From forest-bathing at a heritage hotel to seeking zen at a monastic retreat, Vogue picks all that’s new-and-coming from the world of Indian hospitality
For cricket buffs
Earlier this year, Sangita Sinh Kathiwada opened to the public her private 19th century heritage mansion, Kathiwada Raaj Mahal, in Alirajpur, Madhya Pradesh, which she restored into a majestic colonial outpost in the wilderness. Taxidermy trophies, Art Deco furniture, sprawling verandas—this is a stunning world the likes of which are now only seen in sepia-toned photographs. But it's the world-class cricket ground, hemmed in by the Vindhya Hills, which is the real draw for lovers of the gentleman's game.
For immersive travellers
With the munificent Lake Pichola on the one side and the Aravallis on the other, The Oberoi Udaivilas in Udaipur is a modern-day palace for new-age royalty. The old favourite also offers new experiences to immerse yourself in Rajathani culture. Try your hand at Thekri, a unique art form from the region, vignettes of which embellish the hotel. For the food-focussed, the hotel's interactive kitchens offer a masterclass on Rajasthani cuisine.
For jazz lovers
Still nursing a colonial hangover? The swanky ITC Royal Bengal, Kolkata, slated to launch in the first half of 2019, is just the place for a good ole British era fix. A splendid landmark coming up on the Kolkata skyline, its pièce de résistance is a jazz bar, a nod to the golden age of jazz in India that started in the 1930s and lasted for a good two decades till the riffs faded in the '50s.
For serious glampers
The luxe tents at The Taj Aravali Resort & Spa in Udaipur is among the much awaited launches of 2019. Pack your sweat-wear for the many sporting and adventure activities they have on offer, including tennis, basketball, and rock-climbing. Though there is a lot to test every muscle and bone, rest assured, their highly-ranked Jiva Spa won't let any of it settle in.
For the spiritual seeker
The spiritual and the material meld into happy harmony at the Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort, the first luxury property to come up in the region next year. Tucked deep in the mighty Dhauladhars of Dharamkot, this will be worth the wait for a deep soul cleanse.
For nature enthusiasts
Spread over 22 acres and surrounded by tea gardens, the Wild Mahseer in Balipara, Assam is a British-era heritage bungalow that could easily become a habitual getaway. A whisper away from the property is the Kaziranga National Park where you can sit atop a pachyderm and go looking for the elusive greater one-horned rhino. The classic homestay now offers some new experiences like forest-bathing in the biodiverse haven of the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark that make it worth a visit. Don't miss a factory tour of the plantation and factory at the Addabarie Tea Estate; time it for the evening so you have a cup in hand when the sun calls it a day.
For conscious travellers
The Baynes Bungalow, tucked into the hills of Kodai, was built sometime in the 1840s as a dwelling for priests. The 160-year old heritage monastery is now refurbished and imagined as an eco-friendly getaway with the newly-opened The Tamara Kodai. Head to this hill-side resort if you're looking for a peaceful place where time careens to a halt.
For train-spotting addicts
Train buffs must book their tickets to the upcoming The Leela Gandhinagar located in Gujarat's capital city. The property is the country's first hotel to also incorporate a railway station. After you've spent time closely examining the iron horse, you can visit Dandi Kutir, the country's largest museum dedicated to the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, immersing yourself in his teachings, which are even more relevant in our world today.
For urban hipsters
London's swish Soho House recently made its India debut in Mumbai. Even non-members can check into one of its 38 stylish bedrooms, each uniquely designed with an India-inspired décor that mixes the eclectic and heritage flourish. Think eco-friendly sisal carpets, bone-inlay furniture, lampshades made from saris, and walls with artworks of Bharti Kher and Thukral & Tagra.
For sensorial travellers
Inspired by the Sheesh Mahal, the walls of JW Marriott Jaipur Resort & Spa's speciality Indian restaurant, Laal Maas, shimmer with nearly 3,50,000 pieces of mirrored glass, all illuminated by candle light. The mind-boggling opulence is layered even number of Rajasthani staples from Laal Maas to doodh ke ladoo.
by: Neeti Mehra