Travel : Shervani Hilltop, Nainital

I never tire of the hills. The wide open spaces and star-filled skies inspire me, define me. In the mountains, there’s always something to learn, and I feel like I am capable of so much more than I imagined. This was me reminiscing about my trip to Nainital, here’s the link. Then we did another blogpost on The Naini Retreat , a great place to stay in Nainital.

About the property : This post is about Shervani Hilltop, a boutique hotel located in Mallital. The wooden interiors, manicured lawns and lush green surroundings give an old world charm to the place. If you want to escape the crowd and have some time to yourself, it is an excellent option. You get a panoramic view of the mountains from any place in the property, but the Naini Lake isn’t visible from the hotel.

Dining options : Coming to the dining options, there’s the Courtyard bar which serves cocktails and mock tails and a restaurant for all day dining. Both these places have been done up in Victorian style and are very much in sync with the overall decor of the place. Though the view and the food options at The Naini Retreat are much better.

Recommendation : For people who are visiting Nainital for the first time, Naini Retreat is a better option as it is a beautiful heritage property located close to the Naini Lake and the Mall Road. For those seeking tranquility and an escape from the mundane city life, Shervani Hilltop is a good choice.

Travel Tip : Get your bookings done online as pricing is lower than what you will get at the hotel and this applies to almost all the good hotels in Nainital.

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Hope you enjoyed our Nainital experience 😍. Do follow us on Facebook and on Instagram.

Travel : The Naini Retreat, Nainital

If you remember our very first blogpost on Nainital , we did mention about covering the best places to stay as there are no renowned hotel chains in Nainital. The three best hotels to stay are : The Naini RetreatShervani HilltopThe Manu Maharani. Here we are reviewing our favourite out of the lot, The Naini Retreat –

About the property : Historically referred to as the residence of the Maharaja of Pilibhit, The Naini Retreat Hotel is among the best heritage hotels located in Nainital near the lake. The hotel is situated on the picturesque Ayarpatta Slopes, providing a breathtaking view of the Naini Lake at an altitude of 1,995 meters. The hotel embodies an old-world charm along with visible impressions of contemporary luxury.

Dining options : Coming to the food , there are 3 options : Lake View, which is their multi cuisine restaurant serving Indian and International delicacies. It is the perfect place to enjoy you meal with a panoramic view of the lake. Next is Stella Bar, which offers choices of the cocktails and mocktails. And then there is Garden Cafe and Grill for a quick breakfast, brunch or a dinner.

Recommendation : It definitely is the best place to stay in Nainital as it excels on all the prime parameters : location, food and luxury. Coming to the pricing, it was at a lower rate per day than both Shervani Hilltop and The Manu Maharani. Valley view rooms at The Manu Maharani were priced at fourteen thousand rupees approx, which is exorbitantly high compared to the facilities offered. Overall, a highly recommended place for your stay in Nainital.

Travel Tip : Call the hotel for exact directions as the route given by GPS isn’t appropriate for four wheelers.

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Mint leaves in drinking water

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Travel : Clifftop Club, Auli

We have done a series of blogposts about Auli – capturing the landscape in both its pre and post snow glory. Head over to the travel category and click on Auli to check all the previous posts. We mentioned about the lodging and boarding options in Auli in the very first blogpost. Uttarakhand government’s GMVNL guest house is a reasonable option and has basic facilities. For luxury seekers, Clifftop Club is the best available option.

About the property : It is located at more than 10000 feet above sea level (second highest resort in the world), making you feel literally at the top of the world. The view from the resort is something that you cannot understand virtually. You need to witness, breathe, experience and feel for yourself. The best part is that Clifftop is located right at the skiing slopes, adding to the thrill.

Dining options : The resort is entirely made of wood, which now has turned rustic owing to the vagaries of the weather. Accommodation choices are either the standard rooms or the suites. There is a single restaurant serving limited but delectable food. It would be unfair to expect multiple dining options at this height and terrain. The main activity is skiing, though I would say it is to soak in the beauty of the place 😃.

