Gone Fishing Cottages, Tirthan Valley

Gone Fishing Cottages, it is what the word getaway was aptly made for. Located in beautiful  Deori village of Tirthan valley, by a gushing stream is small cluster of wooden cottages designed and conceptualized with love to every detail. Golden marigold bloom everywhere, an in-house café and a hammock right in the middle of courtyard was my glimpse of the property.   

Perfect for anyone who wants a tranquil getaway and enjoy a far away feeling (from the busy world) be it with your family, friends or go solo (like me). From lazy afternoons spent having juicy local fruits, soaking in winter sun by a water stream (or in it) that is just few steps away from the cottage, to nights spent on private deck having perfectly grilled trout and heap of mashed potatoes, my stay at Gone fishing cottages was a mountain fantasy come true.  

The beautiful property is enveloped by step farming fields and blooming orchards on one side, while on the other side, a thick forest of tall cedar and pine trees rests. Gone fishing cottages is both private and welcoming with its incredible host (mother hen- Dimple) She runs the place making sure every little detail from crisp curtains to aromatic toiletries (which she makes employing local women) delicious dishes on menu to surprise desserts.

 This family-run homestay comes with a whole lot of grandeur and warm hospitality – If you love dogs, there are five of them, if you love books, they are racks full of them in the cottage, and if you like nature well take a walk and you are surrounded by best of panoramic views.  

Its cottages, with their bare stone walls and rustic, wooden furniture add to your experience of wilderness living. The rooms are spacious with hint of coziness and pool of natural light flowing in, in mornings and long glass doors that open to your own little private balcony. You can book the entire cottage that comes with 2/3 rooms each or a room in one. The cottage comes with a kitchenette, table with high stools and living space where you can spend lounging around or you could spend hours gazing at the stars at the private deck right outside the cottage. The hosts not only love nature but are also conscious about it, you will notice multiple recycled things all over the property – utilisation of empty alcohol bottles as light shades, twine-entwined lamps, soap stands out of pipes and more.

Whether you’re working from home, a bird watcher, group of friends or two people in love – if you are looking to spend time in nature, I assure your experience at Gone fishing cottages will be nothing short of a rejuvenation.  

Know more: http://gonefishingcottages.com/

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Love Satpreet Kaur

Ramada by Wyndham, Jaipur

I have been visiting Jaipur as a tradition every year now, for Jaipur Literature Festival, this year however the exciting festival was held digitally but that didn’t stop me from visiting my favorite city.

I was glad I had covered most of the touristy places and so this time I wanted to just enjoy the best of winter weather, food, and luxury of some time for myself.

My stay at Ramada by Wyndham Jaipur- Jaisinghpura was an absolute treat. 16 kilometres from Jaipur International Airport (JAI) in peaceful Jaisinghpura, the hotel is a short drive from the Amber Fort & Palace, City Palace, Hawa Mahal, and Jantar Mantar. The hotel is a destination in itself, with great food, spacious rooms, and all modern amenities at a dial. The hotel is a perfect example of heritage meets modernity, the beautiful arched pathways stole my heart right on arrival. The presidential suite I stayed in was every bit of luxury, so much that I didn’t step out of the hotel even once throughout my stay.


The gold and maroon color scheme of the room added a royal touch to the very well done room with long windows draped with curtains. The highlight however was my massively spacious private terrace where I spent most of my time. I was so glad I was traveling with my best friend and we made a great stay out of it watching movies, having tea over sunsets, dining under the stars with some exceptionally well-prepared food.

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Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort 

Aerial view of the beautiful Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort 
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Hello from the Shanti Villa, Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort 

The pretty town in Dharamshala, covered with cedar trees and surrounded by Dhauladhar range was my last escape before pandemic hit us. The amazing new property was a refreshing getaway and now that i look back i am so grateful i did, and an experience i hold on to as we are all quarantined in our safe spaces.

I fell in love with Mcleodgunj when i took a solo trip there. this was my 4th visit to the town and there is something about the air, the sunsets, the monks and monasteries, the beautiful cafes and familiar uphill roads that feels  now home. Dharamshala overall is a great place for leisure and adventure travelers and has a lot of options of beautiful cafes, luxury stay and treks that will leave you breathless, with the view of course. This time i was staying with new luxury property – Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort that opened in Dharmkot, which is located at slightly higher altitude that McLeodgunj.

The outdoor of Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort 
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The backyard forest at Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort 

The world of Hyatt extends its hospitality with a refreshing new property spread across 6.5 acres, situated in the profound depths of the Dhauladhar mountain range of the outer Himalayas. The property is picturesquely ideal for family, solo, and romantic getaways and offers experiences that will give you a true break from hustle bustle of city life.

Room  of Villa Shanti, Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort 
Living area with a view at Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort 

Rooms- Hyatt Regency Dharamshala is located near the residence of H.H. Dalai Lama, also known as Tsuglagkhang Temple. It features 80 well-appointed accommodations, including 4 private villas, 3 suites, 17 Club rooms, 15 rooms with balconies, and 41 Hyatt king and twin-bed rooms offering fresh Himalayan air through large openable windows. The resort also features 21 interconnecting room sets, ideal for travelling families. All the rooms have a view, either through their windows, balconies, private garden or just a n open lawn. It is incredible how centrally heated the hotel is, and with warm hospitality of the staff the experience we had was sure a memorable one.

