It’s been over six months since India went into lockdown. While most of the country has unlocked now, the fear of catching the virus is prevalent now more than ever. But that doesn’t mean we can stay locked up forever in our homes. Life must move on. However, what we can do is not be careless and take precautions to not play a role in spreading the extremely contagious virus. Keeping this thought in mind I recently experienced a new form of holiday in a city that I felt safe to visit, a staycation in Hyderabad. 

A safe weekend staycation in Hyderabad is all you need to get your mind off the jittery work-from-home (WFH) schedules you’ve been keeping up to. After an authentic and immersive experience of South Indian cuisine, landscape, and fresh air with all the COVID safety regulations intact, I can clearly see a picture of the new normal for the travel industry emerging out of the shadows. 

Also Read: Why your next vacation should be a Staycation

Hyderabad Lakes, Novotel Airport Hotel
Hyderabad Lakes, Novotel Airport Hotel, Hyderabad. Image Courtesy: Archana Singh

Here Is What I Observed In My Staycation In Hyderabad

Safety Is Everything

The travel industry is the most impacted sector by the pandemic, and to bounce back, the industry is now revamping itself by catering to both your entertainment and welfare needs. While airports and airlines have regulations that make your journey contactless, hotels like Novotel Hyderabad Airport Hotel have combined luxury and safety in a fresh way to bring the best experience to travellers, even in a pandemic. No wonder stringent safety regulations were incorporated at every step of my journey—starting from my arrival at the airport to my departure.

The pickup car at the airport had necessary Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) like antibacterial wipes, masks and gloves. The entrance to the hotel lobby required proper sanitisation of my luggage and handbag. This was followed by a thorough sanitisation of my hands and other contact points that can lead to a spread of infection and a temperature check. My health status was checked on the Aarogya Setu app before allowing me to enter the hotel.

Iodine mats are used to take special care of any viruses you might be carrying on your shoes. But none of this comes without a warm welcome from the hotel personnel and management. 

The staff itself strictly follows ALL SAFE Hotel Safety Rules made especially for the pandemic, which reduces any threats due to contact points for both the travellers and them. Gloves, masks and sanitisers are a must for the whole staff, and it was relieving to know that the kitchen staff was also equipped with PPE at all times. 

The Novotel chain has appointed ALL SAFE officers in all its hotels to meet the right standards of safety for all its clients and staff. Even for something as formerly trivial as collecting keys for your hotel rooms, the procedure has been recreated by Novotel for minimising contact risks. You are directly taken to your room and the verification procedures have been shifted online. 

The room had single-use cups for your routine needs like tea and coffee along with a UV trolley that maintained top-notch personal protection. Towels and napkins were kept in minimal numbers in the rooms. 

Sanitizer stations at the hotel during my staycation in Hyderabad
Sanitizer stations at the hotel. Image Courtesy: Archana Singh
Contactless check-in during staycation in Hyderabad at Novotel Hotel
Contactless check-in and no waiting time in the lobby. Image Courtesy: Archana Singh
Contactless check-in during staycation in Hyderabad at Novotel Airport Hotel
Contactless check-in at the Novotel Hyderabad Airport Hotel. Image Courtesy: Archana Singh
Sanitised and sealed room, Novotel Airport Hotel
Sanitised and sealed room, Novotel Airport Hotel, Hyderabad. Image Courtesy: Archana Singh
UV cleaning of the room
UV cleaning of the room. Image Courtesy: Archana Singh
UV disinfection of the crockery used in the Novotel Hyderabad Airport Hotel
UV disinfection of the crockery used in the Novotel Hyderabad Airport Hotel, Hyderabad. Image Courtesy: Archana Singh

Epicurean Delights

The months spent cooped up inside my home with the same old bland food had made me miss the delicious food of speciality restaurants. The pandemic gave my taste buds quite a bitter experience. A change in cuisine was balmy to my traveller’s soul. After tasting exquisite Hyderabadi cuisine at Novotel, I realised how much I missed delights like the Hyderabadi toast and avocado toast as snacks, all served with love.

Other delicacies from the dinner menu included pyaaz ki rabri and healthy options like multigrain tikki. The raw banana shami kebab was the most sought-after starter. 

Delicious Hyderabadi food in a thali during staycation in Hyderabad Novotel hotel
Delicious epicurean delights at the Novotel Hyderabad Hotel. Image Courtesy: Archana Singh
Hyderabadi Aaloo chaat at Novotel Convention Centre Hotel
Hyderabad Aaloo chaat, Novotel Convention Centre Hotel, Hyderabad. Image Courtesy: Archana Singh

One important thing I noticed was that the Novotel Hotel was taking special care to serve more immunity-boosting food. There couldn’t have been a better welcome drink than the immunity-boosting kaadha (an Ayurvedic drink made with herbs and spices) and celery juice. 

As a precautionary measure, all buffets were cancelled. Although I was travelling solo, I realised quiet dinners like these can be turned into very special ones if you’re travelling with your loved one. Maybe next time.

Also Read: 5 must-try traditional food items from Hyderabadi cuisine

Are You Ready To Start Travelling Again?

Now that hotels and airports are turning to extensive training procedures at all levels just to make journeys safe, your contribution is as saviours as the tourism industry awaits. Travellers will always be the first to embrace the new normal. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead, and book your staycation in Hyderabad.


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