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destinations ❍ china’s bustling city: shanghai ❍ exploring germany’s wine trail ❍ boat shopping in damnoen saduak ❍ looking for wild cats in ranthambore

lifestyle

discover the great escapes – wine trails, floating markets, wildlife parks

❍ gourmet delights in dubai’s finest restaurants ❍ top hotel chains woo women travellers

plus how ZNMD increased indian travellers to spain chiang mai – new business destination September 2011 GO NOW

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GO NOW September 2011


gonow september 2011

in this issue... travel 14 MICE: Chiang Mai becomes the bustling destination for conventions and meetings 16 Shanghai: Unexplored neighbor surprises us with its flamboyance and culture 22 Thailand: Step into the row boat and experience Thailand’s floating market 30 Germany: We go back to tracing the origin of grapes that make 80% of Germany’s wine production. Explore the countryside trail. 34 Spain: How Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara doubled the number of Indian travelers to Spain 38 Ranthambore: The safari season begins; Go Now goes in search of the fiery cat

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41 Commercial town Karnal gets its first upscale hotel, Noor Mahal

dining out 26 Kishore Iyengar explores the top seven fine dining restaurants in the city of gold, Dubai 47 Shiro, Hotel Samrat: With its speciality in Oriental cuisine, the restaurant’s ethnic ambience and cuisine promises a taste to remember

lifestyle 12 Nishith Saxena, cruising expert, talks about this growing facet of luxury in India 42 Top hotel chains in India pull out all stops to woo its new customer, the single woman traveler 45 Themed after embracing the ancient ayurveda, the Neoveda Spa at Metropolitan is ready for you

the big eye 48 How Gujarat lights up in upcoming Navratri celebrations

42 on the cover O2 Lounge at Ritz Carlton Moscow September 2011 GO NOW

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this issue editor’s page from the editor As the weather gods pull the strings of clouds and humidity, the winds are changing and the holiday season is in the offing. And to make your plans a bit easier, Go Now travels to some of the destinations worth exploring. While we bring you some of the best MICE offers from all over the world to your conventions this season, we also explore the riveting business destination – Chiang Mai. Apart from special offers for travel, we explore our neighbour China and its bustling city rooted in history and wealth – Shanghai. Increasing trends show Indians leaning towards expanding their taste for wine, adding new bottles to their collection. So for our cover story, we explore the untamed source of grapes on a German wine trail. We take a trip in the countryside of Europe, tracing the best grape productions which make upto 80 per cent of Germany’s wine production. We also took a boat ride in Thailand’s floating market to experience all sides of this many faced destination.In our section Cinemascape, we analyze trends on how promoting Spain through the release of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara has resulted in more tourism with upcoming productions like Don 2 and Players plan

on doing the same. For those who are waiting for the safari season to begin, we take you to one of India’s popular parks – Ranthambore, to experience the beauty and fear of the majestic cat, a glimpse of which is worth the pursuit. In our exploits of excess food, we go to Burj Al Arab and Burj Khalifa amongst others in the city of excess.In these pages, we also indulge in gourmet delights and check out Shiro, Delhi for it’s oriental food that managed to leave an aftertaste. In our lifestyle section, we analyse how top hotel chains in India are now busy wooing their new alpha customer- the single women traveller.As we also get experts talking about high end cruising as an ever evolving facet of luxury, we also find out how this business in India is multiplying. We also head out in the capital and check out the launch of Mystic andreview an afternoon at Neo Veda Spa in Delhi. Lastly, we end on a note on the season of upcoming festivities in India, with special attention to Gujarat during Navratri.

readers write in Epic adventures in Mauritius Your coverage on Jamaica My friends were looking for a destination to plan our next vacation. While I was more interested in being pampered and experiencing the nightlife of a new city, my friends were keener on parasailing and zip lining. After reading your travelogue, we have realized that in Mauritius; we can do both so we are all set to go there and unwind. Many thanks! Neeta Lal, Mumbai

Editor: Navin S Berry

A lot of magazines still target like Europe and America but I am glad you decided to put Jamaica on the itinerary for those who are unaware – the article was beautifully written about the sun kissed and ideal for those who indulge in tranquility while enjoying snorkeling and diving. Although, what I think the feature missed out were the hotels and restaurants that offer some of the high end facilities.

Group Editor: Archana Kumari Senior Editors: Ravi Shanker Kapoor Rahul Kumar Business Development: Sudhir Sud Design: Ashok Saxena Go Now is published and printed monthly by Navin Berry on behalf of Cross Section Media Pvt. Ltd. and printed at Rakesh Press A-7, Naraina, Phase II, New Delhi and published from IIIrd Floor, Rajendra Bhawan, 210, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg, New Delhi - 110002. Tel: 91-11-43784444. Fax: 91-11-41001627, 41001628. E-mail: info@gonow.in editorial@gonow.in

Rahul Gupta, Delhi

Family Packages in Dubai Three families including mine went to Dubai after reading about the offer in your magazine. We got half off on our hotel and airfare along with tours to Dubai Underwater Zoo and Dubai Dolphinarium. The offer also included airport transfer and accommodation for our children. We are very happy that we could experience the city of Dubai in an affordable budget – please keep doing stories like this. James George, Bangalore 4

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Varanasi by Raghu Rai I have seen that most published works concentrate on the beauty of the metropolitans in India or the hills but often forget the picturesque splendor of religious cities like Haridwar and Varanasi. Raghu Rai’s picture essay captured the essence of a part of the city’s temples followed by your well researched feature on life in the small town. We expect to see more of such stories in the future. Swamy Rajan, Coimbatore

This issue of go now contains 48 pages plus 4 pages cover

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@gonow.in editorial@gonow.in Material not used will not be returned


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airlines buzz

fly indigo to muscat & singapore at INR9999 IndiGo, India’s popular low cost airline has announced Muscat and Singapore as its next international destinations via Mumbai. Come 10th October 2011 and the airline will operate four flights a week between

