There are airlines that fly you from one part of the world to another. And then there is Virgin Atlantic. I consider myself one lucky soul to have journeyed from India via London to New York City on Virgin’s Upper Class.
My first memory in the Seychelles is standing on the deck of a ferry, with the wind caressing my hair and the seagulls whispering my name, as I counted the shades of blue in the vast ocean before me. I slowly realized it was a pointless task. Over the last three days, I’ve rekindled my love affair with the Indian Ocean, spent lazy afternoons on a hammock, snorkeled into the underwater world, rediscovered the goodness of Creole curries, and settled into the susagade island life. These are my first impressions of Seychelles.
Back when I was a Delhi-dweller, I always felt a tad bit jealous of the way people in Bombay talked about the city; the je ne sais quoi, the laid back attitude, the cosmopolitan food. Every time an opportunity took me to Bombay, I indulged in the city. I talked to street vendors peddling their wares, to baristas in coffee shops, to the cabbies I rode with, and every time, the chalta hai way of life in the “city of dreams” shone through. 24 hours might be too short to experience that spirit of Bombay, but they certainly can give you a flavor of the city, literally and figuratively. These recommendations are compiled from my various trips, and focus on the western suburbs of the city: WHERE TO STAY JW Marriott, Juhu. Facing the waters of the Arabian Sea, JW Marriott is pure indulgence. Unlike most luxury hotels in Bombay, it takes great pride in its chefs, resulting in some of the best fine dining alternatives in the city – Thai at Spices, Spanish at Arola, Indian …
Over a month ago, I gave up my apartment in Delhi, sold most of my belongings, and hit the road (Read: I’m Hitting The Road, Indefinitely). It’s been a roller coaster ride, one that has left me craving a weekend of pampering. The last two days at JW Marriott in Bombay have given me exactly that. Presenting to you, 6 ways to indulge yourself and your taste buds at JW Marriott, Mumbai: Breakfast at BBC A charming bakery with books, teas, home-baked breads, and pastries, the Bombay Baking Company has the perfect recipe for a lazy day of indulgence. Their artisan sandwiches are a must try, and if you believe that it’s never too early for wine, they have an extensive list to choose from. The Royal Lotus Suite The first thing that struck me about the Royal Lotus Suite was the view from its glass panels, of the swimming pool below and a stretch of Juhu Beach beyond. The living area and the bedroom are spacious yet cosy, with wooden floors, a glass-walled bath …
My drowsy eyes prick open at the sight of a massive fort, a short drive away from Jaisalmer city. Its rustic brown façade merges with the stark wilderness of the desert, and the sheer grandeur of India’s bygone royal era calls out to me. Khamaghani. Welcome to Suryagarh.
Two weeks ago, I rekindled my love affair with Kumaon. From my attic at Te Aroha (Read: Te Aroha: Under The Yellow Rooftops), in the charming little village of Dhanachuli, I witnessed the majesty of the Himalayas. And so did some of you, through my blog, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You said you couldn’t wait to stay here yourself, so I managed to score it for you! Here’s your chance to win a stay at Te Aroha, and experience its poetic love in person.
Every stone in Kumaon has a story. It speaks of the fierce spirit of the Kumaoni people during India’s freedom struggle. It carries the whiff of tea gardens that once flourished on this land. It looks humbly upon mighty Himalayan peaks that sit in the distance. This is the story of some such stones, stones that were erected by Sumant Batra back in the nineties, stones that became my abode for a weekend this July. His love affair with travel started while he was still a child, and much like anyone who’s travelled in Kumaon, he was captivated by the charm of the lower Himalayas of Uttarakhand. In his late twenties, he fell in love with the small, obscure village of Dhanachuli. There were terraced valleys here, verdant mountain slopes covered with apple orchards, forests of pine and rhododendron, gushing rivers, small streams and waterfalls, and no development or tourism infrastructure to speak of. The locals were friendly, nay, full of warmth, and the food was delicious. Who wouldn’t fall in love? Not very rich …
My constant travels sometimes leave me craving to curl in and enjoy the finer luxuries of travelling. So when an opportunity arose, I decided to grab it and stay at the Club Room of the Taj Palace hotel, in Delhi itself. I first came across the concept of a “Staycation” – indulging in a luxury stay within your own city – while living in Singapore, and to be honest, cringed at the thought of wasting a weekend staying in when the world outside was waiting.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Southeast Asia lately. It was on the islands and among the rain forests of Malaysia that I discovered my wanderlust. If Singapore was home for the six years I lived there, Malaysia was my second home, and Vietnam and Indonesia were those indulgent escapes that you needed to fork out money for a flight, to get to. Truth is, there was no lack of indulgence in Malaysia itself, albiet the indulgence of luxury and pampering rather than that of long distance or air travel.
My trip to Spain materialized so quickly and unexpectedly, that I really didn’t have enough time to contain the excitement of flying business class on Turkish Airlines, revisiting Turkey enroute, and losing myself on the cobbled streets of Europe again. The start of the trip felt like I was coming a full circle; my tryst with travel blogging took a serious turn on my first Euro trip a little more than a year ago, and this week-long invitation from Spain Tourism meant everything I had worked so hard for and dreamt of, was finally coming true!