Adivah, Dharamsala

We have been back on travelling grid for a bit now, and only thing that becomes more and more clear is – if you want to travel, do it responsibly. The hospitality industry is welcoming guests all over India with open arms with safety protocols and making the guest experience as safe and memorable as possible. Choosing a location and property could take an extra effort now. But well here is my bit, first hand experience so all you have to do is just BOOK!

The beauty and tranquility of the Himalayas transcend all others. Situated within the mighty lofts of the Himalayas is the magnificent valley of Himachal. Nestled in the lap of this valley is Adivaha – a resort in Dharamsala. Adivaha resort is a 3 centuries old, heritage building, that has been recently restored and remodeled to serve every traveler in search of peace and tranquility. The boutique resort  is situated within just a 30 minutes drive from the nearest airport in the bustling city of Dharamsala. It is surrounded by lush green tea gardens and is spread over an area of 10 acres.  

Room – Adivah resort boasts of being an all-suite property. We stayed in their Viceroy Suite, that provides guests with a remarkable stay within the serenity of the Himalayas. The interiors of the suites are adorned with warm, elegant colour tones that exude a relaxing ambience. The suites overall are spacious, furnished with plush decor and a separate living room for the comfort of the guests. The best part however all the luxury suites open up to a spacious balcony that offers magnificent views. 

Food: The property has an all-day dining restaurant that offers a buffet spread as well as Alacarte menu. In room dining or a private setup in your garden, they do it all. From continental to Indian the food here is absolutely delicious. We also requested to try the local cuisine and chef served us with a Himachali Thali that was delight to our senses.  Handpicked from different regions of the valley, it was an amalgamation of flavors and a great end to our vacation. With outdoor as well as indoor sitting areas, the dining area serves the best in ambience and flavors. 

I was travelling with two of my friends and not once did we step out of the property. We spent our days laying on grass in our private lawns, brewing coffee, watching sunsets, ordering in room in room dining, cycling within the properties, we even had our own little yoga session in our garden. It was an experience that filled our soul with so much happiness and rejuvenation.

Check them out : www.leisurehotels.co.in 

Hope you enjoyed reading and getting to know yet another Indian designer through my style and thoughts. Don’t forget to subscribe so you get all updates right in your mailbox. Also follow me on Instagram @ssatpreetkaur , Facebook –FashionEatista, for more instant updates on all things fun, food, fashion and travel.

Love Satpreet Kaur.

SUITECASE OF MEMORIES WITH HYATT

Do you ever visit a same place twice and it only gets better with every visit? Dharamshala has become a yearly visit for me and in last 5 years, there is something about its culture, food but most importantly experiences I think, that keeps making me want to go back every year. This year however was a bold move.  I (just like everyone else) was cooped up for a really long time and my friends and I decided to go experience a safe hospitality with Hyatt Dharamshala.  

It was my second visit to the property and under all safety measures their hospitality is exactly what we needed post lockdown. The beautiful room that gave away the view of breathtaking Dhauladhars and pine trees, while in-room it was spacious enough for us 3 girls to have a spacious 3 days of stay. Getting ready in the spacious bathroom and walk-in closet reminded us of the days gone by. The rooms were well equipped with all modern amenities, special mention to the room coffee machine and bath robes that, we used the most! 

While our day introduced us to new experiences our night matched up to it as well. We spent our evenings at 2082, the bar at Hyatt that is one of the best in Dharamshala. An ideal place for an aperitif or after-dinner drink. With both indoor and outdoor seating options, and 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. 

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.  Thym there all-day dining restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor seating, and 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.  

The resort features a ‘Home Cinema’ that can accommodate up to 15 persons at one go, delivering an intimate audio-visual experience. On our last night at the property, I enjoyed a dose of ZNMD with my friends and couldn’t have asked for a better end to the holiday.  

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Love Satpreet Kaur

Itmenaan Estate, Binsar Himalayas

The sleepy region of Binsar is one of the scenic places of Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. Perched at an
elevation of 2420 meters, Binsar is known for offering spell-binding views of the majestic Himalayan
peaks such as Chaukhamba, Nanda Devi, Nanda Kot, Panchachuli, and Kedarnath. The main attraction of
Binsar is the 300 kms of majestic and panoramic view of Himalayan peaks from Binsar Zero point.
This compact hill town is encircled by the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary which serves as a habitat for the rare
animals, birds and flower species. Since the place is wrapped up in thick foliage, it is undoubtedly the
best place for experiencing adventurous hiking, camping and nature walks.