Muscat and Mumbai. Flights will leave Muscat a little after midnight at 0005 hours on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday will continue to Singapore after a brief stopover in Mumbai. The airline also plans on

initiating MumbaiSingapore-Mumbai sector with daily flights. IndiGo has already announced the launch of Dubai and Bangkok as the other international destinations connecting from Delhi and Mumbai effective September 2011. For more information, contact sakshi.batra@bm.com or megha.nath@bm.com

choose your island package for malaysia If you’re planning on pleasing your family this month, then Tourism Malaysia offers two packages that could make this planning easier. The first package includes 2 nights at Kuala Lumpur plus a 2 night stay at either Langkawi or Penang. Langkawi attracts those who want to take a sunset cruise and feed sharks while at Penang one can explore the Penang National Park or the Kek Lok Si Temple. This package costs Rs. 32,090 inclusive of taxes, airfare and accommodation. The second package includes a night at Kuala Lumpur and 4 nights stay at Kuching or Kota Kinabalu. This vacation will cost you Rs. 38,430 per person inclusive of airfare, taxes and accommodation. Book before September 12, 2011 for travel before October 16, 2011 and log onto www.malaysiajao.com.

cathay pacific announces special fares to china Cathay Pacific and sister airline Dragonair get together to offer the widest choice of flights to connect you to over 18 destinations in Mainland China via Hong Kong. With a special fare of Rs. 31,750, a commute to Shanghai or Beijing will no longer be cumbersome. Also taking a Cathay Pacific flight from Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi or Mumbai will help you double your Asia Miles on the India-Hong Kong-India 6

route. Also an extra 500 bonus miles at the online booking time of your ticket is also added.

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This offer will last till the end of the year and more details can be found on www.cathaypacific.com

get fast and furious in singapore If you’re a diehard Schumacher fan, September is a good month to take a vacation. Mercury Travels in association with Singapore Airlines brings you an adrenaline rushing holiday to enjoy wheels and sceneries. Starting September 23 is the season for the fast and the furious and for you to watch the race, go to VIP parties and witness Broadway productions. The line-up also includes performances by Shakira, Linkin Park and Shaggy. Package includes 3 nights’ accommodation at 3 star hotels with breakfast, Grand Prix Bay Grandstand tickets, airport transfers and return air return fare with Singapore Airlines. This four night, three day package starts at Rs. 51,999 per person. For more information log on to www.mercurytravels.co.in


mice buzz

crown conference center melbourne offers day package Crown Conference Centre is a purpose built hotel convention facility catering for large residential conferences, exhibitions and events. Complemented by three on-site accommodation options with a combined capacity of over 1600 accommodation rooms, the Centre features a flexible layout, the latest in audio visual technology, and a team of service

professionals dedicated to ensuring every conference is a success. The Day package is for $88 per delegate including venue hire, flip charts, refreshments and lunch. Amongst complimentary offers including refreshments at arrival, parking, buffet lunch, post event refreshments and standard in-room for all delegates, you can choose two to your suitability.

Contact 03 9292 6968 or email conferences@crownmelbourne.com.au

crowne plaza, rohini offers summer package

hotel ibis, melbourne offers delegate package all year Hotel Ibis in Therry Street, Melbourne has announced their delegate package to attract businessmen from all over the globe. Hotel Ibis conference rooms boast of basic audio visual such as data projector screen, flip chart and more. The Day Delegate Package starts at $50.00 including; room hire, arrival tea, morning tea and lunch and afternoon tea. The offer is subject to availability and will require a minimum of 15 people. This offer is only valid for functions booked and held before 31st December 2011 For any enquiries please contact 03 9666 0006 or email h1564-sb03@accor.com

Crowne Plaza, Rohini, New Delhi is offering a summer meeting package in September 2011. With over 13 meeting rooms available in totality, they have a capacity to hold 10-1250 guests. Latest audio visual facilities including a built-in projector, LCD screens, and intelligent lighting, the Crowne Plaza has a lot to offer. At Rs. 5900 (plus taxes) per room night, the package includes room

and conference charges, buffet lunch for participants and 10 per cent discount on F&B outlets. With complimentary breakfast, and two time services of beverages, the conference venue is available from 0830 hours to 1730 hours. Access to swimming pool, sauna, gym and Jacuzzi is included. Contact: 011-44884488, sales@cprohini.com www.crowneplaza.com

concession on penguin and koala parade at nature parks, philip island Equipped to handle travellers and those on business, Philip Island is currently offering a remission when a group of 50 or more books a 3 parks pass. On seeing the penguins they receive a 10% discount on admission prices and F&B at Nature Park operated attractions. To add to that, each guest will also receive a complimentary penguin parade moment. Contact Details: mcoulter@penguins.org.au September 2011 GO NOW

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travel buzz

pamper yourself under an Rs.2000 budget escape a weekend to lush green Looking for a quick weekend getaway? Monsoons are the best time to explore the countryside and take in the nature in all its glory. Situated on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway this resort is situated close to a sparkling lake and fishing ponds. If you are in the mood for some activity you could go on the monsoon trek that allows you to explore the scenic beauty of Vikramgad or go horse riding. The Lakeview Resort in Vikramgad offers the perfect destination for your family with the Deharaja River, Biliya Mountains, Jaysagar Lake and gushing waterfalls located nearby. For Reservations: +91- 97681 37027, +91- 97681 37033. reservations@greenarth.in Lemon Tree Hotels offers a unique rejuvenating weekend package to unwind and recharge. The hotels’ special rates per person, per night on double occupancy for minimum length of 2 nights’ stay are: Indore - Rs.1249; Aurangabad, Chennai and Kaushambi - Rs. 1499 and Bengaluru, Gurgaon and Hyderabad - Rs.1999 plus taxes. Pamper yourself with their complimentary buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner, two 30 minute massages per stay and free use of fitness centre and swimming pool. Complimentary rooms for kids under 12 are available. Valid until: 30th September. For reservations: www.lemontreehotels.com

a wedding destination fit for royalty

three for two: liquid sunshine in kerala In this wedding season, Ranbanka Palace Heritage Hotel is an ideal heritage destination to host large scale weddings in Jodhpur. A magnificent sandstone building, Ranbanka Palace has all the modern day facilities without disturbing the 8

antiquity of a royal abode. With a 150 course Rajasthani cuisine, a procession of dancers, elephants, camels, horses and musicians, it would have all the pomp and show of a great royal wedding. The offers including even getting your apparel designed like those

