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GONOW

a cross section publication

VOLUME 14. ISSUE 7. JANUARY 2014. `50

ALL ABOUT TRAVEL AND TOURISM

Infinity Pools in Singapore Air India is set to join Star Alliance: What’s in it for us as travellers

Amitabh Bachchan’s

GUJARAT

Dhoom3 Showcases Chicago


this issue From the Editor

High adventure Newly-healed Uttarakhand: the state takes the adventure route to beckon tourists back to its green valley. airlines & airports

9 Air India is Set to join Star

Alliance: What’s in it for us as Travellers?

heritage launch

10 Heirtage Transport

Museum: A unique one-man collection unveils.

cinema release

12 Dhoom 3 Showcases

bars & lounges

36 A tale of the great bars: we

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take you around the chic bars of the capital, updating you with all their offerings The American Wine Trail: tasting and mixology sessions finally reached Delhi with second edition by DISCUS.

hotel launch

Chicago, a Unique City.

destination niche

40 JW Marriott Bengaluru –

14 Goa’s Shacks: The

Quintessential Experience: Shack Association of Goa is now planning to enhance the experience.

destination profile

18 Amitabh Bachchan’s

right in the heart of town: enjoying the ideal location, this perfect blend of style and sophistication is a luxurious abode.

hotel options

42 Feasting your eyes with

Gujarat: we bring to you elements of ‘Khushboo Gujarat ki’.

destination leisure

22 Singapore: on the rooftop of Marina Bay Sands: A picturesque description of the infinity pool.

heritage tours

26 Ye Old Style – Reinvented

River Tours: re-living the Raj-era experience with the marvellous river tours.

destination profile

32 Macau: A marvellous

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mélange of East & West: with glitzy casinos, branded shopping hubs, world heritage buildings and more.

oceanic views: Colombo’s hospitality serves you with a number of options on the Galle road, choose your favourite.

MICE wise

46 The convergence of

commerce, culture and colour: Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre is the perfect place for your MICE activities in Kuala Lumpur.

travel icon

48 The depth of Indian Ocean: the band members tell us about the role of music in their lives and more.

airlines & airports

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As we usher in the New Year, we find ourselves in the midst of some huge big changes in travel, projected with the imminent birth of two new Indian airlines – interestingly both having a strong flavour of the house of TATA, the original founders of aviation in the country. Both will have a strong international connection, one with Singapore Airlines, and the other with Air Asia. Their arrivals will surely impact routes and also prices, and hopefully augurs well for us travellers. The air map of India remains hugely under serviced and we are all looking for air travel to become both cheaper and more consumer friendly. Ironically, it is the government taxes, and the airport taxes which too are government by government policies, that add up almost 50% of the airline seat pricing. To bring about rationalisation, it is the government that must take the lead! This is also election year, and till the middle of 2014, some bit of uncertainty will loom large – we expect the tourism sector to encourage more holiday and leisure business and hopefully we will see more packages and special offers coming our way later this year. This issue, in the airlines & airport section, we bring to you an interview with H.E. Dr. Burak Akcapar, The Ambassador of Turkey to India, where he talks about tourism between India and his country, and also we tell you what benefits you reap as Air India begins its countdown to joining Star Alliance. Then we see the evolution of transport systems in India through the elements at the Heritage Transport Museum, newly launched near Gurgaon earlier this year. The cinema release section shows a pictorial description of the landscapes where Dhoom 3 was shot, showcasing perhaps for the first time, the unique city of Chicago. Next, in destination niche we tell you how the unique shack experience of Goa is being enhanced. We also bring you a glimpse of Amitabh Bachchan’s Gujarat and some of its exotic locations. Destination leisure holds in the picturesque description of the infinity pool on the rooftop of Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. Revisit the Raj-era in the heritage tour section, as we glide down the Ganges. Also at this time of the year, Uttarakhand is awaiting your visit, specifically to experience its adventure activities that the destination has to offer. Moving ahead to the destination profile section, we take you to Macau, which exclusively delivers an experience of Asia and Europe. The bars & lounges section tells you the tale of the great bars of Delhi and then we take you on a trip to the JW Marriott Bengaluru. We also help you with the picturesque hotel options in Colombo. On the other hand, the MICE wise section gives out a detailed view of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. We also have the Indian Ocean band talking about their travel experiences. Happy Reading!

‘Increased air connectivity will boost tourism’: H.E. Dr. Burak Akcapar, The Ambassador of Turkey to India talks about relations between India and Turkey

Editor: Navin Berry Managing Editor: Priyaanka Berry Editorial: Anupriya Bishnoi, Nikita Chopra Advertising: Saurabh Shukla Design: Ashok Saxena, Neelam Aswani Go Now is printed and published by Navin Berry, on behalf of Cross Section Media Pvt. Ltd. Printed at Anupam Art Printers, B-52, Naraina Industrial Area, Phase II, New Delhi - 110 028 Go Now is published from IIIrd Floor, Rajendra Bhawan, 210, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg, New Delhi - 110002. Tel: 91-11-43784444. Fax: 91-11-41001627. E-mail: info@crosssectionmedia.com This issue of gonow contains 52 pages

If travel incites you just the way it incites us, share your experiences on /gonowlifestylemagazine /gonowmagazine /gonowmagazine

drop us a line.

Like something we wrote? Wondering how to get somewhere? Or been to a place you want to talk about? Write to us and let us know. Don’t have the words to describe a place? Don’t worry – send us your best travel pictures and we’ll let them speak for you. If your letter or photo is published, you will get a year’s subscription to gonow absolutely FREE! Send your letters and photographs to E-mail: info@crosssectionmedia.com Material not used will not be returned

January 2014 GO NOW

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with travellers in mind Movenpick Innovates and Creates a Niche in Bengaluru

vSnippets

Le Cirque Signature comes to The Leela Mumbai

Located on the top floor of the hotel, the restaurant offers the signature and most popular specialties from the brand’s fabled restaurants around the world. It has also added some new epicurean delights for Mumbai by the celebrated Michelin chef Matteo Boglione from Le Cirque, New York. It also serves a fine selection of French and Italian wines for the guests to enjoy the fine dine experience in a more relaxed and chic setting. For table reservations, call: 022 – 66911344/45

TajSamudra – The Lavish Experience Enhanced it was built only yesterday. I cannot even now recall if the architecture belonged to any period, or styling – it was functional throughout, perhaps with a bit of Swiss in use of low ceilings, touches in wood, and efficiency levels. The colours were strong, somewhere giving a feeling of comfort and warmth. Every hotel has rooms and suites, every hotel has its own share of banqueting spaces, and its eateries. So did Movenpick. Most leading hotels today provide both efficiency and warmth in service. So did

Movenpick. But there were some new features that struck me, as first time in the Indian industry, for us customers to savour and be thankful for! I liked the open kitchen in the coffee shop. Not the first one, for sure, but there was variety and quite a few chefs at work together, within one central working area, right in the middle of it all. It served to become the central showpiece, get every one of us customers feel involved in the cooking. The vegetarian was distinctly separated from the non-veg, fresh waffles at one end, fried eggs at the other, and a host of South Indian items like dosas on the other side. There is an interesting dimension to juices, made fresh and as per your own likes. Diverse fresh vegetables are stored refrigerated – you choose and they juice! Also, for guests on the go, a fast service counter in the lobby, serving take away coffee and tea, along with freshly baked muffins, and ready to pick sandwiches. The ice creams are most innovative, imported every week direct from Switzerland. I understand that Movenpick has various business verticals back home. One of them is selling ice-creams locally. The chocolates are however made in Bengaluru as they prove too costly to be imported. I particularly recommend the spa, a signature line that is elaborate and exclusive. There is an unmistakable touch of Swiss in everything that they do. A most recommended property, and not really far away from the centre of it all, if we take MG Road as the centre, though now the city, much like Mumbai and Delhi, has more centres than one! by NAVIN BERRY

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GO NOW January 2014

A landmark of Colombo, facing the Galle Face Green, TajSamudra is now open after an extensive phase of renovation which amounted to around USD 20 million. The hotel has now introduced the brand new Taj Club Rooms along with the renovations at the suites, including all the Presidential Suites too. The hotel delivers high quality comfort along with stylish design elements. The new lobby lounge, Lattice infuses the culture and traditions of Sri Lanka. The other options include, Yumi, Navratna, Golden Dragon, and Steak & Grill House. For guests looking to pass the day indoors, TajSamudra boasts of a shopping arcade, beauty salon, pool bar, state of the art fitness centre, floodlit tennis courts, an air-conditioned squash court and a trendy nightclub. For reservations, mail: samudra.colombo@tajhotels.com or call: (94 - 11) 2446622

Anoushka Shankar in Delhi

One of the greatest contemporary sitar players, Anoushka Shankar was in the town last month where she played some of her popular tracks at The Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi. Anoushka played 10 compositions during the exclusive ‘Live in Concert’ of which 7 were from her new album ‘Traces of You.’ Casting shadow, Flight and Sun Won’t Set were some of the most polular. Anoushka also dedicated her composition ‘Unsaid’ to her father Late Pandit Ravi Shankar. She also dedicated a track to the girl being raped last year, which is till date one of the capital’s biggest scandal. Her performance was a nice start to the winters of the capital.

PHOTO: ANUPRIYA BISHNOI

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n a recent visit to Bengalur u, I was both amused and surprised to see how notions remain pre-conceived. One pertains to distances that one has to travel, within a city, and what is really far and out! In today’s metro city environments, commuting for an half hour or 45 minutes is not any more considered going out of your way. So many people, well to do and well connected, are spending over an hour every day going to work! We were staying at Movenpick, a first time for me to sample this brand and my first and immediate reaction from the locals was – hey, that’s too far and way out! So, would they catch up with us for an event? “We will give it a try, but cant really say”- seemed to be an average response. That same afternoon, I headed to the centre of town, what I presume must be UB City. I was there in 20 minutes at around 2.30 pm. Heading back, at close to 5.30 pm, it took me 35 minutes. Now, that I say is either being too pampered, or too unwilling to trudge out. In metro living conditions of today, this is easy going, for sure! Staying at the hotel was equally refreshing. The hotel is over two years old, but looks like


with travellers in mind

IndiGo Brings New Connections, adds some

vSnippets

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Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts Celebrates with ‘City Escapes’

ndiGo airlines have been increasing its connectivity across the country, by introducing new routes, connecting to new destinations, etc. Last month it added Bagdogra as its 31st domestic destination, and now it is increasing its connectivity to various other cities in the country. The airlines have recently announced 10 new flights connecting the key cities, including introduction of new daily non-stop flights. Chennai is a major business destination for travellers, for the same, the airlines has launched daily nonstop flights from Chennai to

Hyderabad, Kolkata and Goa. The airlines will be flying from Chennai to Hyderabad at 11:45 am and 6:40 pm. Whereas the flight from Chennai to Kolkata will be flying at 5:50 am. The airline will also be connecting Chennai and Goa via Hyderabad which will be flying from Chennai at 11:45 am and landing in Goa at 2:35 pm. The flight from Chennai to Kolkata, Hyderabad and Goa are available at `3,431, `2,277 and `2,381 respectively. IndiGo is all set to connect Delhi to Bengaluru and Goa with its ninth and third daily non-stop flights respectively to

each from the capital. The flight from Delhi to Bengaluru will be flying at 7:30 pm, and the one from Delhi to Goa will be flying at 1:20 pm. The flights from Delhi to Bengaluru and Goa are available at a price of `4,841 and `4,694 respectively. With more travel options, travellers can opt for flight which best suits their requirements. With least number of cancellations in a year, IndiGo is one of the most reliable airlines in the country and strives hard to provide on time performance to its flyers. For further information, visit: www.goindigo.in

Jet Airways Flies Daily to Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi

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nhancing its international connectivity, Jet Airways introduces daily flights to Saudi Arabia from Kochi and Chennai. The airlines will fly daily from Chennai to Dammam via Abu Dhabi, and will also operate a daily non-stop flight from Kochi to Dammam. The former will depart from Chennai at 8:15 pm (local time) and via Abu Dhabi the flight will leave for Dammam and land there at 2:10 am (local time). The flight from Kochi to Dammam is the sixth non-stop flight of the carrier to Saudi Arabia. This will depart from Kochi at 6:20 am (local time) and land in Dammam at 9:20 (local time). Now, the airlines have also launched a new daily flight from Abu Dhabi to Chennai. This flight will be departing from Abu Dhabi at 1045 hrs and will arrive into Chennai at 1615 hrs

Kerala Invites you to the Cultural Fiesta

The colourful state of Kerala is all set to celebrate its culture with ‘Utsavam’. It will take place a ll a round t he 14 districts of Kerala at a total of 60 venues. These month-long cultural festivities will include the promotion of the traditional art forms of the state including the ones which are on a decline. This festival will deliver an aesthetic experience to the visitors, appealing to their intellectual sensibilities. Around 280 performances will take place on all Saturdays and Sundays at different venues at 6pm. When: till 19th January 2014 For further details, visit: www.keralatourism.org/utsavam

Starting the season of celebration with an interesting package, Cit y Escapes, Sha ng r i-L a Hotel s a nd Resor ts offers its guests with merrier holidays. Guests book i ng for t h is package for a room or a suite can also avail complimentary breakfast and up to USD200 credit per stay, which can be used for hotel dining or for pampering sessions at the spa. Kids up to the age of six can enjoy complimentary buffet meals with their parents. When: Valid till 10th February 2014 For Further Information, visit: www. shangri-la.com

Enjoy a Free Night at Grand Park Otaru

Avail a free last night stay when you stay for three consecutive days at Grand Park Otaru, Japan. This scheme is valid for Deluxe Ocean View rooms and the free night includes room and corresponding service charge/taxes only for the same room category and does not include incidental charges. This 296 room hotel is located in the quaint romantic land and is next to the JR Otaru Chikko station and also adjacent to one of Hokkaido’s largest shopping malls – Wing Bay Otaru. Price: From JPY 9,957+taxes When: Valid till 10th February 2014 For further details, visit: www.parkhotelgroup.com (Local Time). Jet Airways guests from Chennai will now have the option of connecting not only to Abu Dhabi, but to several destinations of their choice in Europe and Africa, when they transit over Abu Dhabi on Etihad Airways. The airline will deploy a Boeing 737-800 aircraft on these two new services, offering

Premiere and Economy guests a seamless experience. When: Flight to Saudi Arabia from Kochi and Chennai effective from 15th January 2014; Flight from Abu Dhabi to Chennai will be effective from 16th January 2014. For further information, visit: www.jetairways.com

January 2014 GO NOW

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with travellers in mind vSnippets Malindo Air Flies Daily from Delhi to Kuala Lumpur

Malindo Air launched its inaugural flight from India to Kuala Lumpur on 30th December 2013. It will soon be flying from Kuala Lumpur to Trichy and to Mumbai too. The return fares will start from `19,900 (all-inclusive) from Delhi and Mumbai to Kuala Lumpur and `10,000 (all-inclusive) from Trichy to Kuala Lumpur. Their business-class return fares from Delhi to Kuala Lumpur start from `46,000. With this, now passengers can enjoy another option for their journey. For further information, visit: www.malindoair.com

