I love city !

Let us be honest, despite the cacophony and congestion, all of us love the cosiness, magnificence and convenience, a city has to offer. Whether it is the splendour of high rises or the melting-pot of diverse cultures or the buzz of a flea market, we all have variety of reasons to love the confines of a city. Houaida Goulli describes the exact sentiment in a beautiful old classic song :-

“I love the city lifeeee,
I love the city airrrrr,
I love the way tall buildings look up there; the city and I make a wonderful pair,
Ohhhhhh, Give me that city lifeee.”

 

If one is a fanatic for the major cities of the world, there are quite a few that one MUST see. Here is my top pick!

 

1. Las Vegas

The city’s tolerance for various forms of adult entertainment earned it the title of Sin City, and has made Las Vegas a popular setting for films and television programs. The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous for its mega casino–hotels and associated entertainment.  Also known as simply Vegas, it is the most populous city in the state of Nevada. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city known primarily for gambling, shopping, fine dining and nightlife and is the leading financial and cultural center for Southern Nevada.
Most casinos are in the downtown area, located on the Fremont Street Experience. Fremont East, adjacent to the Fremont Street Experience, was granted variances to allow bars to be closer together, similar to the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego, the goal being to attract a different demographic than the Strip attracts. The Golden Gate Hotel & Casino, located downtown along the Fremont Street Experience, is the oldest continuously operating hotel and casino in Las Vegas; it opened in 1906 as the Hotel Nevada.
The year 1931 marked the opening of the Northern Club (now the La Bayou). The most notable of the early casinos may have been Binion;s Horseshoe (now Binion;s Gambling Hall and Hotel) while it was run by Benny Binion.
Other casinos operations include the Four Queens Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas Club and Mermaid’s Casino, which are also located downtown along the Fremont Street Experience. The center of the gambling and entertainment industry, however, is located on the Las Vegas Strip, outside the city limits in the surrounding unincorporated communities of Paradise and Winchester in Clark County.
“First Friday” is a monthly celebration that includes arts, music, special presentations and food in a section of the city’s downtown region called 18b, The Las Vegas Arts District. The festival extends into the Fremont East Entertainment District as well.
The Thursday prior to First Friday is known in the arts district as “Preview Thursday.” This evening event highlights new gallery exhibitions throughout the district.
Vegas is not just a city, it is a different experience altogether, where you discover sides of you which you didn’t know existed. That is what Vegas does to you. After all they don’t say “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” just like that!

2. London
Standing on the River Thames, London is a world cultural capital. It is the world’s most-visited city as measured by international arrivals and has the world’s largest city airport system measured by passenger traffic. London’s 43 universities form the largest concentration of higher education in Europe. In 2012, London became the first city to host the modern Summer Olympic Games three times.
London has a diverse range of peoples and cultures, with more than 300 languages spoken.
London contains four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London; Kew Gardens; the site comprising the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey, and St Margaret’s Church; and the historic settlement of Greenwich (in which the Royal Observatory, Greenwich marks the Prime Meridian, 0° longitude, and GMT). Other famous landmarks include Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square, Madame Tussauds and The Shard. London is home to numerous museums, galleries, libraries, sporting events and other cultural institutions, including the British Museum, National Gallery, Tate Modern, British Library and 40 West End theatres. The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world.
Within the City of Westminster, the entertainment district of the West End has its focus around Leicester Square, where London and world film premieres are held, and Piccadilly Circus, with its giant electronic advertisements. London’s theatre district is here, as are many cinemas, bars, clubs and restaurants, including the city’s Chinatown district (in Soho), and just to the east is Covent Garden, an area housing speciality shops. The city is the home of Andrew Lloyd Webber, whose musicals have dominated the West End theatre since the late 20th century.
Islington’s 1 mile (1.6 km) long Upper Street, extending northwards from Angel, has more bars and restaurants than any other street in the United Kingdom. Europe’s busiest shopping area is Oxford Street, a shopping street nearly 1 mile (1.6 km) long, making it the longest shopping street in the United Kingdom. Oxford Street is home to vast numbers of retailers and department stores, including the world-famous Selfridges Flagship Store. Knightsbridge, home to the equally renowned Harrods Department Store, lies to the south-west.

London is home to designers Vivienne Westwood, Galliano, Stella McCartney, Manolo Blahnik, and Jimmy Choo among others; its renowned art and fashion schools make it an international centre of fashion alongside Paris, Milan, and New York City. London offers a great variety of cuisine as a result of its ethnically diverse population. Gastronomic centres include the Bangladeshi restaurants of Brick Lane and the Chinese food restaurants of Chinatown.
There is a variety of annual events, beginning with the New Year’s Day Parade, fireworks display at the London Eye, the world’s second largest street party; the Notting Hill Carnival is held during the late August Bank Holiday each year. Traditional parades include November’s Lord Mayor’s Show, a centuries-old event celebrating the annual appointment of a new Lord Mayor of the City of London with a procession along the streets of the City, and June’s Trooping the Colour, a formal military pageant performed by regiments of the Commonwealth and British armies to celebrate the Queen’s Official Birthday.

3. Paris
Situated on the Seine River, in the north of the country, Paris is located at the heart of the région parisienne (“Paris Region” in English). In 2013-2014, it received an estimated 15.57 million international overnight visitors, making it the third most popular destination for international travellers, after London and Bangkok.
Paris is the home of the Louvre, the most visited art museum in the world, with outstanding collections of European and ancient art; the Musée d’Orsay, devoted to 19th century French art, including the works of the French impressionists; the Centre Georges Pompidou, a museum of international modern art, and the Musée du quai Branly, a new museum devoted to the arts and cultures of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania; and many other notable art museums and galleries. It also is the home of several masterpieces of Gothic architecture, most notably the Cathedral of Notre-Dame-de-Paris (12th century) and Sainte-Chapelle (13th century). Other notable and much-visited landmarks include the Eiffel Tower, built in 1889 to celebrate the centennial of the French Revolution; the Sacré-Cœur Basilica on Montmartre, a Neo-Byzantine style church built between 1875 and 1919; and Les Invalides, a 17th-century hospital and chapel built for disabled soldiers, where the tomb of Napoleon is located.
Paris is a global hub of fashion and has been referred to as the “international capital of style”. It is noted for its haute couture tailoring, its high-end boutiques, and the twice-yearly Paris Fashion Week. Many top designers have their flagship stores in the city, such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior’s 1200 square foot store and Sephora’s 1500 square foot store. Printemps has the largest shoe and beauty departments in Europe. Sonia Rykiel is considered to the “grand dame of French fashion” and “synonymous with Parisian fashion”, with clothes which are embraced by “left bank fashionistas”. Other well-known brands are Cartier and Guerlain, with their original stores located here.
On every anniversary of the Republic, the Children of the Fatherland festival is held. Also, Bastille day, a celebration of the storming of the Bastille in 1789, is the biggest festival in the city, held every year on 14 July. This includes a parade of colourful floats and costumes along with armed forces march in the Champs Élysées which concludes with a display of fireworks.The Paris Beach festival known as the “Paris Plage” is a festive event, which lasts from the middle of July to the middle of August, when the bank of the River Seine is converted into a temporary beach with sand and deck chairs and palm trees.
Paris is renowned for its haute cuisine, food meticulously prepared and presented, often accompanied by fine wines, served and celebrated by expensive restaurants and hotels. A city of culinary finesse, as of 2013 Paris has 85 Michelin-starred restaurants, second in the world to only to Tokyo. Many of the world’s leading chefs operate restaurants serving French cuisine in Paris such as Alain Ducasse and Joël Robuchon. As of 2013, Paris has ten 3-Michelin-star restaurants, the most coveted award in the restaurant business; these include Ducasse’s Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Alain Passards’s L’Arpège, Yannick Alleno’s Le Meurice in the Hôtel Meurice, Eric Frechon’s restaurant at Hotel le Bristol, and Pierre Gagnaire.
Paris is home to the association football club Paris Saint-Germain FC and club Stade Français. The 80,000-seat Stade de France, built for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, is located in Saint-Denis. Paris hosts the annual French Open Grand Slam tennis tournament on the red clay of Roland Garros every year as well.