The villa is well equipped with rooms, private verandah, dining space, kitchen area and a cosy staff room
The private lawn area, Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort 

Food – Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort offers a variety of locally inspired cuisines which provides authentic Himachali experience as well as the comforting delight of Global cuisine. Whether you are searching for local or international cuisine, you are sure to be satisfied with the choices that are to be found in the iconic area surrounded by the stunning architecture and culture within the heart of Dharamshala. The resort offers three outlets, Thym is an all-day dining restaurant offering both indoor and outdoor seating, is an ideal setting for family dining through a combination of interactive breakfast buffets and thoughtfully curated à la carte menus for lunch and dinner. Featuring the herb garden, the restaurant specialises in locally sourced farm-fresh food that celebrates the bounty of organic Himalayan farming, serving Indian and global cuisines.

Traditional food, Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort 

2082, the bar is one of the best in Dharamshala, an ideal place for an aperitif or after-dinner drink. Centrally located at the lobby level of the resort, 2082 overlooks the landscaped garden and the snow-capped Dhauladhar mountain range. The central island bar is the focus of the area, with both indoor and outdoor seating options. With an adjacent fireplace, 2082 is a comfortable venue offering a wide selection of premium alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, light munches and an afternoon tea selection. What one must try are the locally infused drinks, that were refreshingly new for our taste buds and a live music performance with live counters only made our experience here one of the best during our stay.

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Infused drinks, Local singers and live food coutnters, evenings at 2082 are just magical, Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort 

McLeod & Co. bakery and shop is the signature bakery, offering sweet delights inspired by the English-style nomenclature. The bakery is fun, fluid and blends tastefully with the lobby. It also serves as your general store within the resort with selected retail goods and souvenirs from across the region, and essential everyday items in case you have forgotten to pack them.

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High Tea at the McLeod & Co. Bakery and Shop, in hotel lobby.

Shanti Spa: The resort features three single and one couple spa therapy rooms and a wide range of relaxation therapies, from traditional, International, and other renowned contemporary massage therapies. But we recommend is the Tibetan massage that is influenced by local techniques and the use of oil that is made with the best or aromatic and essential oils.

Pool at Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort 
An evening of relaxed spa, Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort 

Library & Fireplace: One of our favorite spots in the property is the beautifully done indoor fireplace at the lounge area that keeps you warm while you enjoy a read at the library which offers an intriguing selection of literature on various historical and cultural areas of interest. Read or just enjoy a cup of hot Kangra tea while you adore the beautiful Thangka painting, it is a cozy spot for anyone who wants to unwind indoors.

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Hot cuppa tea, good read in centrally heated study area! most relaxed evening of the holiday (after spa of course)
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Fireplace and lounge area, Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort 

Fun & Entertainment The resort features a ‘Home Cinema’ that can accommodate up to 15 persons at one go, delivering an intimate audio-visual experience. Camp Hyatt – Kids Zone is a designated area for children where they can enjoy games and fun activities along with special buffet meals. This will allow some free time for parents who are traveling with their kids.

Morning Trek with Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort 

Must Experience: Bhagsu, Nature Walk, Offering an unparalleled landscape, the Bhagsunag area is a …. oGo along as they take you on a journey through sylvan surroundings where you will get acquainted with the local flora & fauna against the backdrop of a breathtaking waterfall. The resort offers this complimentary activity every day, that ends with a light and healthy breakfast, one you should not miss.

Tibetan Arts and Crafts Tour: To honor the heritage of authentic Tibetan arts and crafts, this guided tour to Norbulingka Institute allows guests to see and experience local crafts firsthand. The tour is an additional paid experience, you can include it in your itinerary while you are staying at the resort.

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Love Satpreet Kaur

 

Svatma – Luxury Resort, Thanjavur

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Svatma – Luxury Resort, Thanjavur

I love travelling, what i love even more is when the journey or destination brings an exciting story or an experience. When i chose my destination this time, i knew i would be taking home a lot of interesting memories. I picked Thanjavur, also known as Tanjore when i was in Pondicherry and it was just a 4 hour drive. We had a very amusing start, our driver was a Rajnikant fan and he entertained us through out the way, while i enjoyed the blabbering my friend found him overwhelming as she just wanted to doze off. The landscape on our way was full of palm trees and paddy fields, i din’t snooze even for a bit, i never can, in flights, in cars, i love watching the landscapes change.

Maratha history, Tamil food, Indian Art and Architecture – Thanjavur is an exquisite southern city formerly known as Tanjore. It is world famous for hand crafted brass idols and Tanjore style of painting, a traditional style that is characterized by the use of gold foil and religious imagery. It’s best known today for being home to the great living Chola temples, a UNESCO world heritage. I was invited to experience the hospitality of Svatma Luxury Resort Hotel, a restored family mansion, that gave me an experience of a magical journey that included the luxury of leisure while dabbling with arts in a traditional home environment.

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Living area, for guests to read, chill and enjoy over arts or games at Svatma, Thanjavur

Visit to local palace with at Svatma, Thanjavur

Much like Thanjavur’s temple architecture, which blends styles from multiple eras, the seven-room heritage wing at Svatma is over 100 years old and the erstwhile family home of the Carnatic musician Rama Kausalya, melds seamlessly into the new building built around it. Across the property, murals of dancers, architectural drawings of Chola-era structures, religious verses and black-and-white photographs adorn the walls.

