VIJAY VIHAR RESORT - NAGARJUNA SAGAR





VIJAY VIHAR RESORT

NAGARJUNA SAGAR

USP: In communion with Nature

I magine waking-up to the view of the rising sun from amidst a cluster of hills. The sight of the sun rays casting an orange spell on the waters readies you to jump out of bed and gear up for an exciting day. If you are at theVijay Vihar Resort on the banks of the Nagarjuna Sagar lake, a couple of kilometres before the Nagarjuna Sagar dam, this view is guaranteed. The resort maintained by the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation has 43 rooms, most of them air-conditioned. It has outdoor camping options too.

View of the Ethipothala falls

The silence of the place is enough to take away any stress. Once done with admiring Nature's beauty, one can hit the well-equipped health club and swimming pool. There is a baby pool too.



Those looking for adventure and fun can get into adventure sports such as biking, rowing and trekking. Situated 150 km from Hyderabad, Nagarjuna Sagar Dam is one of the tallest masonry dams of the world. The resort is on banks of the lake and en route to the dam. Apart from the lake and the dam, there is the Ethipothala waterfalls. The well-illuminated falls make for a wonderful sight after sunset.



The resort serves fresh home-style food, including fish, and the buffet is popular.

Vijay Vihar
Nagarjunasagar
Tel. +91 8680 277362/277363


Room TypeNo. of RoomsTariff per day
All Suites in Main Block
A/C Suites
(Sarovar Block)
A/C Room
Standard A/C Room
10
8

20
2
Rs.3000/-*
Rs.2100/-*

Rs.1800/-*
Rs.1200/- *

*Includes Sounth Indian Buffet Breakfast
*For extra person in A/C room, Rs.150/-.
*Non A/C room, Rs.100/-.
*Taxes extra as applicable.




Source: The hindu



ACRES WILD - NEAR COONOOR




ACRES WILD

NEAR COONOOR

USP: Invigorating farm stay

Some goats, a cow and a labrador watch solemnly as we holler out for the Acres Wild people — Mansur and Tina Khan. Already well-known for the cheese they make, they have now opened up their farm to people who want to share their love for the good earth, especially the 22 acres that they own.



Acres Wild Coonoor is so accessible and protected at the same time in great part because of residents like Mansoor Khan. The filmmaker, who says a life in the country was all he has ever wanted, opened his 22-acre property, just a five-min drive from the heart of Upper Connoor, in April this year. Mansoor and his charming wife Tina also provide their guests with two-hour guided tours (at a nominal Rs 100 per person above 16 years) or two-day hands-on make-and-take your own gourmet cheese-making classes for house guests.



With only three rooms on offer, the tidy and comfy first cottage (from Rs 1,500 per night with breakfast for two) is perched independently on top of the windswept property. The new two-room cottage that’s a bit further away from the main homestead has splendid woodwork, lovely bay windows, a spacious common area and a sit-out with fantastic views (from Rs 3,000 per room). All cottages come with fully equipped kitchens; meals are also delivered to the rooms. Dedicated to organic living, Mansoor and Tina make their own adobe bricks and power the kitchens and the cheese-making unit with gobar gas. Don’t leave without sampling their delicious herb-spiced soft cheeses and signature Camembert. See www.acres-wild.com.

Munching still-warm-from-the-oven banana bread we accompany the Khans on a tour of their property. There is the main house, besides two cottages. A cow shed perches prettily on the slope as does the place where they make the cheese.



The fact that the setting is picture-perfect and the weather magnificent, is a given. It is the Nilgiris, after all. But, what makes Acres Wild different is the lifestyle they offer. You are invited to help out on their farm. Serve the ducks their lunch as they swim in the pond that is plopping with fish, feed the animals, or, even milk the cows. “We would love it if our guests would help us plant trees and vegetables,” they say. Everything is organically grown. The cheerfully done up cottages have big picture windows framing the scenic world outside.

Here is the best bit. Acres Wild offers a cheese-making course, where you learn how to make at least two varieties of cheese. The course costs extra and the duration depends on how long you can stay.

Bed and breakfast is the deal, and what a breakfast it is! Freshly drawn milk, home-made muesli, fruits, bread and eggs all served with pats of creamy butter and a selection of cheese. It is seriously wholesome!