4. New York
New York City, the most populous state of the United States is one of the most populous urban agglomerations in the world. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important centre for international diplomacy and has been described as the cultural and financial capital of the world. It is consolidated of 5 Boroughs (the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island) as it is one of the world’s largest natural harbours. As many as 800 languages are spoken in New York, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world.
Major tourist destinations include Times Square; Broadway Theatre productions; the Empire State Building; the Statue of Liberty; Ellis Island; the United Nations Headquarters; museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art; green spaces such as Central Park and Washington Square Park; Rockefeller Centre; the Manhattan Chinatown; luxury shopping along Fifth and Madison Avenues; and events such as the Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village; the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade; the lighting of the Rockefeller Centre Christmas Tree; the St. Patrick’s Day parade; seasonal activities such as ice skating in Central Park in the wintertime; the Tribeca Film Festival; and free performances in Central Park at Summer stage. Major attractions in the boroughs outside Manhattan include Flushing Meadows-Corona Park and the Unisphere in Queens; the Bronx Zoo ;Coney Island, Brooklyn; and the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx.
The city is the birthplace of many cultural movements, including the Harlem Renaissance in literature and visual art; abstract expressionism (also known as the New York School) in painting; and hip hop, punk, salsa, disco, freestyle, Tin Pan Alley, and Jazz in music. New York City has been considered the dance capital of the world. The city is also widely celebrated in popular lore, frequently the setting for books, movies, and television programs. New York has also frequently been ranked the top fashion capital of the world on the annual list compiled by the Global Language Monitor, the city’s fashion industry provides approximately 180,000 employees with $11 billion in annual wages.
New York City has more than 2,000 arts and cultural organizations and more than 500 art galleries of all sizes. Also, forty of the city’s theatres, with more than 500 seats each, are collectively known as Broadway, after the major thoroughfare that crosses the Times Square Theatre District, sometimes referred to as “The Great White Way”. Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts is home to 12 influential arts organizations, including the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, New York Philharmonic, and New York City Ballet, as well as the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, the Juilliard School, Jazz at Lincoln Centre, and Alice Tully Hall. The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute is in Union Square, and Tisch School of the Arts is based at New York University, while Central Park Summer Stage presents performances of free plays and music in Central Park.
New York City’s food culture includes a variety of international cuisines influenced by the city’s immigrant history. Central European and Italian immigrants originally made the city famous for bagels, cheesecake, and New York-style pizza, while Chinese and other Asian restaurants, sandwich joints, trattorias, diners, and coffeehouses have become ubiquitous. Some 4,000 mobile food vendors licensed by the city, many immigrant-owned, have made Middle Eastern foods such as falafel and kebabs popular examples of modern New York street food. The city is also home to nearly one thousand of the finest and most diverse haute cuisine restaurants in the world, according to Michelin.
New York, birthplace of the New York Yankees and the New York Mets and also known as the “Capital of Baseball” is not only home to the headquarters of Major League Baseball, but also to the headquarters of the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, and Major League Soccer. The New York metropolitan area hosts the most sports teams in these five professional leagues. Four of the ten most expensive stadiums ever built worldwide (MetLife Stadium, the new Yankee Stadium, Madison Square Garden, and Citi Field) are located in the New York metropolitan area.
The Big Apple, as it is also known is the described as the cultural capital of the world.
In describing New York, author Tom Wolfe said, “Culture just seems to be in the air, like part of the weather”.

5. Tokyo
Tokyo is often referred to and thought of as a city, but is officially known and governed as a “metropolitan prefecture”, which differs from and combines elements of both a city and a prefecture; a characteristic unique to Tokyo. The city is considered an alpha+ city—as listed by the GaWC’s 2008 inventory—and in 2014, Tokyo was ranked first in the “Best overall experience” category of Trip Advisor’s World City Survey (the city also ranked first in the following categories: “Helpfulness of locals”, “Nightlife”, “Shopping”, “Local public transportation” and “Cleanliness of streets”). In 2013, Tokyo was named the third most expensive city for expatriates, according to the Mercer Consulting Firm and according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s cost-of-living survey. In 2009 Tokyo was named the third Most Liveable City by the magazine Monocle. The Michelin Guide has awarded Tokyo by far the most Michelin stars of any city in the world.
Many tourists visit the various downtowns, stores, and entertainment districts throughout the neighbourhoods of the special wards of Tokyo; particularly school children on class trips, a visit to Tokyo Tower is de rigueur. Cultural offerings include both omnipresent Japanese Pop Culture and associated districts such as Shibuya and Harajuku, subcultural attractions such as Studio Ghibli anime centre, as well as museums like the Tokyo National Museum, which houses 37% of the country’s artwork national treasures.
There are many theatres for performing arts. These include national and private theatres for traditional forms of Japanese drama. Noteworthy are the National Noh Theatre for Noh and the Kabuki-za for Kabuki.
There are many festivals that take place every year in Tokyo; major events include the Sannō at Hie Shrine, the Sanja at Asakusa Shrine, and the biennial Kanda Festivals that feature a parade with elaborately decorated floats and thousands of people. Annually on the last Saturday of July, an enormous fireworks display over the Sumida River attracts over a million viewers. Once Cherry Blossoms bloom in spring, many residents gather in Ueno Park, Inokashira Park, and the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden for picnics under the blossoms.
Tokyo features many internationally famous forms of modern architecture including Tokyo International Forum, Asahi Beer Hall, Mode Gakuken Cuckoo Tower, NTT Docomo Yoyogi Building and Rainbow Bridge. Tokyo also features two distinctive towers: Tokyo Tower and the new Tokyo Skytree which is the tallest tower in Japan and the second tallest structure in the world after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

6. Sydney
Sydney is one of the most multicultural cities in the world. It has been ranked amongst the top fifteen cities in the world for tourism every year since 2000. Popular destinations include the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Watsons Bay, The Rocks, Sydney Tower, Darling Harbour, the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Royal National Park, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Taronga Zoo, Bondi Beach, the Blue Mountains, and Sydney Olympic Park.
One must definitely visit the Australian Museum, which is Australia oldest natural history museum. Also the Museum of Sydney, which recounts the story of the development of the city. The Sydney Opera House is the home of Opera Australia and Sydney Symphony. It has staged over 100,000 performances and received 100 million visitors since opening in 1973. The Sydney Conservatium of Music is located adjacent to the Royal Botanic Gardens and serves the Australian music community through education and its biannual Australian Music Examinations Board exams.
Sydney is the host of several festivals throughout the year. The city’s New Year’s Eve celebrations are the largest in Australia. The Royal Easter Show is held every year at Sydney Olympic Park. The Sydney Festival is Australia’s largest arts festival. Big Day Out is a travelling rock music festival that originated in Sydney. The city’s two largest film festivals are Sydney Film Festival and Tropfest. Vivid Sydney is an annual outdoor exhibition of art installations, light projections, and music. Sydney also hosts the Australian Fashion Week in autumn every year. The Sydney Mardi Gras has commenced each February since 1979.
Sydney’s Chinatown has had numerous locations since the 1850s. It moved from George Street to Campbell Street to its current setting in Dixon Street in 1980. The Spanish Quarter is based in Liverpool Street whilst Little Italy is located in Stanley Street. Popular nightspots are found at Kings Cross, Oxford Street, Circular Quay, and The Rocks. The Star is the city’s only casino and is situated around Darling Harbour.
Sydney has the seventh-largest percentage of foreign-born individuals in the world. The three major sources of immigrants are the United Kingdom, China and New Zealand, followed by Vietnam, Lebanon, India, Italy, and the Philippines. Sydney is an important entry point for many new arrivals to Australia, and many migrant communities including the Lebanese, Fijian and Korean communities are focused in disproportionately large numbers in Sydney. Due to this it is highly multi-lingual and cosmopolitan in nature and is considered to be the biggest city in Oceania.