NOVOTEL OPENS, IS THE FIRST NEW BRAND IN NORTH GOA

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orth Goa has started getting its share of branded hotels, finally. You can now stay at the recently opened Novotel in downtown Candolim. With its 82 rooms and suites, and very intimate restaurants, spa and meeting rooms, you have a new luxury abode for your next visit to this fast growing in popularity tourist centre. This is the happening part of Goa, and Novotel will certainly enhance the happening status of the region. It is a brand new product – new rooms, well furnished, with all modern amenities. So far, this part of Goa was not offering this luxury. Adjoining Lemon Tree Hotel remains very boutique, very charming, but it is not luxury and the effects are somewhat old style. Novotel has an open lobby, with a strong breeze blowing right across. In the atrium lobby, much like the hotels in the South, there is an inviting bar and confectionary – you can start with your drinks even before you register! The rooms are all around – with the spa and swimming pool at the rear. Both are well executed and while the area is small, the ambience is both smart and friendly. I will recommend the pool bar, just as much as the spa – it has good treatments and the staff is knowledgeable – I also found them busy, meaning they had clients – many

by NAVIN BERRY

GO NOW January 2014

As the gastronomical landscape of the capital is on the rise with restaurants (both hotel and independent) churning unusual but drool worthy dishes almost every day, Masala Art at Taj Palace, New Delhi also endeavours to give Delhiites a tingle to their palettes with their unusual/contemporary yet mouth-watering dishes. Their menu is crafted to showcase how different Indian spices and flavours complement each other and make for a delicious discovery. The menu features innovative recipes like Edamame in Filo & Bhatti ka Asparagus and Balchao Seabass. For further information, visit: www.tajhotels.com

Skiing in the Himalayas with Khyber

hotels in Goa have bigger spas with fewer guests. One floor below, there a re t he meet i ng room s – small and compact but enough for 50 to 100 people conferences. On level 3 is their eatery – the food choices are typical Novotel, no compromises. The spreads for breakfast, lunch and dinner are aplenty and the food quality good. The presentation is again, typical Novotel, or shall we say, French – with a touch of elegance, and with colour! The prices for the rooms, one factor that will always matter most, are friendly. I hope it stays this way.

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PHOTO: ANUPRIYA BISHNOI

Hemant Oberoi’s new contemporary attempt at Masala Art

Experience the ultimate luxury and t he f u n of outdoor activities and sports at The Khyber H i ma laya n Resort & Spa, Gulmarg. Valid on your stay for t h ree days or more, t h i s winter package by the resort will take you on a ride on the Gondola, the highest ski lift in the world along with specially arranged sledging session. Also enjoy the stunning panoramic views from your well appointed comfortable rooms. The resort also helps you with a number of culinary options which will treat you with various authentic cuisines. Price: `41,999 When: Valid till 10th March 2014 For further details, visit: www.khyberhotels.com


January2013 2014GO GONOW NOW 59 7 November


airlines & airports

“Increased Air Connectivity will Boost Tourism” H.E. Dr. Burak Akçapar, The Ambassador of Turkey to India in conversation with GoNow says that both the countries enjoy a common historical and cultural heritage which needs to be promoted further to intensify the bond. Also, he talks about the lack of air connectivity which acts as a major hindrance.

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here do you see the mutual exchange of tourism between India and Turkey and what is the present level of exchange between the two countries?

The mutual exchange of tourism between the two countries has been steadily increasing in the past few years. Commencement of scheduled flights between the two countries by Turkish Airlines in 2003, and the subsequent increase in the frequency of the flights in 2006 and 2009 has been a momentous catalyst to that end. Last year more than 90,000 Indian tourists visited Turkey, in addition to approximately 20,000 Turkish tourists who visited India. This year we are expecting far better figures.

two countries share a common historical and cultural heritage. The exchange of ideas arising from historical contacts between the two countries has resulted in almost 9,000 common words in Urdu, Hindi and Turkish, even though our languages belong to completely different language families. However, a certain lack of awareness does pervade many facets of the bilateral relations. A potent way of remedying this lack of awareness is to promote the further intensification of people-to-people contacts. Tourism is the most suitable tool at our disposal to reach this end. As such, we have been aggressively campaigning to increase tourism figures both ways. Our efforts have begun to bear fruit as the figures have been steadily increasing.

People-to-people interactions constitute a fundamental component of the relationship between Turkey and India. The peoples of the

A number of instruments can be utilized to promote tourism relations between the two countries. The interest is there and the numbers have been steadily increasing over the past few years. Naturally, the increase in the figures in the

How do you think the mutual exchange of tourism will affect the relation between the two countries?

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GO NOW January 2014

What do you think can be done to increase it?

“Turkey is considered to be one of the richest countries in terms of archaeology and is the biggest “open air museum” of the world, a repository of countless civilizations. It is the melting pot of the East and West.” past coincided with the increase in the number of scheduled flights between the two countries. Thus, the major impediment to further bolstering these figures is the inadequate air connectivity between the two countries. Turkish Airlines, which flies daily to and from Delhi and Mumbai, is the sole airline that operates direct flights between the two countries. Increased air con-

nectivity would, undoubtedly, positively reflect on the tourism figures. Turkish Airlines currently operates 14 total flights a week to Delhi and Mumbai. They have applied to increase the frequency of their flights to these two Indian cities in addition to opening routes in 6 others. The application has been pending at the Indian civil aviation authorities since 2010. Inbound tourists to India arrive almost exclusively by air, and approximately half of them arrive in airports besides New Delhi and Mumbai. Therefore, it is imperative that Turkish Airlines start flying to these six other destinations as soon as possible, which could in a short time double the amount of inbound tourists from Turkey. Currently, some of the Indian tourists travel to Turkey and vice versa via other countries, which is discouraging many more.

According to you what does Turkey offer that will appeal to an Indian traveller?

Turkey offers a wide range of memorable experiences to the Indian traveller since it has everything from breathtaking natural beauty, unique historical and archaeological places, some of the best hotel and touristic infrastructure to a tradition of hospitality at competitive prices. Turkey is one de stination where every type of traveller has multiple opportunities to create memories and experiences to be a part of, from culture and heritage, religion, luxury, backpacking, food trails, weddings and honeymoons, skiing, health tourism, golf and sports. Turkey has something for everyone. It is blessed with majestic mountains and valleys, lakes, rivers, waterfalls and grottoes perfect for winter or summer tourism and sports of all kinds. Skiing fans, mountain climbers, trekkers, hikers and hunters are able to enjoy unforgettable experiences in Turkey. The country is rich with hot springs, healing waters and mud, which come highly recommended by the medical authorities as a remedy for many diseases. Turkey has a rich cultural heritage that bears influences from a plethora of different civilizations throughout the course of history. Turkey is considered to be one of the richest countries in terms of archaeology and is the biggest “open air museum” of the world, a repository of countless civilizations. It is the melting pot of the East and West. As told to NIKITA CHOPRA


airlines & airports At their board meeting held in Vienna, the Chief Executives of the Star Alliance member airlines decided unanimously to recommence the integration process with Air India. “Star Alliance has long held the opinion that India is such an important aviation market that it should be fully represented in the Alliance,” said Mark Schwab, Star Alliance CEO. “However the level of change in the domestic market in recent years did not make it easy for an airline to become an alliance member.” “The market in India is now showing signs of stabilisation. Today we see an Air India which has successfully completed its merger with Indian Airlines and is building up a new fleet that forms the basis for a much improved level of service. This is why we believe the time is now right to recommence the integration process,”

he added. “This is an historic day for Air India. The decision to recommence the Star Alliance integration process will be beneficial for both sides. We are grateful for the warmth, support and encouragement with which all Alliance members have welcomed the decision”, said Rohit Nandan, Air India Chairman and Managing Director. The Indian national carrier was originally accepted as a future member of Star Alliance in December 2007, but the integration process was halted in July 2011. The suspension was a joint decision which allowed Air India to focus on completing its merger with Indian Airlines, without the distraction of the work required for full integration into the Star Alliance network.

ABOUT STAR ALLIANCE

The member airlines are: Adria Airways, Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAM Airlines, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI, United and US Airways. Air India has been announced as a future member airline with Avianca Brazil to join under the existing Avianca membership. Overall, the Star Alliance network offers more than 21,900 daily flights to 1,328 airports in 195 countries.

Air India is Set to join Star Alliance: What’s in it for us as Travellers?

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ir India has been re-invited to join the prestigious Star Alliance, after the process was first initiated almost two years ago. Much has happened in the meanwhile. The 787s have started rolling, and new routes have been opened. Most important among these, is the re-entry of the airline into Australia, with direct flights, the only carrier to do so. The others connect through their base stations, like Singapore Airlines through Singapore and Malaysian Airlines through KL. So, what does joining STAR mean to us, as travellers? It simply means that for the first time, in real terms, Air India will offer connections, with the best pricing, to cities around the world, like it never could have otherwise. As a STAR Alliance partner, it will enjoy seamless, that means without a glitch in between, connectivity on its own, in close association with other carriers like Lufthansa, Singapore and Thai. You can now fly to Rio or to Helsinki on Air India, despite the fact it will

that fall onto the domestic map of not be flying its own aircraft. But Air India, will be transferred simiAir India will ticket you on its own larly through Delhi and Mumbai. flight, code shared with another, Therefore, effectively, the investand ticket you as one seamless ments made in the two airports flight connection. Your luggage will begin to bear fruit. will also get booked through, in Star Alliance offers close to one single and simple effort. And 22,000 daily flights to 1,328 airthe price will also be guaranteed ports in 195 countries. Under the as competitive! grouping, member airlines come For the country, the Alliance together via code-share alliancwill help boost the number of ines and synergise frequent flyer ternational transit passengers that programmes to offer passengers can use the gateway airports, and seamless connectivity. if we are able to use this developOver 8.4 million (95%) of the ment with advantage, this will give total number of transit passengers us the opportunity to create new flying into India in 2012-13 went stop-over tourists. “This is an through the Delhi and Mumbai Air India’s direct flights to some historic day for Air airports. It is estimated that nearly US cities will provide a conveni30% of this traffic was handled ent option for West-bound India. The decision to by Air India. passengers of Star Alliance recommence the Star Alliance Star Alliance members partners Singapore Airlines integration process will be airlines transfer over 40,000 and Thai Airways. Similarly, beneficial for both sides. We are passengers every day, that’s direct Air India flights from grateful for the warmth, support around 300 short-haul airNew Delhi to Sydney and and encouragement with which all craft filled every day just Melbourne will benefit pasAlliance members have welcomed with passengers changing sengers of Lufthansa said the decision.” from one airline to another and Turkish Airlines. This ROHIT NANDAN with the alliance and that is a will be in addition to similar Air India Chairman and massive opportunity for any new incremental advantages coming Managing Director member. to smaller cities within the counby NAVIN BERRY try. Passengers in smaller cities, January 2014 GO NOW

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heritage launch

Heritage Transport Museum

A Unique One-man Co The first of its kind, a personal collection has gone into the making of an enviable portfolio.

buses, planes and over thousands of smaller items including lithographs, aquatents, photos going back to 1880s and 1890s, epherma including petrol cans, posters and whatever you can think of, associated with wheels. Conceived and executed by Tarun Thakral, CEO, Le-Meridien Hotel in downtown New Delhi, first time, and hopethis has been a dedicated labour fully some inspiraof love – he set up a trust back in tion for more such 2006, in order to ensure that his individual efforts to personal collection was made flower in the years manageable and sustainable. He to come, pr ivate owned this piece of land, near collection museum in Haryana, Tauru in Haryana, and along with close to Manesar, just five kilohis passionate possessions, dometres from the national highnated them to this trust. Along way, opened last month. Befitwith some significant help from tingly it was inaugurated by the the Ministry of Culture, and aschief minister of the state, in an sistance from friends who be“Along with some acknowledgement that such eflieved in his commitment, and significant help from forts get accorded the status remained impressed with his the Ministry of Culture, and of being important by the collections, he was able to powers that be! put it together as an impresassistance from friends who The National Heritage sive museum, one of its believed in our commitment, Museum is spread over kind in the country. and remained impressed with four f loor s, occupy ing How did Tarun manage our collections, we were able to over 1 lakh square feet of his time, while he remains put it together as an impressive area, and built at a cost of the chief executive of one of museum, one of its kind in the over `13 crores, excluding the more successful hotels in country.” land and artefacts, of which the city? He says he owes it to TARUN THAKRAL there are aplenty – some 120 of his boss, the chairperson of the Promoter Trustee the larger pieces including trains, company, for her support and for

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GO NOW January 2014


ollection Unveils

At the inauguration: CM Haryana, Bhupinder Hooda with Tarun Thakral

her allowing him the time to get out, as it were and follow his passion. Normally, he says, museums are considered the preserve of the government, both for building and also for sustenance. This is therefore welcome as a private initiative and hopefully other followers of their own pursuits and passions, whether they relate to textiles, or books or whatever,

who can dare and live out their dreams. Soon, he assures us, visitors in the area, and tourists plying the national highway on way to Jaipur, will make a stop enroute, a mere five kilometre diversion, and spend some time mulling over the evolution of the wheels in all their manifestations. by NAVIN BERRY

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cinema release

Dhoom3 Showcases Chicago, a Unique City

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hoom 3, the cult movie brand, is breaking fresh grounds, fast raced to being the highest ever grosser. Notched over `500 crores in revenue worldwide, the film is set to become the new benchmarker for the Indian film industry. Extensively shot in Chicago, the story has been based in the city. Why Chicago, one might ask? Aashish Singh, CEO, Yashraj Films shared that Chicago has been relatively an uncharted territory, Dhoom 3 being the first major film to be shot there. “We chose it for the novelty, also for the city itself. It has been

known for action shooting, for the Batman series, among others. It was easy and friendly to shoot there. Above all, it offered a unique backdrop to action, per se, with its roads and streets and waterways. We were able to access Hollywood action crew to get the best in the business.” What about incentives, fiscal incentives that would bring down the cost of shooting? The state of Illinois has a 30% incentive on offer, which can work out to a few million dollars in savings, which it did for the producers. And for the experience of shooting? Aashish shares that the city

was among the friendliest. “It has a strong Film Commission, which was very active and helped us a lot, with blocking of streets, extending all round cooperation. We were there for over two months, some 80 to 90 of us from India, apart from those who joined us locally or from Hollywood which made our crew go upto double that number. “We chose it for We had a blast in the city. Very the novelty, also for friendly, very hospitable” What were the highlights, the city itself. It has been going down memory lane? known for action shooting, for Aashish says the crew had the Batman series among others. a huge local following. It was easy and friendly to shoot Every week end, Indians

there. Above all, it offered a unique backdrop to action.”