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worn by royalty. Even the staff currently employed at this vintage property are those familiar with serving the royal lineage. Valid till 31-12-2012

For Reservations: www.ranbankahotels.com Phone: 09799129123 / 09928276088

The monsoon in Kerala is a memorable experience and for this, Allways Travels offers a special 2 night/ 3 days package for stay in three hotels out of your choice. This includes Vivanta by Taj in Malabar Cochin, The Gateway Hotel Marine Drive in Ernakulam and Vivanta by Taj in Kovalam. On availing this offer for two nights, you can enjoy the third night free of cost. Apart from accommodation for 2 adults, the package also includes breakfast plus one meal of your choice and 20% discount on F&B. Starting Price: Rs.13,000 per couple + taxes Website: www.allwaystravels.com


travel buzz

desert, hills or beach? take a taj winter safari this season Discover the unparalleled beauty of the Indian jungles with Taj Safaris at Kanha, Panna, Pench and Bandhavgarh National Parks in Madhya Pradesh. If you want to watch Tigers in their habitat along with born fires in Mahua Kothi, Baghvan, Banjaar and Tola, then the Taj offers FIT rates for pre-peak season as Rs 5,000 per person. Even for an exploration in Pashangarh, the tariff remains the same till October 15, 2011. From peak season the offer for Mahua Kothi, Baghvan, Banjaar and Tola would extend from Rs 8,000 to Rs 27,000 depending on your liking. As for Pashangarh, the peak season would include packages starting from Rs 5,500 to Rs 18,000. In the chilly month of December, the offer on all the safaris in MP would extend from Rs 6,000 to Rs 19,000. For reservations: Contact 022 66011825 www.tajsafaris.com

It seems that the Royal Orchid Hotels have an offer for any of these cravings in the wake of their weekend packages. If you want to bathe in the sand and sun of Rajasthan, then head to Hotel Royal Orchid, Jaipur. The 3 Night/4 Day package includes complimentary breakfast, half day sight-

head to the first antistress spa in hawaii

the island of the gods

Located on Hawaii’s island of Oahu, the Sullivan Estate Spa & Resort is the first holistic anti-stress centre on earth. The resort’s latest offer is the mind, body and soul rejuvenation package that includes organic tropical breakfast, private chef for lunch and dinner, professional servers, laundry service, daily maid service, concierge services, security, introductory SPA treatments and weekly yoga classes. Alternatively you could book all-inclusive individual or group anti-stress, wellness and fitness programs. You can also indulge in the luxury of the estate or experience surfing, whale-watching, golf, tennis and more. Price: Daily rates start at US$ 2,500 / person. All inclusive package rates start at $3,550 / person. Contact: www.sullivanestate.com

Popularly known as the island of the gods, Bali is one among 17000 islands in the archipelago that makes up Indonesia. The Legian Bali is a unique natural retreat on this beautiful island that is rich in history and culture. The tropical retreat that offers a myriad of activities is a choice holiday destination for avid leisure seekers. The attractions known best in the famous districts of Ubud, Kuta, Seminyak and Legian include sightseeing, shopping, dining, and of course, beach play at one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. www:thelegianbali.com

seeing, airport transfers in Rs 12, 000 per person. The Royal Orchid Fort Resort, Mussorie set amidst the Queen of Hills is an excellent getaway to get away from the city. Built like an ancient fort the hotel offers excellent views of the Himalayas and the Doon valley. Their 2 Night/ 3 Day royal package

includes complimentary breakfast at the price Rs 13,000 per person. If you want to enjoy the water and the city of Goa, then your choice can be The Royal Orchid Beach Resort & Spa, Goa. The 3N/ 4D includes complimentary breakfast, half day sightseeing, airport transfers are at a deal for Rs 21,000.

diwali package at kenilworth goa Starting 21st October till 31st October, the package lasts for four days and three nights with exciting gifts for this festive season. Nestled in the white sands of Utorda Beach (Salcete), Kenilworth Resort & Spa sprawls across 14 acres of serene surroundings and offers you the Paradise Pool of 17,500 sq ft that has

a kid’s corner, a sunken bar for adults and a Jacuzzi. This Festive Package can be enjoyed by a couple for Rs 45,000/- in a Deluxe Sea Facing room. Relax with a bottle of the best Goan Wine and a basket of fresh fruits while soaking in the tranquil and relaxing free spirit of the Goan ambience.

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travel buzz

for the stars and tsars’ Discover The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow and experience the breathtaking beauty of Russia. From the city’s traditions and culture to its modern amenities and world-class dining, this fivestar hotel in Moscow provides guests with convenient access to all this unique destination has to offer. After a day spent exploring Red Square, shopping or immersed in the city’s fascinating past, guests return to our luxury hotel in Moscow

and rejuvenate their bodies and souls at ESPA, indulge in an unforgettable meal at Caviarterra or allow their personal butler to assist them in planning the perfect evening.