Coming to the pricing, it is between ten thousand to fourteen thousand during the peak snow season. The pricing is high compared to the amenities offered but, once you witness the challenges of running the resort in such daunting conditions, it feels justified. Also remember to check the weather prediction before making a booking as snow has become a rare commodity.

Travel Tip – The best way to reach the property is either by your own vehicle or via cable car from Joshimath.

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Nature is so totally awesome. It deserves our adoration, our reverence, our applause. Take care of the world around you. Celebrate its resplendence, never take it for granted ❤️❤️

Travel : ITC Maurya, Delhi

About the property : ITC Maurya needs no introduction. Located in the preeminent diplomatic enclave, it hosts almost all the foreign dignitaries who visit India. Inspired by the grand Mauryan dynasty, this luxury hotel expresses the refined courtliness and majesty resembling this mighty empire. It also reflects the many intriguing facets of the Mauryas and is a tribute to the dynasty. ITC Maurya houses a priceless and exquisite collection of art by Krishen Khanna, M.F. Husain, Tyeb Mehta, Yusuf Arakkal, A R Ramachandran and more.

Dining options : The hotel houses some of the country’s most popular dining destinations like – Bukhara and Dum-Pukht. Unfortunately, both these restaurants were completely reserved for the evening so we did not get a chance to savour the delicacies. Leaving that for the next time 😊

We were there for a weekend getaway as we did not have time for a proper vacation. The aim was to clear our minds and to simply pamper ourselves. The hotel is absolutely flawless when it comes to hospitality and it is a perfect choice for public officials or businessmen who visit Delhi, but not an ideal destination for a staycation or a rejuvenating holiday.

Recommendation : There are a plenty of resorts/hotels available in the similar price range, which are better suited for recreational purposes. ITC Maurya is definitely a premier hotel of the country,  but it is important to have a clarity about our requirements before selecting a place. There’s not an iota of doubt on the facilities offered, but it is located in a such a prime part of Delhi that you can’t expect sprawling gardens or infinity pools.

Here are some pictures from our visit –

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The key to life is to make it fun, to a raise a glass to the everyday and to make small moments the most memorable. Do like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram 🙂

Travel : Radisson Blu, Haridwar

Between Haridwar and Rishikesh, I have developed a strong affinity for the latter. Rishikesh delights me. In Rishikesh, one feels very close to nature and a sense of tranquility. On the other hand, Haridwar is congested and like a routine city. I would definitely recommend staying in Rishikesh and opting for a day trip to Haridwar to visit all the places.

About the property : We stayed at the Radisson Blu during our stay in Haridwar. It is far from the main city and is located close to the industrial hub. There wasn’t anything special about the property and it is just like one of those typical business hotels. I won’t advise it to people who are visiting Haridwar for religious/ recreational purposes.

Recommendation : It primarily caters to people visiting for official purposes or weddings. As a tourist, I was not happy with the idea of staying so far from the Ganga as that is what Haridwar is all about. But as they say, every experience teaches you something and makes you wise.

Here are the pictures-

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Wishing you lots of travels in this year ❤️, do follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Travel : Yog Niketan By Sanskriti, Rishikesh

The city is a wonderful place for filling up on interesting people and inspiring culture- but nature holds all the ultimate truths. I have officially found my happy place, and it is the Yog Niketan by Sanskriti in Rishikesh. Imagine spending a blissful holiday in the lap of nature, embraced by its expansive bounty and yet enveloped in all the comfort and conveniences that luxury offers.