AASHISH SINGH

Executive Producer and VP, Yash Raj Films

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from across the country would descend into the city. One of the local crew members had a personal blog, active on the net. Details of where we were going to shoot, would leak out to eager followers. It was one big party and a lot of fun. How did Chicago add to the success of the film? It would be tough to put numbers, but surely it must have helped. The backdrop was truly unique to Indian audiences and it served the story line most admirably. How about the next in the sequel? There would be another, it is inevitable. But as we put this story together, it would be difficult to put down any specific forward movement. And yes, it would be reasonable to expect that the next would raise the bar, even higher. And therein lies the challenge that every success brings with it! by NAVIN BERRY

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destination niche

Goa’s Shacks: The Quintessential Experience Goa’s Unique Shack Experience to be Enhanced by DINESH PATEL

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he sun-kissed beaches, warm azure waters, swaying palms and glea ming wet bodies would perhaps be incomplete without the shade of the quaint shacks that provide a welcome break with a relaxed F & B experience. Yes, today rustic shacks that dot the extending palm-fringed Goan coastline spring like seasonal mushrooms that have become intrinsically synonymous

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with Goa’s beach topography. What began in the late 60s, as a table and thatch, catering to the hippies is today a much-sought after business frequented by the who’s who from various walks of life, the world over. Goa is perhaps the only place in the country where the shack business is run and operated in a legal way under strict government norms and licence. In fact, even though shacks have, time and again, come under the scanner for some wrong reasons, one cannot deny that these

beach-side temporary structures do add life to the already vivacious scenario. However, the Goa government is keen to have shack operators play by the rules and have set distinct guidelines. Pre sently there are 349 licensed shacks with 243 in North Goa and only 106 in South Goa, located at 33 distinct demarcated zones, including five regions in Calangute and six areas of Candolim, besides Vagator, Anjuna, Arambol, Chapora, Keri, Mandrem, Morjim, Ozrant and Siridao

in North Goa. Besides shacks are also attracting tourists in South Goa including locations like Majorda, Cavelossim, Mobor, Colva, Benaulim, Varca, Fatrade Velsao, Arrosim, Betalbatim and Utorda. In fact shacks extend from Pernem taluka in north Goa to Canacona in South Goa. The new beach shack policy 2013-16, formulated with inputs from those involved, will allow shack owners to operate for three years instead of one. According to policy, 90 per cent of the shacks would be allotted to


destination niche those who have three or more years of experience in running shacks and the rest would be reserved for newcomers or those with less than three years experience. In a twist to the on-going dual citizenship row in Goa, the Traditional Goa Shack Owners association has strongly insisted that shack owners should furnish an affidavit stating that they do not hold dual citizenship, since they alleged that that many shack operators are applying for licenses in spite of possessing Portuguese passports.

CCTV Cameras

With the world’s eyes on Goa, no government wants to display complacency and thus beginning this season the Tourism department has made it mandatory for shacks to install CCTV cameras at strategic locations that will, besides aiding security agencies, also monitor movements of dubious characters and drug peddlers. The move has been welcomed by all including shack owners,

‘Shacks Make Every Guest’s Holiday Complete’ CRUZ CARDOZO President, Shack Owners Welfare society

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Profits & problems he Shack Owners WelYes, there are opportunities to fare Society with over 350 earn, if people do business in members is undoubtedly the ethical way. But shack ownthe voice of shack owners ers also face a lot of problems in Goa. The association ensures including spiralling annual fee that its members follow not only hike, improper beach waste manthe tourism department guideagement, lack of proper policy lines, but also maintain a high for genuine shack owners, poor level of ethical code of conduct, infrastructure and lack of proper while highlighting a Goan experiillumination on the beach. ence to tourists that throngs its CCTV necessary beaches. The proposal of installing CCTV The President, Shack Owners facility is good as it will provide Welfare society, Cruz Cardozo, us with security and proof of legal who runs Pearl’s Shack in Caaveloperation. However the installalosim, south Goa feels shacks tion and maintenance should be provides much more than meets done by the tourism department, the eye. “We provide the as we inept to handle this reWarm & friendly best of service to all sponsibility. Earlier Drishti was “Shacks are integral part of the handed over this responsibilGoa Tourism experience and our customers. Sometimes but they didn’t make much make every tourists holiday domestic guests provide more ity headway. complete. We may welcome business than foreigners. Government support them as strangers, but see Our organisation has asked them off as friends, carryContrary to belief, we do the government to encourage ing with them unforgettable not discriminate among the traditional and genuine experiences. We endeavour to customers.” shack owners who have kept provide authentic Goan food, this profession going over the unique hospitality and friendly years. The rival association ambience that hotels may not be wants a lottery system for able to provide.” applications, which I think Since we want to provide a unique experience to is not right, he said. our guests we do not tie up with hotels. Besides politicising of the issue will only harm A wholesome experience Merely sitting at the shack overlooking the deep blue shack owners. How can they be traditional if they sea is an experience in itself. To add to this we have do not even have licences, he questioned. good food, drinks, entertainment and the unique No bias among guests Goan experience. Shacks are today much more than He denied that there was any bias in service and hospitality between foreigners, locals and domestic an exciting F&B experience. In fact, shacks today also provide entertainment tourists. “We provide the best of service to all our like beach parties with fire shows, fireworks, special customers. Sometimes domestic guests provide tables for small parties, beach weddings, beach beds, more business than foreigners. Contrary to belief, we do not discriminate among customers.” free wi-fi facility, beach volleyball tournaments etc.

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destination niche however they want the department to maintain and man the facility.

Focus on foreigners

One persistent complaint shack operators face is that they clamour to serve foreigners, often ignoring locals and domestic tourists. While the boisterousness, scant manners and holiday zeal is responsible for some domestic tourists being ignored at some shacks, most outlets do not openly display the bias attitude. Taking a stringent note of this the tourism department has issued a warning to shack owners that serious complaints could also result in revocation of licenses. However, the fact that many Indians now spend more than foreigners and their behaviour too has changed, such cases are on the decline.

‘Uniqueness should be preserved’ YASHWANT KANDOLKAR Bobby’s Shack, Candolim

Food and Beverage

While some tourists complain about the lack of quality beverages and extravagant menus, one should not forget that the shack is basically not an alternative to fine dining experience and on the contrary provides an exciting unique exhilarating experience in itself. Since the venue is the beach, seafood is high on every shack owner’s menu and obviously seafood is what draws many to these shacks.

Goan hospitality

Since shacks are run by Goans, they also display an aura of Goan hospitality. According to government officials and the Centre for Responsible Tourism (CRT), the primary recipient of all benefits in tourism must be the Goan host communities, that are basically inhabitants of the coast and are probably displaced by the tourism industry. The invitation to this set of people is to adjust to the new circumstances by setting up small businesses along the coast to compensate for their displacement from their occupations. 16

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Undue greed often leads to vices, which is why the shack-owners are often dogged with problems of drug peddling, prostitution and even organised crime. In most cases the shack owners have no role in what goes on in his shack or the beach-beds. Keepings t his in mind CCT V cameras will assist law enforcers and guests alike.

Sub-letting business

Rustic ambience

Shacks not only provide tourists with an interesting array of food and drinks, but also a place to refresh and to catch their breath before they head back to frolic in the water. As the structure is allowed for only six months, only natural material is used while constructing the shack and no concrete or other material damaging the landscape is allowed, which is why bamboo and palm leaves form the crux of building material..

Hovering vices

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obby’s Shack is among the most popular shacks in Candolim, north Goa, which is frequented by foreigners and locals alike primarily due to the friendly nature of the proprietor and staff alike. Yashwant Kandolkar who is into this business since 1993 feels that the uniqueness of the shacks should be preserved and tourists just cannot imagine Goan beaches without shacks. Those in the trade should come together, instead of being at loggerheads, he said referring to the rift between the rival, Traditional Shack Owners Association led by Manuel Cardozo, which has barely 45 members. He also pointed out that some owners were really not interested in running the allotted shacks and often covertly sublet. And since there is no proof, the Tourism Department cannot do anything to book the culprits. “The shack experience is becoming better by the day. We have different events for guests including groups, honeymoon couples, besides periodic barbeque nights, roast night s and enter tainment extravaganzas. Like at most shacks, seafood is high on our menu too,” he said, opining that the government should charge fees and monitor CCTV cameras them“The shack selves, without involving experience is the owners. becoming better by the Many also overday. We have different look the fact that shack s also pro events for guests including vide employment groups, honeymoon couples, and livelihood. I besides periodic barbeque have boys who are nights, roast nights with me for the past and entertainment 15-20 years, Yashwant extravaganzas.” pointed out.

Keeping the attractive economics in mind and perhaps proximity to some law-makers, reports of sub-letting by some shack owners have emerged time and again. Even cases of foreigners running shacks in a pseudo manner have come to fore. Though the government has vowed strict action, identifying and determining the offender is not an easy task. In fact one such case came up barely days after the new beach shack policy came into being, where the tourism department axed an allotee in Calangute for misrepresenting facts, while running another businesses elsewhere. In a statement tourism officials have reiterated that sub-letting will not be tolerated and have even banned foreign nationals with business visas from working in or running a sub-let shack.

Govt guidelines

The Goa government has laid down strict guidelines on waste management, environment standards, noise pollution, health and hygiene standards, facilities like change rooms for tourists, life guard etc. Shack owners have also advised self-regulation and crime monitoring etc. Installation of chemical toilets and proper disposal of garbage too have been insisted.

Enriching exchequer

The state government also fills its coffers by the revenue generated from shack owners. In fact, only the application of forms, valued at `9,000 per download enriches the tourism department to the tune of `87 lakh. Thereafter a licence fee of `45,000 and a security deposit of `30,000 adds about `2.58 crore to the government kitty. With so much at stake, besides the reputation of Goan hospitality, the government should ensure that the players in the trade play fair and that a strict vigil be maintained to ensure that beach tourism does not earn ill-repute.


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destination profile

Amitabh Bachchan’s

GUJARAT The popular and well received campaign “Khusboo Gujarat Ki” promoting destination Gujarat with legendary actor, Amitabh Bachchan as its brand ambassador has resulted in a significant increase of visitors to the state. The campaign effectively showcases the primary attractions of Gujarat that have been captured aesthetically and comprehensively. We take you through a pictorial presentation of the campaign that has successfully caught the attention of the foreign and domestic travellers as it explores a wide canvas of experiences indigenous to Gujarat.

An adventurous trip to the

Soak yourself in divine bliss at

Somnath

According to Puranic legend, Soma, the moon, was cursed by his father-in-law, Daksha Prajapati as Soma had married his twenty-seven daughters but favoured just one. Daksha Prajapati cursed him to have Soma’s brilliance consumed by the darkness of night. After praying at many holy places, Soma came here and worshipped Shiva for 4000 years. Shiva took pity on him and reduced the curse for only 15 days in a month. Overcome with gratitude, Soma erected a golden temple for Shiva over the previously existing Jyotirlinga.

Gir National Park

Being the last abode of the magnificent Asiatic Lions, Gir National Park also forms a unique habitat for many other peculiar species like the Indian spotted deer, the sambar - the largest of the Indian deer, the chausingha - the world’s only four-horned antelope, the blackbuck, wild cats, the rusty spotted cat, leopards, crocodiles, hyenas and other flora fauna.

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Unwind at

Mandvi Beach

Famous for its ship-building industr y and clean be ache s, Ma ndv i i s a charming port town that also makes for a good base to explore the southern stretch of Kutch. There are many heritage sites to explore around here and has attracted ships from as far as East Africa and Southeast Asia. This place has a nice stretch of blue beaches like the Mandvi beach, Wind Farm beach and Ravalpir beach.

Prag Palace

A 19th-century palace

This palace specially made by King Pragmalji in the 1860s, designed by Colonel Henry Saint Wilkins in the Italian Gothic style and built in the middle of Bhuj, next to the Aina Mahal. In the courtyard behind the palace, there is a small Hindu temple with nicely carved stonework. Inside the palace, you can visit the main palace halls as well as climb stairs of the 45m bell tower for an exhilarating view of the city.

Rann of Kutch

The abode of cultural celebrations

Kutch is one of India’s largest districts. Surrounded by the Arabian Sea and the salt-encrusted desert wilderness of the Rann of Kutch, the district is the last frontier of many crafts and traditions that have changed little over the centuries. It is highly recommended to experience Kutch during the colourful and exotic Rann Utsav. This annually organized festival offers an opportunity to visitors to attend folk dance and music concert, to watch artisans at work, to shop directly from NGOs, craftsmen and village co-operatives, to see the great historical monuments in the state and to visit places off the usual tourist trail.

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destination profile Dwarka

The ancient kingdom of Krishna

Considered one of the four most sacred Hindu pilgrimage sites in India, Dwarka is also the a ncient k in gdom of Krishna. It is believed to have been the first capital of Gujarat. Lord Krishna came to Dwarka from Mathura to build his new kingdom where he later spent a significant part of his life. Located at the western tip of the Saurashtra peninsula, this town enjoys remarkable importance in Hindu tradition. The Dwarkadish Temple, the Shrine of Meerabai, the Gomati Ghat Temples, the ISKCON Gate and Temple, the Nageshwar J yot hir lin ga Temple along with the beautiful island of Beyt Dwarka, sum up the beauty of Dwarka.

Adalaj: A unique ‘water building’

In 1499, Queen Rudabai, the wife of Veersinh, Chief of Vaghela, built this stepwell which is intrically designed and carved. The designs on the walls and pillars of this spectacular stepwell comprise leaves, flowers, birds, fish and other breathtaking ornamental patterns. This five-storey stepwell or vav as it is called in Gujarati was also a spiritual refuge. Meander along what was once home to weary travelers and a spot of mesmerizing beauty.

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Gandhi Ashram

The Grandeur of Gandhi

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was a major spiritual and political leader of India and her freedom movement. He is popularly known as `Mahatma’ and `Bapu’ in India and is revered as the Father of the Nation. Millions of Indian tourists visit Kirti Mandir in Porbandar, the house of the Mahatma and his wife Kasturba. Kirti Mandir has a Gandhian library and a prayer hall. Mahatma Gandhi studied at M. K. Gandhi Vidyalaya, formerly known as Alfred High School, located at Rajkot. On a quiet stretch of the river Sabarmati, 7 km north of Ahmedabad, Mahatma Gandhi set up the Sabarmati Ashram, a simple retreat in 1915.


destination Porbandar Best known as the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi

On October 2, 1869, Mahatma Gandhi was born in a 3-storey blue haveli in the city of Porbandar, where his father, uncle and grandfather had all been prime ministers to the Jethwa Rajput rulers of the princely state. The city had been a prosperous trading centre for centuries, conducting commerce with Arabian and Persian Gulf countries, as well as East Africa, under the Mughals, the Marathas and the British. The places to see around here are the Kirti Mandir, the Manek Chowk, the Sudamapuri Temple and the Porbandar Bird Sanctuary.