There is no TV at Acres Wild, yet. Personally, I hope it stays that way. Only some bird chatter and the odd mooing breaks the perfect quiet. A stay at Acres Wild is guaranteed to put the roses back in your cheek. You may put on some weight which you can work off on the farm.

How to get there

From the Coonoor Bus Stand take Barlows Road. Hundred metres up the road is a fork on the right. Take the Manni Mariamman Kovil Street and carry on for about a kilometre (past a temple and a small bridge) till you come to a three-pronged fork in the road. From there, follow the bright yellow Acres Wild Farm signboard.

How to reach Acres Wild: We are 3 km from Coonoor Bus Stand and within Coonoor Town Limits. Best to reach Coonoor Bus stand and call Mansoor – 94432-32621 for further directions to Acres Wild Farm.

Mansoor & Tina Khan
Acres Wild Cheesemaking Farm
No. 1, Tiger Hill,
Coonoor 643 101
Tel: 0423-223-2621
Mob: 94432-32621



Tariff

Depending on the cottages, (rates range from Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 3,000 in season and Rs. 1,500 to Rs. 2,500 off-season). Children under 10 are admitted free.

(In Season: April 1 to June 15 / Oct 1 to Jan 31 and Off Season: Feb 01 to March 31 / June 16 to Sept 30).

The tariff includes breakfast. Other meals cost extra.

To know more, log on to www.acres-wild.com or call 0944323262.

Things to do

Make cheese; watch birds; work the land; enjoy the clean and quiet ambience.

Source: The hindu



LAKESIDE -ATHOOR,DINDIGUL





LAKESIDE

ATHOOR Post, DINDIGUL Taluk

USP: Where memories are made

They came as tourists in the summer of 2007 and fell so much in love with the place that their week-long visit was extended to three months. By the time they returned to their home in England, they'd already made up their minds to own ‘Lakeside' in the Palani foothills.



Dorinda Anne (a teacher by profession) and Peter William Balchin (a building material supplier) were leading stressful lives and wanted to “change their lifestyle and slow down.” “We couldn't take our mind off this outstanding piece of Nature's beauty, the daily morning cup of cardamom tea by the Kamaraj lake, and watching peacocks,” they say.

After six months of paper work, they returned in October 2008 with two large suitcases. “We did not need more because everything else was available here. In the last two years, we have added 10 years to our lives; we feel, eat and work better,” the enterprising couple says. And that is exactly what they try to impart to all their guests now — the ‘feel-good' factor.



When they took over, the property, spread over 7.5 acres, was a tad rundown. A quick and simple but aesthetic overhaul of furniture and interiors, better lighting and greenscaping, an improvised menu and raising service to European standards ensured that visitors looking for a perfect escape flocked in.

When there's a stunning lake, a panoramic mountain view, a green carpet all around, cool breeze through the year and abundance of bird life, you just want to soak in the peace and solitude. That's what I did.



The rooms in the main building open into a long common verandah facing the brimming lake, and the colourful blooms encircling the verandah add to the appeal as you tune in to the avian choir!

Spend your day trekking and come back to a hearty South/North, Chinese/European meal in the cool verandah. Dinner is an awesome affair, both for the spread and taste, but more so for the ambience. It is usually served on the terrace under the twinkling stars.


source:the hindu



VIJAYSHREE HERITAGE VILLAGE - HOSPET






VIJAYSHREE RESORT AND HERITAGE VILLAGE

HAMPI ROAD, HOSPET

USP: A luxurious stop over to explore Hampi

Hospet station in the morning is like every other station in a small town — bustling with porters and impatient vehicles. We get into the dazzling white car and sail forth to Vijayshree Resort. We leave the town behind and bowl along this dusty road. Suddenly in the middle of all that brown is a vivid splash of green and we sweep into the resort.

We enter through a 100-year-old antique door. A traditional welcome later, we are shown to our cottages. We are assigned the presidential villa. With a sitting and dining area, apart from the huge and well appointed bath, and comfortable bed, the cottages feel like home, or at least like a home I might aspire to. I decide not to try the Jacuzzi as I am fascinated by the shower stall with its multi-pressure jets.