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The restaurant that leads to patio and further to pool and other restaurant, at Svatma, Thanjavur

Beautiful mornings in this traditional Swappanam Suite at Svatma, Thanjavur

Room: Svatma, recreates the ambiance of a classic Tamil residence in a century-old home flanked by old trees. Keeping you company is period furniture, local art and craft and traditional board games like pallankuzhi. I was staying at the ‘Swappanam Suite’ the best in property with unique design and abundance of intricately carved wooden furniture and pretty balcony. it has a living area, airy bedroom and washroom with closets.

Lounge area in Swappanam Suite, at Svatma, Thanjavur

Catching up on some reading in the private veranda of the Swappanam Suite, at Svatma, Thanjavur

Traditional Thali at Svatma, Thanjavur

Food – The hotel has three restaurants serving south Indian and continental vegetarian food. Aaharam, the indoor restaurant – meaning food or nutrition in Tamil, overlooks the pool, and the outdoor restaurant Amar Chitra Katha-themed Palaharam -meaning snacks offers an excellent local and European vegetarian fare. There’s a set menu for the day, but you can expect dishes such as fried banana flower cutlets, ammani kozhakattai (spiced rice flour balls), puliyotharai (tamarind rice), a variety of rasams, and desserts such as feni (crispy vermicelli) with almond milk and boondi. The terrace bar, Nila, is great for drinks under the stars.

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Pool at Svatma, Thanjavur

Relaxed afternoon with some old old comics by the pool at Svatma, Thanjavur

Experience- Svatma offer a fully equipped gym, spa and pool that looks like a temple tank and you can spend your day around it. Apart from leisure and doing all things touristy planned by Svatma for us, the experience i will cherish forever was the live Veena performance, it was the very first time i experienced it and it blew my mind, i din’t move an inch throughout the performance by the three incredible artist in front of me, it was an experience that i will cherish forever.

Another incredible and yet another first was the sound therapy. I loved every bit of it, a unique sound therapy that was like nothing i have ever experienced, it was calming, and rush of something so new and so amazing left me in a state of zen for hours. Post spa i spent my time by the pool reading one full comic, another first (yes, i never read a comic before)

Spa at Svatma, Thanjavur

Brass Idol Making Experience with Svatma, Thanjavur

Another experience we took was of Bronze Sculpting, Thanjavur is the cradle of this ancient art form and the skill has simply transcended generations of sculptors. We watched cire purdue (was casting) live in action from casting to the sculpture taking its final form and it was just brilliant. Watching things being made from the scratch, especially when its handcrafted, makes you value the artisans and the products a lot more (well at least to me).

Check it out- Tanjore is most famous for its UNESCO-listed Brihadeeswarar Temple, an 11th century Shiva temple built in tawny granite. The edifice was built by King Rajaraja I to celebrate a military victory. Any way you look, it’s a lesson in architectural excellence: from the musical pillars, Chola-style murals and lime plaster frescoes to stucco sculptures of Lord Shiva’s various incarnations and ancient Tamil inscriptions. The central tower has 16 tiers rising to a height of 216 ft, making it one of the tallest of its kind in the world. Several shrines dot the sprawling lawns of the complex, including one of India’s largest statues of Nandi (Shiva’s sacred bull) carved out of a single rock.

Try – Tamil-Maratha fusion cuisine, Thanjavur is synonymous for the famous pulisadam (tamarind paste mixed with rice) and other types of dry rice mixes like ellu sadam, sambar sadam and thengai sadam, all of which are also served at temples as prasadams. Some locals claim that the south Indian sambar was first cooked in the Maratha royal kitchens of Thanjavur. When Sambhaji, the Marathi king and son of Shivaji, wanted something tangy for dinner, the ingenious cook substituted the tarty kokum with tamarind in a dal, threw in some sautéed veggies and the sambar was born! The Maratha influence on the region’s cuisine can be seen in dishes such as shakar biranji—sweetened pulao with almonds and coconut to ambat bhendya—okra tossed with Indian spices.

This blog is so informative, yet i feel there could have been so much more written, but i guess some things are left for experiences. I hope we get through these covid times soon and when we do, we will all travel safe, travel local and see experience the incredible India.

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Love Satpreet Kaur

Mystical Munnar

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Whenever I am given an option to go for a holiday, the first thing I do see look at the hills. Somewhere I haven’t been, somewhere, where the cool breeze hurdles through my hair, kisses my cheeks. The mere thought of it soothes my soul.

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Munnar wasn’t on my list, but I wasn’t going to say no when my girls brought it up.  The scenic hill station located on the Western Ghats, at an altitude of 1,600 meters above sea level, is no dearth of vistas. Munnar, as I got know from our chauffeur, in the local Malayalam language translates into three rivers.

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We stayed at The Blanket Hotel & Spa, a luxury retreat located amidst the green haven of Munnar.  Situated near the mystical Attukad waterfalls the hotel offers a seamless blend of nature – endless tea gardens, the Nilgris covered with dew and sun that peaks with beautiful strokes of rays from the heavy clouds.

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The property is a picturesque getaway and no matter which part of the hotel you are in – the resort, the room, the pool you are engulfed with the best of nature. The entire resort is cradled within a blanket of  lush spectrum of flora and fauna.

