Last month, Ajay and I spent a weekend in Pune at the Courtyard by Marriott Pune Hinjewadi. Ajay had a meeting in the city, and then on Friday and then we decided to stay an extra night for the Pune Meetup. Staying at a Marriott would allow me to complete my Marriott MegaBonus stays for the bonus free night certificate.
The Courtyard by Marriott, Pune Hinjewadi is a 153 rooms business hotel located just off the Mumbai-Pune Expressway in the Rajiv Gandhi IT Park. The hotel’s location is not exactly in the centre of Pune. It is pretty far from Koregaon Park and Pune station, something we did not realise when booking.
We arrived at the hotel around mid-day on Friday from Mumbai. When we landed up, we were escorted to our room where the check-in procedures were completed.
We had checked-in via the mobile app, and all we had to do was submit our identity proofs. We were informed that we were upgraded to an Executive Deluxe Room, something we already knew from the night before as it showed up on the app. However, Ajay pointed out that there were suites up for sale and that Platinum members are eligible for a Suite upgrade as well.
We were informed that the all the suites were occupied, although one would become available in the evening at 4 p.m. We were offered the option to move into the Suite when it became available, which it did eventually at about 5 p.m. or so.
Our hostess explained us all the Marriott Platinum benefits we were entitled to such as breakfast at the ground floor restaurant and the lounge privileges, including evening drinks and canapes. We were offered a choice between fresh juice, tea or coffee as a welcome drink. Ajay opted for the watermelon juice which was delivered to the room maybe 20 minutes later.
On her way out, the agent handed us the Platinum amenity card and explained to us that as a welcome amenity we could choose between 250 bonus Marriott Rewards points or a food and a beverage from the listed menu.
The agent was courteous, well-informed and knew all the features and benefits of the Marriott Rewards program, which is such a difficult thing to find in India at the moment. After our stay at another Marriott brand in Lucknow, I had just started believing that Marriott does not invest in training staff at its value brands.
The Executive Deluxe Room
Our Deluxe room on the 5th floor was spacious with a queen-size bed, a study table and a large open bath with ample storage space.
There was a couch by the window, just in case one wanted to enjoy the early morning cuppa with a view. The view from the window was of roadside and concrete.
The Club Lounge
After a quick wash, we headed out for the meetings. The room change had still not happened on our return at around 5 p.m., so we headed up to the lounge on the fifth floor. The Club Lounge serves evening drinks from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and canapes are laid out until 7 p.m. The lounge itself was very spacious for a small hotel like this.
As soon as we entered a couch with quirky cushions caught my fancy.
Then there was a separate seating and reading section in one corner with a wall bookshelf. You could also borrow games such as Jenga there.
You could get yourself hot or cold beverages through the day with a coffee machine and a drinks fridge installed for everyone to use.
The evening canapes were basic with salad, sandwiches and two hot items. The pasta salad looked like they ran out of pasta and instead filled up the mixture with shredded cabbage. It did taste good though. The chilli chicken was nothing to swoon over but then who does not like chilli chicken tossed desi style and greasy.
There was a small wet-bar, with Indian brands of Vodka, Rum, Gin and Whiskey on offer. There were Fratelli red and white wines, another Indian name available. It was brought to the table, and the staff ensured that my glass was topped up all through.
The best part about the lounge was the music they were playing. Most hotel lounges I have been to will either have no music or will have something instrumental playing. However, here there was 80s soft rock playing. After a while, the front office staff came over with the new keycards to help us shift to the new room. She also had a sweet treat platter in hand which I requested be placed in the suite we were moving to.
The Junior Suite
The suite was on the first floor of the hotel amidst five other suites. Our suite was a large room without any partitions or doors to separate the living area from the bedroom.
A kitchenette on the left of the entrance was equipped with a microwave oven and a kettle. There were crockery and cutlery in the drawers.
The room had a work desk, a couch, and a four-poster bed linearly. The welcome amenity was placed on the work desk along with a letter from the hotel management informing that one of the restaurants were closed for a private event.
The platter with sweets had a cake slice and chocolate coated strawberries. The carrot cake was delicious though a little heavy on sugar for my taste.
The bathroom featured a large inviting free-standing bathtub.
The shower cubicle had a rain shower and handheld showers fixed with excellent water pressure.
The bath amenities were IGNIS, an Indian brand that I have not seen before but it worked just fine. There were enough bath towels to last us multiple showers.
The basin was fixed in an open passageway where one could walk through to the kitchenette and the living area of the room. The wardrobes were on the opposite side of the wash area. For reasons inexplicable, I feel a bit queasy when Indian hotels do not have faucets in the toilets. The Deluxe room and the suite both did not have faucets, and it looked like they were fixed initially and then later removed in the suite.
Overall the room furnishing was contemporary, and no doors gave the suite a spacious feel. However, the room lights were a problem. There was only one switch for the entire rooftop lighting, which meant that there was not enough light for one person to sleep and the other to work at the same time.
Stuffed with the sandwiches and chicken from the lounge, we skipped dinner. Later at night we called up room service and requested for some sparkling water and a fruit platter, cashing in on the Platinum Amenity which was handed to us at check-in. It was delivered to us in about 30 minutes although the server forgot to collect the card back.
Do note that all the suites face restaurants and open banquet spaces. On both the evenings there were events happening at the hotel, and it was very noisy with the loud music. Although they turned it off at 11 pm, if you are early to bed person like me you do not want to swap the normal view with a noisy room.
Breakfast at MoMo Café
Breakfast was complimentary for Platinum Elite members up to 2 guests and was served daily at the MoMo Café on the ground floor. While the breakfast here wouldn’t compete with other breakfast buffets at higher-end Marriott hotels I have had, the spread was substantial, and there was enough variety of Indian and western options. The restaurant did fail my masala chai test. The tea was too milky, and even after the second request for a potent brew, I did not get my kick out of the drink.
From the eggs selection Ajay ordered his favourite eggs benedict, and while the masala tea was sad, the eggs benedict were fantastic and came with a side of potato wedges and grilled tomato. The eggs were perfectly poached, and there was a slice of crisp bacon on the toasted muffin.
The chef walked over to our table, and on his recommendation, I tried the waffles and Ajay had the Gajar ka Halwa both of which were yum.
Apart from this, there was a choice of cereals, juices and an Asian selection was there on the buffet.
Just outside the restaurant, there was a grab-and-go counter where one could pick up sandwiches, pies, tarts, and coffee throughout the day.
The hotel has an outdoor pool and a fitness centre on the first floor which is open round the clock.
We paid an average of INR 4,200 or 65 US Dollars a night for a standard room. This is a Marriott category one hotel available for 7,500 points. The suites here are usually priced at INR 8,000 or 125 US Dollars. These prices are ex GST, which would be another 18-28% depending on the price you pay for your room.
Overall this is a good value for money hotel in Pune. The front desk staff is courteous and housekeeping staff attentive. There were always extra bottles of water placed in our room. The upgrade to the suite made our stay more than comfortable, and I would be happy to stay here again, though only if I had no qualms about staying in Pune suburbs.
Have you stayed at the Courtyard Hinjewadi in Pune? What is your favourite hotel in the city?