I stayed at ‘Itmenaan Estate’ that is no less of a dream at this moment for anyone who loves a true escape in nature. Set in a peaceful rural setting near Binsar in the Kumaon Himalayas. The 10-acre resort includes virgin pine, oak and rhododendron trees; terraced fields laden with seasonal fruits and vegetables; and to top it all, a small private perennial natural spring. Offering panoramic views of the Himalayas that include the majestic Nanda Devi, the 100-year-old traditional Kumaoni style stone house in the resort has been painstakingly restored. Near to this house there are
two independent cottages, Pine cottage (single story) and Deodar cottage (double story) built in traditional style.
It is as beautiful in the day as in night where you can witness thousands of stars shining unmitigated by mechanical lights. The warm hospitality of the staff at the estate is attentive and easily available be it hot bag late at night or a coffee early in the morning. Even though the are around they simply blend into the background so as to give you the impression that you’re truly all on your own in this lovely estate.


The cottages are styled like a traditional Kumaoni stone house, however, it has been refurbished to include all modern conveniences and luxuries as well. All of them feature sunbaked brick walls, golden lighting, and large full-length windows. The cottages are all surrounded by trees and flora on all sides. The Bathroom construction at the resort near
Binsar is a stunning example of traditional local architecture that involves stacking local stones one above the other without using any cementing material in a ‘dry stack’, locally called ‘kori chinai’. Large bathrooms, with a glass roof to allow sun light to come in, are fitted with all modern fixtures and have running hot and cold water at all times. You can say it’s arguably one of the best bathrooms in the


Food at Itmenaan Estate are a mix of delicious and well thought out recipes that range from traditional Kumaoni, regular North Indian, to dishes from the Western world. Specialty meals, choicest ingredients and stunning scenery – this is how we define dining at Itmenaan Estate. They use fresh, seasonal produce either from our own organic farms or sourced locally, with seasonally changing menus designed around what is currently available. 



Lounge : The main lounge at the Estate is centrally located and consists of a cozy dining area with a few
books to keep company. A perfect place to just laze around or read a book or just relax with family and
friends. The only Television in the estate is in the lounge (none in rooms)

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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

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

 

Garli- An offbeat getaway

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Chateau Garli, Kangra – a cattle shed  that was transformed into a heritage property

Garli is a place where you can experience a beautiful embrace of history and heritage at one place. With travel becoming more personal, this is a perfect getaway for any unconventional traveler who likes to explore offbeat places, learn more about deep Indian roots and a slice of architecture.

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Village of Garli hold many stories of bygone era

Heritage Village Garli is marvel in every sense. There is hardly any other Indian suburb with such stunningly diverse styles of architecture on display among the mansions, temples and sarais, all of which stand testimony to the majestic existence Garli that once had. Garli is a classic example of collaborative town planning, vision & foresight of its founders. Established over a 100 years ago, many facets of a mini township were built in, ranging from education, health, to sanitation, commerce etc. examples of all these are still available to see. Today, an abandoned village, Garli is said to have been established in the seventeenth century by the Sud community of the region. Traditionally, the treasure keepers of Kangra’s ruling house.

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My beautiful corner in the room, with tinted color glass at The Chateau Garli

Where to stay: ‘The Chateau Garli’ is a heritage property, built in 1921 that has been restored to its age-old glory by carefully recreating the colonial, Portuguese, Mughal, Rajasthani and Kangri architectural influences that surround the Garli & Pragpur Village. The Chateau Garli offers a home away from home experience with additional comforts to pamper you. It is located on the foothills of Dhauladhar mountain range of the Himalayas, in the heritage village of Garli built in 1921 by Sud family who have now restored it to heritage property. The place boasts of impeccable details, from old gramophone, wooden radio, colonial furniture, crystal chandeliers, contrasting coloured windowpanes, and antique door handles.

Rooms keeping up with the theme have wooden furniture, the paintings a lot of which depict family trees and goddess, colorful embroidered bedspreads and the vibrant windowpanes. Everything at this boutique property transports you another era, also giving you all the urban amenities.  Each of the 19 rooms in the mansion was unique and distinctive.

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Pool Side restaurant at The Chateau Garli

Food: You can indulge in some local delicacies like Himachali Dhaam and fresh trout, preferably requested a day early. From their regular menu too food isn’t short of anything but a great meal. Must try dishes are the Pahari Mutton, Mandra, Maa ki dal, Laal Maas and Kanghri Dham all served at their poolside restaurant or comfort of your room.

The town reflects the progressive planning, that includes water and drainage system incorporated nearly a century ago. The Suds established a boys’ school in 1918, a special women’s hospital in 1921, and a girl’s school by 1955. These, along with Garli Water Works, which used imported copper pipes from London, inaugurated in 1928, are still operational. At a time when the rest of India was largely underdeveloped, the infrastructure of this tiny outpost was leagues ahead of its time.