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Rooms – We stayed at the Presidential Suite, the most luxurious room at The Blanket Hotel and it was such an incredible stay. Spacious and elegantly furnished, their rooms are designed to indulge you. The natural colors and wooden decor blend with the surroundings recreating the serene ambience indoors. The view from our balcony, Jacuzzi and bed did complete justice to our luxurious getaway. The suite redefines luxury with a host of modern facilities and you can be rest assured of nothing short of an experience that leaves you wanting more. Waking up to the beautiful view, breathing fresh air from the balcony really soothes your soul and gives you holiday you have been craving for.

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Food– The dining experience at Blanket Hotel Munnar is a heavenly treat for the cuisine connoisseur in you. Their restaurant team headed by their skilled executive chef serves the most intricate and delicious dishes that will give your taste buds an experience to cherish. You can choose from a variety of local and international cuisine from our delectable menu. All our meals were at their all day, Multi Cuisine Restaurant that serves lavish buffet for breakfast and dinner and a-la-carte for lunch.  We through enjoyed their south Indian delicacies and highly recommend you to take a break from continental and enjoy the local special recommended by chef.

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Leisure – The property offers plenty of options through which you can explore the beauty of the Munnar.  You can trek with their in house naturalist who will take you through the tea plantations all the way up to the Attukad waterfalls. You can spend your leisure time indulging in Yoga, Pool or Meditation, witness Cultural Performance where you can treat yourself to traditional dance forms like Kuchipudi or Mohiniyattam.

Thulasi Ayurveda Spa –   You will notice in south Ayurveda has a huge importance and a traditional Ayurvedic therapy should be in you must-do list. We tried  their Rejuvenation Therapy an Indian traditional Massage, that helped me feel revitalized. A season where warm herbal oils depending on your dosha type are used to massage using rhythmic strokes with uniform pressure from head to toe which loosens accumulated toxins in the tissues, improves blood circulation, relaxes the muscles and counters the signs of aging

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Love Satpreet Kaur

Beleza by the Beach, Goa

 

Beach holiday in only successful for me if I am in the close proximity of the beach. When we decided to go Goa, our sole intention was to stay at a place that was walking proximity to the beach, this holiday was to just relax and not to venture out.  To feed our mind with refreshing thoughts, views that touch your soul and of course good food.  

 

We stayed at ‘Beleza by the Beach Resort Goa means ‘Beautiful’ in Portuguese, comprises of 30 rooms tastefully designed in a Villa style concept. Green, luscious hedges of foliage, groves of banana, coconut and papaya trees, and clusters of bird of paradise flowers and frangipani trees landscape the length and breadth of their resort. The clean, pristine and white sandy beaches of Colva are accessible to guests from a well-paved pathway from within the resort premises.  

 

The property is located in south Goa, and has a direct access to the beach. It is calm and away from the overcrowded side of Goa but offers a lot of activities to keep you entertained.  South Goa is greener, charming and peaceful part of Goa where you can experience the authentic tropical charm of Goa.  

 

The resort is perfect if you are looking for a leisure holiday, serene beaches and good food. The all-day dining restaurant and beach shack and bar offer a delectable choice of seafood, snacks, Goan and Indian food as well as international cuisine. Spa therapies, gym and swimming pool facilities are available to guests on appointment. 

Spa : Rejuvenate & pamper yourself with the spa available at the resort where the experienced therapists work on your tired muscles and treat you to signature Keralite treatments

 

Norwood Green Resort, Palampur

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View from the villa at Norwood Green Resort, Palampur

Palampur  has been known as ‘The Tea Capital of North India’. A small city 3600 ft above sea level is a popular hill station of India, rich in historic temples, forts and  its spectacular Himalayan views. Palampur is a plantation getaway situated in the Kangra valley overlooking Dhauladhar mountain Ranges. the town is less explored and least commercialized and that’s exactly what beautifies it.

I was staying at the Norwood Green by Lamrin resort, a place where you could enjoy both- the view of  tea garden when you lower your sight and Dhauladhar range when you see up from the backyard of your private villa. The experience of spending leisure time amidst beautiful Palampur Valley of Himachal Pradesh that is yet unexplored by most tourists, waking up and spending your days so close to nature was a heart warming experience. I was here with my family and we din’t feel a need to utilize the available tv, or play any games. we spoke, went for walks, fed the pet who wondered in our backyard and revisited old memories. I think it was in the air and vibe that all we wanted to do was just hold back and breathe, an experience we haven’t had in a really long time.

Norwood Green provides you an exquisite resort that has a experience similar of a luxurious home stay, amidst the serenity of the Himalayan ranges and sprawling tea gardens. Its charming aristocratic architecture will transport you to a different era, while providing you with every modern amenity you need and your own butler, who bring everything to you on call.

There is a dedicated team at Norwood Green will take care of you from arrival to departure, your food to laundry and also help you plan any activities and walk if you wish to indulge.  Their concept is simple, they offer guests a home away from home, a place to switch off and unwind, to re-connect with each other and with nature. For all the time we were there, we all had one common thought, if ever owned a home in hills, it would exactly be like this.

