At the outset Novotel Varun Vijayawada comes across as a regular business hotel that has backing of Accor Hotels business hotel brand. It is only post checking-in I realized that it offers an experience beyond that of a cookie-cutter upscale hotel. It has infinity pool offering panoramic view of the city, being one of the tallest building in the area and a a 220-metro long running track encircling the rooftop. The hotel offers dining options that would please an epicurean and also has spa and gymnasium.
The 227-room hotel Novotel Varun Vijayawada also houses 25 serviced apartments for long stay travelers. The ergonomically designed rooms come with all the modern amenities and offer great view of the city. Then there are the little touches. On my first night I found a bowl of soaked almonds on my bedside post the turndown service, with a note on benefits of almonds.
The multi-cuisine restaurant – Food Exchange- staple of the Novotel is where I had a hearty Andhra meal curated by Chef Vinay Kumar. It has been one the best meals I have had in a long time.That’s also where I had my morning breakfast which was a mix of continental, North Indian and South Indian. The restaurant also has Sunday Brunch option, another hit among locals. At the lobby level is the Pan Asian restaurant Wagun that offers a variety of Asian dishes and sports chic interiors.
Vijayawada, along with Amravati, will form the capital region of Andhra Pradesh. While Amravati is still being constructed, it is Vijayawada that is getting attention from politicos, travelers and is also witnessing a spur in infrastructure development. Adding to the new vibe of the city is this six month old hotel.
At the lobby level there is also The Gourmet Bar. The mixologist surprised us with a Bloody Mary that had red chili on its rim instead of salt, adding local flavor to the cocktail. There were other cocktails as well done with a twist and refreshing cocktails for teetotallers. The town is definitely moving to all things hip. The hotel will soon be home to a rooftop restaurant that will be serving modern Indian, maybe molecular gastronomy too.
Being the first international five star of the city, the otherwise ubiquitous Novotel has been getting lot of attention. It was also buzzing with guests and visitors through the day. The staff, mostly local, goes an extra mile to make your experience memorable.
I spent my evenings at the Novotel taking a dip in the infinity pool and soaking in the views of the city. One of the days I indulged in a 90-minute invigorating massage at their spa, another evening I just hit the bar to unwind.
The hotel also features seven meeting rooms and banqueting space that can accommodate upto 1000 people making it ideal for weddings or conferences.
A business destination and now a political hub too, Vijayawada is usually not on a leisure tourist’s list. So I was surprised that there were quite a few spots to visit in Vijayawada- the magnificent Kanak Durga temple, famous chilly market of Gantur and relics of rockcut Undavalli Caves. Shop for pickles, chutneys, spices and of course the famous cotton and silk sarees. We also visited the Mangalagiri Weavers Village where artisans were weaving sarees and explained us the process, It takes them approximately 2 to 3 days to weave one saree.
Prakasam Barrage and Bhavani Island are also popular among tourists. If you like you can also visit Amaravati that in couple of months would be the capital of Andhra Pradesh.
Novotel would still be the epicenter of this town.