Property review : San Antonio (Santorini)

WoW‘ is the only word to describe our feeling when we first walked into the hotel reception of San Antonio.The reception is a tunnel which runs through the rock that forms the Caldera edge. Past a tiny chapel and out through the doors to the amazing Caldera view, which every room has.

 


THE PROPERTY

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At first San Antonio seems like your typical perched-on-a-cliff, Santorini hotel with an infinity pool that clings precariously to the cliff, the dark blue caldera yawning below. So far, so standard ! But take deeper look at this hotel and youll see that its the small details that add up to make San Antonio special. It isn’t just built out of original cave houses, it’s built in the actual spot where the grandfather of the owner used to live, on a remote cliff halfway between Santorini’s famous Imerovigli and Oia villages. The owner, a local builder, broke from the crowd, opting not to whitewash the entire property. Instead, it mixes whites with dark volcanic stone, hewn from the island’s foundations — that, he says, was the original style of Santorini’s buildings.

 

Tip:- It is beautiful, in a gorgeous setting of the Island, admittedly away from any of the main towns. You have to rent a scooter or car to go to either side of the hotel. If you cant drive, it will come out very expensive for you to book private taxi everytime you want to venture out ( but probably you may not want to !). But this is great but this is great for a bit of privacy and quite.

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San Antonios large, white rooms have slightly crooked walls and arched ceilings. the imperfections remind you that the rooms were dug from the volcanic rock. They’re dressed in boutique tones, with driftwood-style lamps and cupboards, and antique-style chairs meticulously upholstered in modern creams and grays. On top of it, you have this amazing view of Cladera from your bedroom. Who needs to get out of the bed ?

 


THE SERVICE

All members of staff, led by Maria, are exceptionally polite & overly attentive, ensuring that every small request is catered for, which really put us at ease & allowed us to truly relax.

 

There was always someone available at reception – to recommend places and restaurants to visit, make arrangements for car hire, give information on bus times and book taxis – nothing was ever a problem.There was an issue back home due to which we made lot of long international calls . To our surprise , the calls were not charged!  San Antonio Suites is‘once-in-a-lifetime-experience’, we most certainly will be planning to return at some point in the future.’

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THE FOOD

To build a king size appetite for the breakfast , we usually started our day with a relaxed swim in the infinity pool.The complimentary breakfast in the restaurant veranda, overlooking the sea is a lovely beginning for the day. We still remember the lovely breakfast of pancakes, omlettes with cherry tomato and feta cheese salad. My husband still dreams of the home made multigrain muesli with greek yoghurt.  The dinner menu is carefully selected as you would expect from a Michelin starred restaurant.Santorini is world famous for its dramatic setting, live volcano and astonishing sunsets watched from cute-little-hill villages. It is less well known for its cherry tomatoes, which grow well because the soil on Santorini is made up of volcanic ash making it very fertile but with very little rain. they use it in every dish possible from spaghetti to pizza to risotto to omlette. It is quite sweet and tasty.

 

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FACILITIES AND ACTIVITIES ON OFFER

The property has an amazing infinity pool , Michelin star restaurant and Spa.

The nearest village is Imerovigli, a few minutes drive away. Just ask the reception and the car/ATV turns up, sign the contract and off you go, never had such a carefree ATV hire experience, even the return was great, just left the keys with reception and that was job done.

There are some amazing places around the property to visit . We did the following there and loved it :

  • Oia is a picturesque town and lives upto the hype and white washed postcards you see in travel magazines. Narrow cobbled lanes, whitewashed domes, amazing restaurants and a grand theatrical performance by sun. The way people lined up and occupy every corner of this village from where you can the sunset is not funny. There is a round of applause, with every change in hue of the sky, when the sun sets.
  • Fira Town today. Fira is the capital of Santorini Island, perched high on the cliff top above the edge of the ancient volcano. Fira town boats magnificent views out to the sea with dazzling white houses and old pebbled, winding streets under ancient arches.
  • Half day tour of Volcano and hot spring. It starts from old port of Fira, where they pick you up in a ferry and take you to the volcano of Santorini in Nea Kameni Island. It is a long trek to the top of the volcano and see the crater and walk on its rims. It is an experience of lifetime to get up close and personal with an active volcano.
  • Amoudi Bay. It is below Oia, where you will find a few tavernas, hotels and one of the best swimming spots on the island. We went there without any expectation, just to kill time and were just taken aback by its beauty. This is the freshest seafood you can get and the cleanest sea water to take a plunge. Shobhit, still regrets, not taking a dip but he did try the seafood.

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The author of this article only profiles properties he has visited and where he would like to go again, without blinking an eye or changing anything about it.  Author paid for himself, during the visit. Any property is reviewed on five parameters, which are:

  • Setting : The property needs to have its own personality.
  • Service: I like being looked after,  without the staff being intrusive.
  • Food: Has to be sumptuous, even if there are limited options.
  • Facilities: No minimum requirement but should have basic comforts that should add to the character of the place.
  • USP: There has to be one unique quality, which makes it different than the other offerings out there.

 

 

Property Review : Itmenaan estate

Itmenaan in Urdu means to be in peace and at ease; a very apt name for  Itmenaan estate. This property is for those who enjoy the simple pleasures of fresh mountain air, mesmerising views of Trishul and Nanda Devi, organic food, trekking or just relaxing in the tranquil and scenic surroundings with a raging bonfire.

 

It belongs to a new trend of “trek to reach property”, where you have to descend into the valley for good 20 minutes to reach the property. It is at this very moment, you realise how peaceful it is to not be surrounded by the constant rush of a city life. Time stands still here.

 

THE PROPERTY

Itmenaan Estate is rustic resort in a peaceful rural setting in the Kumaon Himalayas , close to the small Chalni cheena market.

The 100-year-old traditional Kumaoni style stone house in the resort has been restored to retain its original architecture. Material comforts such as a comfortable bed and a large state of art bathroom are added for guests. The property offers 3 tastefully designed en suite bedrooms. Near to this house is the Deodar cottage – a large two-story independent cottage built in traditional style.

The 10-acre property has deodar and rhododendron trees; terraced fields laden with seasonal fruits and vegetables; and a small natural waterfall. The resort offers panoramic views of the Himalayas including the majestic Nanda Devi.

 

Cottage

 


THE SETTING

Property is 50 meters from Chalni Cheena Village market ( 5 shops and an ATM). You blink and miss the point. There are no sign-boards, you have to look for an old man with two walking sticks waiting for you. So clearly no walk-ins preferred. This will be your first interaction with the property.  He is fondly called “Chachu” and he serves as porter, naturalist & guide.  The estate is a 20-minute walk from the road head, which ensures complete tranquility and seclusion from the usual urban cacophony.

View of Himalayas from the Cottage

 

The closest village Naugaon is a charming little village where time has stood still. Most people are farmers and happy with their simple lives. On our trek to this village, every house invited us for a tea.