Ambaji Temple

A principal shrine of Goddess Sati

Ambaji is an important temple town with millions of devotees visiting every year. The Temple is believed to be one of the 51 Shakti Peethas and is several centuries old. Shakti Peethas are those places where the various parts of Sati’s body fell after she sacrificed herself in the holy pyre, when her father, King Daksh had insulted her husband Lord Shiva. Her heart is believed to have fallen where the Ambaji Temple stands today. Situated on the Arasur Hill and often referred to as Arasuri Amba, lies the beautiful Ambaji Temple. This is the principal shrine of a Goddess who has been worshiped since the pre-Vedic period. To reach the shrine, one can either climb 999 steps up to the hills or travel by a trolley.

Dholavira A key city of the Indus Valley Civilization

Situated in the corner of a large island called Khadir in the Great Rann, Dholavira is one of the five major cities of the Indus Valley Civilization that prospered on the Indian sub-continent. The site was unearthed by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) in 1967, but has been systematically excavated only since 1990. The artifacts found here include terracotta pottery, beads, gold and copper ornaments, seals, fish hooks, animal figurines, tools, urns, and some imported vessels that indicate trade links with lands as far away as Mesopotamia.

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through the lens

A Week

SINGA On t he rooftop of

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through the lens

in Paradise

A swimmer takes a break to indulge in the breathtaking view from the world’s highest swimming pool situated atop the Marina bay sands hotel.

APORE Ma r i na Bay Sa nds

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through the lens

A

s the taxi took the exit for Marina Bay Sands from the Changi Airport expressway, I realized that I was positively jet lagged from the long journey coming in from Auckland, New Zealand. Singapore has always been one of my preferred cities and not wanting to waste any time, I thought it best to reach the hotel, take a quick dip in the pool to refresh so as to make the most of the rest of the day. After completing the formalities, I went straight to Sands Skypark, located on level 57. In an instant I was awed by the breath-taking view of the city skyline. It was still early in the day at 5:45am and I was lucky to catch the site of dawn breaking in the sky with its velvety blue colour mixing with the colours of illuminated buildings of Singapore’s skyline and the coral blue water of the large Infinity pool which was mirroring the reflection of the sky and the skyline. The Skypark also features an observation deck and bars and restaurants, including the popular KU DÉ TA serving Modern Asian cuisine. The view itself was enough to recharge energy levels and the visual too tempting to capture. Within minutes I had setup my camera and was ready to freeze this magical moment. Stretching an impressive 150mts across Sands Skypark, the stunning outdoor Infinity Pool designed by renowned architect Moshe Safdie is the world’s larg-

est at this height. It factfile opens daily from Marina Bay Sands 6am to 11pm, offer10 Bayfront Avenue ing guests enough Singapore 018956 opportunity to soak Telephone: +65 6688 8868 in the sites and reEmail: room.reservations@ lax pool side. By marinabaysands.com 6am, one could see guests flocking to the pool ready to swim and take pictures to save these memories for themselves. Swimming in the infinity pool was in itself a thrilling experience. At one point it does seem like you are going to fall off the edge and you get the sense of height when you see the roof of the mighty skyscrapers below you, but of course, it is very safe and the water from the pool spills into a second reservoir beneath it. Several fullgrown Palm trees provide shade all along the infinity pools and Skypark. There are also dozens of chaise lounges all along the deck where one can order sandwiches, salads and more from the Club. Some chaise lounges are even directly in the pool, under a waterfall while others are placed in the centre of the pool where people hang out. There is a small children’s pool on the side and a shop should you need to pick up sunscreen, flip flops or even a brand new bathing suit. The Skypark and pool are open only to guests of the hotel. Text & photographs by TANMOY DAS

Swimming across the skyline of singapore at the infinity pool.

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heritage tours

Ye Olde Style –Reinvented

River Tours

Text and photographs by HUGH & COLLEEN GANTZER

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e’ve just re-lived a fabulous Raj-era experience. Actually it wa s pre-Raj: created by the nabobs of the John Company, Those early expats were realists. They refused to adhere to the oppressive clothes and lifestyles of their, over-populated, island-kingdom. Instead, they very wisely, copied the leisurely manners of the Moghul grandees and called themselves the nabobs. In their preferred months, they,

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and their memsahibs and babalogs and a handful of essential servants, boarded large barges called budgerows to cruise, slowly, down the cool waters of the Ganga. Whenever something interesting on the banks caught their eye, the budgerows were stopped, their passengers crossed over in their towed-along country boats, and explored. This, undoubtedly, led to the creation of local trading settlements and a further expansion of the East India Company. Later,

appreciably later, after George Stephenson invented the steam locomotive, and the railways began to web our land, the river tours were forgotten. Now they have been reincarnated in a modern avatar. Over four teen days on the R.V. Sukapha, we discovered that a river tour could become great way for our movers and shakers, to experience the India that lies beyond their Drawing Rooms. And they could do so without changing their lifestyles: the cruise ships are sophisticated boutique hotels. Or

rather, those of the Assam Bengal Navigation Company certainly are. The majority of our fellow passengers were retired Brits on a nostalgia trip. They pottered around an old cemetery, oohed and aahed at a mansion built by a young ‘Company’ official, and re-lived the Brit victory at Plassey. They marvelled at the terracotta temples of Bengal and what one of them described as “The astounding achievement of a united, multi-ethnic, polyglot India embracing a rainbow of faiths” Then she added ruefully, “In our small island the Scots are deter-


mined to break away!” Friendly conversations often reveal more than fervid debates, and the atmosphere on board, encourages such informed discussions. Nevertheless, while these interactions were revealing, we looked beyond post colonial nostalgia and foreign visitors. We saw the enormous potential of such river tours for high-end domestic tourists. Here, in the world’s most significant river valley, civilizations had evolved and every era had left its indelible mark on our people resulting in our enormous diversity. A professor in our group was curious about a sun-drying clay idol showing a triumphant Kali standing on a prone Siva. He asked “Do the people of the East, and their Mother- Goddess culture, really resent the dominant North? Lord Siva is Lord of the northern mountains, isn’t he?” Wishful thinking by a former colonial? Or a prescient interpretation?

(Above) The Mansion of the East India Company’s Officer AGUSTUS CLEVELAND. (Right) Discussions in the Saloon. (Below) Our convoy of cycle rickshaws: tourism at the grass roots.

Thanks to the IT revolution, there is a tectonic shift in traditional mind-sets. Driving through one town in Bihar we were struck by the enormous number of signboards advertising tutorial classes for aspirants to the IAS and the Central Services. There were an equal number of other hoardings offering English, particularly Spoken English, classes. Was this backward Bihar? We rolled and pitched in the wake of enormous coal barges carrying fuel to great thermal power stations. Soaring electric pylons, straddled broad green fields like Titans, stretched their humming cables across the river. In a town which boasted an ‘English Bazaar’, where Brit planters once traded in Indigo, a burgeoning plastic re-processing industry has grown. There were a surprising number of excellent newly-laid roads which, along with a building boom, conveyed a vibrant sense of aspiration. This was far from the negative image of Bihar and Bengal spouted by self-serving netas. We would like the cruise to be marketed as Discover the Hidden East specifically targeting our, socalled “creamy layer”. It should be promoted as a cruise of leisurely discovery. Influential Indians generally meet each other in a highly charged, and brittle, environment. On board, the atmosphere is quite different. Everyone is on a first-name standing from the very start. In the Saloon. Social barriers break down and there is an easy exchange of ideas and experiences which is the essence of creative thinking. Corporate honchos often

rely on inputs filtered up through layers of opinionated juniors. On the cruise, however, they will encounter the raw potential of the often-neglected East, directly. These pooled experiences will generate a cross-fertilization of ideas in the convivial atmosphere of the Saloon every evening, The cruise will also benefit aspiring young administrators. Every year, the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration has a Bharart Darshan tour for its probationers. The LBSNAA should seriously consider chartering this ship for an annual 14-day cruise of two relay tours of 7 days each. We visualize these as strictly instructional and experiential, curricular, tours to expose our future administrators to the high potential of these two misunderstood states seen from the unifying perspective of the river. The view of the states from the Ganga is very different from that evoked on a road-rail tour. There are no divisive police or tax barriers that tell travellers that they have crossed borders. The transition between one district and the

next is imperceptible and the river does not recognize such artificial distinctions. The Ganga gives an essentially Indic, a holistic, image of this ancient and fertile land and its people. The divisive obsessions of politicians seem to be lost in the morning mist that softens the waterscapes in a seamless unity. This is very important, particularly in the India emerging out of the current political churning. The British were able to conquer India because they pitted one interest group against another. While 18th century Indians saw themselves as stratified into several distinct principalities, castes, communities and faiths, the Brits saw India as a single, rich, sub-continental land, ripe for exploitation. They pitted their holistic view of India against our own divisive and fractured, image of our land. Their view prevailed. They succeeded in developing India for their specific needs. This is, exactly, what we must do for our own, 21st century, vision of our land. We must, for our survival, rediscover the unified View From the River. January 2014 GO NOW

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Skiers enjoy the 500-meter long lift at the Auli Skiing Resort, which carries them to the top of the slope.

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he newly-healed Uttarakhand is taking the adventure route to beckon tourists back to its green vales. After almost a quarter of a century, the state is bringing motorsport back on its tourism calendar to boost confidence among tourists, and woo them to its tourism hotspots again. In the second half of December, the state government is all set to host the Uttarakhand Adventure Car Rally. About 70 rallyists from all parts of the country will go across about 1,000 kms in the mountain state as part of the rally. The purpose of the rally is to spread the message nationally and internationally that life is throbbing in the mountain state again, the roads are good, and holiday fun is calling. The Uttarakhand Adventure Car Rally will have 35 teams driving cars and SUVs. Each team will comprise a driver and a navigator. In order to ensure that there are no traffic disruptions, Uttarakhand Adventure Car Rally will follow the Time- Speed-Distance (TSD) format. This is the sober form of motorsport that allows competitors to go slow in populous areas, and stick to specified speed limits at all times. Skiers go down the world-class snow-covered slopes at the Auli Ski Resort near Joshimath in Uttarakhand. The 3-km long slope ranging from a height of 3,049 meters to 2,519 meters is comparable with some of the best skiing slopes across the world. The ideal season for skiing here is from December to March

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Newly-healed Uttarakhand takes adventure route to beckon tourists


high adventure The Uttarakhand Adventure Car Rally will touch some of the most beautiful tourist hotspots of the state. It will begin from Dehradun on December 22 and move via Dev Prayag, Karan Prayag, Rudra Prayag and Nand Prayag to the ski resort at Auli. With newlylaid out, smooth roads, the picturesque drive leads to the celebrated snow-tops, a delight for skiers and sight-seeing. On the way is Shivpuri, which draws huge domestic and foreign tourism for

white water rafting. On Day Two, the rally will come down from Auli to Ramnagar, which flanks the Jim Corbett National Wildlife Park, again a tourist hotspot. On Day Three, the rally will end at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA), Mussoorie. Uttarakhand Secretary Tourism UK Panwar said that the rally marks the resurgence of tourism in the state. “Uttarakhand has world-class holiday destinations

for families and youth alike. The roads are good again, and we invite all tourists to enjoy the unique holiday experience here,” he said. The rally is being organized by the Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board. The Uttarakhand Adventure Car Rally brings the mountain state on the motorsport calendar of the country after 23 years. The internationally-popular Himalayan Rally was the last motorsport event on these winding mountain

“Uttarakhand has world-class holiday destinations for families and youth alike. The roads are good again, and we invite all tourists to enjoy the unique holiday experience here.” UK PANWAR Secretary Tourism, Uttarakhnd

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travel icon

White water rafting on the popular stretch from Shivpuri to Kaudiyala in the Ganga

roads. Uttarakhand Adventure Car Rally adds to the state’s adventure tourism calendar, along with skiing, mountaineering, white water rafting and mesmerizing encounters in the wildlife parks. Uttarakhand Adventure Car Rally is being organized by Himalayan Motorsport. This is the premier Shimla-based motorsport club which organizes the Raid De Himalaya, one of the top-ten toughest rallies of the world. Uttarakhand Adventure Car Rally is being supported by Maruti Suzuki and JK Tyres. Vijay Parmar, the president of

Himalayan Motorsport, said that after the hugely popular Himalayan Rally, motorsport is being re-started in Uttarakhand on a small scale. “Motorsport has great potential to grow in Uttarakhand, and will showcase its excellent tourism destinations nationally and internationally. The state has a super network of roads, and more roads are being constructed in highly picturesque locales. In 2014, the Uttarakhand Rally may become the premium round of the Indian National Rally Championship (TSD format),” he said.

A rally vehicle on the drive up to the Auli Ski Resort

filefact

The Ganga at Shivpuri calls the tourists for white water rafting

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A pleasant skiing destination of the Himalayan Mountains of Uttarakhand, Auli lies on the way to Badrinath and is blessed with a breathtaking panoramic view of the lofty ranges of the Himalaya. The skiing season goes on from December till March. Tour package from Delhi to Auli via Rishikesh by A1 Tours and Travels takes you through the cultural beauty of Rishikesh to the chilly winds of Auli. A 4 Nights/5Days trip includes visit to Devprayag (confluence of river Alaknanda and Bhagirathi) and Rudraprayag (confluence of river Alaknanda and Mandakini) along with skiing at slops of Himalaya when you reach Auli. Going back to Delhi, on your way you can again visit Rishikesh and join Ganga Aarti at Trivani Ghat. The package is priced in three levels, deluxe, Sup deluxe and premium. The price for deluxe package starts at `12,880 per person for a couple, and the sup deluxe begins at `14,720 for a couple. Further, the Premium package starts at `19,210 for a couple.


