Best Budget Hotels to stay in Hyderabad

hyderabad, Travel
After staying in the same city for more than twenty years, it can be challenging to look at it from a tourist’s perspective. You know the chaat waala at every galli, you know the best street shops for a shopping spree, you know which theater offers buttered popcorn and which doesn’t, you have your favorite coffee haunts and you know the exact time to start to beat the peak traffic and reach your destination on time. It’s basically home no matter what. When a friend who was visiting for a weekend, asked me for a list of places to stay in Hyderabad, at first I was stumped. And then I realized there were some really good themed hotels if you were looking for a quick weekend stay.  After a lot of research, careful scrutiny and talking to many who have stayed in these places, I bring you this list of best budget hotels in Hyderabad. So the next time you are in the city and looking for a place to stay or if you are living in this city but decide to take a mini-vacation within the city itself, this list is your friend!

Bikanervala Boutique hotels 

Located in the prime area of the city, you have easy access to everything you need – restaurants, malls, parks and even the airport! But the USP of this Boutique hotel would definitely be the delicious food. It is a paradise for vegetarians and the options are simply endless. It’s the best place for authentic Rajasthani/Gujarati dishes and chaat.

The Lime Boutique Suites

With 30 boutique rooms, conference rooms and a global vegetarian restaurant, this brightly done place is bound to put you in a cheerful mood instantly – whether you are here on a personal holiday or a business trip. The cafeteria style restaurant seating and the bright lights make a pretty picture!

Concord Comfort – Upper Crest

This is actually a mix of hotel + service apartment, again in the heart of the city, but very budget friendly. Concord Comfort offer their service apartment services in a total of five different locations within the city – all with lovely decor, home cooked food and incredibly kind staff.

jüSTa The Residence

 
Its a boutique hotel situated on Necklace road, offering masterfully designed guest rooms with herbal bath line products and a roof top multi-cuisine restaurant overlooking the lake. Also a great place to try amazing vegetable biryani.

  

Don’t forget to visit these places the next time you plan your mini holiday!

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5 Must-Visit spots when in Prague

Czech republic, globetrotter, Prague, Travel
Prague is considered as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. After simply one visit it’s easy to see why. The old world charm that effortlessly meshes with new age wonders, offers a very unique experience to any tourist visiting the city – be it for the first time or the tenth! Read on to know more about some of the best spots in the city of a thousand spires.

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Charles Bridge

This is one of the city’s main attractions linking the two sides of Prague.  You will always find a hoard of tourists walking along this bridge, stopping at hot dog stands and appreciating the view of the magnificent Vltava River. This is truly the center of the city from where you can see the Prague castle towers against the evening sky. There are also innumerable street artists and jazz bands providing a bounce to your step as you walk along.

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National Museum
Museums are never first on my ‘to – be – seen’ list when I visit any city. But I decided to make an exception in this case after what I’d heard about Prague’s National museum. The building itself is splendid with a huge skylight and stone carved structures. It breathes royalty from the moment you enter it, and you left wondering whether you need to admire the magnificence of the majestic hallway, the red-carpeted stairs or the actual exhibits.

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 Old town square
Despite being such a touristy spot, Prague’s old town square has remained untouched since the 10th century. The cobbled streets, the street market selling all sorts of trinkets, the outdoor cafes where you can enjoy a glass of wine in the warm sun, an ever changing cast of musicians and street performers – they all add to the charm and beauty of the place.

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Prague Castle

The walk up to Prague castle is almost as enjoyable as the view from the top of the castle towers. The city is made for walking, stopping and admiring. The evident beauty of the churches and buildings is enough to stop any man who is least interested in architecture in his tracks. Photography isn’t allowed inside the castle, which is a good thing as, for once, you can feast your eyes on the sculptures, the arches, the intricate stone work and carvings, and of course the view of the entire city from the top!

Astronomical clock

It’s the third oldest astronomical clock in the world and still in working condition! Hundreds of tourists gather around the clock every hour, with their cameras pointed and ready to enjoy the fascinating mechanical performance of the clock. At the end of every hour, figures on the sides of the clock become animated. You will see a skeleton ringing a bell, a Turk shaking his head, a miser with a purse full of money, a Vanity looking in the mirror and two windows that open to reveal twelve apostles greeting the city. This comical performance ends with a golden rooster crowing and a huge bell ringing at the top of the tower.

Prague is called one of the world’s most beautiful cities and for good reason. It must be on every travel buff’s wish list. And with websites like Travel Tours offering such packages, Prague is just one click away! I absolutely love to travel whenever I get a chance (which doesn’t seem to be very often these days) but I am already on to planning my next trip hopefully sometime soon!