THE SERVICE

There is no formal reception desk , but the staff is always available to make your stay comfortable.We received a very warm welcome with hot rhodendrum juice followed by 2 days of comfort and lot of personal attention. Staff wear many hats. Navin assumes role of cook, bartender and manager as per the situation and Chachu is your man friday for everything else. It is hard to forget our dinners, which were served outside on cold night ( on our request)  under the starlit sky.  Bonfire under the table used to keep us cosy and food used to come pipping hot on the table.

 

Dinner Table

 

The staff is mostly local , but well trained to maintain their impeccable hospitality standards. On our way back , due to road repair our driver got stuck , Chachu  (our walk guide ) quickly organised a car for us within minutes using his excellent relationship with the village sarpanch . Money was never discussed , they were truly interested in helping us , a pleasant surprise from the usual ” fleece the tourist ” attitude .


THE FOOD

Chef Navin cooked simple , delicious meals which were served on the open terrace.  The cuisine is local or continental , using fresh produce from adjoining farms. Meal experience was heightened by the setting , food was laid at a scenic stone table amidst the resort’s vegetable garden and orchard

 

Lunch

 

Breakfast had eggs, fruits and bread, as per preference. Loved the hot breakfast of parathas with local pickle. Lunch and dinner were 3 course set meals with starter ( soup /salad), main course and desert. Packed lunch is organised on request. Loved the bhang chutney and Bhatt Ki dal ( both traditional kumaoni fare) .The Banofee pie was a delight given the remote setting.


THE FACILITIES AND ACTIVITIES ON OFFER

Itmenaan estate offers the following activities to make most of your stay there .

Indoor : A library and game room.

Outdoor: Although, the resort conducts village walks with a couple of halts at their other guest houses, Thikalna and Ganghet. Two days is too short a time for the same. We just wanted to enjoy the scenery at hand. So on day 2, we did a 3 hour trek to the waterfall and neighboring village of Naugaon with Chachu .

Other excursions: The resort is well connected to Almora, Mukteshwar, Jageshwar, Binsar, Bhimtal, Nainital and Corbett National Park.

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trek to the village


 

WHAT STOLE THE SHOW?

Clean mountain air, mesmerising views of the mountains and fresh food. Now that you are convinced, lets bring you up to speed with the practicalities. Know more about Itmenaan estate

Getting there
The property is a 3 hour drive from Kathgodam and then 20 minute trek to reach the property.

 

Hole in your wallet
Expect to pay around Rs 6,500 – 11,000 per night for the room.

 

Internet / Television
There is no TV and Wi-Fi in the room. However, signal is strong on your phone and you can use hotspot.

 

What else
– This is a village guesthouse , do not expect 24/7 room service or an elaborate ala carte menu.
– Be prepared to relax and enjoy the simple life
-The property is located about 1 km down hill walk which takes about 15-30 mins- they have porters to carry luggage. So travel light.

 

The author of this article only profiles properties he has visited and where he would like to go again, without blinking an eye or changing anything about it. We were hosted by Itmenaan Estate. Any property is reviewed on five parameters, which are:

Setting:- The property needs to have its own personality.
Service: I like being looked after, without the staff being intrusive.
Food: Has to be sumptuous, even if there are limited options.
Facilities: No minimum requirement but should have basic comforts that should add to the character of the place.
USP: There has to be one unique quality, which makes it different than the other offerings out there.

Property Review : Woody Vu House, Stok ,Ladakh

Best place to relax mid trip and convenient base for Stok Kangri trek.

 

The location is perfect. Conveniently located 25 minutes from Leh, Stok village is a popular pit stop for people doing the Stok Kangri trek. Stepping into the village is like going back to the 19th century when nature was beautiful, people were happy and things were simple.

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The property has 6 rooms with 3 suites – Willow,Khardungla (master suite with amazing views of the Khardungla) and Apricot suite.We stayed in the lovely apricot suite. The decor of rust and yellow colors used in the room is inspired by apricot trees instantly took away all the tiredness of the 6 hour journey from Nubra for us.

 

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You can enjoy the sunrise in Stok village from the luxury and comfort of its king size four poster bed. Apart from sunrise you can see sunset on Stok kangri, view of Thiksey monastery, Khardungla Pass, Leh city and Leh palace on a clear day.

 

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Common seating area , library and game room.

 


THE SERVICE

 

There is no formal reception desk , but the staff is always available to make your stay comfortable. This place is serviced by one Nepali chef, one manager -Nyma and some staff. The staff works during the season in Ladakh and moves to moderate climes in the harsh winter. All of them have been in the hospitality business and know how to make your stay memorable. The team is 24X7 available almost like a butler service.

 

During our stay, there was a family with a senior citizen who had to stay back at Woody Vu during their Pangong trip. The staff slept with the senior citizen and made sure he was comfortable as it wasn’t possible for him to go to Pangong.

 


THE FOOD

 

The chef discusses your culinary taste when you arrive and customizes accordingly. There is a well lit and colourful sitting area, a typical dining, great rooms and the best views from the room windows. Meals are a 3 course affair with soup/starter , main course and dessert.The Nepali chef cooks spicy Nepali fare on request like the spicy potato bhaji. Its a delight to enjoy local cuisine as well as popular delicacies like masala dosa and chole bhature all under one roof.

 

All meals are simple and wholesome, using fresh produce from adjoining farms and stables.

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The dining room

 


 

THE FACILITIES AND ACTIVITIES ON OFFER

 

Woody Vu House offers the following activities to make most of your stay there .

Indoor: A library and game room , Books about Ladakh and himalayas.

Outdoor: Guided tour of the monasteries of Hemis , Thiksey , Shey. Visit to the Stok Palace

For us it was all soaking up the apricot-scented air, enjoying the good food and hiking upto the stream in the evening.

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Stok Palace
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Evening Walk in Stok Village

 


 

WHAT STOLE THE SHOW?

 

Amazing setting of orchards and Ladakh’s landscape with delicious food. Best place to acclimatise , relax and learn about Ladakhi culture. It is a far cry from dusty lanes of Leh City and will give you exactly what you came for.

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View from the terrace

Now that you are convinced, let us bring you up to speed with the practicalities. Know more about Woody Vu house

 

Getting there

The property is in Stok and 25 min drive from Leh Airport/ Leh City.

 

Hole in your wallet

Expect to pay around Rs 6500 per night for the room inclusive of food.

 

Internet / Television

There is no TV in the room and Wi-Fi signal is available on the terrace and house.

 

What else

– this is a family guesthouse , do not expect 24/7 room service or an elaborate ala carte menu.

– Be prepared to relax and enjoy the simple life

 


The author of this article only profiles properties he has visited and where he would like to go again, without blinking an eye or changing anything about it.  Author paid for himself, during the visit. Any property is reviewed on five parameters, which are:

Setting :- The property needs to have its own personality.
Service: I like being looked after,  without the staff being intrusive.
Food: Has to be sumptuous, even if there are limited options.
Facilities: No minimum requirement but should have basic comforts that should add to the character of the place.
USP: There has to be one unique quality, which makes it different than the other offerings out there.

Property Review : Nimmu house, Ladakh

Ladakh is a postcard perfect destination that beckons every serious traveller with its snow-capped mountains, clear blue lakes and exotic monasteries. 

Nimmu house is a beautiful place, replete with apricot and apple trees is just perfect to acclimatise to the high altitude either by traversing the journey to Ladakh on road ( from Srinagar or Manali) or to stay put for couple of days at a quite place, while soaking in the stark beauty of the wonder that is Ladakh.  

