Discovering the best of Vijayawada with Novotel

By 10:43 Saturday 24 August 2019 ,

The Indian state of Andhra Pradesh isn't very well recognised as a tourist hotspot but has plenty of hidden gems that'll surely appeal to the culture-enthusiast in you. From the chaotic streets of Hyderabad to the Indian Grand Canyon of Gandikota, the futuristic capital of Amaravati to the historic Belum caves, Andhra has plenty of treats up its sleeves if one simply gives it a chance. Which is exactly what I did.

To be completely honest, I had never given Vijayawada much thought before. However, a quick google search later, I realised that it was JUST the kind of offbeat, culturally-rich ancient cities I keep obsessing over on my Instagram and in real life. Nestled on the banks of the Krishna river, Vijayawada's popularity stems from being home to some of the most significant Hindu temples that date back to the 4th century, the historic Undavalli Caves and Kondapalli Fort, the melt-in-mouth 'Babai Idli' and more recently, the plush 5-star Novotel property that lies at the very heart of the city: Vijayawada Varun. Its close proximity to the capital of Amaravati further makes the hotel an ideal choice for business and leisure travellers alike.

About the property

The property boasts of 227 tastefully decorated rooms that are luxurious in aesthetics yet extremely homely in character. Guests can choose from Executive or Superior Rooms, Suites as well as Apartments, as per their preference and need. My Executive room on the 5th floor came equipped with a King Size bed, a spacious living area, a mini work station, mini bar, LED TV, ample closet space and a locker and uninterrupted WiFi. I especially loved the personalised welcome message and a few complimentary local treats that only added to the warmth of the room, which was to be my home for the next three days.

There's plenty to do within the property for days when you feel like staying in. Head to the rooftop for the gorgeous infinity pool and take in the bird's eye view of the city, preferably with a glass of sangria by your side. I took a peek of the poolside tapas bar that is currently under construction and it'll simply make your pool-time ten times more fun. You can also enjoy breakfast by the pool upon special request!

If pampering is on your mind, count on Dew Spa's experts to spoil you with one of their many in-house treatments ranging from massages, reflexology, and even relaxing facials. There's also an excellent gym and a rooftop running track around the periphery of the hotel for the fitness freaks. 


Ever since it started operations back in December, Vaijayawada Varun has quickly caught on as one of the most preferred food destination by locals and tourists alike. Its extensive breakfast buffet at the all-day dining restaurant Food Exchange, can overwhelm even the most hardcore foodies. I thoroughly enjoyed the wonderful spread that comprised of Indian, Continental, Middle-eastern, Asian and regional specialities along with a lovely spread of freshly baked croissants, sweets and breads. Also on offer were a variety of salads, yogurts, in-house jams and relishes and a live counter for South Indian and egg dishes. The last time I was THIS impressed by a hotel buffet was coincidentally at Novotel Bangkok that I visited last year.

I also got to taste a specially curated Andhra cuisine menu by Chef Vinay Talagadadevi that opened up my palate to a whole new set of flavours and textures.

The property's Asian fine-dining restaurant Wugan is not to be missed at any cost. I was lucky enough to be visiting during a two-week Teppanyaki festival by Chef Sudarshana from Sri Lanka, who was a complete treat to watch. A few of my favourites included the Tofu Udon noodles, Avocado sushi, Betel nut fritters, Shitake mushroom soup and Pan-fried icecream with grilled fruits.

The Gourmet Bar is a guest-favourite for its lively music nights and stellar cocktails that masterfully whips up old classics with a local twist. Count on the Gourmet Bar for those late night cravings or a quick light bite to go.

Around the property

#1. Kondapalli Fort: 

This 14th century fort is located just 20km from Vijayawada and gives breathtaking views of the Kondapalli hills. The village is also popular for a variety of wooden toys, especially the dancing Kondapalli dolls.

#2. Guntur Chilli Market: 

Visit Asia's largest chilli market on your trip to Vijayawada to witness heaps and heaps of the mighty guntur chillies and take home the spiciest souvenir ever, if you will.

#3. Mangalagiri Weaver Village

Watch how the popular Mangalagiri cotton sarees are made as you navigate through the tightly-knit homes of the weavers in the Mangalagiri district of Vijaywada. You can also pick up some pieces at fair prices directly from these weavers or head to the local market which has quite a few number of shops selling Mangalagiri fabrics and suits, along with the sarees.

#4. Prakasam Barrage

The signature landmark of Vijayawada is a great spot to catch the perfect sunset over the gleaming Krishna River. Do not miss it!

#5. Bhavani Island

Enjoy a quick ferry ride on the Krishna River to the man-made Bhavani Island which has a restaurant, a garden and a resort. You can easily plan a nice picnic here.

#6. Kanak Durga Temple

One of the most important Hindu temples in South India, the Kanaka Durga temple is synonymous to the city of Vijayawada. Visiting the temple is a bit of a challenge due to the scale of crowd, but do give it a visit if you can for its beautiful South Indian architecture style and the air of spirituality it constantly exudes.

Getting there

Regular flights run from all major Indian cities to Vijayawada. The property is located at a convenient 30 minute drive from the Vijayawada Airport.

So give the mainstream and crowded South Indian destinations a break and go for lesser-explored gems such as Vijayawada to truly surprise and stimulate the traveller in you. A property as brilliant as Novotel Vijayawada Varun is just one more reason to do so!

For bookings and details, click here.

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