Share your travel plans for this year in the comments below. Maybe we’ll bump into each other halfway around the world! 🙂

Dapoli Photo Diary – Day 2

dapoli, mahabaleshwar, road trip, Travel
Mornings that take all of your will power to get out of bed, and a manic rush of adrenaline that makes you cover an hour long trek to a long forgotten temple. Contradictions that made up our second day at Dapoli. Who knew a place so pretty was lying there in wait, hoping to be rediscovered? Call me crazy, but ‘neglect’ and ‘ruin’ have never looked more beautiful ever. After another delicious breakfast at our home-stay/hotel, a long debate on whether we should go ahead and make the long trek, we decided to give it a shot. Why should a viral fever that was refusing to die down since 4 days and a whole night of wheezing, cough and cold stop you from straining your already over-worked body? It just made perfect sense to walk and climb for an hour in the hot, humid mid-morning sun, with not a single sip of water (because the bottle was conveniently forgotten in the car at the parking lot), specially when we had a full day road trip planned for the very next day. Logic – 0, Manic adrenaline rush – 1

After a walk through a hidden village, a roughly laid out path, a bridge and then about a billion steps, we reached our destination. And it was worth it to finally get to the top and quench our thirst with fresh mountain water, all the while wondering how ‘fresh’ it really was. The joy of getting to the top and the sudden realization that we had to get back down the exact same way, made us forget to take any pictures of the place. So basically it looks like we dragged ourselves up all the way only to have a drink from a (highly suspicious) clear stream of mountain water. Like I said, logic was still at 0.

By the time evening came, we were craving another relaxing sunset by the beach. This time we went to the more popular Murud beach, which was not only bigger but also quite clean. A (bumpy)horse buggy ride which for some reason kept veering in the direction of the water while we were trying not to get thrown off it , dipping toes into the water, running on the long stretch of sand just for the heck of it, leaving #thegirlatfirstavenue imprints and finally a moment of peace as we looked at the sun go down – brought the perfect end to a perfect vacation.

p.s: The terrible 7 hour trip to Mumbai by road shall be conveniently left out of this otherwise perfect trip

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Dapoli Photo Diary – Day 1

dapoli, mahabaleshwar, Travel
This was another of those places that was discovered quite by accident. While looking for the nearest beach from Mahabaleshwar, we stumbled upon Dapoli – a name that I’d never heard of till before that. After a couple of hours of intense review-reading (I am obsessed about reading every traveller’s account of the place, stay and food on every travel website available. Bit of an OCD), we decided it would be perfect for lazing around for a couple of days.

A couple of hours drive from Mahabaleshwar later, we reached Dapoli by afternoon. The drastic change from deliciously cold mountain air to hot and humid Dapoli was not taken very well by us me. So very grumpily I proceeded to have lunch. Aryawarta, the place where we were staying was a cross between a home stay and a hotel. It’s a bunch of independent villas and apartments, complete with a kitchenette and a huge balcony, and a common ‘cafeteria’ style eating area where you don’t have any menu, except for the delicious home cooked Konkan style dishes that they serve.

It almost reminded me of my days of eating in my hostel cafeteria, except that hostel food sucked and this was yummy! After a delicious lunch of *insert-konkani-food-item-names-that-I-don’t-remember-and-can’t-pronounce* we took a much needed nice long nap. In the evening we went to Ladghar beach, which according to our hotel guy was the cleanest beach, but he was so wrong! Nevertheless got to witness a beautiful sunset so, no complaints! 🙂

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Mahabaleshwar Photo Diary – Day 2

mahabaleshwar, Travel
The second day started bright and sunny – perfect for a day out. Mahabaleshwar has unpredictable weather, specially during September-October. It’s sunny and warm until afternoon but during the evenings the mist and fog sets in and it starts raining. Nevertheless we spent the morning going to the Krishna temple (the place where River Krishna originates) and also had a little photoshoot there (click here if you haven’t seen it). Spent the day admiring the architecture and the abandoned, neglected feel that the place had, which only added to it’s charm. It was such a peaceful location with an amazing view. They say inspiration strikes you at the most unexpected time and place, and I probably had a zillion creative ideas rushing through my mind for the kind of photo-shoots and videos that could be done at this place. Definitely coming back here for that if not for anything else!

Finally we ended the day wandering about the resort and exploring all the little corners. It was too cold to go for a swim but the sunny weather was perfect for a little lie down by the pool!

Soothing my sore throat with a hot cup of tea!

Details

When it’s too cold to swim, you snooze!
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Mahabaleshwar Photo Diary – Day 1

globetrotter, holidays, mahabaleshwar, road trip, Travel
There are some destinations that are never on your ‘to-be-visited’ radar only because, for reasons unknown, you have sorely underestimated the place. Mahabaleshwar was one such place that I never expected to find myself in because I honestly din’t think it was my kind of place. So when I got the chance to go there for a couple of days, am glad it proved me wrong in many ways!