 

THE SETTING

The location is perfect. Conveniently located 30 minutes from Leh (30 min from the airport) , the village of Nimmu is also close to the ,confluence (Sangam) of the Indus and Zanskar rivers and the monasteries of Lamayuru, Likir and Alchi (30 minutes – 1 hour drive).  Nimmu is a charming little village where time has stood still, most people are farmers and happy with their simple lives.

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Nimmu House is a noble house belonging to the cousin of Ladakh’s King from the early 90s, beautifully restored by a Frenchman Alex . During the property tour , our manager told us about the history and the supposed curse on the house due to which the occupants never bore any children, until the curse was dispelled by buddhist monks.  Quite interesting!

 

On offer are 5 spacious tents and 2 rooms in the house , with an open terrace for meals .We stayed in the tent, which had a stunning view of the landscape , comfy bed and modern bathroom .  For city dwellers like us the best part is that the property is spread over orchards with hundreds of Apple and apricot trees and the rivulet running through . Lying on the large hammocks ,smelling the sweet scent of apricot and hearing the faint constant gurgling sounds of the stream makes you put all the sightseeing plans on hold. But really who needs to step out when you can experience the nature , warm Ladakhi hospitality in absolute peace and comfort of Nimmu house .

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THE SERVICE

There is no formal reception desk , but the staff is always available to make your stay comfortable. This place is serviced by one chef, one french manager and two local women. We received a very warm welcome by the French manager followed by 2 days of comfort and lot of personal attention. There is so much warmth in people that you forget about demanding any hospitality. We wanted to sample momos at one of the local restaurants on our evening walk and we were not carrying any money. To our pleasant surprise, a plate of steaming momos were served to us during dinner in Nimmu House, courtesy the local restaurant.  Even as we were leaving , staff come out to see us off . It was almost like staying with family .

 


THE FOOD

Chef Mahesh cooked simple , delicious meals which were served on the open terraces as the weather was lovely. Breakfast had eggs, fruits and bread, as per preference. We loved the fresh apricot jams and juices. Lunch and dinner were 3 course set meals with starter (soup /salad), main course and desert.  Sample this :-

– Green Salad, Lasagna, Lemon Pie

– Tomato Soup, Hakka Noodles, Philadelphia Cheese Cake

– Gobi Soup, Paneer Masala/ Mutton Masala, Mud Cake

All meals are simple and wholesome, using fresh produce from adjoining farms and stables. The food is largely tailored to suit the western palate as most guests are westerners. But they will keep your food preferences in mind and ensure that you leave the dining table with your tummy satisfied !

 

Lunch at Nimmu House
Lunch at Nimmu House

 

THE FACILITIES and Activities ON OFFER

Nimmu House offers the following activities to make most of your stay there .

Indoor: A library and game room , Guided tour of the house , stables or cooking classes .

Outdoor: village tour , short guided hike , rafting on the Zanskar, guided tour of the monasteries of Basgo, Likir and Alchi.

For us it was all soaking up the apple-scented air, lying on a hammock during daytime and hiking upto local gompas in the evening.

View from the Gompa
View from the Nimmu village Gompa

 

WHAT STOLE THE SHOW?

Amazing setting of orchards and Ladakh’s landscape with spacious tents. Best place to acclimatise , relax and learn about Ladakhi culture. It is a far cry from dusty lanes of Leh City and will give you exactly what you came for.

IMG_3899

Now that you are convinced, lets bring you up to speed with the practicalities. Know more about Nimmu house


Getting there

The property is in Nimmu Village and 30 min drive from Leh Airport/ Leh City.

 

Hole in your wallet

Expect to pay around Rs 10,000 per night for the tent.

 

Internet / Television

There is no TV in the room and Wi-Fi signal is available on the terrace and house.

 

What else

– this is a family guesthouse , do not expect 24/7 room service or an elaborate ala carte menu.

– Be prepared to relax and enjoy the simple life


The author of this article only profiles properties he has visited and where he would like to go again, without blinking an eye or changing anything about it.  Author paid for himself, during the visit. Any property is reviewed on five parameters, which are:

Setting :- The property needs to have its own personality.
Service: I like being looked after,  without the staff being intrusive.
Food: Has to be sumptuous, even if there are limited options.
Facilities: No minimum requirement but should have basic comforts that should add to the character of the place.
USP: There has to be one unique quality, which makes it different than the other offerings out there.

Winners of “Belong Anywhere” contest are :-

It was a great contest that got so many of you on board, logging your trips and telling us your Airbnb experiences and inspiring so many people to travel more and better.

 

So to all the participants:
Thank you for participating and joining us on this journey. Don’t get disheartened, if you name doesn’t appear in the list, we have many exciting  giveaways lined up to enable you to travel more and better. Watch this space to know more.

 

and to the Sponsor:
Thanks to the Airbnb team in India, for helping us to put all of it together.

 

To the winners:

  1. Bhavani: Read her trip around Australia 
  2. Prachi:  Read her trip around Italy 
  3. Sriparna: Read her trip to Jilling 
  4. Namrata: Read her trip to San Fransico 
  5. Elita: Read her trip to Kutch 

Most liked entry is from Pragnya, read her trip to Bhimtal

 

Congratulations to the girl power! All six of you are the winners of this contest ( not in any particular order) and have won airbnb vouchers worth 25,000 each. Please get in touch at ashpi@happy-tripping.com with your airbnb username to claim your prize.

 

Go on another exciting holiday and don’t forget to share your experience on happy-tripping.  All we are trying to do is to create a community, which inspires people to travel. Once again thank you all for joining us on this contest. There are more contests coming up, bag full of stories and trips of fun! Happy Tripping everyone.

Top 8 homestays from Delhi

Summer is around the corner, and if you are ideal holiday is to relax and enjoy the cool mountain air in a cozy homestay with simple local meals. Come home to Airbnb for an enchanting and relaxed mountain holiday minus the noise and bustle of typical holiday travel.

 

 

La Belle Vie  | Nakuchital | La belle Vie the Happy-tripping way 

This homestay is in the ‘Lake District’ of Uttrakhand. Staying true to hill architecture, the house here is in natural stone and reclaimed wood, and comes with a resident cook.Tucked away in a forest, you’ll be close to the Naukuchiatal lake, but have easy access to markets , as well as recreational activities like boating, paragliding, treking, nature walks etc. It’s a hub from where one can travel to Ranikhet, Binsar, Mukteshwar, Ramgarh, Almora.

Getting there : Trains and buses (including Volvos) to Kathgodam (30 km away); then bus or taxi to Nakuchital.

Price : Rs 10,000 per night

 


 

jilling

Jilling Terraces  | Jilling | Jilling the Happy-tripping way 

The homestay is set in a clearing amidst 100 acres of untouched forests in Uttrakhand, a couple of hours away from Nainital is a 80 year old house in the Kumaon ranges. It has stunning views of Nanda Devi and the surrounding peaks on clear days.

With just 4 cottages spread across 120 acres, Nanda Devi in the distance, a spectacular ridge with a forest attached and a quaintly eclectic library, Jilling Estate is a favourite among bird watchers, writers and those looking for peace and tranquility.

Getting there:  Jilling Terraces is 45 min Climb from Matial Village [Nainital District] Kathgodam is the nearest rail head, from Kathgodam. Its a 1hr drive up hill via Bhimtal to Matial Village.

Price : Rs 6500 per night

 


 

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Junyali | Chamasari | Junyali the Happy-tripping way 

Junyali is a dream abode in the mountains where you can spend lazy mornings in the glasshouse with a 360 degree view of the mountains. Taking walks in the thousands of acres of Himalayan forests with quaint Himalayan villages, beautiful old houses and smiling faces.

And spend evenings on the homestay deck looking at the sun setting while sipping a glass of wine. Driving further into the plains takes you to the holy city of Haridwar for a dip in the holy Ganges and experiencing the spiritual side of India.