It is time for breakfast at the coffee shop, 24 Hours. After the taking of toast and tea and many other pan Indian delicacies, it is time for a tour of the property which uses solar energy, has water recycling plants and has over 60,000 trees.

A lot of thought has gone into the furnishing of the rooms and premises. The lamps are from Taiwan while the ceilings have been hand painted. The property includes a 6,000 sq.ft. pool, an entertainment centre, the Nirvana spa, which offers a range of massages and beauty treatments, and the wedding and conference halls.

Lunch is served at Ajeeth, the multi-cuisine restaurant. After a short rest we head out to the Tungabhadra Dam and are suitably awestruck by the red river. We are back at the resort by 7.30 p.m. and head for the Heritage Village adjacent to the resort.



This is rural India (or to be more specific Rajasthan) with a vengeance. There is the camel ride, the decorated bullock cart, dance, song, puppet shows, mehndi, astrologers and a magic show.

The sit-down Rajasthani dinner is something else. We sit on the floor around a chaukat as course upon course arrives and just as you'd be convinced you couldn't eat anymore, another delicacy arrives. The resort is vegetarian and does not serve liquor.

As I rest my head on the pillow and idly switch channels on the big fat telly, I think of exploring Hampi the next day. But that is another story!

How to get there

The resort is accessible by road, rail and air. The nearest airports are at Bellary and Belgaum. The closest railway station is Hospet. The resort is 5 km from the station. The distance between Bangalore and Hampi by road is 348 km. The resort is mid-way between Hospet and Hampi.

For details call 8394 225890/1/2/3, email: info@vijayshreeresort.com. or log on to www.vijayshreeresort.com

Things to do

Explore Hampi.

Visit the Tungabhadra Dam and the Daroji bear sanctuary.

Visit the heritage village and have a feel of rural Rajasthan.

source: the hindu



SURYA SAMUDRA PRIVATE RETREATS - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM






SURYA SAMUDRA PRIVATE RETREATS

PULINKUDI, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

USP: R&R by the sea

There is something captivating about the endless blue sea; the thunderous rhythm of the waves crashing on the cliff below prompting you to curl up on the ‘charu kasara' (the traditional planter's chair) and stare at nature's splendour to your heart's content. This is my idea of paradise.



The spectacular Surya Samudra Private Retreats in Thiruvananthapuram is perched on a cliff overlooking the Arabian Sea and nestled between two beaches (one of which is private). This picturesque resort is the perfect place for some rest and recuperation. Set amid 22 acres of profuse greenery are quaint cottages: five independent villas and 17 double rooms. Sun-dappled stone paths covered by swaying coconut trees and flanked by stone relics salvaged from ruins of temples meander up and down the hill leading to these cottages — the footpaths are ideal for a bit of hopscotch if you're up for it. The cottages themselves are uniquely Kerala in design and décor. Double doors with traditional ‘chitrapootu' (ornate locks) open up into spacious, elegant rooms that are lavish in wood but otherwise minimalist — white with shots of bright colour here and there. Dominating the rooms are comfy four-poster beds that beg for a quick snuggle. And all the 22 rooms have open-to-sky bathrooms. The most impressive of the cottages has to be the presidential suite — the Banyan Tree Bungalow; so named because of the banyan tree around which the cottage's open-to-sky bathroom is constructed. Coming a close second is the Octagon cottage that has incredible sea views thanks to French windows on three sides. It also has the advantage of being adjacent to the gorgeous infinity pool that has been carved out of the rock.



A swim in the pool or a siesta on the private beach calls for a little spa indulgence and you can head to the resort's Spa Niramaaya for everything from Ayurvedic treatments and Western aromatherapy to oriental massages. And for foodies, the resort is a gourmet heaven, with three restaurants. At the multi-cuisine Oottupura you can get everything from Bengali fish curry to Italian pasta while at the Kanal grill, one can dig into (or even lend a hand cooking) the day's catch or chill out at Madira bar.

Paradise found?

How to get there

Surya Samudra is 27 km from the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport and is a 40-minute drive from the railway station. From the highway leading to Kovalam take a left to Vizhinjam and then a left to Pulinkudi Junction.

Things to do

Chill out on the beaches.

Learn yoga.

