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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Mahabalipuram


Mahabalipuram, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its exuberant group of sanctuaries, founded by the Pallava kings, was carved out of rock along the Coromandel Coast in the 7th and 8th centuries. It is known especially for its rathas-temples in the form of chariots, mandapas – cave sanctuaries, giant open-air reliefs such as the famous ‘Descent of the Ganges’, and the temple of Rivage, with thousands of sculptures to the glory of Shiva. It is so fascinating to see structures so old, surviving innumerable natural and man-made calamities and still have power to leave you impressed.

Westin Hyderabad- A Wellness Staycation

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A warm welcome at Westin Hyderabad Mindspace

Planning to get away for a relaxing break that is good for your mind, body and soul- without the cost and efforts of jetting off abroad? Then a ‘Staycation’ at The Westin Hyderabad Mindspace is just the luxurious break you need.

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Heavenly bed at Westin Hyderabad Mindspace

Sleep Well – Their rooms bring together a composed refuel of the body and mind, the Sleep Well program helps you replenish overnight and leaves you well rested for the next day. Their heavenly bed under the sleep well program provides restorative sleep at its truest. The award winning Heavenly Bed is uniquely designed with plush, pillow-top construction for a relaxed sleep.

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Room at Westin Hyderabad Mindspace

With the exciting Hyderabad city skyline in the background, I enjoyed a complete relaxing 2 days.  The Taipei carpets, lotus headboards, and full menu of activities and services that helped me meet my travel goals at comfort of my city. Whether its productivity, fitness, relaxation, or simply wellness of being, everything is available right at the hotel premises. I however preferred soak in the monsoon showers and views of the bustling technology district from the privacy of my balcony accompanied with pakoda’s and masala chai (thanks to the Chef Rajiv, who made this special arrangement possible)

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A special masala chai at privacy of my balcony at Westin Hyderabad Mindspace

Eat Well- Westin offers a very unique Culinary experience, their Eat Well program is a mélange of a healthy lifestyle with nutritious foods, energizing juices and smoothies that keep the guests maintain their best. My breakfast options were super healthy and super tasty, from gluten free muffins to exotic mix of smoothies and juices they had it all. it was just a great way to give my body a break and perfect detox.

 

While i opted for a healthy breakfast, i planned to take a culinary trip around the world without leaving the hotel. The Westin Hyderabad Mind space offers unique dining experiences that will delight even the most discriminating palettes. From traditional Indian dishes of the Northwest frontier, to the vibrant flavours of Italy, their restaurants, cafes and lounges showcase the best of global cuisine in inspiring settings. I chose to relax and unwind at Casbah their Mediterranean offering.

Casbah is situated at the elevate lounge of the Westin Hyderabad Mindspace it offers mouthwatering Mediterranean finger food but what i love is the middle eastern ambiance with low seating and arched wall surroundings that gives a feeling of living the experience.  The dishes you must try are the Mezze Platter, Soya Chap, Chicken Souvlaki and Grilled Prawns all cooked to perfection with mouthwatering taste, that will leave you wanting more. The fact that it is open till 2 am in just a bonus.

Another option i tried was the ‘Seasonal Taste’ which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I thoroughly enjoyed an enlightening (because i had a really good conversation on food over wine with Chef Rajiv who educated us on so many things)  which included a lot of local fare along with international options. They offer nutritious super foods as well as endless selections of desserts.

Feel Well- Designed to awaken the senses, The Feel Well program offers rejuvenating spa experiences along with services catering to therapeutic massages, cleansing facials and invigorating body treatments. When staying at Westin, a visit to spa achieves complete harmony of body and mind with their signature Heavenly Spa treatment, restores balance and promotes a foundation of wellness that lasts beyond your stay. It’s a sanctuary of wellness, where every touch, sound and scent are carefully designed to revitalize your body and calm your mind. They have specially designed rooms for different treatments. The expert masseuse makes sure of an unforgettable experience right from welcoming you; soaking your feet for a cleanse, once you are settled on your massage bed, after declaring your area of concern, you are just transformed into the Zen mode throughout the treatment. Reliving each muscle of stress and pain, you can feel each cell in your body ease its way into relaxing. The Heavenly spa treatment is a complete experience of mind body and soul that includes massage and stretches. Post your therapy you will be lead to steam room, to let the oil absorb and of course detox. You can choose to go for a normal shower, or just lay back in the Jacuzzi. The treatments winds up with a warm cup of herbal tree and chocolate truffle in soothing ambiance at their post spa lounge area while you share your feedback and have some more me time post your treatment. Heavenly indeed!