Getting there:  Located about 20 mins from Mussoorie and 30 mins from Dhanolti.

Price : Rs 6200 per night


 

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The Retreat  | Bhimtal | Retreat the Happy-tripping way 

It’s a British-era bungalow/homestay nestled in a private forest estate in the Lake District of Kumaon,where the sound you hear is that of cicadas, crickets, and lots and lots of birds.Its great for walkers, birdwatchers, nature lovers, readers, writers, artists. Sat Tal, Panna Tal, Naukuchiatal, Nainital, Mukteshwar, Peora, Nathuakhan, Ranikhet, Almora, and even Corbett Park, are within reach for a day trip.

Enjoy the warm, personalised hospitality of the family, and their delicious home cooking, Indian, Continental, and Colonial. Breakfast in the verandah overlooking garden and trees, with a rich spread of home-made preserves, eggs to order, toast or home-baked bread, cereal, fresh fruit, and more.

Getting there : Trains and buses (including Volvos) to Kathgodam (30 km away); then bus or taxi to Bhimtal.

Price : Rs 3500 Per Night

 


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Majithia Farmstay | Kharar , Punjab | Majithia Farmstay the Happy-tripping way

Quite homestead, on the outskirt of Chandigarh,this is also a popular overnight stop for people who are heading to Amritsar and the Golden Temple. Kasauli and Solan are convenient day tours from here. Two separate Villas surround a large swimming pool set up in 5acres of garden over looking the Punjab country side.

On the homestay itself one can enjoy swims and go on nature walks to get close to peacocks, nilgais etc. A walk along the canal and a visit to the nearby village are also highly enjoyable.

Getting there:   Ideal for those travelling to Manali using the new route via Ropar as opposed to the one via Chandigarh. It is just 45 mins away from Chandigarh.

Price : Rs 10,500 per night

 


 

kothi

The Kothi at Gurdaspur | Gurdaspur , Punjab | Kothi in the Happy-tripping way

With an interplay of private spaces (the bedrooms), semi-private such as the verandahs, balconies and courtyard and public spaces such as the fields, village streets, canal road coupled with warm Punjabi hospitality, The Kothi provides an unforgettable experience of Punjab’s village life

One can choose from the wide platter of the local cuisine. Garden fresh fruits and vegetables to sarson da sag & makki di roti straight out of tandoor.

The homestay is surrounded by lush agricultural pastures and is a stroll away from a canal. From the heart of the village, take a tour of the village and participate in the daily activities or travel the country side to visit heritage sites within an hours radius of the village.

Getting there : Gurdaspur  is located 80kms away from Amritsar.

Price : Rs 6500 per night.

 


 

tranq_shimla

Tranquility in the Himalayas| Shimla

It was built as the holiday home of a Delhi couple with a lot of love and affection . The house is situated at a height of ~7000 ft  surrounded by 150sq kilometers of forest reserve. This creates a sweet and crisp smell of pine in the air.

3 luxurious bedrooms, are on offer with a great cook ,strong mobile reception and satellite TV.Outdoor seating is available to enjoy the serene view of the valley below, as well as a bonfire at night.The best part about staying in the homestay is that it allows you to re-connect with nature, read , absorb and reflect.

Getting there :  Driving time from Delhi is ~8 hours.The Kalka Shatabdi departs twice daily from Delhi. The house is then ~3hour taxi ride up from Kalka.

Price : Rs 7500 per night.

 


 

front view

Itmenaan Estate | Almora , Uttarakhand | Itmenaan estate in the Happy-tripping way

Itmenaan Estate is a fairytale getaway in a peaceful rural setting in the Kumaon Himalayas. The 10-acre estate 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.

During your stay ,enjoy mesmerizing views of Nanda devi , Himalayas and valleys. Fill your senses with the scent of the earth. Stare at countless stars that enlighten the night sky. Read, write or paint in the tranquil and scenic surroundings. Partake in invigorating farming, gardening and bee keeping activities. Take leisurely walks or challenge yourself on the trekking trails and enjoy sumptuous picnic hampers that accompany your explorations.

The estate is well connected to Almora, Mukteshwar, Jageshwar, Binsar, Bhimtal, Nainital and Corbett National Park.

Getting There : Itmenaan estate is at a 3 to 4 hours drive from Kathgodam.

Price : Rs 10,000 per night.

 


 

New to Airbnb ? Register using this referral code and get Rs 1500 credit for your first Airbnb adventure.

Share a Postcard and win a stay at The Blackbuck Lodge

CONTEST ALERT: Two Entries stand chance to win 2 nights/ 3 days in The Blackbuck Lodge 

We are excited to announce the launch of our postcard section and bring you another interesting opportunity to share your happytripping moment with the world in partnership with The Blackbuck Lodge. All you need to do is share the best picture from your travel and you could be one of the two lucky winners who goes off on a luxury holiday in Wilderness.

 

“THE BLACKBUCK LODGE is “a stylish retreat fit for a secluded getaway to the Velavadar Blackbuck National park” – Conde Nast Traveller.  Mr. Amitabh Bachchan stayed there for three nights in the beginning of 2014 and tweeted: “The Blackbuck Lodge at Velavadar is indeed a sanctuary for tourist”

 

You should vie for the coveted prize, because you can :- 

Chase the Blackbuck

 

 

Relax1

 

 

Watch the Birds in the Blackbuck Lodge

 

 

Eat in open air themed setting

 

Want to know more about the place ? Click here !


 

Four simple steps to participate in the contest:

  • Log a postcard on happy-tripping.com and publish it by 30th April 2015
  • Like five other Postcards in the section
  • Share it on Twitter and/or Facebook with #theblackbucklodge
  • Follow Facebook Page of Happy Tripping and Join the Group The Blackbuck Lodge

There will be two winning entries . Each winner will get to spend 2 nights/ 3 days in The Blackbuck Lodge, Velavada, Gujarat. Winners will be communicated here and on Facebook.

You will not qualify for prize if any of these steps are not followed. 

 

2 entries with maximum likes on Happy Tripping Platform will win the contest

 


 

How the contest works:

  •  Contest is open for everybody
  • Hotel vouchers will extend 2 night/3 day complimentary stay for a couple.
  • Accommodations, taxes and breakfast will be included.
  • Voucher will not be valid for Christmas, New Years and Diwali. The voucher will be valid till 30th Dec ‘2015
  • Anyone can send an entry. More than one entry is welcome.
  • Prizes will get unlocked, only when there are more than 100 entries.
  • For any contest related query, contact us at ashpi@happy-tripping.com

 

Timelines (Subject to change depending on circumstances):

  • 6th April –30th April  2015 31st May 2015: Contest runs extended
  • 1st May – 5th May :- Get Votes
  • 6th May : Winners will be declared

 

Stop dreaming, sign up now, log a Post Card and get lost in wilderness ! 