Indulge at Spa Niramaaya.

Check out the books at the in-house library.

Head to nearby Kovalam and Vizhinjam harbour.

Tariff

(Double occupancy, peak season rates, valid till April 15, 2011)

Prices range from Rs. 14,100 to Rs. 42,900 for six varieties of rooms.

Christmas and New Year rates are higher.

Off season rates (April 16 to September 30, 2011) range from Rs. 8,300 to Rs. 22,400. All rates are exclusive of 12.5 per cent luxury tax.

Day packages start at Rs. 500. For details contact 0471-2267333/2480413, email reservations@suryasamudra.com or look up www.suryasamudra.com


source:the Hindu



THE WILD ROCK COUNTRY HOUSE - DINDIGUL






THE WILD ROCK COUNTRY HOUSE

ATHOOR, DINDIGUL DISTRICT

USP: Commune with Nature

I magine your private room, done in a combination of rugged rocks, granite and marble, nestling comfortably on the emerald slopes of the Western Ghats. And, looking out to a well-manicured garden. Beyond the trees and colourful blooms are the vistas of distant mountains. Somewhere in-between is a verdant valley surrounding the placid waters of a beautiful lake. All this in the middle of rugged rocks in a quaint little village called Athoor.


The charming view makes you forget the rickety ride through potholes on pebble-strewn muddy tracks. But the experience that unfurls later, makes up for it.




The Wild Rock Country House is a mansion spread over 25 acres and has a swimming pool. The floors are tiled, the tables are walnut or granite-topped. The ceilings have Kerala-style wooden beams. Old prints of English towns and fields, Harley-Davidson bikes and giant-sized gherkins hang on the walls. Antique and stylish leather furniture adorn the dining hall, verandah and sit-outs. No space is cramped and that includes the mini-library and the small book shelf where visitors leave behind their best picks. The orchestration of the wild avifauna draws me to spend most of my time outside. All you need to do is zoom into the abundance of Nature in one of the most bio-rich regions in the world. Simply feast on the panoramic shades of green and drink in the fresh-mountain. Commune with Nature. The perennially-salubrious climate at an elevation of 1,000-odd metres, the cool-breeze, the mild drizzle and the smell of wet earth, combine to relax your mind and body.




The chef whips up a platter of soft and hot chapattis with yellow dal or steaming hot rasam rice with your favourite poriyal or the cheesy, creamy and saucy pasta or spaghetti, with garden fresh bowl of salad and fruits.



How to get there

Sempatti is the closest bus station to the property. You will pass by the Sadayandi temple and the bungalows of Lake Side, Double Dutch and Cardamom House resorts. There are signposts en route to the five-km stretch.

Tariff

The Family Suite costs Rs. 4,500 per person per night;

a Deluxe Twin Bed Cottage costs Rs. 4,000; and a Deluxe Double Rs. 3,500.

Tariff includes breakfast. Taxes Extra. For details, call 0451-2471572, 2470454

Things to do

Go rock climbing, river-crossing, cycling, mountaineering, trekking and horse riding.

A great place for ornithologists, wild-life photographers and tent campers.

Visit the village, fields, farms, coconut groves and mango orchards.

Try your hand at angling.

Or simply head for an Ayurvedic massage, yoga or swim.

Visit the Sadayandi temple situated in the hill caves or the beautiful old Catholic church in the village.

Source: The hindu



MAITREYI – THE VEDIC VILLAGE (NEAR POLLACHI)






NEAR POLLACHI

USP: Rejuvenating the mind, body and soul

I t is like looking through absinthe — everything is awash in green. Undulating swatches of lawns, coconut plantations, vegetable patches, tulsi in brindavans in front of every cottage — just green, green and then some more. The eyes feel rested. The quiet is heady.

The unwinding begins even before we reach Maitreyi Vedic Resort. In fact, a little out of Pollachi and the tension begins to ebb. Thoughts of giving it all up and migrating to this patch of rural bliss become urgent.

The resort is sanctuary-like, keeping the mad, bad world at bay. Twenty five acres of freshness, and a view that includes the Anamalai Hills, in the Western Ghats. What else does one need?



