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Ista Hyderabad, Hyderabad 

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Road Number 2
India 500019
Tel: 91 40 4450 8888
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From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:

The crowd at Ista, drawn partly from the booming IT park nearby, includes plenty of young and hip business types, but there are as many savvy leisure travelers, attracted by the proximity to Hyderabad's new airport and golf course. The 164-room hotel and its pool and spa have been designed to blend harmoniously with the 16 arid, boulder-strewn acres that surround it and to evoke Hyderabad's Persian-derived aesthetic tradition. A sheet of water cascading behind glass in the lobby creates an inviting ambience, which is extended outside by reflecting pools and waterfalls. Although their walk-in closets and bathrooms are niftily designed and the decor is elegant and uncluttered, the rooms can be on the small side—except for the rooftop suites with private terraces, which are immense. Dining is casual at Collage, which serves an international menu, and more dressed-up at Deori, where the specialty is Hyderabad's famed cuisine. Like the Indian economy, the Ista chain is undergoing rapid expansion, but in Hyderabad—despite a minor wobble or two soon after opening—it is upholding the high aesthetic values and standards of service it is becoming known for.

—2008 Hot List

When to go: If you have low tolerance for heat and humidity, visit between mid-October and mid-March.

Which room to book: A Luxury room with a balcony facing the green belt bordering one side of the hotel or, if you can spring for it, a suite.

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