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The beautiful living room at Norwood Green Resort, Palampur

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The other side of living room that extends to dining area and opens up to the backyard at Norwood Green Resort, Palampur

Rooms– If you are a group of four or six or more, you can have an entire villa to yourself, we were four and since the other room wasn’t booked, we had the villa all to ourselves. Each of their exquisite villas has four rooms, all of which have flat screen TV, four well equipped bathrooms, private dining area, private kitchen and living area. Apart from this one of the room comes with a spacious balcony, the others have view of the tea gardens or mountains and the whole cottage at Norwood Green has access to rear garden at back overlooking tea gardens along with mighty snow covered Dhauladhar mountain ranges.  Our evenings included sipping hot ginger lemon tea or have aloo parathas, play music and make the most out of the little moments.

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Room with a view at Norwood Green Resort, Palampur

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The spacious balcony outside my room at Norwood gGeen Resort, Palampur

Charming and spacious interiors, to beautiful panoramic views of the mountainside, every moment at the Norwood Green, Palampur is peacefully delightful. While you feast on authentic, local Himachali dishes, the warm hospitality of the staff will help you retire after a fruitful day.

Activities in Palampur At Palampur you will find yourself surrounded by lush greenery and abundant rivers and streams, and a very pleasant climate that will draw you in, and make you never want to leave. And when it comes to tourist attractions, Palampur has more than enough to offer. Just a walk around Palampur will let you enjoy its beautiful colonial architecture. The tea factory, St John’s Church, Bundla waterfall, Neogal Park are interesting places to visit. The village of Andretta, 13 km from Palampur is known for its pottery. The town of Baijnath, 16 km away is famous for its Shiva temple, and the Tibetan monastery at Tashijong, is 12 km away. Adventure seekers will find trek routes leading out of Palampur and into the Dhauladhar mountains. The towns of Bir and Billing have gained international reputation as paragliding sites. Dharamshala and Mc Leod Ganj are also popular tourist places near Palampur.

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Love Satpreet Kaur

Devi Bhavan, Jodhpur 

Devi Bhavan, Jodhpur

After a good few days in Udaipur I headed to Jodhpur – The sun city of India. My love for Rajasthan only increases with what I see. They told me monsoon is not the season to visit Rajasthan, but I feel every place has a unique experience in each weather (well of course, peak summers don’t count in Rajasthan) I leisurely spent my days in Jodhpur, so I din’t really miss anything despite rain, but loved every bit of monsoon.

corridor and open space outside room at Devi Bhavan, Jodhpur

The city of Jodhpur boasts of heritage hotels that reflect the spectacular royal status that this place once had. I was staying at Devi Bhawan a boutique property that only after, I stepped out of the reception, saw for what it is. a little tropical paradise in the heart of the city. In between its dense green cover were little blips of building spread across the area, which you won’t spot until you are in front of it. There were two little water gardens of which one was full of lotus and had a swing at the end of it, where I spent a lot of time every day of my stay just swinging and breathing  all of it.

Breakfast with a view at Devi Bhavan, Jodhpur

Over breakfast at Devi Bhavan, I had a quick conversation with elegant Rambha Singh, who with her family owns and manages Devi Bhavan and stays in the other end of the property and is a warm host who is available for any queries in case guests need. She indulged me in details of how this property came to what it is today – Interestingly she mentioned Devi Bhavan is an eighty-year-old residence of Thakur Ratan Singh and his family.

My beautiful room at Devi Bhavan, Jodhpur

colours that spark joy at Devi Bhavan, Jodhpur

Rooms: There are 20 rooms at Devi Bhawan, housed within five, two-storey buildings spread among green lawns with neem trees, flowering plants and fountains. I stayed in a deluxe room that had view of both garden and the pool, the rooms at Devi Bhavan are simply furnished, my room had a four-poster wooden bed, sofa and wardrobes. The bedspread, cushions and sofa cover all matched in colorful prints, that perked up the room. While most rooms have a private sit-out mine was on top floor and had a huge veranda with lounge on daybeds and rattan chairs. I spent most of my time out in the beautiful and spacious verandah, listening to chirping birds, sipping tea while overlooking the lush space and the pool on other side.

Pool at Devi Bhavan, Jodhpur

Well one thing I couldn’t do was get into the pool and swim in crystal clear water. It is located at one end of the property and is great to soak in the sun on the deck chairs the pool a touristy day.

Breakfast at Devi Bhavan, Jodhpur

Food: They have an in-house restaurant that serves all meals, or you can choose to order in room dining and enjoy your meal leisurely like me. All meals are served in the dining room at the center of the property you can also enjoy your meal outdoors where tables are decorated with vibrant sunny cloths, wrought iron chairs dotted around the garden. I only had breakfast during my stay and tried a thali for dinner. The service was tad bit slow; menu is limited but food was decent.

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Thali for dinner at Devi Bhavan, Jodhpur

When to go: The best time to visit Jodhpur is between October and March when the maximum temperature is around 27C and the minimum around 15C.

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Love Satpreet Kaur

Center Point, Nagpur

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I was visiting Nagpur for work and even though it was for just two days I was looking forward to get a taste of the city that is famous for its food. After asking some friends and family I choose to stay at highly recommended – Hotel Centre Point, located in the heart of ‘Orange City’.

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The hotel gives you easy access and is centrally located, be it business or pleasure. With 135 rooms & Suites, 3 Restaurants and 15 banquets, Center point Nagpur is great choice for weddings or big conferences.

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The experience at the property was exceptional in terms of food and hospitality, each member of the staff is extremely warm and makes sure your stay is comfortable and you are pampered with the best. I stayed in a Deluxe Suite that has an exclusive dining area, sofa seating in the living area, 2 washrooms and a separate bedroom and a powder room. Luxurious and spacious rooms that made every bit of my stay a relaxed one.