The Ritz Carlton, Moscow offers a luxurious Stars and Tsars package. Should you avail of the offer which includes a two night accommodation in a Ritz-Carlton Suite you can enjoy a trio of caviar with blinis and condiments and a bottle of Kauffman vodka on ice upon arrival, plus access to the Club Lounge offering continuous food and beverage presentations throughout the day. You are also entitled to round-trip transportation from the airport; round-trip transportation to the legendary Star City, the Soviet and Russian cosmonaut training facility and enjoy a unique opportunity to meet the cosmonauts and experience training in a space suit. Completing the experience is a threecourse Russian dinner in Caviarterra offering traditional dishes including Borsch, Beef Stroganoff, a Russian Dessert and a shot of vodka Valid till: December 30, 2011. Cost: Starting at 1,007,090 RUB excluding VAT. Second person supplement is 11,490 RUB excluding VAT

turn up the romance Wondering how you can spice things up with your loved one? The Ritz Carlton, Moscow offers a unique romance package. It includes a one night accommodation with late check out at 3 PM; an American buffet breakfast for two in the room, rose petal turndown upon arrival, Italian sparkling wine and strawberries upon arrival; upgrade for following wedding anniversary and unlimited access to spa swimming pool, sauna and steam rooms. Valid on Friday, Saturday or Sunday nights through December 31, 2011 Starting at 22,510 RUB per night, excluding VAT

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travel buzz

exploring switzerland’s glacier towns It’s not just the mountains, traveling into the heart of Switzerland’s glacial regions is an amazing experience. And for you to wander through archetypal Swiss towns and cozy cafes, Make My Trip has introduced a special package. This seven day package is inclusive of return airfare, visa charges, and travel insurance. Along with this are second class train tickets reservation on Glacier Express from Zermatt-Chur and 2 nights’ accommodation in Interlaken. So stroll down the boulevard in Interlaken, explore the famed towns of Chur and Lucerne and enjoy the car free environs of Zermatt. Valid Till: 31 October 2011 Price: Ex-Delhi, twin sharing: Rs. 1,00,730 For reservation:www.makemytrip.com

london suites in dubai’s deserts London Suites Hotel in Dubai offers a unique four night package on twin sharing basis. It includes accommodation, daily breakfast, two way Dubai airport transfer, desert safari with barbeque dinner, Dhow dinner cruise, half day city tours, and all transfers on SIC basis and taxes. A minimum of two persons are required for a booking. Cost: US$ 162 / person. Valid from 01/09/11 to 30/04/12 For details: +91 124 4936888, surya@northtours.net

pick your city & beach in bangkok and thailand Tower Club at Lebua, an ultra luxury hotel in Bangkok, in association with Phulay Bay, a RitzCarlton Reserve on Krabi

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Island, offers an exciting four night package to experience the mesmerizing city of Bangkok as well as the ethereal beaches of

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Krabi in Thailand. You begin with limousine airport transfers to Tower Club Riverview suite in Bangkok inclusive for two nights. This also includes an innovative three course chef’s menu at the Mezzaluna and champagne with your companion at the Sky Bar. You then head to Phulay Bay - a hidden retreat away from the city that reveals the natural splendor of Thailand where you can soak in the water and beauty of the spellbinding destination. Price: INR 85,308 approx For reservations: +66 (0) 2624 9555, resvn@lebua.com

wherever cricket goes, you follow If you don't enjoy staying away from the TV screen even when you're taking a holiday then here's a chance to travel to the best cities down under. Tourism Australia together with its Aussie Specialist Program (ASP) agents is launching special packages this December when the continent gears up to welcome two of the best teams in world cricket - India and Sri Lanka. Cricket fans can enjoy power-packed international cricket that will include four Tests, two T20 Internationals and the return of the ODI triseries with at least 14 encounters. While the cricket extravaganza unfolds in the famed Australian cities – Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart and Perth, you can fly to these cities to enjoy scenic landscape, great weather and warm hospitality. Booking starts now for next year. Dates: from December 26, 2011 – March 08, 2012 www.cricket.com.au/travel


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expert speak CRUISING NISHITH SAXENA Tapping the potential of young turks who have indulged in all flavours of luxury, the market share of high end cruising has increased by 30%. Nishith Saxena, head of Interglobe cruises talks about customised experiences and an ever increasing demand by global Indians

cruising is aspirational but first timers gradually become regular What is the status of high-end cruising? The general estimation of the market share of highend cruising is approximately 30% based on the number of lower berths capacity of small, medium and large cruise vessels across globe. This takes into account all reputed cruise lines. The fact that even mass market cruise lines also have some high-end suites and villas, adds to this number. In the global scenario, the market share of the high-end cruising is evaluated differently by different bodies. Some look at all passengers carried by premium and luxury cruise lines; some look at passengers carried by all cruise lines who travel only on Mini Suites, Suites and Villas, others look at all passengers who have sailed for 10 days or for a longer vacation. There is no denying that there are variables, but for better understanding and for the purpose of segmentation, we consider passengers who have booked Mini Suites, Suites or higher cabin categories and those who have sailed on 14

itineraries which are 10 days longer as the high-end cruisers. What are the key differentiators of highend cruising? ■ High-end cruising is all about passenger comfort and providing top-of-theline services ■ It has more inclusions in the fare to make passengers feel pampered all the time ■ High-end cruising works on a price barrier, therefore, the mass market target audience is totally excluded ■ These passengers appreciate the fact that such products are sought after by the A-list people globally, hence early bookings are solicited. ■ High-end cruising is always linked to some reward programs, so the cruise lines are always in touch with passengers, before, during and after the cruise Who is a typical highend cruiser? A typical high-end cruiser is a person who is used to luxury and has learned to appreciate this on a regular basis. Be it a new set of wheels, flying first class, a new wrist watch or a

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choice of wine he/she consumes. The high-end cruiser is not only wealthy but is also well-educated and is in control of his life –normally a secondgeneration businessperson. He/she has passed the age of 45 and is well-established in his business and social circle. His motivation in life is drawn from the fact that he looks at every experience of life as a collectible item. Do you see a trend of high-end cruising in India? High-end cruising is synonymous with high-end living. India as a country is rich in its culture, heritage and wealth. The movers and shakers of every state here have some connection with royalty. Some of these have become big industrialists owning several businesses over the years. These are the people who have been travelling overseas for several decades, since the time when the only form of transport to travel between the countries was by ships. Therefore, luxury travel by cruise lines is not something new to them. Cruising is always seen

as an aspirational mode of travel and nowadays anyone who can afford, is trying to get initiated on cruising. The trend is encouraging and we hope to see more and more passengers coming onboard various ships – the first timers normally seek a short duration, short hallcruise and then they gradually move to medium duration, medium haul cruise and in few years they start cruising regularly with all possible combinations suiting their individual tastes and affordability.


