If 2020 was a movie, it would mostly be Home Alone. And, if 2021 was a movie, it’d be Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. After a long, forced hibernation last year, people are travelling again. Oh, and just the thought of packing bags and taking the next flight or a chartered jet to an exotic location is such an irresistible thought.
But, you’d agree, the rules of travelling have now changed. According to Airbnb’s trend report, 2021 is the year for staycations and increased domestic trips. The millennials, too, are seeking rare, unique experiences. They want to explore the unexplored.
So, how about you take a deep breath and roll over to the other side of the bed, where the window overlooks the jaw-dropping Himalayas in the north or the backwaters in the south.
The Postcard Moira The Postcard Moira is a picture-perfect, postcard-worthy luxury boutique stay in North Goa. The property calls the quaint, heritage village of Moira in Bardez, its home. It features nine rooms in the restored 214-year old ancestral home. Each room is decked with vintage-esque poster beds, statement décor and lights and opens up to the lush green outdoors. In essence, The Postcard Moira exudes the classic dreamy Goan vibe that many of us crave in the city life.
One can practise an active digital-detox lifestyle here, too, thanks to the traditional ayurvedic treatments from the experts of the 100-year-old Punarnava Ayurveda.
Ashiyana Goa A yoga holiday destination like no other, Ashiyana, meaning home in Hindi, is known for its holistic yoga and wellness sessions led by teachers from around the world. It is tucked away in Mandrem, one of the most tranquil yet travel-friendly spots in North Goa.
Surrounded by lots of coconut trees, near the Mandrem Beach, Ashiyana Goa features a range of luxury suites, lodges and eco bamboo huts.
The Ultimate Travelling Camp (TUTC), Chamba Camp, Thiksey Ladakh is the land of lofty valleys, placid lakes, azure sky and beautiful monasteries. Giving affluent travel enthusiasts a reason to visit this picturesque destination, The Ultimate Travelling Camp, or TUTC’s glamping offers options of 3, 4 and 5 night stay. A portmanteau of glamorous camping, glamping, the Chamba Camp, Thiksey explores the raw, unfiltered beauty of Ladakh’s history, culture, people and cuisine.
A fine balance of luxury and a nomadic lifestyle, TUTC’s camps are nestled in the hamlets of Thiksey, Leh Valley. When not lounging at their well-furnished camp, one can take an afternoon trip to the Matho Monastery, the Leh Palace and then to the Shanti Stupa during dusk. There are also excursions along the Indus River and a morning visit to the Thiksey monastery.
Evolve Back Kamalapura Palace One of the upcoming travel hotspots, the UNESCO-recognised ancient village of Hampi, is at a 5-hour distance from Bengaluru. The Evolve Back Kamalapura Palace in Hampi takes the travellers back to the glorious 14th-century Vijayanagara Empire days. Today, it stands mighty as a regal, heritage resort with awe-inspiring views of the natural forests and rocky boulders.
The palace models a fort-like entrance adorned with stone-paved boulevards, majestic hallways and a vast infinity pool, inspired by the temple tanks of the old empire. The resort houses four villas – Jal Mahal, Zenana, Nilaya and Nivasa – all elegantly designed with spacious living and dining areas, en-suite bathroom and jacuzzi, private terrace, balcony and interiors that remind one of the bygone royal era.
The property also offers its guests history-led walks around Hampi – a walk to Virupaksha Temple, evening trek to the ruins of the Achyutaraya Temple and the famed Courtesan Bazaar along the Tungabhadra River.
Taj Madikeri Resort & Spa, Coorg Give in to the bounties of nature at Taj Madikeri Resort & Spa, perched amidst the rolling green hills, coffee plantations and the rainforest of Coorg, one of Karnataka’s hottest travel destinations
The Kodagu architecture styled building of the property has rooms with sloping, wooden ceilings and open to sky entrances, mirroring the beauty of a jungle. Each room and the Jiva Spa look directly at the sweeping vistas of the misty rainforest through its wide windows. The villas here have a heated plunge pool that has a retractable open-to-sky roof.