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Bougainvillea – Just as the ‘Bougainvillea’ flower is a favorite to many who fall in love with its cheery appearance and brightly colored petals, the atrium style restaurant offers buffet for breakfast and dinner. A weekend brunch is a lavish affair but so is their breakfast spread that includes everything from Indian to continental, juices to coffee, yogurts to cheese, I went for the local delicacies like tarri poha which is a must try when in Nagpur.

Meeting Point– The all-day dining at Center Point Nagpur offers an array of cuisines that thoughtfully prepared. This iconic restaurant, with its wide range of dishes offered in their À la carte menu and chef puts his finest of skills to suit taste of every guest. Paired with mouth-watering food they also offer a range of beverages and follow it with our sought after desserts for a wholesome experience.

With little time on hand, i couldn’t explore and have a taste of local cuisine. When i shared the same with chef and his team, they arranged a lavish gastronomy for me, in my room. Every meal at Center Point, Nagpur was a delicious one but this stole my heart. I got a taste of ‘Kacha vangyache bharit’ ‘Besan cha Jhunka’ ‘Aloo vangyachi bhaji’ ‘Saoji chicken’ with Jowari ki bhakar and two types of thecha (lal ans hirvya) i was so happy i got to taste all of it and it indeed made my visit to Nagpur a successful fun.

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Freakk – An all-day Bistro offers a contemporary feel and natural light, setting up a cozy, comfortable mood, they offer coffee deserts, savories and combos but what I tried was the blue tea, I love the fact that throughout the property they use jaggery powder instead of sugar.

Banquets – A banquet to hold a high-level social event such as a conference or wedding with utmost comfort; Hotel Centre Point offers you the perfect choices. With event planners, the very best in audiovisual equipment and catering service, these spaces can hold up to 2000 guests comfortable

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ICC Mahabalipuram

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InterContinental Chennai is what luxurious getaways are made of, situated just 45 minutes away from Chennai. With the Bay of Bengal as backdrop, this resort property is where serenity meets hospitality. The property boasts architecture that will leave you stunned, a massive property with 3 water bodies – beach, the lotus pond and pool leave each room with a view to enjoy. The long pathways, huge pillars and coromandel style architecture didn’t want the traveler in me to step out of the property. I wanted to pass through each pathway, sit by each water body (music by the pond, morning swim in the pool and dinner by the sea)

Arrive in style– I was making my way to Mahabalipuram from Pondicherry, while it is 45 minutes away from Chennai, it almost 2 and half hours by road from Pondicherry Our experience began right from the pick-up, a BMW car with chauffeur picked us up, and making sure we had comfortable travel. The chauffeur offered us cold towels and cold beverages once we were settled and on our way.

Once we arrived, we were greeted with welcome drinks with traditional welcome, also trying a stint at blowing the horn and failing multiple times, our private butler and warm host – Arjun, helped us with a private check-in at the Club InterContinental Lounge, and led us to our suite.

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Rooms – They have 92 finely appointed rooms in various categories that overlook the grand waterscape bio pond and central courtyard, while 13 suites extend outwards with a view of the ocean, one of which we were staying in. Our room was an exquisite blend of luxury and design and came with enhanced amenities such as complimentary private bar access and a special pillow menu.

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The suite has a fully contained living space with, lavish bathroom amenities, including a bathtub (my favourite part) with separate shower space and a spacious balcony with a view of well-lit landscape at night and endless ocean and tropical trees during the day. Their ‘At Your Side’ butler services extend to planning your daily activities and scheduling your meetings, even organizing special rendezvous within and outside the resort.

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Spa: Long pillared concrete pathway lead to spa with a beautiful view of wide spread Greenland that ends with beach. The Amrtam Spa by Escenza is dedicated to meet highest levels of body care and relaxation treatments in a spectacular ocean-view setting. Drawing inspiration from traditional eastern medicines and naturopathy, their treatments are designed to restore balance to the body, harnessing all the curative effects of Ayurveda and other holistic practices. You know you are in good hands when you instantly slip into zen mode and that’s exactly what happened when i let myself go under the expertise of the well trained masseuses.

Know More – www.ihg.com

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Calcutta Bungalow

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Kolkata, the first capital of British India is a place where you can still breathe the bygone era vividly. The architecture, people, street food and cabins (now known as cafes), museums and Bazaars clearly show how you can find beauty even amidst chaos

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Calcutta Bungalow, a 90-year-old Majumdar bari (townhouse) restored and tucked in a quiet neighborhood. It is a heritage bed & breakfast with six rooms. Every corner of this three storied building boasts a mix of colonial and local architecture.  Away from the maddening chaos of the city, this is a perfect place to stay, that offers an old-world charm along with urban amenities to make your stay a comfortable one.

The intimate property has a small open courtyard and rooms that are named after old neighborhoods like Sahibpara, Darzipara, Mochipara, Potuapara (artists’ colony), Boipara (about books and publishing), Dorjipara (tailors’ hub), Jatrapara (famous for traditional theatre). The rooms dedicate a tale about the places they are named after.  Just like the rest of the bungalow the rooms too are a perfect amalgamation of vintage and modern and equipped with modern day luxuries like air conditioning, television with Netflix, WiFi an attached bathroom and comfortable bed. The place also boasts a reception, recreation room, terrace and a dining hall.