Amazing Thailand, Amazing Romance

The Peninsula Bangkok Tourism Authority of Thailand New Delhi Office: B - 9/1A, (GF) Vasant Vihar, New Delhi 110057 Tel: 91-11-46741111, 41663567-9 | Fax: 91-11-41663570 Email: tatdel@tat.or.th Tourism Authority of Thailand Mumbai Office: 45 Free Press House, 4th Floor, 215 Free Press Journal Marg, Nariman Point, Mumbai 400021 | Tel: 91-22-22042727-8 Fax: 91-22-22042729 | Email: tatmumbai@tat.or.th

Facebook.com/Tourismauthorityofthailandindia Twitter.com/ThaiAmazesYou January 2014 GO NOW 31


destination profile

MACAU A Marvelous Melange

of East & West Ruins of St Paul’s

People lighting incense at A-Ma Temple

Macau Bridge

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With its glitzy casinos, branded shopping, world heritage buildings and delicious cuisine, Macau is like visiting two continents – Asia and Europe – for the price of one! Text and photographs by NEETA LAL


heritage collection

I

stand here at the visually arresting (but oh-so-crowded) Senado Square in downtown Macau. Its striking pavements, a spectacular collage of handlaid, multi-hued limestone pieces, seem to spread like waves of water currents around me. The atmospheric quotient here is pretty high, augmented further by the surround sound of shoppers haggling with pliable shopkeepers, hawkers selling food (mostly dried meats), frisky kids with mammas in tow, locals going briskly about their business and the irksome kamikaze traffic that ambushes you from nowhere and everywhere! Walking through Macau’s cobblestone-paved and narrow alleyways, I’m transported to the hilly streets of Italy or Spain. Until of course, I spot a street sign in Cantonese with a corresponding Portuguese translation, next to a Chinese bakery selling Portuguese egg tarts! A mélange of new China, medieval Europe and sparkly Las Vegas, eclecticism is clearly the overarching narrative in Macau. A former Portuguese colony in southern China, the city is tiny – with barely half a million people. But it boasts of a big past, and an apparently even a bigger future, thanks to gambling, tourism and its over-the-top-ness. For centuries, Macau was a Portuguese colony till 1999 when it came under China as a Special Administrative Region. Eager to ex-

A statue in Senado Square

perience the city’s West-meets-East culture, I strolled into the heart of Old Macau. Portuguese traders first arrived on these shores in 1557 and their cultural legacy is remarkably manifested even to this day. Interestingly, in the 16th Century, China gave Portugal the right to settle in Macau in exchange for clearing the area of pirates under strict Chinese administration. Macau thus ended up being the first European settlement in the Far East. As the first and last European colony in Asia, the city has more visible colonial history than any other Asian city I’ve visited. As I amble through Macau’s squares, exploring its churches, temples, museums and heritage buildings,

the distinct imprimatur of Portuguese and Chinese characteristics is ostensible. Macau Peninsula is small, compact and full of things to discover. The city is also hilly, but I’m happy to struggle up and down steep lanes and steps in the interest of a good photo-op. Especially in the old city, the streets are particularly labyrinthine and you’ll most likely get lost at some stage, which is – as per my experience – part of the fun of exploring Macau! Old Macau is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With its historic street, residential, religious and public Portuguese and Chinese buildings, the historic centre of Macao provides a unique testimony to

the meeting of esthetic, cultural, architectural and technological influences from East and West, UNESCO says. “The site also contains a fortress and a lighthouse, the oldest in China. It bears witness to one of the earliest and longest-lasting encounters between China and the West, based on the vibrancy of international trade.” Despite boasting of so much cultural history, I found Macau to be remarkably easy to get around in. I veer towards A-Ma Temple, a Taoist temple built in 1488, the oldest and most famous in Macau at the base of Barra Hill at the western end of the Historic Centre of Macao. One of Macau’s main attractions, the entire temple complex January 2014 GO NOW

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destination profile is built in dark wood and emblazoned with red. And at any given point in time, it has throngs of people praying here. The air around the temple is suffused with a cloying smell of incense. But I learnt to ignore this distraction after a while witnessing the fervor of the devotees who were praying here, eyes closed, bodies bent in reverence! Outside the temple’s precincts, pretty much like all Indian temples, the ubiquitous commercemeets-culture syndrome is evident. Hawkers do brisk business selling ice-creams, knick knacks, souvenirs, clothes... As its getting pretty warm now, I pick up an icelolly to cool myself, sit down on a stone bench and reflect on the day’s proceedings. Refreshed, I move to my next destination: the famed statue of the Bodhisatta Avalokitesvara located next to the sea near the Sands Casino and MGM Grand. What’s most striking about this work of art is despite being a Chi-

A kiosk at A-Ma temple

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nese deity, the statue is distinctly European in design and resembles any of the statues of Virgin Mary one encounters across Europe. One night post dinner I walked to Taipa Village, an old settlement on Taipa Island near the Cotai Strip. Although it was a bit of a walk from my hotel (the Holiday Inn), the journey delivered a double whammy. It gave me an opportunity to soak in the twinkling neon montage that Macau transforms itself into at night. Stunning! The Holiday Inn Macao Cotai Central, I’m told, is the world’s largest Holiday Inn. It boasts of 1,224 spacious and comfortable guestrooms and suites, and features a pool deck, health club and tranquil gardens. With a capacity to host large groups, and access to the extensive meeting space of Sands Cotai Central, the hotel offers a dedicated meetings floor with 69 breakout rooms, the latest in audiovisual equipment and video-conferencing facilities, and a modern,

fully equipped business centre. The entire area around Taipa Village is chockfull of quaint family-run Portuguese and Macanese restaurants. A walk along Rua do Cunha (one of the cobblestone side streets), gives me an opportunity to pick up interesting souvenirs. The Taipa House Museum and Church of Our Lady of Carmel are also situated here, giving this colonial-era town the look of a place frozen in time. The next day, I begin my explorations with “new” Macau, a refreshing contrast to the medievalness of the old city. What could be a better spot for that then the 1,109-foot tall Macau Tower? The tower offers some of the most enthralling views of the city. Unsurprisingly, hundreds of camera-toting tourists are milling around the tower. Thrill seekers are walking gingerly on Skywalk X, the outer rim of the tower with only a tether and no handrail. The more courageous, of course, can be seen

bungee jumping off the tower, the second highest in the world after the Vegas’ Stratosphere sky jump. The Monte Fort overlooking the mainland section of Macau is another must-visit place for first timers. Built by the Jesuits, between 1617 and 1626, it serves as a reminder of the long history of armed conflict here, and that cultural exchanges often were punctuated by cannon balls. As Macau is compact, most of its sites can be accessed during a day’s visit. There’s a frequent and reasonably priced ferry service all day long from Hong Kong; the trip takes a little more than an hour on the modern, comfortable, highspeed vessels and costs about $20. Though Macau has its own currency, Hong Kong dollars and even Chinese money are readily accepted. Leveraging this facility, I emptied out all my yuan from a recent trip to China to pick up gifts for family and friends! After a day of basking in the


destination profile Facade of Venetian Hotel, which boasts of the largest casino in the world

filefact HOW TO GET THERE All major airlines fly to Hong Kong from India. Frequent ferries operating from Hong Kong get to Macau in about an hour and charge US $20. WHERE TO STAY Macau offers a range of hotels in all categories, tariff stating from `5,000 going up to thousands per night. There are also B&B options in old Macau which offer a comfortable stay and home-style meals at about US$ 75. But these are few and far between, and one is advised to book in advance. WHAT TO EAT Macau is a melting pot of various cultures offering Portuguese, Chinese, Macanese and continental fare at various price points to suit all pockets. Street food is clean and hygienic and you can gorge for about `300 on a variety of things. Charming eateries in central Macau offer good fare at reasonable prices. For high-class dining, head towards five-star diners all along Cotai Strip.

sun, and appreciating 16th century architecture along the UNESCO World Heritage path throughout the city, I strolled towards Cotai Strip’s opulent hotel/casinos. They offer a nice place to relax. You may watch a show here or gamble your money away. I did both. Unable to resist the jangling slot machines, I tried my hand at them and managed to win a princely $ 50! Beginner’s luck, perhaps? I was also invited for an Alicia Keys concert here. The sonorous singer – who was on her ‘Set The World on Fire’ tour – regaled us for three hours with her chartbusters. Another highlight of my trip was a press conference with the legendary but retired footballer David Beckham who had come down for a business trip to Macau. Beckham fielded questions – from both his personal and professional life – with candor, albeit amidst much ooh-ing and aah-ing from his female fan following in the audience! Macau is nothing if not a gambling haven. Also known as `Asia’s Monte Carlo’, or the ‘Las Vegas of the East’, this tiny territory is the new giant of the casino industry. However, these days, Macau is four times bigger than Vegas. It is home to the world’s largest casino – the Venetian – a kitschy version of Venice, complete with singing gondoliers. This Venetian’s gambling areas cover more than 5,50,000 square feet of floor space. And on a good day, it handles a whopping 1,20,000 visitors, which may well be the population of an entire town in some countries.

The casino in this Venetian hotel, I’m told, is thrice the size of the largest casino in Vegas, and the hotel itself is the second largest building in the world. You won’t run out of things to do here though. The Venetian has multiple pools, a 15,000-seat arena, a Cirque du Soleil show and even a mini-golf course. There are other world-class hotels and casinos in Macau such as Wynn Macau, MGM Grand, Sands Macau, Galaxy Mega resort, The Grand Lisboa and many more. Aside from the tourism, Macau’s main source of income its casinos. “Chinese people love gambling, so they love to come to Macau,” Jig Chan, a Fujian entrepreneur at a food kiosk near Cotai Strip tells me. “There’s a lot of illegal gambling on the mainland. But it’s safer to play here and people come to have fun. The Chinese don’t get to do this kind of stuff at home.” As the only place in the People’s Republic of China where gambling is permitted, Macau is a popular destination for Chinese who enjoy gambling. As of 2012, gambling revenue in Macau was five times that of Las Vegas, although you wouldn’t know at first glance. Unlike the crowded Las Vegas Strip, Macau’s casinos are scattered all across the city. Apart from gambling, Macau is also a foodie heaven. I hit a jackpot exploring Central Macau which is littered with tiny eateries offering delicious food. Every casino hotel worth its salt too, has a fancy Cantonese seafood restaurant where you can blow

away your gambling winnings on abalone and shark’s fin soup! The city is rich in street food too. I slurped up juicy noodles at hole-in-the-wall dining establishments at extremely wallet-friendly prices, nibbled on curry fish ball sticks at vendor stalls, sunk my teeth into the most exquisite desserts at tiny cafes and chomped on pork chop buns. The latter is basically the Macanese version of a ‘hamburger’ – a slice of freshly fried pork (often with a few chunks of bone left) with a dash of pepper sandwiched inside a freshly-baked bun. Macanese cuisine is distinctive, employing local ingredients that have been adapted over the centuries to recreate the authentic taste of Portugal. For those scrunched for time, or simply curious, little kiosks and storefronts offer scrumptious stand-up snacks. If you have a sweet tooth, Macau will surely give you a gastronomic high! The city’s iconic almond cookies are also a top souvenir as they’re compact, durable, easy to carry back home and sold pretty much everywhere. But beware, these deceptive Chinese-style biscuits, flavoured with almonds, can be quite addictive! A visit to Macau is filled with eclectic diversions that make it a fun destination in Asia. Soak up its rich and diverse culture and history, stuff yourself silly with its street food, followed by Portuguese egg tarts for dessert. Or party the night away and try your hand at the tables. Either ways, Macau should definitely be on your ‘must-seebefore-I-die’ list. January 2014 GO NOW

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bars & lounges

A TALE OF THE

GREAT BARS

Delhi bar scene can take you from a sophisticated tranquil place, to a place where people interact during wine clubs. Some bars in the capital even offer those selections which are no more in manufacturing, thus beckoning more clients. GoNow takes you around the chic bars of the capital, updating you with all their offerings and how great décor adds heavily to the wine & dine experience. Rubicon, The Leela Ambience, Gurgaon “The design of Rubicon is to give secluded experience to the guests where they can get some relaxation post work” says Sanjeev Kapoor, Executive Assistant Manager, Food & Beverage. Taking pride in the interiors of the bar which are delicately designed, Kapoor says, “Rubicon is one such bar in the Delhi/NCR region which is highly elegant with high arm chairs, Italian marble all over the space and the interiors done by Hirsh Bedne, who is the designer of the hotel as well.” Apart from the private space given to each guest there is a private area in the bar, where one can hold their cloistered parties.

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The whole feel of the bar is more relaxed and private as compared to the other bars we visited (our verdict). One can come here post or pre dinner or after you are over with a banquet function to grab your share of peace. Explaining the design element further, Kapoor says “the entire wood that you can see in Rubicon is from Japan. Also the designing and the styling that you see, like delicate refined flower patterns are the same that are being used in Spectra (Leela Ambience’ multi-cuisine restaurant), which I would say is a signature Leela style.” What Rubicon serves is a great variety of malts from Scotland. Also they have good selections of Cognac from France and vod-

JANUARY WHAT’S HOT On Purchase of 2 Small Drinks of Chivas 12 YO a consumer will be offered choice of scratch cards. The scratch cards will have following choices: Grand Prize: Chance to win a luxury Trail (At the end of the activity). One winner across North Key Accounts, bluetooth speakers, Wireless Mouse, Chivas branded Note pads, Chivas Pens and 30 ML drink of Chivas 12YO. The consumers will get one of the 5 options above after consumption of two 30 ml Drinks of Chivas. The outlet staff will fill coupons. The draw will be done in January and the winners will travel in Mar/Apr. Winners can choose from one of the Luxury Destinations from London, Milan and Paris.

kas- which they specialise in. The selection of vodkas is from France, Germany, Down South, Argentina, South Africa etc. “We do special cocktails, which is a signature part of the bar. Our practice is not to turn this bar into a beer garden. What we are looking forward is to cater to those who have got more refined taste and enjoy sophisticated ambience”, comments Kapoor. Also we got to talk to the Executive Chef, Ramon Salto Alvarez who explained us how the menu which is served at the bar, actually contributes in attracting more patrons. “At Rubicon we will work into Tapas menu. You will have assortment of delicacies like guacamole, nachos with salsa and more. You will also get dishes from Spain where ever ything will be in mini sizes like mini pizzas etc. Also we have salads and Mexican tacos. The food we serve here comes with a purpose. We want the guests to enjoy eating comfortably while talking to their friends. So the size of these snacks are intentionally kept handy”, says Alvarez. “The prices at Rubicon are actually above average. Here we have maximum number of clienteles coming from US and UK and they understand their single malts and cognacs” says Kapoor. A single Malt can cost you around `600-700, where a good 50 year old malt can cost up to `25,000.


Island Bar Shangri-La’s - Eros Hotel

Island Bar is a wine connoisseur’s delight, offering Delhi’s most extensive selection of wines and spirits. Basically Island Bar does wide selection of malts, followed by scotch and other spirits like vodka, gin, rum, International cigars and an array of non-alcoholic beverages and appetizers. Apart from their offerings they also conduct wine clubs which is the hottest trend JANUARY of the Capital. Saur av Kuma r Dey, WHAT’S HOT Service Manager, Island Bar will have a three Island Bar expiece live band performance plains “apart from from Thursday to Saturday in serving the best of the entire month of January. wine & spirits, we also conduct wine clubs which is lead by Magandeep Singh, India’s first French-certified sommelier. At this club he tells people interesting facts about different kinds of wine, like its taste, its USP, what snack would go best with that wine etc. Also this club is like an interactive session for those in the know get to interact with each other.” Leese Robertson Freeman Designers Ltd from Hong Kong has done the interiors of Island Bar. Why ‘Island Bar’ as the name, you ask? The designers have created an idyllic island, with all the features of an island getaway. A sure tranquil relief to the patrons! Also there are some drinks, which Island Bar specialises in. Dey says “We specialise in drinks like mojito followed by an interesting concoction of a martini.” Dey also has a sharp eye to observe the alcohol trend in the bar, where he has distinguished the dining trends of domestic client from that of a foreign patron. “Straight drinks like a scotch is most popular among local clients. As far as patrons from abroad are concerned, it all depends on the country they belong to. For example, a person hailing from Britain or Australia would go for gin and tonic” says Dey. A Chateau Petrus, Merlot; Bordeaux, Vintage 1996 would cost `27,500 (750 ml), Richard Hennessy is for `20,000 Plus tax (60ml) and a Single Malt, Balvenie 30Yrs for `7,500 Plus tax (60ml). However a single malt will start from `700 approx and will go up to `3,000.