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destination MICE Better known as ‘Rose of the North’, Thailand’s Chiang Mai is 700 kms north of Bangkok. Chiang Mai is a bustling city that represents the administrative, business, education and tourism center of Thailand’s north. In recent years, more and more organizers of corporate events are opting to locate their events in Chiang Mai, and in tandem with this, Chiang Mai now has sophisticated meetings facilities and services.

new business destination chiang mai

Ballroom/banquet at Le Meridien

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eetings and Conventions

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai’s biggest tourist attraction.

Centara Duongtawan Hotel: An extensive self contained meeting venue right in the heart of Chiang Mai with a grand ballroom for up to 800 guests, 9 breakout rooms, pre function area, business centre and secretarial service. Holiday Inn, Chiang Mai: With 526 guest rooms, 15 function venues and riverside pavilion, the hotel is ideally equipped to accommodate both large international conventions @ incentives and smaller business meetings & Seminars. Le Meridien, Chiang Mai: Set in the heart of central business district, adjacent to major tourist and retail area as well as the well known night bazaar.

Big on Team Building For team building activities and dinner parties, there are also many options available for organizers. The rich geographical landscapes provide ideal outdoor locations for activities such as an elephant quest using the GPS, trekking, and adventure training. Other team building programs may include community services like repairing a roof in a village school, or helping a remote village install water supply systems.

How to Reach As Chiang Mai is the gateway city to Thailand’s north, and to facilitate the high volume of trade and tourism, it has its own international airport. There are several 1-hour flights from Bangkok daily, as well as other Asian cities such as Singapore that flies direct to Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai International Airport is capable of handling about 2 million passengers over 15,000 flights.

Where to Stay Hotel chains that are in Chiang Mai are the Amari and Holiday Inn Groups, among others. There are also several exclusive boutique hotels now in Chiang Mai that offers the ultimate in hotel luxury and these include The Chedi, The Rajamanka and The Tamarind Village just to name a few.

Cuisine and Dining Being the cosmopolitan city that it is, Chiang Mai also has many restaurants serving a variety of Asian and international cuisines. These are mainly located along the main thoroughfares of the city, and especially in the district called Nimmanheimin, there is a variety of more trendy and hip restaurants

and bars. Another interesting aspect of dining – perhaps for the more adventurous – is Chiang Mai’s own selection of street food, the most popular of which is khao soi, easily likened to linguine cooked in coconut gravy.

Recreation for Pre and Post Tours For those with time to spare, there is much to do in this lovely city of Chiang Mai. Options include visiting the hilltribes, checking out an elephant conservation camp, or trekking the many lush forests to admire the rich flora and fauna. For the more sedate, a day at the spa or taking a Thai cooking lesson may be equally delightful. Walking around the city is most pleasant especially around the Nimmanheimin strip, one the trendiest parts of Chiang Mai. Courtesy THAILAND CONVENTION & EXHIBITION CENTRE

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destination shanghai

the shanghai surprise

Photo by NEETA LAL

Skyscrapers which pierce the skies and wealth that oozes in every corner-Shanghai is also ideal for street food and culture. A perfect blend of two, Shanghai oscillats between luxury and affordability.

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hina’s commercial capital bristles with buildings. So get set to crane and twist your neck to visually feast on some of the world’s most spectacular structures. The Oriental Pearl Tower, one of Asia’s tallest, offers gasp-inducing views of the city. Jin Mao Tower – a staggering 88-story behemoth – offers ditto. We’re whisked up in a high-speed elevator to the world’s highest observation deck (1555 ft.) at the Shanghai World Financial Center also known by another interesting


Photo by CHINA TOURISM

moniker – the “bottle-opener” due to its shape. Our ears pop several times during the ascent in a packed-out elevator. It doesn’t matter. The panoramic sweep of the city – a legoland of blocks of concrete, swathes of green and much else – that greets us at the top more than makes up for it. Commerce prevails at this vertiginous wonder too, pretty much like the rest of China. Shops hawking souvenirs, handbags, mugs, T-shirts and other touristy tat are doing brisk business. As are the photo shops. We – spouse, kids and me, that is – strike funky poses against a backgrounder poster of Shanghai’s iconic buildings while the photographer clicks. The snaps are handed over to us in a nicely packaged, glossy avatar in a trice! Shanghai is a vertical city. So you need to get to dizzying heights to enjoy its staggering vistas. The appropriately named Vue Bar, located on the 32nd and 33rd floors of the new Hyatt on the Bund, lets you soak in views of the historic waterfront and Pudong, the futuristic business district on the other side of the river. The Huangpu River – that splices the city into two – is a vital tributary of the Yangtze River and a conduit for billions of dollars worth of cargo that passes through the city’s ports. The bustling riverfront underscores Shanghai’s role as China’s commercial epicenter.