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The dining room, called Notunbazar (named after new market), a common meal space for guests has loudspeakers as ceiling lamps and books that any intellect would like to borrow. While the breakfast is included in the stay, you will have to inform them in advance for dinner or order in, the staff is warm and helpful and lay down your meal for you if you wish to have it in common room, instead of your room.

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Maison Perumal , Pondicherry

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Maison Perumal is a 130-year-old family mansion dating back to French colonial times in Pondicherry. The heritage property is immensely influenced by the local culture and details of it can be seen in its design aesthetic to a great extent. It took them over a year to restore the building and refurbish it with a studied attention to detail that its former owners would have been proud of.

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At Maison Perumal they believe in ‘less-is-more’ philosophy, that is reflected its minimalistic interiors that are adorned with a spare style, yet pay much attention to detail. Stained glass offsets the familiar local white plaster in a telling example of creating a distinct identity. It is how Maison Perumal celebrates its special heritage. 

On arrival the lungi clad men welcome us with a jasmine garland and escorted us to informal reception area, where we checked in and enjoyed our welcome drink (lime and ginger drink) while soaking in the beauty of the cosy courtyard that was filled with a subtle aroma (i assumed it was lemongrass)

Tamilian hospitality and French architecture

 It’s in the details that the property steals your heart, though minimalistic in décor the details get your attention like no other. The stained-glass balconies at the hotel offset the familiar white plaster of local houses to create a distinct identity while the period furniture at Maison Perumal symbolizes a simplicity and elegance that was characteristic of prosperous Tamil households of yore. Again, in deference to tradition and their own obsession for the novel, the rooms at Maison Perumal are fitted with the famous ‘Dindigul‘ locks & keys, reputed for their antique and intricate designs.

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Rooms: The property has 10 rooms and has a very intimate vibe that helps them serve their guests in the best way possible. All the members of the staff are warm and well aware to guide you, be it about the food or local recommendations. The architectural character is deeply rooted in Tamil culture, with a whiff of French colonial influences. To be a guest in a gracious Tamil home was once an honoring experience of a very high kind. In those traditional times, a guest was perceived as a member of the household and treated indulgently. It is this special experience that CGH has successfully recreated at Maison Perumal.  Staying here you can experience a simple and relaxed way of life that echoes the elegant guest traditions of Tamil Nadu with a gentle French accent, which together make for a truly ennobling experience. 

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Food: At Maison Perumal, you can encounter a true local food experience, be curries with best of south Indian spices, or best of local sea food, as in all CGH Earth properties, locally grown produce – from yams to okra and drumsticks – is given pride of place on their tables. Even a plate of exotic pasta gets a carefully crafted local makeover with tiny prawns, fish, chilies, garlic and chef’s unique mix of local spices. We would definitely recommend you to try their Vazhopoo Vadai which is a banana flower pattie, Era Podi Thooval that is tossed in Lentil Prawn that is full of flavors and in chicken try their Kozhi Idicha Masala which is cooked in crushed spices and masala, and in dessert go traditional with their wonderful Payasam 

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Curated experiences– CGH properties are all about experiential stays, they make your visit worth your effort not only by hosting at their mesmerizing properties but also by organizing experiences that gives you a peak into the city and its culture in most personal way possible. They offer options like heritage walks, cooking with chef, a tour to AurovilleKolma Art and our favorite – Pedal through time, a rickshaw ride through the by-lanes of the historic town. This again can be organized by the hotel on request, and we recommend you do it on your first day, the whole tour will take minimum one hour, the rest depends on who long you end up taking pictures at each place. This way you will have ample of time to explore more on rest of the days and pick favorites if you want to revisit a place leisurely later. 

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Palais de Mahe, Pondicherry

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If you ever visit Pondicherry, i promise, voluntarily or involuntarily you will find yourself in front of Palis de Mahe. The hotel is one of the hot spots for tourist to click pictures. Well i will know because the one year i spent in Pondicherry, i stayed right next to it (oh i was damn lucky) tourists would flock in front of the building right form morning 6 till sunset, apart from that there were movie shoots, pre-wedding shoots and what not.

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Palais De Mahe is situated at the intersection of two beckoning worlds. One gently murmurs the spirit of Colonial France with its clean streets, neatly plastered bungalows and flower-decked balconies while the other envelops you in its salt and spice-laden air coming off the Coromandel coast of India in great animating gusts.

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Colonial To The Core, The hotel and the rooms have plenty of distinctive French elements that will catch your eye at Palais de Mahe, in particular, its classical period style furniture. We believe that if Monsieur Dupleix were to visit us he would feel quite at home at Palais de Mahe. There can be no better endorsement for all our painstaking efforts to go French.


It stand out with its yellow and white walls and is one luxurious option to stay when in Pondicherry. However, if you don’t stay here don’t miss an opportunity to have a meal at their fine dine restaurant – Les Alizes. They are known to serve some of the best seafood in town, keeping it fresh and appetizing. Overlooking the pool, the place also serves some interesting cocktails. You should try their Mushroom and Spinach crepe, served with chickpea salad, Prawn curry and Spicy Orange – Grilled Calamari.