Nero, Le Meridien

Bobby Mukherji, who has designed the bar, Nero, has certainly done an amazing work in bringing out the sophistication, making it one of the mostfrequented bars among the business and leisure travellers. Interiors which ooze extravagance and luxury have the Italian furniture and decor as the reason which is from the brand Potocco. Rohit Sharma, Assistant Manager, Nero, says “We are the Gold Rated bar by Whiskey Magazine, London and that’s why we are predominately heavy in whiskey selection like we serve Ladyburn, which are no more in manufacturing. We also serve Balvenie Vintage Cask 30 to Louis XIII, which is a very prestigious cognac. Then apart from these rare selection we do serve, Johnnie Walker, Blue Label, and others.” Also according to Sharma, Nero is the most reasonably priced hotel bar in the town. He says “A single malt which is 12 years old will cost you `550 plus taxes.” Regarding the drinking trends at Nero, Sharma says “At Nero, international travellers are observed trying Indian beers like Kingfisher Premium and the local travellers are seen preferring single malts and whiskies. We are

in north India and people here have a liking towards smokey whiskey like a blended scotch. People are gradually seen moving from Glenfiddich to the smokier choices. We have also seen popularity of Japanese whiskey gaining pace at Nero like Yamazaki, a 130-yearold distillery. It costs around `900 plus taxes for 30 ml.” What Nero promotes is Mediterranean cuisine along with the drinks. It can be a chicken skewers, broad beans, wasabi etc. “We aim at serving healthy accompaniments along with the drinks, plus they should also compliment the drink you are having. For example spicy snack will kill the taste of a whiskey. We also customise snacks according to the liking of the patrons”, explains Sharma.

JANUARY WHAT’S HOT Nero doesn’t have anything special for the month of January but they do have Nero Hours where special clienteles get the offers like buy two get one free, buy two and get three free and buy four or more and get the same number of drinks free. Timings: 11 am to 1 am

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????????

JANUARY Rick’s The Taj Mahal Hotel Rick’s is situated at the lobby level, designed on the lines of the legendary movie ‘Casablanca’ where the lead character showcases the finest of the wines. Situated at the Lobby level, a chic and plush ambience elevating the term luxury to a whole new level, Rick’s stand tall with its classy style with parquet floors and upper deck lounges to suit your mood. May it be a business meet, a quick drink with your friends or a party, Rick’s has it all, to please you. “Ricks has been the entertain-

ment hub for guests who relish an enjoyable experience at a classic and luxurious lounge housing an exquisite range of finest labels of wine, whiskey and malts, delectable South East Asian and Malaysian cuisine and outstanding music’’, says Pankaj Balachandran, Manager – Ricks, The Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi. “At Rick’s you are in for a surprise with Varun, our head mixologist mixing you his secret untold recipes behind the bar. Sip away to some extravagant cocktails and the cuisine of south East Asian straight from the Wok. Don’t miss

the guava berry Martini, the Espresso Martini and the Malay pepper chicken is a sure shot. A few other classics offered at Ricks are the Popia Rolls, Cheese Poppers, Basil Chicken and many more”, adds Balachandran. The Glenfiddic 40 years is priced at `42,000 plus taxes for 60ml. Br uichladdich 40YO is priced at `38,000 plus taxes and Glen Farclas 1954, Girvan 1964 and Ladynurn 1973 touches the `20,000 plus taxes price ceiling. Rick’s also boasts of its unique cognac collection which includes Richard Hennessy which is priced

The Bar Trident Gurgaon

“Arched doorways lead to The Bar, where sophisticated décor creates the perfect ambience for a relaxed drink or an informal meeting’’, says Ramandeep Kapur, Assistant Manager, Food & Beverage Service, Trident Gurgaon. “It is not just the design and décor, but the attention to detail in the service by the well trained staff makes your experience truly unique”, he adds. The menu at The Bar is well researched and extensive menu. The selection has been made of the most premium spirits therefore showcasing only the best to our

JANUARY WHAT’S HOT The Bar has a spirit based or ingredient based showcase every month. With delightful music and a fine gourmet selection, The Bar is the place to be for either an intimate evening or a formal business meeting. Every Friday and Saturday Jazz nights takes place where unlimited spirits with canapés and live Jazz music is served for `1,425. Bar Timings: 9 am to 1 am

WHAT’S HOT In the month of January, The Taj Mahal Hotel will be giving life to the 18th century shrubs with the old classic recipes tweaked with a dash of homemade vinegar. You can choose to create your masterpiece with our home made wine vinegar infused with herbs, spices and fruits or enjoy the classic bloody Mary with tomato vinegar. Apart from this, ladies can enjoy every Saturday with the Ladies Night at `1,500 (all inclusive).

at `30,000 plus taxes and Remy Martin Louis XIII which is priced at `27,000 plus taxes for 60 ml. discerning guests. “The menu highlights are – Aperitifs and Bitters, Single malt whiskeys – Balvenie 30, Glenfiddich 12yrs, 15yrs, 18 yrs, 21yrs, Highland whiskeys like Oban, Talisker an Island malt, Scotch Whiskeys – Johnnie walker blue label and King George V, Irish Whiskeys, American whiskeys, Japanese Whiskeys – Miyagikyou and Yoichi, After dinner drinks – Sherry, cognac – Hennessey XO, Hennesey VSOP, Grappa, Armagnac, Chabot and Brandies to name a few’’mentions Kapur. A Dalvenie – 30 years is for `4,025 plus taxes for 30 ml, whiskeys will cost from `375 to `4,025 plus taxes and wine will cost `525 to `595 by glass. The light bite sized snack menu at the Bar has a delicious array of Indian and International bites like Mince Samosas and Kebabs. Continental bruschetta’s, Cheese Crostinis, Chicken Nuggets , Stir fried chicken lemon grass, Grilled prawn with curry leaf and freshly made California Maki rolls. by ANUPRIYA BISHNOI

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bars & lounges

THE AMERICAN WINE TRAIL Tasting and mixology sessions reaches Delhi

T

he Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) conducted the second edition of the American Whiskey tasting sessions at the Olive Bar & Kitchen in New Delhi to share the true spirit of the beverage with the capital city. This is part of a multicity campaign by DISCUS in India to promote American whiskies in the country. Beam Inc., the fourth largest spirits company in the world, showcased some exquisite brands from their American Whiskey portfolio at the event featuring Jim Beam White and Jim Beam Black. With winters setting foot in Delhi, the se s sion also unveiled a special co c k t a i l “ U t te r l y Delectable” much to the delight of the Delhi audience. The new drink is unique as it is ser ved hot a n d p r o m i s e s to add a sparkle to the Delhi winters. With t he temperature falling thick & fast, Utterly Delectable is definitely a must try

drink for all. Indians are the biggest consumers of whiskey in the world with new younger consumers entering the category searching for new expressions of whisky primarily focused on the best whisky cocktail creations. American whiskey generally offers a stronger mix for cocktails than some of the more popular Scotch whiskies, opening up the opportunity to tap into the growing trend and increasing popularity in India. This trail will blaze into India with interactive seminars that offer first-hand ex-

perience to grasp the nuances of American whiskies and learn how the flavour profile influences various whiskey based cocktails. Jim Beam, the World’s no.1 bourbon whiskey, is one of the most popular American whiskies within India today. Media and hospitality industry veterans also appreciated the American whiskey served at the tasting session while they sipped these fine offerings from the Beam portfolio. Speaking about the event, Neeraj Kumar, Director Marketing and Sales - Beam India said,

  RECIPEE

Utterly Delectable Glass: Wine glass Ingredients

30ml Jim Beam Bourbon Whiskey 150ml apple juice Cinnamon stick Garnish

Cinnamon stick & apple slice Method

· Rim the glass with cinnamon and sugar · Steam the apple juice with the cinnamon sticks · Pour the Jim Beam bourbon whiskey in the rimmed glass and pour the hot apple juice in the glass with a cinnamon stick · Garnish with apple slice and cinnamon stick

About Beam Inc.

As one of the world’s leading premium spirits companies, Beam is ‘Crafting the Spirits that Stir the World’. Consumers from all corners of the globe call for the company’s brands, including Jim Beam Bourbon, Maker's Mark Bourbon, Sauza Tequila, Pinnacle Vodka, Canadian Club Whisky, Courvoisier Cognac, Teacher's Scotch W h isk y, Skinnygirl Cocktails, Cruzan Rum, Hornitos Tequila, Knob Creek Bourbon, Laphroaig Single Malt Scotch Whisky, K i l begga n I r ish W h iskey, Larios Gin, Whisky DYC and DeKuyper Cordials. Beam is focused on delivering superior performance with its unique combination of scale with agility and a strategy of Creating Famous Brands, Building Winning Markets and Fueling Our Growth. Beam and its 3,400 passionate associates worldwide generated 2012 sales of $2.5 billion (excluding excise taxes), volume of 38 million 9-liter equivalent cases and some of the industry’s fastest growing innovations. Headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois, Beam is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol BEAM and is included in the S&P 500 Index and the MSCI World Index. For more i n for m at ion on Bea m , it s brands, and its commitment to social responsibility, please visit www.beamglobal.com and www.drinksmart.com.

“Our flagship American whiskey brand, Jim Beam has been the favourite of bourbon whiskey lovers across the globe and is fast gaining popularity in the Indian market. This event has been a great opportunity for us to reach out to our consumers with some of the best American Whiskies in the world from our portfolio. We are really thrilled with the response to our offerings at these tasting sessions”. After Kolkata, Mumbai-based Shatbhi Basu, American Whiskey Ambassador hosted the session in Delhi and will soon be going to Chennai, Bengaluru and Mumbai to offer the cities a taste of American Whiskeys and American Whiskey cocktails. Speaking at the event, Basu said, “It feels so good to share my love of American whiskies. They have such incredible flavours & nuances, and each one of the seven whiskies we are showcasing has its own unique character.” January 2014 GO NOW

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hotel launch

The spacious room with a view of The Cubbon Park

Interesting colour scheme used in the rooms

JW MARRIOTT BENGALURU

LUXURY IN THE HEART OF TOWN With the first JW Marriott in Bengaluru, Marriott Hotels & Resorts gives the city a new definition for luxury. Enjoying the ideal location, this perfect blend of style and sophistication is a luxurious abode for the modern business and leisure traveller.

T

he aerial view ver y we l l d e p ic te d t h e green belt spread over the city and the reason why Bengaluru is known as the city of gardens. It brings along the feeling of freshness and joy as you land on the newly renovated Bengaluru International Airport. Dilip Kumar, the airport representative of JW Marriott Bengaluru was waiting at the airport and further guided me to the car which took me to the hotel. With Cubbon Park on one side and the luxurious UB city on the other, the hotel enjoys a plush location at the famous Vittal Mallya road in Bengaluru. Standing tall, the hotel is well connected to the business hubs as well as the shopping centers of the city, making it a perfect luxurious 5 star property 40

GO NOW January 2014

for both leisure as well as business travellers. The warm welcome by the well-suited staff made me feel ‘at home’. As I entered the lobby, the full wall glass panes on the left gave a beautiful view of the wellgroomed park of the hotel and the Cubbon Park across the road. The lobby keeps the old school traditional colour scheme of browns and creams as practiced by many hotels. But the play of lights on the backdrop of the reception with coloured glasses enhances the whole look and feel of the lobby when lit up. Mov in g on f ur t her, I wa s guided to my room, which was a deluxe room with the lush green view of the vastly spread Cubbon Park. The lady guiding me told that the hotel features 297 rooms and suites including an ultra luxurious presidential suite. Taking it

Lobby, JW Marriott Bengaluru


Bengaluru Baking Company, the pastry shop of the hotel

from the reception, the backdrop of the bed was also similar to the coloured glasses including shades of red, green, yellow and creams. The only difference was that these were made out of fabric. Plush Revive bedding ensembles and the cotton-rich linens made the king size bed look more comfortable and tidy. The hotel boasts of seven categories of rooms, including the deluxe room, deluxe room with balcony, executive room, and executive room with balcony, executive suite, Cubbon suite and presidential suite. Here, half of the rooms serve the views of the Cubbon Park, whereas other have the view of the bustling UB City. Talking about the gastronomic delights, it offers a variety of authentic cuisines with half a dozen dining options available at the hotel. To start with, it has an authentic Italian restaurant, Alba, which features an amphitheatre like seating and fine selection of signature dishes from the Italian Chef, Bruno Ferrari. It boasts of authenticity, as the ingredients brought in are straight from Italy and produces fresh flavours with its thin crust pizzas, bruschettas and pastas. Chef Bruno is a funloving guy, who is aware of the perfect pairing of wines with the food he serves. Bengaluru Baking Company, the pastry shop of the hotel, serves signature gourmet pastries, made-to-order sandwiches in cozy, colourful interiors. It features a casual seating area where one can catch up with friends or enjoy an informal cup of coffee with your

The colourful coffee shop

tronomic options at the hotel serving, fast food, international cuisine, and authentic Indian cuisine respectively. Celebrity chef Surjan Singh Jolly is the executive chef of the hotel and with his vast experience and expertise, he brings in a great bundle of flavours. Parul Thakur, General Manager, JW Marriott Bengaluru says, “Bengaluru being a business destination rather than leisure, our main focus is on the corporate and MICE segment. We intend to focus on all segments of travellers but largely we would be looking for business travellers. We are expecting 70% of our guests to be from the corporate traveller segment, 25% from the MICE segment and only 5% from leisure and social sectors.” For accommodating business travellers and their needs, the hotel has well spread nine meeting rooms in an area of 10,441 sq ft. It includes the grand ballroom, which is just next to the lobby. With the magnificently designed interiors, and a spacious pre-function area, it also has a small lawn, where you can host lunch/ dinner post event. This pillar “This less Grand Ballroom measproperty reflects ures over 5,024 sq. ft. with a the sophistication and 32 ft. high ceiling, perfect elegance travellers have come for weddings, conferencto expect from the JW Marriott es, etc. The rest of the brand. With our operations eight meeting rooms are in Bengaluru we hope to set a of varied sizes and can benchmark of excellence.” be accustomed as per the requirements of the RAJEEV MENON guest, they are equipped Area Vice president South with avant-garde business Asia & Australia, facilities and amenities. Marriott This is the fifth JW Marriott property in India, Rajeev clients. The wide-ranging collection of books on art and design, and the availability of laptop plugins coupled with free Wi-Fi, makes it the perfect place to unwind. Bar Uno on the other hand, is also a place to relax and unwind in the trendy ambience, while enjoying a drink from the sommelier selection of sparkling and still wines. The Pool Bar, JW Kitchen and Spice Terrace are a few more gas-