We cruise down the Huangpu in a gargantuan ship at night to capture the city’s nocturnal images. We’re far from disappointed. The river banks offer, literally, a moveable feast of the Manhattan-style area of skyscrapers. Apparently, the buildings didn’t even exist till 15 years ago and were marshlands. But the savvy Chinese have transmogrified it into one of the world’s spiffiest riverside areas. Unfortunately, in the same period, the city has also ballooned six-fold and doubled its population to the current 23 million (in-

cluding nine million immigrants), all eager to partake of Shanghai’s gold rush. Shanghai’s relentless energetic and progressive business environment have helped fuel its double-digit growth. Its proximity to Hong Kong and Beijing, and seamless connections with the US, have further made it an irresistible magnet for multinationals. More than 300 of the Fortune 500 have investments in Shanghai. The city’s modernization is undoubtedly a result of unprecedented prosperity. It has

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COMMERCE PREVAILS AT THIS VERTIGINOUS WONDER TOO, PRETTY MUCH LIKE THE REST OF CHINA. SHOPS HAWKING SOUVENIRS, HANDBAGS, MUGS, T-SHIRTS AND PHOTO SHOPS ARE DOING BRISK BUSINESS BECAUSE OF TOURISTS September 2011 GO NOW

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tuan granite phalanx. But after looking closely I realise that they’re actually a medley of different European architectural styles – Neoclassical, Art Deco, Gothic, Romanesque, Renaissance and more. Skyscraper-studded skylines, historical sites and a splendid waterfront promenade. How could we not be charmed? The city also teems with great restaurants, shops, galleries, clubs, and discos, easily accessible via a clean and efficient metro system. Has rapid modernization compromised the city’s architectural heritage and unique character? Not really. Central Shanghai may be overly commercial – glass towers, chic hotels, glass-fronted office buildings, shopping centers, upscale stores et al. But saunter into the city’s innards and you’ll find

pockets of old-fashioned serenity. The city’s municipal authorities have made a major effort to create ‘green zones’ in the city wherever possible. There is always a park or traditional garden at hand leavening the effect of the omnipresent concrete. Fuxing Park – smack-dab in the colonialera French Concession – proffers shady sycamore trees and stuccoed villas. Amidst its greenscape, you’ll find children running amok, elderly people doing tai chi or taking their caged birds for a stroll. On Anyuan Road, we visit a Buddhist monastery – the Jade Buddha Temple. Bright yellow walls, terracotta-tiled slatted roofs, red lanterns and courtyards redolent with the cloying smell of incense. Our eyes sting with the incense’s onslaught but we plod on.

Photographs by CHINA TOURISM

experienced exponential growth since the early 1990s. Foreign investment, private businesses and rising personal incomes have all fuelled a construction boom. Apparently, there are over 4,000 high-rises in Shanghai, even more than in New York and plans are afoot to build a thousand more. On the river’s western shore lie the stately buildings of the Bund, Shanghai’s Wall Street is from a century ago, where Western tycoons dominated trade in this open port city until World War II. To the east lies the Pudong New Area, where rice fields paved way for futuristic skyscrapers that house scores of multinational corporations. Several stately towers loom over the Bund’s architectural treasures. At first glance, they all seem to coalesce into one gargan-

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Photo by NEETA LAL

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SHANGHAI’S TOP TOURIST ACTIVITY IS RETAIL THERAPY. THE HIGH END, WITH ARMANI, ROLEX, GUCCI AND SUCH-LIKE ARE ALL YOKED TOGETHER IN A WELTER OF HIGHBROW MALLS. NANJING ROAD IS SHANGHAI’S VERSION OF FIFTH AVENUE WITH RETAILERS LIKE DIOR, GUCCI AND CARTIER

Inside the halls, devotees pray in front of goldplated Buddha statues, the piece de resistance being the world-famous “white jade” Buddha – a two-meter-high glittering statue. The Old Town, in the southeastern corner of central Shanghai, is where the Yu Garden and City Temple Market is located. If you’re looking for traditional Chinese souvenirs, pearls and reproductions of antiques; this is where you’ll find them. The garden has five lovely acres of ponds, wooden pavilions and rockeries. Sit down, relax and deep breathe. But be wary of battalions of Chinese tourists that come marching through the greens (led by megaphone-wielding guides) that shatter the peace of this 16th century sanctuary. Shanghai’s top tourist activity is retail therapy. The high end, with Armani, Rolex, Gucci and such-like are all yoked together in 22

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a welter of highbrow malls. Nanjing Road is Shanghai’s version of Fifth Avenue, with a slew of luxury retailers-Gucci, Dior, Cartieroccupying the gleaming shopping centers. Shanghai’s gastronomic landscape sizzles just as much as its retail: From Michelin-starred eateries to street food, there’s a bewildering array of dining options. Wander down the side alleys where local merchants ply their wares. Sample the infinite variety of street food, including sweetly barbequed pork sold off greasy grids. In fact many of Shanghai’s joys are located are at the street level, where everyday life unfolds with staggering variety. A night stroll among the neon lights along Nanjing Road is a treat. Wander through the French Concession to window shop at the endless array of shops lining the avenues. We enjoy a delicious Chinese meal at

Xintiandi, or New Heaven and Earth, a spiffy dining and shopping complex carved out of century-old lane houses. Hengshan Road is another popular bar-and-restaurant district. Oh, and don’t miss out on the famous soup dumpling or what’s called the ‘xiaolong bao’. To partake of this magic, we’re guided to the unassuming Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant, near Nanjing Road. A translucent dumpling skin is wrapped around a juicy pork filling (or, in luxe versions, crab) and then filled with a shot of hot, tasty broth. Close your eyes, place the dumpling in your mouth and let the flavors explode on your palate! On the last day of our trip, we board the hi-tech magnetic levitation (Maglev) train to the swanky new Pudong International Airport. The train – apparently a great touristy attraction – reaches a top speed of 260 mph in eight minutes, thrill-a-minute ride. Of course we feel a tad whiplashed when we’re disgorged at the airport station. But that’s hardly surprising considering a sense of disorientation has all along been the leitmotif of this fast-paced city. by NEETA LAL


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destination thailand

joys of shopping in a floating market Radhika Mehta travelled to Damnoen Saduak, the floating market of Thailand for a shopping experience, which can be least, summed up as sheer delight.