We (me & family) went by road from Pune and reached in about 3 hours. The moment we entered the hill station we were greeted with an amazing view of the road, greenery and chilly mountain weather.

After a brief rest at the Bella Vista Resort, we set out to explore the place. The best way to see the sights and sounds of a new place (according to me) is to avoid the overtly touristy spots. So basically the ‘points’ were something we were keen on avoiding. Well every point has the same spectacular view but from a different angle. So we din’t want to be rushing to all the nine (or maybe more) points and pushing through crowds and trying to avoid monkeys grabbing our bags (And there were so many!)

So we decided on Kate’s point, which was nearest from our resort, had almost zero crowd and of course offered a breathtaking view of the Deccan traps.

After a couple of hours of frolicking around the mountain streams, enjoying the fresh green view and worsening my cold (sniff), we decided the time was perfect to go for a boat ride in the famous Venna Lake. It’s one of the major tourist attractions of Mahabaleshwar. It’s a man made lake where you can enjoy a boat ride in a row boat (no electric boats allowed). Ten minutes into the boat ride, a huge mist descended upon us making it impossible to see beyond three meters of our boat. Typical hollywood movie thriller where you except some sort of alien sea monster to jump out of the fog and swallow your boat whole.

Unfortunately all we managed to spot was a spooky looking tree branch and of course my cold got worse. After the boat ride, it was back to the resort, piping hot food while it poured outside and snuggling in bed with a hot lemon tea!

Holiday so far so good.. eh?

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A walk in Interlaken, Switzerland | Globetrotter

Europe, globetrotter, holidays, Interlaken, Switzerland, Travel
Switzerland has always been a popular destination for us Indians. Be it newlyweds who want a Swiss honeymoon or bollywood directors who want snowcapped mountains as scenic song backgrounds, this beautiful country is always the #1 choice! So naturally when I got the chance to turn a work trip into a full fledged holiday with the promise of swiss chocolates and frolicking in the snow, I grabbed at it without a second thought.

Interlaken is a little town in Switzerland, sandwiched between two lakes on either side. And of course it is famous for its popular Jungfrau Park. Every road you turn into is as picturesque as the previous one and its populated with cute Bed ‘n Breakfast places all over. Of course, it’s also very expensive but that’s the price you pay to enjoy this 

So let’s take a walk around town while I give you reasons why it is worth a trip!

You get to enjoy lush green views and snowy mountains at a distance. All this with warm and bright sunshine!

Pretty and colorful flowers are blooming all around (and so well maintained!). Instant mood uplift!
There is no traffic. No people. No noise. Which makes a walk on a rainy day so much more enjoyable without anyone around and without having to watch out for puddles and splashes of water

Trains are on time. Platforms are not messy. Trains are fast, neat and clean. Did I mention they are on time? And they come with a view! 😉
You never know when you’ll bump into someone ‘going to work’ on their horse. What? That’s a mode of transportation too! Also converts into a pet when you are having a bad day at work and you need someone to make you feel better.
When hotels look like this, you really have nothing to say except scream with joy for you have finally found yourself inside an Enid Blyton novel.
Your friendly neighborhood postman has a super cute yellow bike and is actually friendly enough to have a chat and pose for you!

You walk on the main street of the town and you find THIS. A refreshingly blue stream flowing through the town, with water so clean that you could almost drink it.
They have little ‘fountains’ or taps with continuously flowing fresh water from the melting mountain snow/ice. We filled out our bottles here and the water was ice cold! (*lousy tourist-y pose alert*)
Cobbled streets. Need I say more?

And it’s perfectly normal to encounter colorful little toy trains going about this too-good-to-be-true toy town. Wanna hitch a ride to the next station?
The other side of the stream. Still blue. Still clean.

Random works of art on the street. ‘Coz why let an old tree trunk just be, when you can do this to it?

And when you are back from your long walk, thinking it can’t get any better, you enter your Bed ‘n Breakfast and you see this. A little cabin common room complete with the famous Swiss cow bells (I bought a teeny tiny one back.. remember the DDLJ version?) and firewood chopped and ready to be put in the fireplace for the night!

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Venice on a stormy day | Globetrotter

Europe, globetrotter, Travel, venice
“You may have the universe, if I may have Italy”

There is nothing that I don’t love about this beautiful country. Right from the cuisine (we all know am crazy about Italian food) to the places and the fashion!

Spending just two days in Venice is not enough to satiate your senses. But when you have no choice and you are given a limited time in wonderland, you make the most of it by trying to soak in as many sights as you can possibly see.