Move Well – With a motivation to provide guests a well-designed fitness program, move well offers specially designed workout routines with gear lending facilities and local running maps. Their world-class fitness studios offer active state-of -the-art equipment and all the essentials to power your performance.  The also have In Room workout facility provided to the guests on booking offers a treadmill or a stationary bike at the privacy of the guest

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Gym at Westin Hyderabad Mindspace

While i experienced these three wellness aspects, they also have ‘Work Well’ that connects, convenes and collaborates with thoughtfully designed work spaces at the hotel. The program streamlines work experience with rent-able by the hour designed to facilitate along with organised and efficient work stations keeping meeting spaces open and clear. Apart from this ‘Play Well’  initiative brings into focus extended breakfast hours, local activity guide, the guests can explore their surroundings and embark on adventures much like the Westin brand, Westin Hyderabad also promotes wellness in every element of a guest’s stay including the heavenly bed, heavenly spa, Westin workout designated gear which guests can borrow, and the specialty menu with powerful nutrients to energize and fuel the day.

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Seasonal Taste at Westin Hyderabad Mindspace

All in all Westin Hyderabad Mindspace  is the perfect place for a ‘Staycation in Hyderabad’, where you can not only focus on wellness, but be rest assured to be pampered to the fullest! The property is also ideal for events, intimate business meetings and extravagant gala functions.

Location: Building No: 15, Raheja IT Park, Hitec City, Madhapur, Hyderabad. Ph:67676767

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Novotel Delhi Aerocity

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Hotels are more about experiences for me than just a stay, and seems like the trend is growing with travelers. I think this is exactly one of the reasons why French chain Accor has, in a unique twist, got its employees to design a few rooms at select Novotel and Ibis hotels around the world. Called My Room, the global programme which in one stroke aims to woo two important constituencies – employees and the guest. how interesting is that?

So when i checked into Eva Room atNovotel Aerocity Delhi, it was amusing to enter a lavender room (well mostly) instead of a classic white. The theme is reflected everywhere, from bathroom to storage. What i loved the most was a long lounge chair for lady like evenings and a vanity space with a mirror (no trouble of getting ready in washroom) the subtle hint of floral was ll around keeping it a pleasant treat for eyes. I certainly dint feel like staying at a hotel (except for all the lovely amenities and in room dining) but more like a space personalized specially for me.

 

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Breakfast in bed, at Novotel Aerocity Delhi

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Laid back evenings at Novotel Aerocity Delhi

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My Vanity Corner at Novotel Aerocity

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Mornings by the pool at Novotel Delhi Aerocity

Woo Wellness Spa: I was really looking forward for my experience here but sadly i dint have a great one, it is fine for someone who is looking for a quick head or foot massage but i wouldn’t suggest it as a luxurious experience which it should be for a brand it is part of/associated with.

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Spa at Pullman New Delhi Aerocity

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Drinks at Quoin, Novotel Delhi Aerocity 

Its absolutely great option for those who have long layovers, for me it always is, as most of my connecting flights from Hyderabad have a minimum of few hours to up-to a day at Delhi. After all there is so much you can do at an airport and Delhi traffic make it impossible to go and back to the city in few hours. So next time you have even a couple of hours visit the property for an elaborate buffet a spa session or a night out at one of there personalized rooms and enjoy your time in peace away from the hustle bustle of the capital. If you already have share your experience below.

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J W Marriott Resort & Spa, Jaipur

J W Marriott is one of the most recognized hotel brands in the world, and at their all new property- J W Marriott Resort and Spa, Jaipur we experienced most energized hospitality and were treated to some incredible meals. The property has a welcoming atmosphere, right from the traditional welcome and breathtaking lobby, there is incredible attention to detail that made our stay full of utmost comfort.

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JW Marriott Resort and Spa, Jaipur- Royal and Splendid

The Resort

It can be rightly said that J W Marriott Jaipur Resort & Spa is a modern day palace. I mean if i was a queen today, i would want my palace just this way, away from the hustle of the city, surrounded by the hills with all modern amenities and architecture that displays the best craftsmanship. A white tone follows throughout the property with breaks of blue and metallic at various places, well manicured paths, artistically done fountain spaces (indoor as well as outdoors), grand arches that are perfectly apt for a modern day royalty; and staying here we got treated exactly like that. When touring the property I was awestruck by the doors, the hand-painted patterns by local artisans, paintings and the architecture on the whole.

Food & Restaurants

Food at these restaurant are curated by executive chef Yogender Pal, i was delighted to meet him as i have known him for years, from when he was at The Marriott in Hyderabad. Sukh Mahal restaurant offers modern world cuisine but multi-cuisine delicacies are rustled up as adeptly as marwari meals in this all day restaurant.