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am sure, like me, all of you would have felt that pain, and tiredness roam-ing around even in the most compel-ling shopping paradise of the world. But this is my opportunity to take you to my most comfortable shopping experience in Damnoen Saduak market of Thailand. Wondering what made it comfortable? It was the boat that took me through the length and breadth of the market, stopping whichever shop I intended to take my pitts stop on. The floating market in Ratchaburi, a province in central Thailand was a surprise of sorts for me. When I hopped on the speedboat, I expected an adventure ride, but it turned out to be a ride to the

market. In about 20 minutes after crossing wooden chalets and farms, I reached the destination where I changed the boat to climb on to a wooden boat that caresses through the market. Wooden huts, fruit shops, vegetable shops, and crowded boats of tourists presented the town with a buzz one can normally associate with a market, but its presence on water gave it a special feel. From most popular Thai food to eye catching souvenirs, I found it all while taking a round on my private boat. A great mixture of sun and wind encouraged in me to extend a two hour journey into a full day. It was great to see excited tourists from across the world indulging

in a different style of shopping; also for these visitors this market was a wonderful change from the attraction of Bangkok and having fun at night the beaches of Pattaya that are common when on a holiday in Thailand. John, a tourist from London expressed his delight. “I have come to Thailand for the first time to party in the night clubs but I am so glad that I could make a short trip to this market to see a different culture from what is there back home. It’s my suggestion to all my friends not to forget to embark upon this shopping expedition for the very essence of Thailand, not forgetting some of that famous. Thai lime and lemon grass.�

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The old town abounds with shops where one can get the fancy handmade round hats, which can also be used as old time hand fans. When I got into the boat, I was also the given a hat to wear to protect myself from the sun. After confirming that I was from India, my boat driver greeted me with a ‘swa dee ka’ (Hello and Welcome in Thai), and offered me some coconut water. The best part about of this market is that nobody has to think twice about their pocket before getting into it because there is something for

were not many options available in terms of eating a proper four course meal but I could easily explain whated to a Thai waitress and relaxed for a while. I found out that the early hours of any day of the floating market are routinely crowded with hundreds of vendors and purchasers floating in their small rowing boats selling, buying or exchanging their goods. “This is the best tourist attraction for early risers. We get to see a minimum of 80-100 visitors’ everyday from 8 am to 11 am and by

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WOODEN HUTS, FRUIT SHOPS, VEGETABLE SHOPS, AND CROWDED BOATS OF TOURISTS PRESENTED THE TOWN WITH A BUZZ ONE CAN NORMALLY ASSOCIATE WITH A MARKET, BUT ITS PRESENCE ON WATER GAVE IT A SPECIAL FEEL.

everyone and for every affordability. During the bargain session, one can hear sounds like “I cannot madam, this is the best price…” from Thai shopkeepers with their very innocent faces and in that case even if you know a single Thai word which is ‘Kob Koon Ka’ (Thank you in Thai), it becomes your offer to get one buy one free in terms of small items like wooden elephants, strolls etc. After the adventurous shopping I got to rest my feet while having a cardamom flavored cup of Thai coffee with condensed milk at a small and quaint looking restaurant. There

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the afternoon I sell almost half of my fruits and vegetables,” said Pittipong, a shopkeeper. Pittipong usually sells different things including coconut water on a small rowing boat and when he gets tired, he shifts all his goods to the banks of the canal. Most people like Pittipong live densely along both sides of the canal from one end to another. The majority of these people are agriculturists and some of them belong to very rich families who left their homes for the sake of living the Thai way. It’s the habit of vendors to grow several kinds of fruit and


factfile HOW TO GET THERE By Car: From Bangkok you can take Highway No. 4 (Phetchakasem Road.) and turn left at Km. 80 for another 25 kms. along Bangpae-Damnoen Saduak Road. By Bus: There are public buses both air conditioned and non airconditioned leaving from the Southern Bus Terminal. PinklaoNakhonchaisi Road. for Damnoen Saduak every 40 minutes from 06.00 hrs. onwards. Fare is around Baht 49 (one way) for air-conditioned (Tel. 435-5031) and Baht 30 for normal buses (Tel. 434-5558). The most suitable time to be at the market is from 08.00-10.00 hrs. On arrival at Damnoen Saduak, you can either walk on the passage along the canal on the right hand side or take a boat at the pier nearby to the Floating Market area for Baht 10 per person. Those who want to see all the three of the Floating Markets, Ton Khem, Hia Kui, Khun Phithak may hire a boat at the price of Baht 300 per hour. It is recommended that the fare should be settled before starting off. A visit to this market, noted for its fresh fruits from surrounding orchards, can be combined with a tour of the great chedi in Nakhon Pathom or Rose Garden which is on the same route. The show time at the Thai Village in the Rose- Garden is 15.00 hrs. and admission fee is Baht 190 per person. The trip can be arranged through a travel agency or at a tour counter in most hotels in Bangkok.

vegetables. Not just a source of income, the Damnoen Saduak Canal also provides farmers with adequate water for agricultural purposes for the whole year round.

History of Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Damnoen Saduak is believed to be a wellknown and attractive travelling site. Historically, Damnoens Saduak was the name of the canal dug during the reign of King Rama IV by the military and the people of Rajburi, Samutsakorn and Samutsongkram Provinces directed by Phayasrisuriyawong, the minister of Defence. In those days without rivers and canals, transportation was minimal; King Rama IV with his great concern for the country’s future economic growth, finally had the canal dug to connect the Taachin River in Samutsakorn Province and the Maklong River in Samutsongkram Province. September 2011 GO NOW

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dining out dubai

T

hey are havens of superlative gastronomy, exemplary culinary creativity and fine wine experiences. At iconic hospitality landmarks, these temples to taste have few parallels anywhere.