Plonk down on the charming red oxide benches outside your cottage. You have a ringside seat to Mother Nature's lavish production. A concert of bird song, where insects provide the background score; streams gurgle and trees shush, keeping time.

Like the ashrams of yore, Maitreyi has been created following Vastu Shastra. Everything has a reason to be where it is. The cottages are elegant, simple and very comfortable.

So, what do you do all day? Several things, only if you want to. Transcendental meditation is one of them. The resort offers its guests a short course. According to Uwe, who is German, and runs The Vedic Village, “The idea is to spread the knowledge contained in the Vedas.” So, it is about simple living and high thinking. A ramble around the property and we spot neatly laid out vegetable plots (all organic), fruit trees and beaming cows in their shed. There is yoga for those who prefer to deep breathe their way into the day.

If all that pure air and scenery gets too much, seek refuge in a massage. Just book yourself for an Ayurvedic spa. Maitreyi offers its guests a variety, ranging from an hour-long rejuvenating session to one that lasts up to three weeks for specific health-related treatments.

If it is detox of the mind, body and soul you are looking for, then Maitreyi is pretty much your place. Simple meals are served in the dining room. The resort is pure vegetarian and, for all you satvik souls out there, onions and garlic are not used either.



A big hall doubles as a conference room, or in case of music and dance concerts, as an auditorium.

Tariff

Room rent per person: Single occupancy – Rs. 1,200/day + 12.5 per cent tax

Double occupancy – Rs. 1,500/day + 12.5 per cent tax

Private cottage (double occupancy) – Rs. 1,650/day + 12.5 per cent tax

Extra person or child - Rs. 500/day

Fixed Meal Plan: breakfast, lunch, evening tea/milk, dinner is Rs. 450/day per person (all inclusive)

For details contact: 04253-288763/ 093616-04000 or visit www.maitreyivedic.in

How to get there

Maitreyi – The Vedic Village is in Ishwaramalai on the Panapallam Road near the Aliyar dam. The nearest town is Pollachi (24 km). The nearest airport is Coimbatore.

Things to do

Go on day trips to the nearby Aliyar Dam, picnic spots near the waterfalls.

Visit ancient temples.

Go on a shopping excursion to Coimbatore and Palakkad (64 km from the resort).

Source:The hindu





MADHUBAN HIGHLANDS - Mussoorie






HOTEL MADHUBAN HIGHLANDS
Charleville Road,
Mussoorie, Uttarakhand

USP: An impressive blend of utility and luxury

As you negotiate a hairpin bend and catch the first view of Hotel Madhuban Highlands, it seems like a huge lump of concrete stuck on a soaring hill. When you stand at the porch, you realise it is sprawling, layered with rooms at varied heights that offer different views.



The best part, of course, is that it is located comfortably away from the twirl of things at the touristy Mussoorie, yet at a distance that can be easily covered.



Owned by the Madhuban Hotel group, the resort's suites are swanky and opulent, but go for the valley view ones, and also those behind its king-size conference hall near the entrance. From these, take in the prettiness of the distant mountains, undisturbed. The resort also has villa rooms with two bedrooms each, ideal for a family of four.

There is Pebble Street, the multi-cuisine restaurant. Besides an a la carte menu with Indian, Continental and Chinese fare, it lays out a buffet spread too. Then, there is the recently-launched Saffire Lounge and Bar if you are looking for a place to relax in the evenings. In the warmth of the sprawling place heated by an age-old bukhaari, and filled with cosy beige sofas, you can nibble at piping-hot starters and pair them with your beverage.


Source:the hindu



HILLSBOROUGH - KOTAGIRI ROAD





HILLSBOROUGH

KOTAGIRI ROAD

USP: Silences and scenic views

Sitting in a pool of darkness and silence can be addictive. I have just watched the sun disappear spectacularly behind a hill. For a split second before that, it looks remarkably like one of Raza's paintings.

Hillsborough does that to you — fills you up with artistic thoughts, creative impulses and, if nothing else, immense zeal to finish ambitious projects. Before I know it, the big, fat, William Dalrymple book ‘The Last Mughal' that I had struggled with for months is struck off my to-read list. Not just that, I play cricket with the caretaker's kids, and take myself off for a walk to the nearby Rallia dam. Of course, there may be some panic moments in the evenings when you grope for the remote and your hands come up empty (there is no television). But, pick out a star and see who blinks first, and time just flies.