Luxury here doesn’t mean the sophistication one gets at typical business class hotels or at renowned resorts, but all basic comforts and a dreamy location in the heart of this pious city. The surroundings here are very clean compared to the other locations in Rishikesh

About the property : Yog Niketan  is a beautiful, green oasis that provides a soothing cocoon from the bustle of everyday urban living. From morning to evening, one can immerse into the enchanting view of the mighty Ganga. I don’t think there’s any place in Rishikesh which can offer a better view than this. It is a perfect place to listen to some music or read your favourite books and lounge, do nothing but lounge 😊

The Parmarth Temple is located right across the opposite side of the hotel and is a 5 minute walk via the Ram Jhula. I will definitely recommend attending the Ganga aarti in the evening as it is a truly magical experience. The atmosphere is mystical with the river being lit up with so many oil lamps and the continuous chanting of prayers by the priests.

Dining options : Coming to food, there aren’t many options but everything is freshly made with organic ingredients at their restaurant, no soft/hard drinks, only fresh fruit juices are available for beverages. A classical music performance also happens during dinner time. Guests can also sign up for an hourly session every morning at their yoga centre. The overall experience at the hotel was very calming for the mind.

Recommendation : If you are visiting Rishikesh for the first time or if visiting the various temples is on your agenda, Yog Niketan is the most suitable option. The pricing is slightly steep and falls between four thousand rupees to six thousand rupees (depending on season), but it undeniably has the best location in Rishikesh.

Night view from the room

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Do remember to book a Ganga view room whenever you visit 😍❤️

Travel : Tripura Castle, Shillong – 2

In the first part of this blogpost , we took you through day one of our stay at the picturesque Tripura Castle in Shillong. For day two, we decided to shift to a treehouse cottage, which was situated right on the top of the valley. It is not place where life is dictated by smartphones or the obsessive need to browse through the many apps that exist on that device.

It is a place to enjoy what you have forgotten- the sheer beauty of being in touch with the planet and its many joyous sites. It was my childhood dream to stay in a treehouse and I couldn’t be more happier.

Here are the pictures-

Travel : Tripura Castle, Shillong – 1

Travel is more than the seeing of sights- it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.

So this was my first sojourn in the North East, a long awaited trip with my bestie. We took a SpiceJet flight from Jaipur to Guwahati, which is the quickest and the most comfortable way to reach. From Guwahati, prepaid taxis are available to Shillong for two thousand rupees.

About the property : Since it was just the two of us, we wanted a hotel which is a like a mini hill station in itself . Based on the reviews and images on Goibibo, we booked Tripura Castle . It is located on a hilltop and offers a panoramic view of Shillong. The property is beautiful and the plush wooden interiors give you a vintage vibe. The property is managed by female staff and Shillong is essentially a matriarchal society.

The best part is that the property blends in very seamlessly with the natural surroundings. It felt like living right in the middle of a forest with all the comforts you need. And you can witness the entire town of Shillong right from the room’s window overlooking the valley. In the evening, there are bonfires and musical performances to add warmth to the otherwise chilly weather. Sun sets very early in Shillong and by 5 pm it is all dark, a very different and quaint way of life.

Dining options : Food was something that didn’t impress me much, more so because I am a vegetarian which is not a great thing to be in North-East 😂. So, it was definitely a struggle finding decent vegan options. There’s a lot of variety for non vegetarians.

For day one, we stayed in a room located in the main building while for day two we opted for a treehouse cottage which was a fascinating experience. The pricing varies from five thousand rupees to seven thousand rupees depending on the season. Here are pictures from day 1 –

Travel : The Oberoi, Gurgaon 

Wanderlust- “A deep, uncontrollable urge to hit the road and travel, by whatever means desired, to explore and enjoy the world.” It is not always about escaping to the solitude of mountains or to the azure blue beaches, but to utilise every moment that you get to rejuvenate yourself and to spend time with the people you love, to experience luxury and immaculate hospitality that revitalises you and prepares you for the challenges of a grilling life.

