but demanding smell of a strong coffee wafting through the room. Floating through the sunlit room I followed the enticing aroma to the in-room breakfast I had ordered the night before. With the view of the city and the morning sun as my room light, I sat down and gathered strength for our day ahead.

Though a holiday trip, I can say with confidence that the life of a blogger is like a switch that is always on. I started my morning with some quick responses to emails. And I must add that I was never someone who enjoyed working from bed until I actually tried it. The idea of never having to leave the plush mattress and pillows is definitely one that I can get behind!

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With the options of either the full buffet breakfast experience at Coriander Kitchen, or a more private one at the Executive Lounge; the hotel provides diverse range of choices for guests staying in the executive room or suite. And although the food library at Coriander Kitchen {with its temperature controlled shelves} is enticing with its bite-sized portions of freshly cut fruits, salads, and dessert ~ with the need to save some space for the local delicacies of the city, Vikram and I opted to dine at the Executive Lounge, a delightful space where staff are eager to serve their guests in a warm and comfortable environment, over the next two days.

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What makes the gourmet experiences at the Conrad hotels world over extraordinary is authenticity coupled with their distinctive philosophies.

The Conrad Pune offers six perfectly crafted dining outlets {excluding the Executive Lounge} that each offers something different. Coriander Kitchen is their casual all-day diner; Koji is their Asian specialty restaurant perfect for smooth Japanese sake, and delectable signature dishes; Zeera is their fine-dining Indian restaurant that presents diners with the choicest regional Indian cuisine; Kabana, with it’s beautiful terrace garden and cabanas with plush sofas is perfect for those lazy days; the bar, Masu, is a popular night spot and has an in-house DJ and an Asian themed cocktail menu in the evening; and lastly their 24-hour delicatessen, Pune Sugar Box {PSB} dishes up exotic baked goods and dessert.

 

* Coriander Kitchen *

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* Koji *

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Conrad Pune ~ Luxury by Hilton

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* Zeera *

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* Pune Sugar Box {PSB} *

Conrad Pune ~ Luxury by Hilton

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Afternoon Tea is served at the Executive Lounge from 3:00PM to 5:00PM ~ it’s where we escaped to a moment of high refinement when indulging in their finest selection of loose-leaf and herbal teas, coupled with an exquisite selection of sweets and savouries. It was also where, from the big glass front, I could take in the irresistible glow of the city underneath me.

I would suggest you enjoy your afternoon tea and savouries until 5:00PM and then go on to experience their unlimited cocktails, wines, and beers in the two hours that follow. I must mention that the little sofa chairs here {that seat up to two adults on each side} are quite cosy and comfy and seem to be a favourite seating area offering superb cityscape views.

And if you stay long enough, you can see the myriad hues flitting across the sky as it heralds twilight. It is fascinating to see the sky from this angle. I realized one of the advantages of planning a visit in summer is the comparatively clearer skies and cleaner air.

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It was hard enough for me to leave this oasis of comfort and elegance behind but knowing that a spot at the Spa awaited, I was excited to head out.

 

That Cleopatra Experience

The rejuvenation floor boasts of having the city’s first temperature-controlled pool. The spa, round-the-clock fitness centre and tropical garden gives a unique and personalized milieu that connects yet disconnects you from the outside world. There are oil lamps that are lit along the pathways in the evening that add to the delightful ambience. The moonlight, the lamps, and the evening breeze make it a wondrously sublime experience.

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Personal care is given during the spa treatments at Conrad Spa that leaves you feeling rejuvenated. The Pearl & Jasmine body scrub which uses Himalayan Salt Crystal Scrub recommended by the spa manager was divine and is said to leave the skin supple and smooth while restoring vitality and energy levels. They followed it up with a Classic Swedish Massage which was really relaxing. The open palm pressure which is said to improve blood circulation and ease muscular strain was calming and soothing to the mind, body, and soul.

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End note: Sometimes small things make all the difference and that is exactly how Vikram and I felt during our stay here. There was this sense of belonging which the staff made us feel with their warm and caring gestures; for example, each time we visited the Executive Lounge, we were addressed by name, and our room was always made up every morning with all amenities in place… it was hard bidding adieu both to the Conrad Hotel and Pune.

I would personally recommend staying at the Conrad Pune as it is not only ranked among the top few luxury hotels in India but also belongs to the Hilton group, an international hotel chain.

 

Tanya Dhar in conversation with Pavan Chennam, Executive Chef at Conrad Pune

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* Disclaimer: This review was done on an invitation from Conrad Pune, and is a narrative of the author’s experience at the property. Due judgement and care has been applied by the author to remain objective and unbiased in the review.

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* I love bringing together a bunch of conflicting items and weaving my own sense of one-ness to them. *

36 Comments

  • I love your writing style, Tanya ~ you have a distinct and relatable voice that really comes through in your blog. Looks like a gorgeous place, and another cool experience under your belt! xx

  • This post is amazing! You’ve persuaded me that Conrad is a property I MUST visit. The sooner the better!

    • Thank you! It’s been fun focusing on storytelling while writing about Conrad Pune… I hope you make it there soon, Cindy!

  • I’ve bookmarked this blog entry, on the grounds that I might not have the capacity to recollect the name of the city ~ the place sounds lovely. Beautiful interiors, friendly people, and delicious food ~ why haven’t I been yet?

  • We’ve been to many of the same countries as you’ve been, but one of our absolute favourites was India. It was fantastic to have the opportunity to experience the culture!

  • What an incredible year it has been for you, and from what it sounds like also with respect to self-awareness and finding what makes you happy and healthy. Thank you for giving us a chance to follow along, and sharing your experiences so honestly.

  • I love your luxury hotel posts particularly this one, it’s precisely what I need. Adore the way you narrated your experience. Keep exploring!

    • If you already love Conrad without seeing it, you’re going to fall even more in love when you get to meet the amazing staff!

  • All things considered, I’m convinced!!
    Great article; I truly feel like I know what makes Conrad tick! The culture sounds absolutely fascinating and the people sound wonderful.

    • The Puneries are so lovely! And the Conrad Pune was wonderful. The fact that the culture is so unique to our own {in Bangalore} simply made going there all the more interesting, Johanna.

  • Thanks for this helpful guide. India is on the list for later this year so I’m bookmarking this post for when I start making plans.

  • Awesome photographs and review, Tanya! I visited India in 2015 and it was an extraordinary holiday ~ the people in Pune are lovely and the culture is amazing.

    • One of my favourite parts of travel is discovering all the incredible foods that I suddenly want to eat/drink until the end of time!

  • Another stellar post! The Conrad sounds awesome! I’ve been loving all of your Pune content. Every post has me itching to book a ticket and go exploring!

  • What beautiful memories you had in this delightful place. The stylistic layout, view… especially the food! Thank you for sharing.

  • Tanya, it’s always amazing to read about your travels ~ you have a way with words that makes reading rather pleasant. Thank you for sharing your stories! I can’t wait for the next one 😉

  • I’ve been to many countries far and wide, but never to India. Perhaps it’s time to change that.

  • Hey Tanya, thanks for the informative post. The Conrad Pune is now on my list to visit. Looking forward to your next destination.

    • Go, go, go! It’s so worth staying at. And I trust you’ll have just as amazing a time as we did! 🙂

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