Hint :- Check out the winners of last contest here


 

Terms and Conditions for participation in the contest:

  1. This contest is being conducted by Happy Tripping Network Pvt. Ltd.(“ HT”). terms of Usage will apply.
  2. By registering for the said Contest and/or sharing the posts/tweets, the Participant(s) is deemed to have accepted the terms hereof and agrees that the same shall be binding upon him unconditionally. The winner is deemed to have read these terms and conditions and is deemed to have understood the same.
  3. The prizes may not be redeemed for cash, in whole or part, exchanged for any other item or transferred to any other person.  Each winner is responsible for possessing all necessary ID, visa and other documents required for travel.
  4. Each winner’s use of the  coupon is subject to the Terms of Service applicable to The Black Buck Lodge conditions
  5. If a winner cancels or shortens his/her stay at the Black Buck Lodge property, he/she will not be entitled to any refund on the whole or any part of the cost of the stay.
  6. Any other costs incurred by the winners aside from the prize shall be borne solely by the winners and HT shall not be liable.
  7. HT does not take responsibility for failure to avail the prize due to inaccurate information provided by the participant.
  8. All the taxes on the prize shall be borne by the winner/s alone and HT shall not be liable to pay the same.
  9. HT reserves the right to replace any winner/s if he/she is disqualified by HT and/or does not acknowledge its prize within one week of declaration thereof by HT.
  10. The Prize/s are Non-refundable, Non-Transferable and not exchangeable for cash, credit and/or kind either in part or in full except at the sole and absolute discretion of HT and no alternate Prize shall be available. The Prize/s cannot be sold or bartered in any manner whatsoever.
  11. HT may amend, suspend, withdraw, cancel or re-set the Contest for any reason whatsoever at its sole discretion and at any time.
  12. HT’s decision in relation to all matters affecting the said Contest is final, conclusive and binding on all participants and no correspondence whatsoever in that regards shall be entertained and HT’s decision in relation to all matters affecting the Contest cannot be contested and/or challenged in any forum or before any authority whatsoever.
  13. HT reserves the right, in their sole discretion, to disqualify any individual found to be tampering with the participation process or the operation of the said Contest or the said website / weblink, to be in violation of the Conditions of Access of the said website / Weblink, or to be acting in violation of the Information Technology Act or any other law or regulation.
  14. HT reserves its right to pursue legal action against any individual believed to have undertaken fraudulent activities or other activities harmful to this Contest or the said website / weblink.
  15. HT shall not be liable if any participants or contestants are not able to access the said websites or weblink for any reasons whatsoever.
  16. The Participant(s) agrees to provide complete and correct information in respect of his/her identity, contact details etc. The information so provided is deemed to be voluntarily supplied during the course of your participation in the above Contest and /or personal information provided by the winner/s as non-confidential, which hereby discharges all obligations of confidentiality. HT shall be free to reproduce, use, disclose and distribute the information to third parties without limitation.
  17. The Participant(s) must ensure that the information provided is authentic and accurate, and shall not contain any unauthorized third-party information. The Participant(s) who provide inaccurate and incorrect information shall be solely responsible for any losses and damages suffered by HT and/or its representatives and/or any third party. The Participant(s) shall be disqualified if the information provided is false, inaccurate and incorrect. HT is not liable in any manner whatsoever for the failure of prize notification to winners due to inaccurate and incorrect information.
  18. The Participant(s) hereby indemnify and keep indemnified HT and The Blackbuck Lodge saved and harmless against all claims made by any parties whomsoever and demands made by any authorities whomsoever for any submissions made on Facebook/Twitter which are derogatory/ defamatory/ obscene in nature.
  19. HT accepts no liability for any errors or omissions, whether on behalf of itself, its representatives or any third parties.
  20. Each individual can be granted only one contest prize each.

Top treehouses in India

Tree houses offer nature lovers an opportunity to stay in the wild in style. Birds for neighbors and views to admire are always on offer. Happy tripping team has scoured the web to bring you the best of the treehouses that India has to offer. So what are you waiting for, pick your tree house, escape the city chaos and learn the language of the birds and do let us know, which one is your favourite. 

 

1) Tree House Hideaway – Bandhavgarh, Madhya Pradesh

Among India’s finest wildlife reserves Bandhavgarh is famous for its dense jungle and amazing tiger sightings. Tree house Hideaway has 5 exclusive tree houses made offering a peaceful, comfortable stay at the heart of Indian wilderness.

The best part is the vantage location for Wild animal sighting from the safety and comfort of your room.

Best for : Wildlife Lovers

 


 

2) Tree House Resort – Jaipur , Rajasthan

With magnificent view of the Aravallis , these tree houses are perched on keekar trees. The spacious rooms have live branches running through them.If and when you are bored of nature , Tree House Jaipur provides Jaipur city sightseeing , elephant rides, camel and jungle safaris, cycling and bird watching.

Best for : Experiencing Jaipur’s history culture with a dose of mother nature /Weekend getaway from Delhi.

 


 

3) The Machan – Lonavala , Maharashtra

Machan is located in Jambulne which is one of 25 biological hotspots of the world.Its proximity to Mumbai and Pune make it a perfect weekend break from the concrete jungle .The tree houses are built on fig trees at a height of 45ft and promise incredible views even from the comfort of your cozy bed.

Hiking trails on private paths , birding and star gazing are among the activities one can do here.

Best for : Hiking trails & Birdwatching /Weekend getaway from Pune & Mumbai.

 


 

4) Vythri Resort – Wayanad , Kerala

Built by indigenous tribals , the tree houses in Vythiri are at a height of 50-70 ft above the ground. The resort has 4 tree houses spread across either bank of a gushing river that runs through the 150 acre property.

The resort is a perfect jungle retreat. Activities include treks to tropical rainforest , bird watching, trips to waterfall in the vicinity, plantation tours etc.

Best for : Nature lovers , Bird watching , relaxation.

5vythiri-habitat

Image source :tripadvisor.in

 


 

5) Rainforest Boutique Athirapally, Kerala

Rainforest, is nestled amidst woods with a fantastic view of the majestic Athirapally falls. One can sit at the balcony for hours and enjoy the view.The roaring sounds of these falls, mist over the rushing water and the natural beauty all around will surely steal your heart away. Read more

Best for : Athirapally falls

 


 

6) Tranquil Resort-Plantation Hideaway – Wayanad, Kerala

This 400 acre private coffee and spices plantation is nestled within lush rainforest of Wayanad. The 2 luxury Tree Houses are placed at a height of 35 feet from the ground level.During your stay you can also go for bird watching, tranquil walks and enjoy in swimming pool.

For those looking for a relaxed holiday , you can pamper yourself with Ayurveda massages and unwind in the smell of coffee, cardamom and varied spices of the plantation.

Best For : Relaxation and natural beauty.

 


 

7) Safariland Tree House Resort, Masinagudi

Safari land is The Family home of big game expert and National champion – Nawab Shafath Ali Khan. The 6 Rustic bamboo Treehouses provide a base for groups wishing to visit the region with it’s amazing wildlife viewing opportunities.

The elephant rehabilitation sanctuary and elephant nursery are nearby, here you will often see orphaned baby elephants being cared for.

Best for :Wildlife

Image source :www.safarilandresorts.com

 


 

8) The Misty Tree House, Munnar

Misty Munnar Tree House is located at Chinnakkanal in Munnar. This tree house gives a panoramic view of the breathtakingly picturesque Munnar together with its pristine valleys, mountains, large area of tea plantations as well as the wild life sanctuary.

The 10 Tree houses instructed using natural materials were earlier utilized by tribals in forests of Kerala. Sit-out of these tree houses will provide a scenic view of the jungle as well as its surrounding. Tree House is the perfect location to stay if tourists are planning to experience a nature friendly trip on Kerala tours.

Best for : Nature lovers

 

Image source :http://www.themistymunnar.com/

 


 

9) The Porcupine Castle – Coorg, Karnataka

Stay in a treehouse in the lush green landscape of Coorg . The tree house is perched on 40 ft high Black Current Tree overlooking a 300 acre coffee plantation surrounded by rolling hills and valleys.

When not enjoying your tree house , take a plantation tour, go hiking, ride the rapids or experience the thrill of Ultra Light Flying over the hills in Coorg.