About the property : Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury. The Oberoi, Gurgaon was one such break for us even though we spent less than 24 hours at the property, it helped us to recuperate from our mundane routine. The place is an oasis of tranquility amidst the chaos of Gurgaon. It is located right in the middle of the city yet once you enter the grounds, an island of green and blue welcomes you. The property is designed around a huge square-shaped water body called the reflection pool. It plays a crucial part in lending a natural aura to the hotel.

Dining options : Two sides of the reflection pool house a luxury shopping arcade, which has brands like – Gucci, Latique. Guests looking for a luxury dining restaurant can choose between their unique gourmet theatre: threesixtyone°, contemporary Indian fine dining space: amaranta, Oberoi Patisserie & Delicatessen, or relax and unwind at the Piano Bar and Cigar Lounge.

Recommendation : We made our booking through Goibibo, you can check detailed reviews about the hotel on TripAdvisor. Also note that The Trident and The Oberoi are adjacent properties belonging to the same group, The Oberoi is high on luxury.  I will definitely recommend it to all those looking for solitude, very much close to the city still giving you the Caribbean vibe and very different from a usual business hotel.

Dress like JFK, speak like Hemingway, work like Ralph Lauren, party like Gatsby 😊                   Sending warm festive wishes your way 😍

Travel : Dadhikar Fort, Alwar

This post is about a trip I took with my mother to explore “Dadhikar Fort”. It is located at the outskirts of Alwar, which is at a distance of about 160 kms from both Delhi and Jaipur, making it a perfect weekend getaway. I got to know about the place from a friend who visited the Fort for an outing with her family. I did some research on TripAdvisor and the reviews were very much positive.

About the property : Dadhikar Fort, a beautiful combination of nature, graceful history of thousand years and the reflection of ancient Indian art and culture. You get to witness immaculate hospitality, delicious meals and a tête-à-tête with the locals of the village. We even got a chance to interact with the owner of the property, who was gracious enough to give us a detailed glimpse of the history of the Fort.

How the place came into existence- When Ramji Kaushik, a middle class boy from Alwar, decided to buy a dilapidated fort on the outskirts of Alwar city, his friends thought he had lost his sanity. Neither the hilltop fort nor the Dadhikar village at its foothill had water or electric supplies. There was no road leading up to the ruins of the once-fortified haveli. Everybody else saw it as the derelict structure that was devoid of amenities but he envisioned it as a getaway far from city life, with a breathtaking view. He recycled the stones from rubble, hunted down retired masons who could work with old style of limestone construction, trained young labourers from the Dadhikar village itself. Imperial looking wooden gates were custom made from Jodhpur, janglas sourced from Shekhawati and the entire fort was furnished like an antiquated and fortified haveli.

What we loved the most-What fascinates you most about the property is the fact that the rustic charm has not been lost in keeping up with the modern needs. The locals are very much a part of the hotel’s daily activities and the place perfectly blends in with the quaint aura of the village. It doesn’t give you that typical “5-star property” vibe which interferes with the ecological balance of the surroundings.

Since the fort’s initial structure is not modified, each room is different and has been given a unique name. They also have Swiss tents which is where we stayed. You can choose the rooms as per your taste and budget. We made our booking through Goibibo , you can find more about the place on TripAdvisor and their website Dadhikar Fort.

Recommendation : A quick tip – Try visiting the place in the months of September- March as you won’t be able to venture out much in summers, also it wil be difficult to munch on the delectable food they serve. We went in December and the weather was just perfect.

A surprise coming soon, keep following us on Facebook and Instagram. Here are pictures from the trip- IMG_3960

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The vintage charm very much maintained 
Admiring the view

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Delicious food with spectacular views

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Fort Interiors 
Folk performances at night

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Delectable
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Nature at its best 

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The Swiss tents where we stayed, so close to nature :)
Beauty!