Guests can set out on nature walks, coffee tasting sessions, concierge tours and even off-terrain biking trips. Inside the premises, one can learn pottery, cooking and visit the property’s Conservatory to explore Coorg’s culture and history.
The Oberoi Vrinda, Luxury Kerala Cruiser For a relaxing break like no other, step aboard the Oberoi Vrinda, a five-star cruiser sailing along the mesmerising backwaters of Kerala. Its two-night and three-night packages give travellers an unedited glimpse of God’s own country.
The luxury cruise houses eight elegantly furnished cabins with access to 24-hour private butlers, which can also be booked as a whole for private parties. The evenings on-board the Oberoi Vrinda sees live, traditional dance and music performances, followed by a lavish spread of freshly cooked regional and international dishes for dinner. Breakfasts and lunches can be enjoyed at the cruise’s all-day dining area that seats a maximum of sixteen guests.
The Source at Sula Move beyond wine and dine and try the hot trend of wine and stay. The popular Sula Vineyards in Nashik, Maharashtra, is now not only an exciting escape for vino lovers but equally enticing for travellers in search of new experiences. The Source at Sula, a 51-room resort, overlooks the lush green vineyard and the Gangapur lake.
For guests checked in at The Source at Sula, wine tasting sessions and the elaborate vine tours are complimentary. And if you’re keen on a solo ride around, hop on a bicycle here and pedal away.
Aman-i-Khas Ranthambore From guided tiger safaris at the Ranthambore National Park to bird watching and meditation amid the undisturbed wilderness of the Aravali Hills, Aman-i-Khas in Rajasthan is an extraordinary oasis for the travellers seeking solitude.
Covering 10 acres on the outskirts of the national park, Aman-i-Khas has ten lavish tented suites, which can also be booked as a private glamping venue with friends and family. Each tent is assigned a batman (butler) to assist you through the stay. The itinerary includes a selection of camel rides, horseback rides, sundowner jeep tours and excursions to the Chambal riverside.
At the campsite, one can indulge in a personalised culinary platter, sourced from Aman’s own organic gardens. Or spend some time at the secluded step pool, at the Aman Raj spa or enjoy the campfire under the starlit sky.
Suryagarh Jaisalmer Called the gateway to the Thar desert, Suryagarh Jaisalmer is where the stunning golden sandscape of Rajasthan appears at its best. This pet-friendly property offers guests an incomparable experience of the grand lifestyle and the rich culture of the land of the kings. There are two havelis, three stand-alone suites and two rooms to choose from, all equally majestic with views of the vast, open natural spaces around. The way of living here, elegantly fused with the modern, state-of-the-art interiors and personalised services.
Besides the intimate dinners and lakeside lounging, the experiences at Suryagarh are replete with exciting day and night activities. One of it is a live music performance by globally acclaimed Mehboob Khan and his troupe. The property also has Dhanurvidya or archery trainings, yoga and spa sessions and a massive infinity pool to unwind.
Then comes the most intriguing part. If you wish to explore Jaisalmer outside Suryagarh’s premises, a midnight adventure called the Chudail Trail takes you on a drive to all the spots and corners of the area, where the locals believe the otherworldly spirits wander. This trail extends till the abandoned ghost town of Kuldhara.
Shakti 360 Leti Shakti curates private luxury tours and stays in the lesser-known regions of the Indian Himalayas. One such itinerary that introduces one to the local, authentic beauty of Uttarakhand’s Kumaon district is Shakti 360 Leti, a concept luxury stay amidst snow-capped peaks.
Each journey here is customised – guests can choose to experience Shakti’s one-of-a-kind village walk, which gives them an immersive peek into the nonchalant lifestyle of the Himalayan countryside. This walk can be combined with a cosy accommodation at Shakti 360 Leti, a collection of four luxurious, stone and glass-walled cottages, built on a ridge. These cabins can be booked for a stay-only trip as well, excluding the trek, for a minimum of 3 nights.