A lovely home-stay, Hillsborough is done up tastefully. Comfortable chairs everywhere, a great view and wooden floors. There are some striking black-and-white and, sepia pictures on the wall, and patchwork quilts, throw rugs and tapestry cushions complete the warm and glowing feeling.



One can book at Hillsborough by getting in touch with Tranquilitea, the tea people, who work towards sustainable tourism. They also organise leisure walks in picturesque locales. If you are ecologically inclined, and don't mind getting your hands dirty, you could pitch in and help them clean up the area. They recently had a major drive in a nearby temple where there is an annual pilgrimage. Till recently, visitors would leave a trail of garbage in their wake. But, this time Tranquilitea put up posters and placed garbage bins along the route, and littering was at a minimum! Hillsborough is just one of the gracious homes across the Nilgiris where Tranquilitea provides its guests accommodation.

How to get there

Hillsborough is approximately 8 km from Sims Park on the Kotagiri road. Someone from Tranquilitea will guide you from Sims Park. Or, call for detailed instructions.


Video Source: Youtube,NamastayIndia

Tariff

It costs Rs. 2,500 per night per room. Meals are extra, and provided by the caretakers. For details and reservations log on to www.tranquilitea.in, or call 094438-41572. You could also e-mail your enquiries to sandeepsubramani@gmail.com

Things to do

If solitude and laziness is not your thing and you seek something that gives you a bit more of an adrenalin rush, you could trek, sight-see, take photographs, watch birds, visit artists in the region and may be, even play golf or ride a horse. There is a wonderful tea-tasting ceremony that will allow you to try out the varieties of Nilgiris tea.


Source: The hindu



McIver Villa - Coonoor





McIver Villa - Coonoor

USP: A 180-degree view of Coonoor

I t's a misty evening at McIver Villa, a heritage bungalow built in the early 1900s. And, what a way to start a holiday — with a 180-degree view of Coonoor. Across the manicured lawns, the beautiful blue hills unfold.

Run by Junaid Ali Sait, the seventh generation of the family that originally owned the property, the villa is promoted as a high-end destination. French couple Peter and Fado run La Belle Vie, the French restaurant. It is mostly organic fare with vegetables from their kitchen garden. One is assured that the flour, sugar, oil (only olive oil), and meat are organic too.



There are three categories of rooms, all of which are named after the family-owned estates. Blackwood is huge, has a private sit-out, wooden floors and seems to have been designed keeping honeymooners in mind. The colour scheme is romantic pink with a dash of yellow.

The main block has two smaller rooms — the cosy Balfour done up in green and pink and Montecute, resplendent in green and yellow). The slightly larger room, Creswell, is in yellow and pink. There is a common living room with a book shelf and a fire place. I choose Creswell.

Colworth and Cromwell, the other two rooms, are done up in orange and red. All the rooms have a working fire place and the bathrooms are lavish.



Period furniture from antique shops across the country grace the rooms. Ambareen, Junaid's wife, has put a lot of thought into the décor, and every room is unique. Anita Mathias, the in-charge, assists with your outing plans, in case you plan to explore the surroundings.

The restaurant serves an Italian menu as well as traditional tandoor fare. It has a special menu every week. There is no fried food, no soda (“for a bottle of cola, you'd be wasting nine litres of water,” says Peter) and everything is steam-cooked. “We try and put quality on the plate. Give them pleasure food that is healthy, but not boring. And, promote the concept of consciously taking care of the body and Nature.”

I have a wholesome breakfast of fruits, home-made breads and croissant (the chocolate roll is out-of-the-world and the strawberry, gooseberry and pineapple jams are yummy).The desserts, packed with fresh fruits, nuts, honey and chocolates, taste exotic.

Soon, the morning mist yields to buckets of rain and, armed with an umbrella, I take a lovely walk in the rain. Junaid, Ambareen and Anita join me for lunch. We tuck into Thai coconut soup bursting with the goodness of fresh vegetables, satisfying pizzas, pastas, and aromatic and flavourful Thai coconut rice and Thai red curry…and admire the rain-washed hills.