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Mom with a village local
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The place where breakfast is served 

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Travel : The Leela, Goa

This was a small surprise gift I planned for hubby dearest. We did not go to any exotic locations after wedding, instead we opted for the best possible resorts in our all time favorite place- Goa. Once you have a look at these beautiful properties and the sumptuous luxury they offer, there is no stepping out. I will be doing a separate post on how we planned the entire 7 day trip. This post is exclusively about “The Leela”.

About the property : Sprawled between the Arabian sea and the river Sal, the resort has been designed by renowned architect Tom Pugliaso and it reflects Portuguese and Indian style of architecture. It has everything –  limousine transfers from the airport to private plunge pools, dining areas and a designated club beach.

The rooms are spacious, elegant and airy reflecting the easy charm of Goa with balconies facing a lagoon with exotic lotus blooms.The resort has lush greenery, migratory birds and a beautiful Golf course. The setting seems straight out of heaven. The vibrant ambiance here will set the mood for a delightful stay.

Dining options : The resort offers some excellent dining options like Jamavar (Signature Indian), The Riverside (Italian), Susegado -Beachside (Sea food), Aqua (Lounge & Discotheque) and The Pool Bar. The buffet breakfast spread at Jamavar was very elaborate with at least one hundred types of delicacies on the table.

For gardening enthusiasts, there is a small spice plantation tour within the resort and a greenhouse too. What stood out the most for us was their immaculately clean beach, it almost felt like walking on a carpet made of sand. The resort was awarded the honour of being amongst the top 100 luxury hotels of the world by Conde Nast Traveller.

Recommendation : If a quite vacation in a beautiful beach setting is what you seek, it will be a wonderful experience. Also if you are planning a long trip and on a limited budget, plan a day at The Leela and pick other moderately priced resorts for the rest of the duration. For party lovers, staying in North-Goa makes more sense.

We made our booking through Goibibo and got a good deal. You can browse more about the resort on TripAdvisor. Have a look at The Leela, Goa.

 

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Travel : Our Grand Holiday

I love the idea of staycations. It is very important to take regular breaks from the routine life but not always one has the time to plan and go on a proper vacation, this is where the concept of staycations comes in. It could be a destination escape or a property located right in the middle of your city, choose as per your budget, time and requirements. This post is about one such staycation we took to celebrate our first wedding anniversary.

About the property :  The property stands true to its name- it is palatial, serene and a true reflection of the Royal Bharat. We were mesmerized from the moment we stepped inside the hotel grounds. Amidst Impeccable Greenery and beautiful water bodies stands the gigantic- palace looking hotel. We were received with a traditional welcome and a beautiful stole as a souvenir. Also the welcome drink served at their “Peacock Bar” was refreshing. It was almost lunch time so we decided to go for lunch by the time the check in formalities would also get completed.

Dining options : We chose “The India Room” restaurant for lunch, it had an amazing three course Italian buffet with some splendid cocktails. The interiors of the restaurants are so tastefully done up, we were really in awe of the colours and aesthetics. After the sumptuous meal, we went to our room and where we again witnessed the ITC hospitality, our room was upgraded to a suite with an attached pool. They surely know how to keep their guests coming back all the time.

The rooms at ITC are named after cities having historical significance like Varanasi, Hampi, Thanesar etc. The decor style of the room is classy but minimal giving a very relaxed vibe. The aura of the overall place takes you back to medieval India. We spent the afternoon in there heated outdoor pool, the attached pool will be a big hit for summers.

Night lends a different charm to the place with beautifully lit chandeliers and candles. Due to immense greenery, the atmosphere is really pleasant and rejuvenating. One wishes having a permanent residence in this majestic palace.

Recommendation : I would not recommend it to people coming to Delhi/NCR for business/leisure purposes as it is quite far from the main city. Also spending so much does not make sense if you would not be enjoying the place completely. It is definitely an apt option for people looking for a weekend getaway near Delhi. You will come back refreshed and feeling like a Royal.

We made our booking through Goibibo, you can browse more about the hotel at TripAdvisor, Happy Holidaying.

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