On our last day we had a special surprise dinner at Mohan Mahal, just being there was a special experience, it was like dining in sheesh mehal. Mohan Mahal restaurant, is a gorgeous, tenderly-lit restaurant that serves up Rajasthani and Mughlai thali, open only for dinner. The design and beauty of the restaurant is architecturally reflective of Amer Fort’s Sheesh Mahal. Lit by candles, with Rajasthani music and gurgling fountains within the restaurant, provides a beautiful background score. Taking a notch above the meals are served in silver-plated tableware and local delicacies left us with a most found memory, one that will definitely add up to best dinner experiences i have had.

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Chai and Musical evenings by the pool at JW Marriott Resort & Spa, Jaipur

Evening tea, in khullads (they also have cup options but obviously we preferred the desi khullad and masala chai) are best enjoyed while witnessing the performance by the pool that included folk music and folk dance. They also have a lot of fun activities like henna application, puppet show, pottery, elephant rides for kids and relaxing SPA sessions (read here), J W Marriott Jaipur has something to keep everyone indulged.

Room- Royal Courtyard Room

Our villa was bright, lively and equipped with amenities like cable tv, safe, coffee/tea maker, walk in closet and an attached bathroom with a tub and forest essentials toiletries, i love forest essentials; period. But our room and outdoor lounging area was not that got me excited, i mean it was beautiful but what i loved the most was our private outdoor plunge pool.

I spent an entire day and night right at the property to soak in all the beauty and luxury, i even spent a freezing few hours out in the lounging area watching the night sky and gazing the stars. If it wasn’t for January and winters, and the fact that it was more colder because it was at the outskirts, i would have spent the night out in the open.

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The landscape of this place has been done so amazingly that I absolutely enjoyed strolling around the property. The resort has a massive swimming pool by itself for all the guests.

We spent 3 days at this property, but it still felt like it wasn’t enough. The hotel is quite secluded from the city but the helpful staff had a car ready for us whenever we needed (on request), that made travelling totally hassle free for us. Finding cabs might get little tricky in the area so I suggest you book in advance. Being winters the nights were freezing, but I enjoyed my visit both to Jaipur and J W Marriott to the core.

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Staycation at Novotel Hyderabad Airport

Ah vacation.  How many of us don’t sometimes wish we could escape the hustle, bustle, & day-to-day responsibilities of our normal lives for a week of fun and relaxation somewhere far, far away? But There’s nothing better than a staycation when you don’t want to splurge on air tickets or you don’t have time for a long vacation or waste time commuting, and yet enjoy unwinding in luxury for a few days.

Between restaurants, hotels, and transportation, travel costs can add up fast especially when those costs are multiplied for a family.  But that doesn’t mean when vacation time rolls around you can’t still have a great time! This year, why not plan a vacation in your own city?  A true Staycation is more than just a week at home; it is an intentional time of fun and relaxation for your whole family.  It does take a little effort to do it right, but can ultimately be just as satisfying as going somewhere far away.

I spent my extended weekend having an amazing staycation with my mom. Between work, I hardly get time to spend with her. When Novotel invited me for an experiential review I knew my mom would be a perfect company.

Hotel: The hotel is strategically situated in Hyderabad to accommodate both business and leisure travellers. It is well connected to the International Airport and the location makes you feel like you are away from the city, amidst endless greenery and fresh air. I began my staycation from the very beginning, how? Well by giving up driving and stress of traffic, we opted to choose to travel in car by the hotel and enjoyed our long drive. The fact that it crosses the long stretch of airport road really made me feel as if I am travelling away.

Room:  Our room had a pool view with a sky that often witnessed landing and taking off of flights. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in complete relaxation. Their full menu of activities and services helped me meet my travel goals, whether its productivity, fitness, relaxation, or simply wellness of being, just lazying around in front of your TV screen, with room service pampering you endlessly. Novotel is perfectly away from the city offering a cosy abode to unwind in.


Culinary experience: Take a culinary trip around the world without leaving your hotel.  Novotel Shamshabad offers a unique dining experience that will delight even the most discriminating palettes. From traditional Indian dishes from the Northwest frontier, to the vibrant flavours of Italy, their restaurants, cafés and lounges showcase the best of global cuisine in inspiring settings.

End the day with a nightcap at the bar or by the picturesque poolside, I loved my Vietnamese coffee that was a perfect end to a long yet relaxing day.

Indulgence:  Soak yourself in a therapeutic massage or sip a cocktail in style at the bar or by the pool, where you can enjoy your beverage between laps. well i opted for both, a spa for a much needed pamper session of an Ayurvedia Indian therapy follwed by dinner and drinks by the pool.

Just a button click away lies your weekend of eternal bliss. All you have to do is pack an overnight bag and take off!