Source:the hindu



CAMBAY GOLF RESORT - JAIPUR






CAMBAY GOLF RESORT

JAMDOLI, JAIPUR

The golf enthusiasts had risen early and were trying their skills on the sprawling green lawns. The nine-hole Cambay Golf Resort at Jamdoli, near Jaipur, draws eager novices, professionals and coaches. Being neither we wandered off to the pool and then the gaming room for some chess.



The small but well-equipped spa offers a wide range of therapies from classic Swedish to Chinese foot reflexology and aromasence to Indian massages. We tried the first two and recommended them to our friends who had returned after vigorous gymming and a jog around the golf resort — which at 41 acres is Jaipur's biggest.

Spicy Rajasthani tea in khullars (earthenware cups) was followed by ethnic cuisine for breakfast. Indus is a multi-cuisine restaurant but we decided to order the local specialties. So, it was missi rotis, bhindi in gravy, aloo methi, kebabs of several varieties, and the signature daal baati choorma among a large spread for lunch. At dinner the non-vegetarians drooled over Rajasthan's famed laal maas while we dug into besan gatti ki sabji, kadi-chawal, ker sangari, kadi and khichidi, drenched in ghee.




Cambay's luxury ethnic tents are roomy, cosy and aesthetically accessorised. The interiors are designed to reflect rustic elegance but with a touch of modernity. There are also tastefully done-up villas with one and two-bedroom units. After a hectic evening of shopping in the city we lingered by the poolside with its scintillating blue lights, while some wandered off for a round of the resort's speciality — night golf — a fitting end to a stay in this resort.



HOTEL SATHYA PARK & RESORTS - TUTICORIN






HOTEL SATHYA PARK & RESORTS

TUTICORIN

USP: Rural rhapsody

I was convinced I was on the wrong road while driving down a dry, brown patch on the Tirunelveli-Tuticorin Highway, with a merciless sun beating down hard. And, almost like a mirage it appeared suddenly — the resort set amid seven acres bursting with ornamental ferns and tall toddy palm trees.



The very setting of the hotel in such an arid area of rural Tuticorin makes it unique. You are told that 50 per cent of the 65-odd staff are gardeners and horticulturists — the only people you see out are those with spades and sprinklers, flippers and cutters, water cans and hoses. It is this team that makes the grounds of Sathya Park & Resorts so picture-perfectly landscaped.

The only other people you see are those diving into the swimming pool or gorging on the tasty food served in four restaurants named after flowers — lotus, rose, jasmine, tulip. The cuisine spans the various regions of the country — Punjab to Tamil Nadu and Mumbai to Kolkata.




This well-maintained seven-year-old property on the edge of the otherwise-busy port city of Tuticorin is enveloped in silence. You can choose to stay in the elegant suites or go for tennis, volley ball or badminton.

The best part of the resort is that all the 36 rooms here provide a soothing view of the greenery. When the evenings get a bit breezy, enjoy a cosy meal on the tree-top restaurant.

How to get there

Sathya Park & Resorts is located in Korampallam at the entry point to Tuticorin from Tirunelveli (60 km). It is four km from the Tuticorin airport and 10 km from the railway station. It is 170 km from Madurai.

Tariff

Cottages (8) Rs. 1,500; Family Deluxe rooms (5) Rs.1,800; Executive Elite rooms (20) Rs. 2,500 and Suites Rs. 3,000 (exclusive of meals, taxes). For details, contact 0461-6534985 and 96009-21985.

Things to do

Visit the temples nearby

Visit the beach in the port town.

Indulge in unlimited swimming.



source: thehindu



Radisson GRT Temple Bay, Mahabalipuram





Along the shores of the Bay of Bengal, The GRT Temple Bay looks out over sandy beaches. Based in the seaside city of Chennai filled with historic monuments and beautiful temples, the hotel exudes a luxurious, welcoming air.


ROOMS:
144

AIRPORT TRANSFER TIME:
90 minutes

LOCATION:
Covelong Beach
Pin -603104


GRT Temple Bay, Mamallapuram, launches Summer Chillers 2010 packages. The 46-acre resort has 144 chalets and villas, a 27,000 sq ft meandering pool, an infinity pool, luxury spa and a specialty restaurant. The one-night package is priced at Rs. 7,499 (on weekdays) and Rs. 8,499 (on weekends, check-in on Friday and Saturday).