Menon, Area Vice president South Asia & Australia, Marriott Hotels & Resorts, says that they are planning to add around 47 new hotels and will have almost another 10,000 rooms by the year, 2016-17. This property has been designed by The Advantage Raheja Group, Deepak Raheja, Chairman of the group says, “A normal JW property would cost around `1.5 crore per key (room), but this property has cost us around `2 crore per key, the main investment is land and it is very expensive; ... Our total investment on this property is around `750 crore,” Adding on to the luxurious features, the hotel also has a well appointed spa, Spa by JW. With dim lights, refreshing interiors and well experienced therapists, the spa is all set to serve its guests with exclusive treatments. In total it has six treatment rooms, sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi and a techno gym fitness centre. The fitness centre faces the Cubbon Park which refreshes the fitness freaks and the blue wall on the other side is also another element to soothe the eyes. I would conclude by saying that with the perfect location, in one of the most luxurious streets of Bengaluru, JW Marriott stands as an iconic structure of comfort, opulence and leisure. It is all set to treat its guests with an exclusive experience and treat you with warm hospitality, taking your experience to a different level grandeur from the moment you check-in to the moment you check-out. by NIKITA CHOPRA

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hotel options

Feasting your eyes with Oce

COLOMBO’S HOSPITA Surrounded by the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka has got scenic views and picturesque landscapes. Most of the renowned hotels of Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka are located on or around the Galle Road, which goes along the Indian Ocean. This means that most of the rooms in these hotels offer great Ocean views. Cinnamon Grand Hotel

Magnificence of the Regal Architecture Location: Located 35kms away from the Bandranaike International Airport, Cinnamon Grand Hotel is located in the business, shopping and entertainment centre of Colombo. This is also located on the Galle road with striking oceanic views. Colombo’s high end shopping mall, Crescat Boulevard is also located next to the hotel, offering the guests an option to unwind at. Architecture: It has a strikingly regal architecture and the hotel is surrounded by well-groomed gardens planted with beautiful

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flowers. Also, it shows off majestic magnificence with its stunning architecture and spacious areas. The lobby and other parts of the hotel are well decked up with elaborate furnishings, keeping the royal theme intact. The shining marble flooring in the lobby and the shades of creams and browns used inside and outside the hotel deliver a glorious element. What to expect: The hotel is divided into two wings, Premium and Courtyard wing. The former is primarily for the business travellers as it is appointed with the

amenities and services a business traveller is looking out for. Whereas, the latter is perfect for guests on their leisure breaks, it involves a relaxed environment where the guests can unwind and have fun. With 501 rooms, it serves a perfect holiday experience or a business sojourn while combining both pleasures and elegance. The dining experiences are also of great value at the hotel, as it boasts of 13 different restaurants. The hotel offers an assorted blend of cuisines served with style and flair. Special Offer: The Indian market

is of great significance to the hotel and they have a range of tailor made offerings to make them feel at home. Chutneys, their South Indian restaurant serves the most authentic of cuisines and is a great hit with Indians and locals alike. The buffets they serve for in-house guests comprise Indian favourites, as does the ala-carte and room service menus. They are also the only city hotel to have an adjoining fully-fledged shopping mall. The Crescat shopping complex is a modern three-floor shopping mall boasting a host of international designer brands and label outlets, a supermarket, pharmacy, cyber cafe, kiddies games arcade, ATM machines, bank outlets and food court. Room rates are subject to seasonal changes but usually, the average room rate is 200 US$. factfile Address: 77, Galle Road, Colombo 3, Sri Lanka. Call: +94 112 437 437 Website: www.cinnamonhotels.com


eanic Views

TALITY Galadari Hotel

Perfect for both, Leisure and Business Location: The Galadari Hotel is the ideal location for a perfect relaxing getaway or a well planned business trip. Facing the serene Indian Ocean, most of the rooms of the hotel serve a mesmerising view to its guests. A perfect abode for business travellers, the hotel is very closely situated to Bank of Ceylon Tower, Galle Face green and Colombo World Trade Center. For shopaholics, the Pettah Market is also nearby. Architecture: Typically reflecting the culture and art of Sri Lanka, The Galadari Hotel, Colombo has meticulously designed wooden carved elephants in the lobby and other parts of the hotel. The interiors of the hotel also have an

antique finish. They have very well played with the space available, and accommodate all the required services in a beautiful manner. The hotel is surrounded by various historical buildings with striking architecture and yet stands out amongst them. What to expect: The hotel believes in providing superior services that will spoil you beyond your imagination. The hotel says that they have the expertise to cater to a wide range of clientele with diverse needs. Their food and beverage offerings are exceptional and fit to suit royalty. Come and experience an unending range of culinary delights in their most sought after restaurants and cafes.

Ramada Colombo

Tailored Comfort for You L o c at ion : In the hear t of the coa stal cit y of Colombo, Ramada Hotel is in the vicinity of spectacular historical architecture and beautiful landscape s. Formerly known as Holiday Inn, it is now being mana ged by Ramada. A 25 minute drive away from the International airport, Ramada Colombo pre sent s the ultimate stay exper ience combining supreme functionality with features designed to make guests feel at ease. Dialog Head Office, Barefoot Galler y, Galle Face Green and Seema Malakaya

are some of the key attractions around the hotel. Architecture: Built in the colonial Williamsburg style architecture, the exterior of the hotel has a white overhang which sets it apart from other properties around the gulf. The rooms and some of the other facilities of the hotel have been newly renovated to serve a fresh experience to their customers. The palatial design of the MICE facilities at the hotel also makes it a perfect venue for your events and conferences. What to expect: To make Indian

Step into the Sheherezade, their Arabic restaurant, the Coffee Shop or the Flavours the best place in town for Indian cuisine and are delightfully entertained. Yet another crowning glor y of the Galadari are its spacious rooms which are magnificent and luxurious. Relax to your heart’s desire whilst also making maximum use of the Gym, Sauna, Steam and massage facilities that will take you to higher level of relaxation. Special Offer: The Indian cuisine restaurant of the hotel is a delight for natives of Sri Lanka and Indian travellers too. It serves the best of North and South Indian cuisine to its guests with the ideal ambience to relish the Indian delicacies. travellers feel at home, the management at Ramada Hotel Colombo try their best to offer specialised facilities and hospitality. Imthiaz Cader, Director/ General Manager, Ramada hotel Colombo further explains, “Travellers from India are drawn by the city’s vibrant restaurants, pretty rendezvous such as the Independence Square and of course great shopping outlets. Ramada Colombo is situated within a kilometre or two from so many of these places making it the ideal choice. Also, the hotels speciality restaurant Alhambra, serves an exquisite array of North Indian dishes by Indian Chef Ziyad Khan, ensuring guests from India feel right at home.”

Along with this they also have the ongoing Christmas extravaganza for its guests to enjoy. The rates for accommodation start at US$ 143.20 per night with Free Wi-Fi. factfile Address: Galadari Hotel, 64 Lotus Road, Colombo 1, Sri Lanka Call: +94 112 544 544 Website: www.galadarihotel.lk

The hotel also offers an all-day dining restaurant the Gardenia Coffee shop which serves global cuisine with both an ala carte menu and breakfast buffet. Oasis Lounge, the bar, has a relaxed ambience whilst Tempt Inn is ideal for a quick snack. As part of the hotels values and in keeping with international standards, select rooms are designed entirely for differently abled persons as are aspects of all public areas. S p e c i a l O f f e r : Fo r t h e b e g innin g of 2 014, R a mada Colombo offers a special package including scrumptious dinner and breakfast. The package will also include a complimentar y half hour foot massage at the ‘Jal Spa’ located in the hotel. Also, you can avail a 20% discount on all purchases at the hotel’s jewellery shop and a complimentary half day city tour to Colombo from the hotel’s travel counter. This package is available at US $ 148.00 for single room and US $ 175.00 for double room. Advance booking is required to avail this offer. factfile Address: Ramada Colombo, 30 Sir Mohamed MacanMarkarMawatha, P.O Box 1202. Colombo 03, Sri Lanka Call: 94-11-2422001 Website: www.ramadacolombo.com January 2014 GO NOW

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Galle Face

Grandeur of a Bygone Era Location: Situated along the seafront, facing the Galle Face Green, the hotel has a picturesque setting with a magnificent backdrop. It is very close to the business district of Colombo and just next to the High Commission of India, Colombo. It is located in the most beautiful location around the gulf. Architecture: Reminiscing the old days, Galle Face Hotel brings

Hilton Colombo

Modern Style with Traditional Elegance Location: Overlooking Beira Lake and the Indian Ocean, the hotel is located on a seven-acre site. It would take you only 45 minutes to drive from the Bandranaike International Airport to the hotel. The hotel is very near to the Colombo World Trade Centre, hence making it a positive location for business travellers. Also, if you wish to roam around the city, you can go through the Railway network and with Secretariat Railway station being very close to the hotel, makes it easier. It is positioned with Colombo fort and close to various significant historical and architectural sites. Architecture: It is a multi-storey resort with an exterior reflecting modern style and traditional elegance. The architecture of the hotel is very regal and sophisticated. Its 44

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interiors go along with the theme, as the lobby keeps a simple yet elegant look with shades of whites and browns used carefully. What to Expect: Whether concerned with business, fitness or family, Hilton Hotel Colombo is well appointed with all the required services and amenities for their guests. The rooms at the hotel are also designed to provide extra comfort and convenience to its guests. The hotel has divided its rooms and suites into four categories, namely, Guest room, Deluxe room, Suite and Executive room. The Art Deco-style rooms in these categories are comfortable and with larger windows to give a better view of the beautiful city. For fulfilling your gastronomic desires, the hotel has around 10 restaurants with cuisines ranging

from, Cantonese, Szechuan, and Japanese, Italian, Malaysian and the local cuisine. The hotel also has Spices restaurant, the multicuisine restaurant serving Indian, Chinese, Sri Lankan and various other Western cuisines. Special Offer: If you are planning a leisure trip, then you can avail 20% off on the best available rates by booking at least seven days in advance. Also, if you are travelling on business, you can avail the Smart Traveller Package which includes daily breakfast, internet access and daily newspaper along with accommodation. These offers are valid till 14th October 2014. factfile Address: 2 Sir Chittampalam A Gardiner MW, Colombo 2, 02, Sri Lanka Call: +94-11-249-2492 Website: www3.hilton.com

back the original traditional historical beauty of Sri Lanka. The hotel reflects the grandeur of a bygone era yet offering modern comfort for today’s traveller. It is the oldest hotel East of the Suez and is a historic icon for Sri Lanka. The truly British style architecture of the hotel creates the impression of a rich heritage in the heart of Colombo.


hotel options What to Expect: Overlooking the Indian Ocean, the rooms and restaurants of the hotel provide very scenic views to its guests. Sea Spray restaurant, with an extensive seafood menu offers its guests a serene setting and ecstatic hospitality. 1864, the all day dining restaurant and In on the Green are the other options for the guests to indulge at. Currently operating with 81 rooms under four different categories, the hotel is perfect for your leisure break. The standard rooms are located on the third floor and all these category rooms offer a queen bed for their guests. The Superior and the deluxe rooms are also well appointed, where the former offers view of Indian Ocean and the latter offers ocean and garden views. Special Offer: With amenitie s like jacuzzi, exercise gym, 24-hour room service, currency exchange, business centre, pool, spa, sauna and a lot more, the average room rate of the hotel i.e. $125 is of good value. They have specific Promo/Corporate code, Group code and travel agent code for exclusive discounts and services as per the customer’s request. factfile Address: 2 A2, Colombo 00300, Sri Lanka Call: +94 11 2 541010 Website: www.gallefacehotel.com

Taj Samudra Colombo

Serenity of Vividly Landscaped Gardens Location: The location of the hotel is very strategic as it is situated in the business hub of Colombo, along with being a short walking distance away from the city centre. The city centre is the place for the guest’s entertainment and shopping spree. The whole property is vastly spread across 11 acres of land with brilliantly landscaped gardens. Its location is such that it also offers a matchless view of the Indian Ocean and the Galle Face green. Architecture: It being Taj, the design and architecture of the hotel is quite impressive. It combines the charm of a bygone era with the comfort and hospitality associated with this international brand.

The guests coming to the hotel are welcomed by peaceful water fountains and a luxurious lobby depicting Rajasthani royalty. Nature is also an integral part of the art and architecture of the hotel delivering a soothing effect to the whole environment. What to expect: The recently done extensive renovation showcases a perfect blend of stylish design elements and heightened comfort that will provide a private sanctuary for guests during their stay. Each of the 300 stylish rooms provides its guests the pleasures of amplified spaciousness along with contemporary yet elegant décor. While retaining its antique wooden flooring, the rooms are equipped with all modern conveniences to meet the needs of the modern traveller. The sea facing rooms offer a mesmerizing view of the Indian Ocean. The spokesperson at the hotel tells us about what do they have to offer to their Indian guests and VIP groups. “The hotel offers varied dining experiences, serving both traditional and contemporary flavours. The skilful team of Indian chefs at ‘Navratna’ restaurant have honed the art of blending the finest

of spices and unique cooking techniques to bring together truly authentic Indian delights. We engage Kandyan dancers for any special VIP group welcome and offer Sri Lankan Orchid garlands. We have a Sri Lankan Calypso band performing every weekend during the Sri Lankan theme night dinners.” The hotel also makes an ideal location for all local and international conferences. It offers 7 meeting rooms, including a 140-year Heritage block with four halls with stunning colonial architecture. Special Offer: The hotel has a twin centre package with two nights at Taj Samudra and two nights at Vivanta Bentota priced at US$ 1320. This will include half a day Colombo Shopping or Half a day City Tour or a visit to the Zoo, and airport transfer. This is valid for one room on double occupancy on bed and breakfast basis. The starting rate at Taj Samudra, Colombo for a one night stay with double occupancy is approx. US$ 155 (`9,610 approx.) factfile Address: 25, Galle Face Centre Road, Colombo 3, Sri Lanka Call: +94 11 2446622 Website: www.tajhotels.com by NIKITA CHOPRA

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MICE wise Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre

The Convergence of Commerce, Culture and Colour Located in the heart of the city, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre can be easily reached by road or by train, with a featured entrance along Jalan Pinang. Equipped with modern technology, it is an ideal location for international conferences, product launches, opening ceremonies, etc. The team of highly skilled planners and technicians at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre ensure to organise an ultra-modern event. room

gross area 2

m

2

ft

theatre

T

he venues of the centre are such that they can easily accommodate diverse kinds of events. The Plenary Hall is the main attraction of the whole centre, with tiered seating for 3,000 people divided across two levels (the lower level

theatre combined

banquet

banquet classroom classroom combined combined

exhibition halls (stage size: L 24’ x W 40’ x H 4’) Exhibition Hall 1

room

Exhibition Hall 2

2,502

26,922

gross area

2 m 2,332

2 ft 25,092

2,700 theatre

2,500

5,200 theatre combined

1,540 banquet

1,480

2,502 2,071

26,922 22,284

2,700 2,100

2,332 2,245

25,092 24,156

2,500 2,400

560 9,710

6,026 104,480

2,071 auditoria

Exhibition Hall 5Hall Plenary Exhibition Plenary Hall 1-5 Theatre

Balcony 2,245

22,284

2,100

1,000 24,156

2,400 3,000

Stalls only

2,000

9,710

104,480

5,200 4,500

4,500

1,540 1,280 1,480 1,400

1,280 1,400

u-shape

u-shape boardroom boardroom combined combined

1,260

2,436 3,020 classroom classroom banquet combined combined 1,176

3,020 2,680

2,680

ence for the delegates. The Plenary Theatre on the 3rd Level is a more intimate facility accommodating 470 people in the tiered seating arrangement. With built-in interpretation system for up to 5 languages, writing tablets in all seat arms, interactive micro-

cocktail

Balcony

1,000

Stalls only

1,207

2,000 12,987

3,000 1,100

Plenary Theatre 2 Ballroom

1,182

12,718

500 1,100

3,100 u-shape

u-shape boardroom boardroom combined combined

cocktail

2,900

1,176 1,176

1,008 1,176

2,436 2,184

2,184

2,900 2,800

2,500

level 1 & 3

2,800

2,200

1,000* 1,000*

1,000* 390

2,000*

630 Fixed auditorium seating with built-in stage 1,260 630

level 3

1,260 630 360

1,500

28.99 x 71.44 x 9.36

120

29.0 x 77.44 x 9.36

136

72 48

72

1,500 650

29.0 x 41.20 x 9.0 27.81 x 17.57 x 9.0

70 32

29.0 x 82.80 x 9.0 27.81 x 26.90 x 9.0

142 48

29.0 x 25.45 x 9.0 27.81 x 17.95 x 9.0

48 32

27.81 x 17.57 x 9.0 27.8 x 62.42 x 9.0

32 112

27.81 x 26.90 x 9.0

48

27.81 x 17.95 x 9.0 16.83 x 10.86 x 2.85

32

27.8 x 62.42 x 9.0 11.04 x 7.58 x 2.85

112

25,705 8,371

2,200 820

738 517

7,941 5,563

800 510

390 300

360 252

84 72

950 650

505 1,800

5,434 19,368

510 1,836

300 1,080

252 888

72 228

650 2,280

Conference Hall 2

778

8,371

820

Conference Hall 3

301

517 173

5,563 1,861

510 162

Conference Hall

1,800

19,368

1,836

893 83 80 46302 GO NOW January 2014 90

162 128

1,836

1,836

2,000* 480

480

1,080

1,080

300 50 170

1,080 40 40 50 50

630 252 1,260 384

384

1,260

888

888

252 81 80

888 42 42 81 51

84

70 142

2,389 778

2,000*

72

29.0 x 41.20 x 9.0 29.0 x 82.80 x 9.0

1,100 510

1,000* 300

29.0 x 41.60 x 9.0

3,000

29.0 x 41.60 x 9.0 29.0 x 25.45 x 9.0

12,718 5,434

1,861 1,216

136 136 11 x 3 x 2m 8 x587 3 x 3m

3,000

1,182 505

173 113

152 120

29.0 x 80.44 x 9.36 29.0 x 77.44 x 9.36

1,500 950

Ballroom 2 Conference Hall 1

301 304

5,300

29.0 x 86.61 x 9.36 28.99 x 71.44 x 9.36

84

1,100 800

meeting rooms958 89 303

6,000 5,300

1,500

12,987 7,941

2,200

152

3m x 3m 136

587

1,207 738

(Halls 1,2&3)

booth capacity

11 x 3 x 2m 8 x 3 x 3m

3,100 2,500

Ballroom Banquet1 Hall

meeting rooms

29.0 x 86.61 x 9.36 overall room dimensions Lx W x Hx 9.36 29.0 x 80.44

3m x 3m

level 1 & 3 level 3

(Ballrooms 1&2)

(Halls 1,2&3)

6,000 cocktail combined

Fixed auditorium seating with built-in stage

Grand function halls (stage size: L 16’ x W 24’ x H 3’) Ballroom 2,000* 2,389 25,705 2,200

Hall 2 Banquet Conference Hall Hall 3 Conference Conference Hall 1 Hall

booth capacity

LxWxH

500

Plenary Hall Ballroom 1

(Ballrooms 1&2)

overall room dimensions

ground level 1,260 1,008

auditoria function halls (stage size: L 16’ x W 24’ x H 3’)

Grand Ballroom Conference

cocktail combined

ground level

exhibition 6,026(stage size: L 24’ x W 40’ x H 4’) 560 halls

Link Hall Hall 3 Exhibition Exhibition Hall 1 Hall 4 Exhibition Exhibition Hall 2 Hall 5 Link Hall Exhibition Hall 3 Hall 1-5 Exhibition Hall 4

and the balcony). It is technologically advanced and can host digital conference with voting system for 802 seats and interactive microphone system across all the seats in the hall. The writing tablets available in all seat arms further enhance the whole experi-

84

84

3,000 980

228

228

980

level 3

72 24

24

228 24

20

24 33

24 30

48 level 3 24

20

3,000

2,280

2,280

650 220 40

2,280 110 110 220 140

220

11.04 x 8.17 x 2.85 16.83 x 10.86 x 2.85 13.02 x 8.69 x 2.85


phone system, digital conference voting system, etc it is perfectly suited for different kinds of sessions amongst the delegates. T he cent re a l s o ho s t s in ternational exhibitions in its 6 exhibition halls, located on the ground level. Halls 1 – 5 are ideal for a gathering of up to 3,500 people and support 8mx6m (HxW) wide vehicle access entrance. The sixth hall is a new marquee space spanning across an area of 2,600 sq m and expands the Centre’s capacity to 22, 659 sq m. These are column free halls, and the sixth hall is connected to the centre via Exhibition Hall 5 and the West entrance (Hall 5 Foyer). Telling a few reasons why someone from India should choose Kuala Lumpur Convention centre for their MICE activities, Zulkefli Hj. Sharif, Chief Executive Officer, Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) says, “Malaysia and India have always maintained strong trade and bilateral ties. We have a strong track record in hosting successful events from India and are well able when it comes to catering to the various needs

and dietary requirements of delegates from India. Many Indian companies consider Malaysia as an ideal destination for their team-building off-sites. Easy accessibility, range of products and value-additions in terms of extras that Malaysian hotels and event managers offer has attracted most of the companies. Malaysia has a growing number of venue options

MANOHARAN PERIASAMY Director, Tourism Malaysia “Most of the corporates are customising their MICE packages. Their workshop or official programme is scheduled for half a day and on the remaining travel dates they indulge their employees with various leisure & sight-seeing activities. Malaysia proves itself to be a perfect MICE destination with various kinds of experiences like shopping, trekking, snorkelling, diving, adventure sports, wellness & spa, etc – all provided in one place. MYCEB also targets specifically the corporate and incentive market and is set to introduce a wide range of unique and exciting new experiences in Malaysia. Tourism Malaysia strongly promotes the F1 sport and gives corporates the experience of watching and participating in a race, rooting for their favourites. This is our idea of translating experience into reality. We are positive of attracting and increasing MICE footfalls in Malaysia.”

for small to large scale conventions including, KLCC which is a world-class purpose built meetings venue and Asia’s first Green Globe Benchmarked venue (Green Globe earthcheck™). It is located in the city centre and is a perfect fit with 3,000-seat plenary, 9,700 sqm exhibition space and ample breakout rooms. It has a relaxing business environment and walking distance to Kuala Lumpur’s shopping district, the Bukit Bintang area.” Divided into three different spaces, the conference halls on the 3rd Level of the centre can accommodate around 1,800 delegates in theatre-style seating when combined. Individually, the halls can accommodate 500, 770 and 510 delegates in a theatre style setting. The halls are fitted with built-in projection and audio visual equipment and stage lighting facilities. With an arched ceiling and well-designed door, the Grand Ballroom also situated on the Level 3 offers a sense of opulence and style to all events hosted there. It can accommodate 2,000 people in the banquet and is equipped with a double-operable soundproof wall system. The pre-function area

of the Grand Ballroom offers view of the magnificent KLCC Park and PETRONAS Twin Towers. You can also have flexible options for your event by converting the conference halls into two halls; it can be customised as per the organiser’s requirements. The Food and Beverage can also be customised as per the organiser’s requirements depending on the guest list. They help you in deciding the menu, selecting particular dishes from a wide spread range of menus like, Malay, Chinese, Indian, Modern Asian and other international cuisines. Their executive Chef Richmond Lim takes care to prepare the perfect spread for your gathering. The culinary team of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre can accommodate all kinds of requests you have, from freshly flown-in maine lobster and beluga caviar to smoked salmon sandwiches and gourmet coffee. They have some sample menus set for different meals, weddings and quick snacks for you to have a fair idea of what do they offer in their spreads for different occasions. compiled by NIKITA CHOPRA

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celebrity

A band which has stood the test of time and a band which has a perfect blend of all genres of music, Indian Ocean have proved to all beyond an iota of doubt that music unites even if played in different genres. Their style and melody is quite unlike ever seen before. They have set a new trend for amateur bands to follow. A perfect fusion of the guitars, sitar, and vocals- both classical and contemporary gives Indian Ocean a new label in the country’s music scene. They got candid with GoNow and tell us about the role of music in their lives and a lot more!

The depth of

INDIAN OCE

W

hat is the best thing about being a musician?

The best thing about being a musician is the fact that we get to travel all over the world and doing what we love the best which is play our own music. The food, the people, the different cultures, we get to experience all at once which is amazing.

No matter which country a particular music genre belongs to, people appreciate good music. Do you think music has, to some extent, brought countries together? If yes, then how?

Music or any art form for that matter is a great unifier and a g re at leveler of di s t a nce s 48

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between countries and economic difference s w it hin t he s ame country as well. Aman Ki Asha which is an initiative we have been part of is a great example. Films do the same as well. By being part of Aman Ki Asha a lot of people in Pakistan heard about us and our fan base has grown. When we travel abroad we consider ourselves ambassadors of our country because people learn a lot about the new emerging India through our music and also by interacting with us. So definitely we can see countries coming together now.

Where would you like to perform next and why?

We would love to play somewhere or anywhere in South America because that’s one part of the world which has eluded us in all

our travels. We would like to see what lies for us there.

Apart from India, which other countries does Indian Ocean get the best response from audiences in?

We have a huge audience base in the USA, UK and in Russia. It’s good to know that people who don’t belong to the same land as you are, appreciating your music and acknowledging the good work. It’s an amazing feeling.

How was the experience performing at BACARDI NH7 Weekender in Pune for you this year?

It was a great show and we had a lovely time. Kolkata is a great place to perform for any artist and we hope the city will enjoy the festival. as told to ANUPRIYA BISHNOI


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It is that Time of the Year when You should be in Dubai, for the DSF! One travels best when one is relaxed and one is relaxed when one is sure that everything is under control. Flight timings, hotel bookings, itineraries, car rentals, weather updates... today’s travellers want to ensure nothing ruins their holidays. And with technology, travelling is not called easier for nothing.

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ne of the most awaited shopping festivals and intensely patronised by Indians is now going on in Dubai. This 32 day festival involves events, contests, discounts and promotions. It spreads a cheer of festivity around the region and brings along diverse discounts and offers from hotels and resorts. We bring to you an overview of the DSF 2014. DSF accounts for a substantial portion of Dubai’s annual retail sales, and as one of the engines of economic growth, it stimulates sales across retail, gold and jewelry, hospitality, aviation, tourism, currency exchange, transportation and many other business sectors. As an innovator of shopping tourism, DSF has helped make Dubai a destination of choice for families and tourists from around the world by getting different government entities and the business community to put together a citywide celebration of retail and tourism. Its slogan, ‘One World. One Family. One Festival’ appropriately describes the multiculturalism and community bonding that has been the hallmark of Dubai. One of the major attractions for shoppers is that over a period of 32 days, DSF 50

GO NOW January 2014

gives away over AED 100 million worth of prizes including luxury cars, gold and cash. Since the first DSF, more than AED 1.5 billion worth of prizes have been distributed to shoppers and these lifechanging opportunities that DSF offers to people from all walks of life and from different nationalities very often create rags-to-riches stories. Such shopping-related offerings combined with world-class events has succeeded in creating a base of tens of thousands of repeat visitors, as well a s e nt ic i n g new tourists to visit Dubai dur ing the festival every year. While DSF offer s many chances to win big there are numerous deals and discounts of up to 75% on a range of merchandise across 70 malls and 6,000 shops throughout the city. With Dubai boasting the largest collection of international retail brands under one roof, DSF also provides one of the best shopping experiences

in the world that is unique and diverse ranging from city and street markets to traditional souks and world-class shopping malls. Along with the shopping offers going on at the festival, various hotels around Dubai also have special packages for this time of the year. Here are few of the packages: Avari Dubai Hotel welcomes you with a Family Shopper’s Package for the shopaholics. With this package customers can enjoy premium services and amenities including exciting discounts on food a nd b e ve r age order s, discounts on cer tain excur sions, complimentary shuttle to Jumeira/Mamzar Beach and major shopping centres. The package also includes complimentary buffet breakfast for the entire stay. The package is valid during the span of the Dubai Shopping Festival. The package starts from just AED 1,234 for single/double occupancy for mini-

mum sty of three nights. For Reservations, mail to reservations1@avaridubai.ae Atlantis The Palm, Dubai has a special girls getaway package. On booking a stay in any room you can avail ShuiQui Spa taster for 2, floral arrangement in the room, a box of Macaroons, pre-dinner drinks for two adults at Seafire Streakhouse house and free shuttle service to major malls in Dubai. The offer is valid for a maximum of two adults. Park Hyatt Dubai brings to you a 3 Night DSF package during this period. On booking this package you can avail 20% discount on dining (selected outlets) and on spa treatments. Various brands have huge discounts available at their stores, like, Debenhams is offering up to 50% off on selected lines of fashion. Whereas, Zara is offering amazing discounts at all its outlets on the range of Womens wear, Mens wear and Kids wear. Shoe Mart is offering 25% - 60% off on its range of formal, casual and chic footwear and accessories. It includes brands like Elle, Lee cooper, Kappa, Duchini, etc. compiled by NIKITA CHOPRA


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Date of Publication: 03/01/2014

RNI No. DELENG/2000/3645 Posting Dt. 4-9/01/2014 Licence No. U(C)-299/2012-2014 W.P.P. at MCB-1 Reg No. DL-(C)-01/1250/2012-14

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