As the coronavirus pandemic continues, travel restrictions are constantly changing. This is not just internationally though. A short getaway might seem out of question at the moment. Low-risk travel plans are definitely the need of the hour. Evolving safety protocols, social distancing and minimal guest contact is the new normal. Hotels have now redefined their operations as part of sanitisation protocols and detailed hygiene measure have been put in place to ensure the safety of the guests as well as the in-house team. Here are some safe destinations around the capital.
AIRBNB WALNUT GROVE TREE HOUSE AND SPA, DEHRADUN
Distance from Delhi: 245km
Situated just a few kilometres from Mussoorie, this Tree House Airbnb property in the middle of the forest is perfect for nature lovers. Surrounded by oak trees, the place looks straight out of a fairy tale, but has all modern amenities, including an indoor spa and a jacuzzi. The days are punctuated by the tweeting of the birds and the sounds of the jungle. An ideal place to kick back and relax in the lap of nature.
KARMA CHALETS, GURUGRAM
Distance from Delhi: 29.9km from IGI Airport Delhi
The property, which was opened 30 years ago, was previously an arid land that later got transformed into a paradise with more than 70,000 trees. From hammocks to a myriad seasonal flowers, one can enjoy a relaxing time here. On offer is also a beautiful ‘Under the Neem’ café as well as a spa. With deft use of colours and decor, it is both cosy and very ‘English’. When it comes to operating sustainably, the property has adopted practices like bee farming, organic agro initiative, water harvesting, bio-composting of kitchen and garden waste, use of eco bricks and no plastic policy. In addition, more than 70 per cent of the vegetables used are grown on their farm without the use of any chemical pesticides. It also makes use of innovative technology aspects like mobile key check-in and check-out and QR code scanning for menus and other hotel information as part of the overall ‘We Care’ programme encompassing all hygiene and sanitation steps.
WELCOMHERITAGE RAMGARH, PANCHKULA
Distance from Delhi: 250 km from ITO, New Delhi
This 325-year-old luxury resort with world-class accommodation is an awe-inspiring heritage. With just 26 rooms and suites on offer, it is perhaps the largest area to guest ratio in the region. There is ample space for guests to move around and not be confined to their rooms. They encourage local employment and mostly associate with vendors in the vicinity. Sourcing locally grown and freshly harvested produce for guests is one of its highlight features. From composting plant and food waste to using leftover food, the resort takes sustainable functioning very seriously.
THE LEELA PALACE, UDAIPUR
Distance from Delhi: 665km
Located by the serene lake Pichola and skirted by the views of the Aravalli mountain range, this is a contemporary palace hotel which induces the grandeur and lavishness of Mewar. All the rooms have the scenic view of the lake, the heritage city and the mountains. If you are the kind looking for an extravagant holiday, then this is your place. The hotel has introduced ‘drivecation’ which includes two-way transfers from one’s doorstep by The Leela Palace chauffer-driven BMW, daily breakfast, city tour and sunset cocktails followed by a themed dinner once during the stay. Pick-up cities include Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Indore and Bhopal. The Leela SURAKSHA programme in partnership with Bureau Veritas India, builds on the existing rigorous cleaning protocols and is aimed at elevating sanitisation, hygiene and safety procedures to deliver a safe environment for guests and associates.
TIJARA FORT PALACE, TIJARA VILLAGE, ALWAR, RAJASTHAN
Distance from Delhi: 100km
This monument hotel reflects the Rajput-Afghan elegance in all its structures. A curation of three structures—Mardana, Rani Mahal and Hawa Mahal—the once unfinished and abandoned palace is now a fairytale destination. Most heritage hotels in Alwar are born with the beauty and treasures of history, but not all offer a spacious dream site for a peaceful getaway. One will never get tired of taking photographs here as the breathtaking 360-degree view of the palace varies with daylight and seasons. The team focuses on curating tailor-made experiences for special milestone events and celebrations. The numerous outdoor venues give guests the opportunity to create their own magical memories. The palace also grows its own seasonal vegetables and procures various raw materials from nearby areas, thereby encouraging local employment and sustainable practices.
JW MARRIOT MUSSOORIE WALNUT GROVE RESORT AND SPA
Distance from Delhi: 298km
Make your way over the misty clouds of the Himalayas to this stunning resort overlooking the valley and surrounded by lush natural foliage. Situated at the foothills of the Garhwal Himalayan ranges and snuggled between sparkling valleys, soaring oaks and gorgeous walking trails, the true-to-nature elements bring this magnificent resort to life. The 115 state-of-the art rooms with scenic views of the valleys orchestrate a unique experience where no detail is too small to escape notice. The team has worked persistently to create an environment dedicated towards ‘safe is the new luxury’. Their top green initiatives include the utilisation of recycled water for resort irrigation, solar heating for hot water in rooms and an energy-saving lighting system.
THE GATEWAY RESORT, DAMDAMA LAKE, GURGAON
Distance from Delhi: 43km from IGI Airport
Spread across a sprawling 20 acres in the bosom of the Aravalli hills is this countryside sanctuary. This is where the always-plugged in city folks can unwind and connect to nature. In the light of the pandemic, the team at the resort has worked on its brand and service standards for utmost care given to the safety of its guests. If you are looking for a romantic getaway, make sure to have this property on your list.
AMANBAGH, ALWAR, RAJASTHAN
Distance from Delhi: 250km
Formerly used by the Maharaja of Alwar as a staging area for royal tiger hunts, Amanbagh is a modern-day Mughal palace with a lush estate of palm, fruit and eucalyptus trees. Carved out of local pink marble and sandstone, this property is utterly peaceful and consummately private. Yonder the extravagant suites, spa and gardens, guests can experience convivial villages, stately forts and ruins and the jungle of Sariska National Park, where tigers still roam free. The organic Amanbagh farm supports 80 per cent of the kitchen needs. The property has 37 suites on 38 acres of land with nine different private dining areas.
You must be wondering, ‘What about people in the South?’ Don’t fret, we are compiling a list of must-visit places for your travel bucket list in our October edition of Smart Life. But for this month, here is an offer in the South that you would not want to miss.
VASUNDHARA SAROVAR PREMIERE, VAYALAR, KERALA
Distance from Cochin International Airport: 58km
Kerala is known for its tranquil evenings, glorious sunsets, serene backwaters and, most of all, refreshing greenery. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city is a land home to a vast network of waterways and over a thousand houseboats—Alappuzha. Touted as the ‘Venice of the East’ by many travellers, it is a shame if one does not experience this picturesque land blessed with azure lagoons, evergreen coconut groves and other natural bounties. If you are thinking of visiting this land of folklore tales sometime within a year, then it is better to book early. The Sarovar group has come up with an attractive prepaid package designed in a way that the guests are free to choose the dates comfortable to them and also postpone their bookings any number of times without any charge. From boating to cycling, fish-feeding and angling, the property has more just a stay to offer. According to Elgish V. Andrews, general manager, the offer has been designed keeping the current travel limitations in mind. “At our property, we have ensured that our guests don’t miss out on the experience quotient. We try to keep our physical presence around the guests to the minimum. We also make sure that our guests don’t spend a lot of time in the common areas; our guests are ushered into their rooms immediately on arrival. We have carved their silos within the resort so that they do not come in contact with others while enjoying their private moments,” he says. So, couples looking for a getaway here is a pick for your kitty.
The offer is priced at Rs 14,999 for three days and two nights. The booking window is till August 31 and the offer is valid till September 30, 2021.
Inputs by Oshin Grace Daniell