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Les Alizes, rooftop restaurant at Palais de Mahe, Pondicherry

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Ayurvedic Spa, No travel is ever complete without a relaxing spa therapy. The Ayurveda center at Palais de Mahe offers a range of herbal massages and therapies to help you get rid of accumulated stress and shape up a bit while you are with us. My masseuse was the sweetest and gave me a lot of tips to keep my skin and hair healthy with simple home remedies and absolutely loved how warm she was.

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Must try a cup of freshly brewed coffee and baked croissant at Earth cafe by the pool at Palais de Mahe, Pondicherry

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Beleza By The Beach Resort, Goa

DSC_1484Beach holiday in only successful for me if I am in the close proximity of the beach. When we decided to Goa the first thought was I want to be in a walking proximity to the beach, this holiday was more to do just relax and not to venture out.  To feed soul with refreshing thoughts, views that touch your soul and of course good food.

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Beleza means ‘Beautiful’ in Portuguese, comprises of 30 tastefully designed in a Villa style concept. Green, luscious hedges of foliage, groves of banana, coconut and papaya trees, and clusters of bird of paradise flowers and frangipani trees landscape the length and breadth of their resort. The clean, pristine and white sandy beaches of Colva are accessible to guests from a well-paved pathway from within the resort premises.

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The property is located in south Goa, and has a direct access to the beach from within the property. It is calm and away from the overcrowded side of Goa but offers a lot of activities to keep you entertained.  South Goa is greener, charming and peaceful part of Goa where you can experience the authentic tropical charm of Goa.

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The resort is perfect if you are looking for a leisure holiday, serene beaches and good food. The all-day dining restaurant and beach shack and bar offer a delectable choice of seafood, snacks, Goan and Indian food as well as international cuisine. Spa therapies, gym and swimming pool facilities are available to guests on appointment.

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I really enjoyed my stay here, the warm staff, lush greenery, tropical vibe and scrumptious food all in one place, we really felt no need to go out and explore as everything we from spa to beach was available right here. Unwinding at the blissful is it to our tranquilizing spa. Look forward to elevating your mood in vast, green paddy fields, and delight your taste buds at our truly delectable restaurants — home to some of the choicest cuisines from the land.

 

We stayed in a superior category room that are spacious, aesthetically designed with vibrant art on wall and color coordinated couch. We had a very relaxed stay, breakfast in bed and tea in our open balcony making it a rejuvenating experience.

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Fortune Park Moksha, McLeod Ganj

Ringed by snow-capped peaks, McLeod Ganj boasts phenomenal views and full experience of the mountainscape, the Tibetan temples, the rooftop sports bars. Mcleodgunj is a great place for people who love trekking, camping, boating, and sightseeing. You will spot crimson-robed monks everywhere and real good street food, there are number of cafes and rooftop bars as well that will give you a memorable experience..

I was welcomed by Fortune Park Moksha for my stay in Mcleodganj. Nestled in the scenic Strawberry Hills with beautiful views of the snow-capped Dhauladhar mountain range and the pristine Dharamshala valley, Fortune Park Moksha is located just 6 km from the main square. The hotel provides guests easy access to all the main tourist attractions in and around McLeod Ganj. Since it was my second visit, I like how it stood on hills giving a piece of blissful seclusion away from the touristy buzz yet giving an easy access for those who want to venture out.

The hotel is a spacious property, with smiling and welcoming staff, available to cater any need, including planning your day or suggesting available activities around the place. The hotel is surrounded by pine trees and deodar forests which leave the air around scented with sweet pine fragrance, making it an ideal choice for a stay in the lap of nature.

I loved waking up to the first rays of sun peeking through the mountains, having breakfast as it goes up amidst the Himalayas and letting moving clouds surround me with every bit of serenity.

Club Room (the one I stayed in) and suites at the hotel are most recommended as they offer a breathtaking view of the surrounding mountains and the valley. Interiors of the hotel are minimalistic and soothing giving more credit to natural beauty, long glass window and outdoor spaces. When you mix the modern-day amnesties with luxury of natural beauty surrounding you from the moment you open your eyes to shutting them before you take in breathtaking beauty of open sky full of stars from comfort of your balcony, that exactly the kind of experience Fortune Park Moksha’ offers. The hotel is an ideal retreat for travelers looking for relaxation and peace.

Food: Fortune Park Moksha offers various options to dine in house. You can indulge your taste buds with the choice of delectable food as well as views for company. I had meals at comfort of my balcony or at the Orchid- The Multicuisine Restaurant with an option of both indoor and alfresco seating, that offers an array of culinary delights and sumptuous buffets that makes this multi-cuisine restaurant an ideal venue for an enjoyable lunch or a relaxed dinner.

Spa: The in-house spa by Sansha Spa, was cherry on top pf my cakey stay. If you have been reading blogs for a while you will know, a holiday for me is incomplete without a relaxing spa. The masseuse and staff are well trained and the treatments they offer are wide. I went for 90 minutes treatment that included a body wrap, massage followed by steam. It left me relaxed and my skin rejuvenated, definitely needed it. Post spa I spent hours on loungers by the pool, ending my vacation a perfect note.

Amenities: From a luxurious spa to pool, gymnasium to gaming zone, open lawns to yoga area the property is a destination in itself with best of amenities that you will want to keep coming back to; it’s a retreat you can enjoy with your family and loved ones to get away from the hustle bustle of the city life.

Book: http://www.fortunehotels.in