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Spa at The Chateau Garli that has rural touch

Experiences
Sunset at Beas River -Even if you can view the sunset from the hotels in Kangra but this river bed in Garli offers the best sunset view in the whole village. Dipping your feet in the Beas river bed and encountering the sun set is a must do in Garli.

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Beas River

Night Safari in the Local Forest Reserve – This is for all the wildlife enthusiasts. Taking a jeep around 9 or 10 pm and driving through the local forest reserve would be a surprising adventure as you might spot a leopard, wild boar, wild rabbits or sambar.

 

 

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Masroor Temple

A Religious Tour – There are a vast number of temples in Garli as the city situated in the ‘Land of the Gods’- Himachal. Some of the famous temples in Garli are Jwalamukhi Temple, Maha Kaleshwar Temple, Baba Balaknath Temple, Kangra Devi Temple, Baglamukhi Temple and Chintpurni Temple.

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Must try- Kulfi, there is this man who sits under a tree and famous for his frozen kulfi, it tastes real good but what is fascinating is that i have been told, he doesn’t use ice. Leaves you wondering.

How to reach: By Air : Chandigarh (180 km) approx 4 Hrs, Gaggal (62 km) approx 1.5 Hrs
For more info and bookings – The Chateau Garli

Don’t forget to check out the blog on its sister property  – The Chalets Naldhera  a beautiful stay in Shimla. Subscribe to my blog so you get all updates right in your mailbox. Also follow me on Instagram @ssatpreetkaur,  for more instant updates on all things fun, food, fashion and travel.

Love Satpreet Kaur

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.

Inviting courtyard

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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An indulging evening at Hyatt Regency, Amritsar

Being in golden city of Amritsar is always bliss. As a routine i come back here every year and right amidst the pleasant weather when, winters is just calming down leaving behind days that are pleasant and nights more chilly. I can’t even count the times i have been here yet i find something new to do and indulge in every time. This time i was welcomed by the team of Hyatt Regency, Amritsar, who hosted me for a lovely day.

While i waited at their all day cafe ‘Tarteria’ a Patisserie that promotes the notion of tarts to the taste of locals and travellers alike. What i really liked about the place is its soul- Chef Shiv who holds the reigns in kitchen and makes sure everything they offer is homemade, only natural colors are used and dishes that will impress your taste buds as well as your soul, after all you are in land of Amritsar. I tried an array of fresh tarts and sipped some coffee, a relief from the windy afternoon outdoors. He promised me an authentic local meal for lunch, I had no qualms about it and parted ways while I checked out the property and went for a spa session that was preplanned for me.

I then stepped into ‘Shanti Spa’ a spacious space that has an inviting ambiance. From the moment you walk in, you feel a sense of luxury and relaxation, leaving the outside world behind. The scents that fill the spa are calming and the spa is every bit stunning as the property itself. I love to leave all the pampering sessions to the last day of my vacation, so I can have a rejuvenating experience before my trip came to an end. The well-lit spa was spacious with masseuse who attended me began with a ritualistic feet wash, and treated me with an hour of soothing body massage. The massage began with kneading and long strokes, the pressure on each trigger point was so fabulous, I let go my senses in no time. You know you are in hands of well-trained masseuse when you immediately slip in Zen mode and next 60 minutes were pure bliss.

Pro Tip- while most of the spa’s make you fill forms and know your requirements. Make sure you let them know about your concerned areas and don’t ever feel conscious to tel them if the pressure is too much.

Punjab Province – Post spa i made my way to the in-house restaurant where Chef Shiv prepared a scrumptious North Indian meal for me. Tempting scents of food and an air of extravagance calls you out in this airy restaurant, I stepped out and took a sit in their alfresco seating, appreciating the slight winter chill.

We started off with a platter of appetizers that had tandoored ‘Chicken Tikka’ ‘Lamb Chapli with Anda’ ‘Fish Amritsari’ and ‘Kala kukkad’ the robust flavours made me realize how no part of India can beat the flavours of Punjab, maybe i was being biased but the food was just a gastronomical treat. My favourite and highly recommended dish is Kala Kukkad, with subtle yet lip-smacking flavours.

For main course chef presented yet another platter in an intricate ceramic plate, with a leaf that had several dishes like ‘Butter Chicken’ i mean you can’t leave Punjab without this. I was so glad it was still end of winters so i got to taste seasonal specialty like ‘Sarso Ka Saag’ paired with ‘Makke Ki Roti’ and side of gud (jaggery) and makkhan (butter) ‘Matka Gosh’  with tender mutton cooked really fine, i am not a big fan of chole so skipped that. The accompaniments like ‘Masala chaach’ ‘Kuchumber Salad’ made the meal elaborate and authentic. For desserts chef had a sweet gesture and presented me with a dessert that was full of different desserts. I mean literally desserts in dessert, it had kulfi faluda, ice cream with unique flavours like pan, gulkand etc all served in a glass. Well i can say it was not just food and presentation but the also the hospitality that made my visit a memorable one.