Best for : Weekend getaway from Bangalore

treehouse_porcupine

 


 

Top ten countries, which are more affordable to Indians now

Outbound travel from India never looked so interesting with the local currency doing well. It has an impact on flight tickets, hotel prices, local transportation and meals. Basically, it has made travelling to many foreign countries more affordable to Indians in last 12 months. 

 

We donned our analytical hat and did some number crunching to come up with the list of exciting places for Indians and the impact of appreciating INR on your travel budget. Read on, to believe how far rupee will take you now.

 

1.) SOUTH AFRICA ( Local currency ZAR)

Impact :- From the peak of 5.8 INR/ ZAR in last 12 months, it is currently at 5.18, which means discount of 10.7%.

Travel For :- South Africa is a large, diverse and incredibly beautiful country. It varies from the picturesque Garden Route towns of the Western Cape to the raw subtropical coast of northern KwaZulu-Natal, with the vast Karoo semi-desert across its heart and one of Africa’s premier safari destinations, Kruger National Park, in the northeast. To top it all off, South Africa also has the continent’s best food, best wine, and best service. It is fast displacing many countries and regions as a preferable destination for honeymoon, wildlife enthusiasts, history buffs, culture vultures, foodies, beach bums, outdoor suckers, adrenaline junkies and the list goes on and on.

 

Need more convincing. Read this !

The-Winelands

 


 

2.) CROATIA  ( Local currency HRK)

Impact :- From the peak of 11.08 INR/ HRK in last 12 months, it is currently at 8.87, which means discount of 19.9%.

Travel For :- Croatia is an upcoming destination and no longer a low-key alternative to Spain, Greece or Italy. It caters to beach bums, outdoor suckers, history buffs, adrenaline junkies, foodies, and culture vultures alike.Quite literally, there’s something for everyone!  If you like touring vineyards, dining in artsy cafes, swimming in clear water, trekking in national parks, exploring medieval towns, watching beautiful people, dwelling on history behind city walls, climbing up on forts, sailing in the Adriatic sea, then this is the place for you.

 

Need more convincing. Read this !

Plitvice National Park

 


 

3.) TURKEY  ( Local currency TRY)

Impact :- From the peak of 28.86 INR/ TRY in last 12 months, it is currently at 24.18, which means discount of 16.2%.

Travel For :-  Turkey is a historical land and literally a bridge between East and West. Travel to Turkey for its food, scenery from beaches to mountains and the great city of Istanbul. It  appeals to you like no other city. It is a melting pot of culture, has an extremely rich history and literally lies between two continents. In Turkey, mosques coexist with churches, temples with roman theatres, Classical music concerts with football matches and dervish ceremonies with gypsy festivals. Cruise on Turkish riviera is an experience in itself.

 

Check out this trip to get a flavour of Turkey

Hagia Sophia Istanbul

 


 

4.) NEW ZEALAND ( Local currency NZD)

Impact :- From the peak of 53.05 INR/ NZD in last 12 months, it is currently at 47.18, which means discount of 11.1%.

Travel For :-  Dubbed as the “Adventure capital of the world”, a “place fit for the Queen”, and “heaven for thrill seekers” seem to be synonymous with the beautiful town of Queenstown, New Zealand. Queenstown is surrounded by the majestic mountain ranges and is nestled on the shore of beautiful Lake Wakatipu. This lakeside settlement packs a punch in the form of world-class wines, excellent accommodations, art galleries, lively cafes and the most extensive bouquet of exhilarating adventure activities.  Just imagine this is just one city. Newzealand is great for outdoor suckers and adrenaline junkies.

 

Check out this trip to get a flavour of New Zealand 

Queenstown

 


 

5.) EUROPE  ( Local currency EURO)

Impact :- From the peak of 84.47 INR/ EUR in last 12 months, it is currently at 65.7, which means discount of 22.2%.

Travel For :-  Euro can take you to Italy, Spain, Greece and other countries which are part of European Union. It gives you lot of options to plan your trip to any famed destination in Europe. Go for island hopping to Greece or a road trip to Spain or a cultural and food trail to Italy. Travel to Iceland for one of the most dramatic natural spectacles on the planet or to Germany for city escape or Christmas markets. Options are plenty.

 

In a mood of a road trip, Check out our recommendations. 

 


 

6.) SWITZERLAND  ( Local currency SWF)

Impact :- From the peak of 72.07 INR/ SWF in last 12 months, it is currently at 63.9, which means discount of 11.3%.

Travel For :-  Nestled between Germany, Austria, France and Italy, Switzerland has the best of all worlds. Add to it a heavy dose of chocolate, cowbells, serious shopping, major music festivals, fabulous art collections, palace hotels, state-of-the-art spas, and some of the finest gastronomy in the world.  Switzerland is all about epic journeys and sublime experiences.  You can take cheesemaking classes or stroll around the villages or ride a cogwheel train, take a ski or snowboarding lessons or just relax in one of the natural thermal spas. No matter how many times you have been to Switzerland, it never disappoints you.

 

Switzerland- Beauty all around

 


 

7.) AUSTRALIA  ( Local currency AUD)

Impact :- From the peak of 72.07 INR/ AND in last 12 months, it is currently at 63.9, which means discount of 11.3%.

Travel For :-  Australia is stunning, naturally beautiful and  a land of fascinating native creatures such as kangaroos, koalas and wombats. It has the idlest cities in the world read Melbourne, Sydney, extraordinary gourmet/wine scene and a great party/barbecue culture on the beach. You will experience a new laid back attitude to life. People travel to Australia for The Great Barrier Reef (largest coral reef system in the world),  drive on The Great Ocean Road ( coastal drive), white sandy beaches, Australian outback and lot of adventure activities.

 

Uluru National park

 


 

8.) RUSSIA   (Local currency RBL)

Impact :- From the peak of 1.78 INR/ RBL in last 12 months, it is currently at 1.05, which means discount of 41%.

Travel For :-  Russia is world’s largest country and will appeal to history buff and outdoor sucker alike. Russia is a land of snow and harsh winters, epic train rides and vodka fuelled nightlife, blooming meadows and mighty rivers.Russia has the largest river in Europe, the Volga; the world’s largest lake, the Caspian Sea; the world’s deepest freshwater lake, the Baikal; and Europe’s highest peak, Elbrus. There are countless natural, historical and cultural attractions in Russia. It really is a ‘must see’ destination!

It is a hospitable country with amazingly artistic people.

 

Russia

 


 

9.) INDONESIA  (Local currency IDR)

Impact :- From the peak of .005 INR/ IDR in last 12 months, it is currently at .0047, which means discount of 10.7%.

Travel For :-  Number one reason has to be Bali. It is an exotic cocktail for the body, mind and spirit, with a heady combination of beach (perfect for surfing), verdant rain forests (perfect for wildlife), volcanic mountains (perfect for hiking), rice terraces (perfect for idyllic stroll) and vibrant nightlife (perfect for losing yourself). Indonesia is also home to vast array of indigenous and exotic animals ( read komodo dragons, orangutans). Travel to Indonesia for cool white sands/azure water, untouched land of Sumatra and vibrant capital city of Jakarta. One of the best places to experience Asian Hospitality.

 

If going to Bali, consider staying here. 

 

 


 

10.) BRAZIL   (Local currency BRL)

Impact :- From the peak of 27.54 INR/ BRL in last 12 months, it is currently at 19.34, which means discount of 30%.

Travel For :-  Brazil is more then a beach destination. Favourites are Rio, the Iguaçu Falls, the Amazon river and rainforest of Pantanal. City-hoppers will love Brasilia for its futuristic architecture, São Paulo for some of South America’s finest food, Salvador da Bahia for Afro-Brazilian culture, and Olinda or Ouro Preto for colonial treasures.

 

Brazil-Rio-by-night1

 

 

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