The day we picked to visit Venice couldn’t have been more perfect. It was cloudy, windy, cold and stormy – not exactly the kind of ‘perfect’ that everybody prefers. But this city – that is already considered one of the most beautiful on earth, seemed to magnify in beauty on that stormy day. The dark clouds that seemed to shroud the entire floating city in a matter of minutes,  the soft play of lights on the water, made us see the city from a whole new angle. Rare, fierce and royal.

By daylight it is a bustling city full of tourists, delivery boats, and gondolas. By night – if you feel you are short of words to describe the place, then it is clear that you have truly loved and understood its beauty.

Previous travel posts (click here)

Road trip to Kuntala falls

kuntala falls, road trip, Travel, weekend
About a month back we went on a short one day road trip to Kuntala falls near Hyderabad. It’s a really nice place to go right after the monsoons and the drive to the place is fabulous thanks to the superb roads. There are 408 steps to climb down, (and climb back up which conveniently slips out of your mind when going down) to reach the falls. A few km from this place is Pochera falls, which is also worth seeing mainly because there’s no climbing up/down to do there 🙂
I digging through my photo archives when I found these pictures. I guess my ever present need for a travel holiday made me gravitate towards these! Sometimes I find candid clicks a refreshing change from outfit posts. Hope you enjoy them too!

Globetrotter: Konigssee Lake, Germany

Destiny, Europe, globetrotter, konigsee, Salzburg, Travel
I had a really hard time trying to choose pictures for this post because there were so many and each one is as picturesque as the next one. Honestly it is impossible to choose and since I anyway hate taking such decisions, I went ahead and loaded the post with photos. The more pictures you look at, the more you’ll want to start making holiday plans and that’s exactly my intention! 😉 Because everybody deserves to go to a place like this. A place so silent and so pure that it makes you feel so small and insignificant with its majestic-ness, and at the same time fills you with wonder and a sense of accomplishment. All you have to do is go and look at this place that has formed its own beauty, and although you had no role to play in its formation, the very fact that you are able to see something so wonderful with your own eyes makes you feel, for one teensy moment, that you can achieve anything in the world!

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View from hotel
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Heated indoor pool which we din’t get to use(except as a background for pics)

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Literally translated as the “King’s Lake”, Konigssee is the cleanest lake in entire Germany, and its easy to see why. Only electric powered passenger boats, rowing boats and pedal boats are allowed in the lake. Either that or you could hike your way forward. One of the best things about this place is the silence. It’s rare for such a huge tourist attraction to be so peaceful and silent. The view of the lake, the mountains, and the stillness of the water automatically makes you just sit back and stare…. at everything. One way or the other they’ll make sure you are a well behaved crowd. They are Germans after all! Sticklers for rules. The guide on the boat speaks only German and blatantly refuses a kind request to explain at least a few of his points in English. You ask for a few words of English and he looks at you like you demanded his kidney! A yellow line on the dock that says ‘Do not cross’ strictly means DO NOT CROSS. A concept that we Indians simply can’t wrap our head around. So if you decide to take just one tiny step forward to peep under the bridge and look at those cute ducklings – bad idea. Angry Germans are worse than rude Germans. You’ll get the filthiest look that they reserve specially for dark skinned people. They are not big on welcoming foreigners. That’s something they can’t wrap their head around.

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Just look at that water!!!

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Pirate attack!!

There are two stops along the lake – St Bartholoma and Salet. To reach Salet, over the 8km stretch of the lake it takes about one and quarter hours. A 10 to 15 minute walk from Salet and you reach a smaller lake, the Obersee. If it’s possible to describe a hike as ‘cute’ that’s probably the word I’d use! Everything from the path, to the little restaurant mid-way, to the ducks that keep giving you company along the way, the fresh mountain water streams that you have to keep crossing over (straight out of an Enid Blyton novel!) is just picture perfect and adorable!

At the end of your little walk you reach a much smaller lake, almost hidden in the valley, with water so still that it seems to reflect everything around it. It doesn’t look real. Almost feels like its a set up where someone has planted perfectly symmetrical trees and painted a reflection that is too still to feel real. I don’t think our chaotic minds are used to such stillness. It didn’t come as a surprise that the instinctive reaction of most people over there was to throw a rock or pebble into the still waters just to see the ripples.

what to see in germany, places to visit in germany, konigssee lake, konigssee lake boat tour, europe trip, konigssee lake review

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Reflections

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Such pretty balconies!

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A few days of exploring got me convinced that I need to go back here not once but as many times as possible in a lifetime. How great would it be to just pack up and leave one fine day and just keep going, keep exploring and getting inspired? Some day! Until then, dream, dream, dream and make it happen!