On my tour to property I noticed a vibrant section dedicated to kids, they had staff dedicated to look after kids while you enjoy a spa session of a leisure drink at the bar. They have 2 rooms divided for different age groups and open throughout the day. Form soft toys to video games, board games to movies; they were all stacked dup so your kids can easily spend a few hours without getting bored. I felt it was a wonderful thought and more and more hotels should do this as it gives the parents a much desired break and make the most of their vacation.

For more check out – Hyatt RegencyAmritsar

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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

Radisson Chandigarh, Zirakpur

As I began one of the most interesting trips of the year, the one that that lasted 18 days, the one that has intensive planning because most of it was done solo, but also the one that had seen some great hospitality. My first stop for this trip was Chandigarh, and I was hosted by ‘Radisson Chandigarh, Zirakpur

Chandigarh, is a great place, especially when you are travelling from south (it becomes your pit stop), it connects you to some of the best places in north that you can drive to, while enjoying the best of scenic beauty. My stay was excellent and relaxing, its fairly easy to reach a hill station in Himachal within few hours from the city, and that was exactly where I was headed.

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Lobby at Radisson Chandigarh

Located at in Zirakpur, conveniently away from main city provides a convenient home base for business and leisure travelers seeking easy access to Chandigarh International Airport and top tourist sites. The sprawling open spaces around the property provides a natural respite from its concrete buildings.

Deluxe Room at Radisson Chandigarh

The visit to city from the hotel took us around 20 mins from the property, which we visited to enjoy a bit of night life and a taste of Punjabi music in the land of Punjabis, and of course we were thrilled. The hotel was gracious enough to arrange a pick and drop on request and followed up on any assistance as we girls’ parties the night away.

Warm welcome at Radisson Chandigarh

Room with a view at Radisson Chandigarh

Rooms –We were checked in to the ‘Deluxe Room’ which had a very tastefully done decor, with minimal fuss. The room was spacious, with an option for separate dinning, comfortable bed which almost excluded royal feel, work desk, closet and a bathroom. Some handcrafted chocolates and fresh fruits awaited to welcome us along with refreshing welcome drinks. The room was equipped with all the amenities like Wi-Fi, coffeemakers, mini refrigerator, In-room safe and 24-hour room service to ensure we had a pleasant experience, which we sure did.

When you are work is travel, a good desk is always welcome

Lassi and Parathas, when in Radisson Chandigarh

An extended  dining area in my room at Radisson Chandigarh

Food: The food at ‘Feast’ the all-day dining and multi-cuisine restaurant at Radisson was something we really enjoyed. We tried a couple of dishes from the a-la-carte menu, on chef’s suggestion and each one was to die for. From the ‘Kukad Ki Pukar Shorba’ to ‘VIP Road Chicken Tikka; to ‘Murgh Lassuni Zafrani’, each dish was too good. For drinks we had the tangy ‘Aam Panna’ and ‘Cherry Berry’ each refreshing and unique in taste, leaving to reorder the aam panna. Don’t miss the dessert!

Tasting best of local delicacies and most fusion way at Radisson Chandigarh

Gulab Jamun Cheesecake at Radisson Chandigarh

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Brew Lounge at Radisson Chandigarh

They also have a spacious ‘Brew Lounge’ where you can enjoy exotic teas, freshly brewed coffee and lip-smacking pastries.

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Spa at Radisson Chandigarh

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Workout on the go at Radisson Chandigarh

Leisure: I loved the roof top, it offers a pool and loungers to unwind. It wasn’t winters but the weather was pleasant enough to enjoy a sunset or just have a cup of coffee, we hear they have something very exciting planned for the rooftop in coming months. The hotel also has other services on offer like a business center, fitness center, spa and salon and dedicated events spaces to take care of all your needs. The spa, is well equipped with professional masseuse, who give you a relaxing treatment. Now your visit can be for work or leisure, but a good spa therapy relaxes your mind, body and soul, leaving you refreshed and energetic, it certainly worked for us.

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Rooftop pool at Radisson Chandigarh

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Terrace lounge at Radisson Chandigarh

The location– away from the city yet not too far- makes it perfect for staycations, family vacations, business travelers and even hosting weddings. I’m definitely staying at the same if i ever visit Chandigarh again. The hospitality and food are a definite add on.

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