The ‘two nights-three days' package is priced at Rs. 16,499 (on weekdays) and Rs. 18,499 (on weekends), and includes hotel credit worth Rs. 3,000.

Both packages include complimentary breakfast, and a 20 per cent discount on food, spa, the boutique, catamaran ride, ATV ride and fish therapy.

Two children under the age of 12 can stay in the parents' room on room-only basis.

For reservations, call 099400-45640.

Restaurants



The Wharf - Tempt your palate with an exquisite array of tantalizing and unique flavors serving grills, Tandoor and pasta varieties at the restaurant right on the banks of Bay of Bengal offering an unforgettable ambience.
Waters Edge - Water's Edge offers a wide variety of both Indian and international cuisines in addition to the weekend ritual of buffet, covering 200 people per service.
Maritimes Tales ' Bar.
Sindbad - Seduction by the sound of the waves, Sindbad is located at an animated area attached to the Waters Edge cafe, serving the best of domestic and international spirits and a fusion of bar snacks as accompaniments.


Facilities & Services
  • Spa
  • Table Tennis
  • Swimming Pool
  • Parking
  • Travel Desk
  • Conference Facilities
  • Gym
  • Currency Exchange
  • Bar
  • Restaurant
  • Room Service
  • Babysitting
  • Childrens Play Area
  • Doctor On Call
  • Banquet Hall
  • Internet Facility
  • Port I - The Seating Capacity up to 100 people in Theatre Style, 50 in U Shape & 75 in Cluster.
  • Port II - The Seating Capacity up to 40 people in Theatre Style, 21 in U Shape & 30 in Cluster.
  • Pier Hall - The Seating Capacity up to 40 people in Theatre Style, 30 in U Shape & 35 in Cluster.
  • Cabin - The Seating Capacity up to 20 people in Theatre Style, 12 in U Shape & 14 in Cluster.
  • Savanah - I - The Seating Capacity up to 1500 people.
  • Savanah - II - The Seating Capacity up to 175 people.




AAMOD - SHOGHI






AAMOD

SHOGHI at Shimla

USP: Hear the sound of silence

‘Delhi 349 km away. Chandigarh 49 km away. Stress far, far away.' That is the signage at Aamod in Shoghi, a place so still that birds usher in the dawn with an orchestra of their own.



Sitting by the window, I watch tiny drops of gentle rain fall off the leaves of walnut trees outside my cottage, slant across the pathways, rough and untampered with, all the way down to the forests, full of timeless trees where leaves kiss and tease each other. With such lovely scenery, who needs a Nature walk, I think.



The afternoon is only a shade different. The Sun now smiles benignly, then happily shares space with clouds; together, they form a nice patchwork of light and shadow.

Soon, it is time to venture out, and experience some adventure thrills by the cliff. Flying Fox challenges you to bring out the Spiderman in you. There is Burma Bridge that respects only the nimble-footed. There is a tyre ladder that stretches every sinew. Then, there is mountain biking too.



Too much for a calm, quiet day? Yes, so I quietly head to the spa at the hilltop. Here, the cool breeze ruffles my hair. Then, the fingers of the expert in-charge ease out the pain I never knew existed in my shoulders. A quick shower is followed by a nice Himachali lunch at Colonial, the restaurant that prides itself on its multi-cuisine offerings.

Dusk comes with another concert, this time provided by little nocturnal inhabitants, stepping out of their nooks and crevices. Butterflies, bright and beautiful, find their leaves and trunks, and trees — cedar, alder, pine and walnut — each of whom has a cottage named after it, all sway in the mood.



Just behind the mountains, the Sun fades away, bowing in respect one last time. Silver-lined clouds cast their shadow on the hills. Others let the Sun's balmy presence be felt on the other side of the hills. The result? Each side is drenched in different shades of green.

Aamod, which means ‘joy' in Sanskrit, lives up to its name. Here, you can hear the sound of silence. Experience the thrill of adventure. Soak in the bliss of a relaxing massage. Then, just step out to realise that there is joy beyond metropolises.

Source: The Hindu



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