At.mosphere Floor 122 – Burj Khalifa

Al Mahara – Burj Al Arab

The world’s highest altitude, true blue blood fine wining and dining destination way up in the clouds above Dubai Downtown is undoubtedly second to none. This distinguished gourmet address in the world’s tallest tower, Burj Khalifa, offers a pinnacle of signature wonders starting with a fine Champagne – a bottle of Bollinger and going onto Heirloom tomatoes with buffalo mozzarella with a fine Dog Point New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. As the views silence you, Gnocchi with cauliflower Crisps sail in with an Australian Bush Vine Yalumba Granache

Among the top 10 award-wining restaurants in the world, this giant floor-to-ceiling aquarium-graced haven known for the finest of the world's seafood is sensory stimulation par excellence. As you watch a myriad of fantastic, fluorescent fish engage your stillness, Michelin Star trained creative chef Mansour Memarian’s signature flavours entice you along with fine world wines. I begin with the Burj Al Arab Private Label Caviar Beluga. While Wild Mushrooms Cigar with Smoked Cinnamon Foam paired with a 2010 Lois Loimer Gruner

dubai’s

dining dazzle Join Kishore and Smita Iyengar in the world’ s fastest gr owing city to live up some of the most outstanding wining and dining experiences 28

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red and Cocote with a French Chateau Bailley. The signature number At.mosphere surf and turf-Beef Tartare with caviar needs to be experienced! The Frommage (cheese) platter and the signature ‘Sphere’ dessert married to a thrilling Italian Araldica Moscato is a culinary symphony to the palate.


Trendy Itaian dining at Certo, Radisson Blue Hotel, Media City

Armani / Ristorante – Armani Hotel At this distinguished, bespoke Armani fine-dining retreat, fine Italian cuisine caresses your senses with understated sophistication. Cheery amber glows, matt silver covers and privileged Italian ambience are complemented by ace Somelier Marene Denise's finely picked Cervaro della Sala Antinori 2008. The dish brought to us is Black Squid Ink Risotto, stewed cuttlefish. Along the privileges come Red Snapper fillet, Peppermint sauce matched with Pinot Nero Torti 2007 wine, while Veal Tenderloin Medallion, mashed Peas, baked Shallots, Foie Gras which sings along with a

Veltliner will charm you, the exquisite Persian Hebtart with Poached Egg Yolk and Saffron Cardamom Emulsion matched with a 2007 Weingut St Urbans-Hof QbA Riesling, will leave you satiated. To cap it all savour the unforgettable Atlantic Wild Turbot With Porcini Chutney and Pinot Noir Tarragon Sauce’. Eclectic to the hilt, this is enjoyed with a fine 2009 New Zealand Ara Pinot Noir.

Reflets Par Pierre Gagnaire – Interncontinental Dubai Festival City Waterfront facing Michelin starred fine wining and dining joint exuberates French excellence and world-class distinction. The classy lavender-deep purple-brushed silver décor with immaculate finish uplifts your expectation with a fine Champagne – R de Ruinart as you are honored with Purée of beetroots from Mr Thibault, anchovies and Ratatouille Red Pepper Coulis, Burratta

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AMONG THE TOP 10 AWARD-WINING RESTAURANTS IN THE WORLD, AL MAHARA’S GIANT FLOOR-TO-CEILING AQUARIUM-GRACED HAVEN KNOWN FOR THE FINEST OF THE WORLD'S SEAFOOD IS SENSORY STIMULATION PAR EXCELLENCE.

Quinoa Tabouleh. Then its time to live up the star dishes like Red Footed Crayfish Peppered in Vegetable Broth with a fine Cotes de Rousillon Chapoutier and Papillotte of Seabream Londro with Miso and French Fries. The crisp Costiere de Nimes, Chateau Mourgues de Gres completes the gastronomical delight.

Vus – Jumeirah Emirates Towers

Gillardeau oysters at At.mosphere, Burj Khalifa

At level 50, the ‘VUs’ (views) of Dubai’s glittering skyline are alluringly psychedelic. But effusive manager Maria Jose Mora even upped our culinary quest with delectable designer cuisine. The exciting 65 degrees C Free Range Organic Egg with Green Asparagus, Macadamia, Black Truffle Vinaigrette was eclectic with a 2009 Riesling Dr L-Ernie Loosen, Mosel, Germany. The concerto progressed with Burned Flour Tagliolini, Wild Mushroom Buffalo Milk Butter – superbly paired with a 2006 Bourgogne La Vignee Bouchard Pere & Fils-Burgundy, France. Also recommended are the Wagyu Beef Rossini and Gillardeau Oysters in Mignonette Sauce.

Merlot Planeta 2006 as exemplary offerings.

Al Muntaha – Burj Al Arab Grandstand views of the sea, the Dubai skyline, The Palm, The Islands of The World and stylized art-deco interiors capture your imagination here. Energetic Chef de Cuisine Bjorn Alexander Panek’s refreshing fare synergizes with choicest wines at this chic contemporary fine-dining restaurant. Our sommelier wonders enlighten our evening with Eggplant with Garlic Miso Sauce (and Domaine Trimbach Reserve Pinot Gris-Alsace, France) and Baby Navets Lime Jade Sauce Black Truffle. Their Mixed Pickled Vegetables Green Pea Crème was outstanding with Tenuta di Castiglioni, Marchesi di Frescobaldi 2008-Toscana. The popular favourite was Lemon soup Cardamom Granite cacao and Mint with Paul Cluver Weisser South African Riesling 2010.

Chor Bazaar Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel The freshness of ingredients and tempered flavours of each dish crafted by experienced Chef Ravi Rao endorse the status as the most September 2011 GO NOW

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Svelte dining and leisure at Spectrum On One, Fairmont

outstanding Indian fine dining experience. Beginning with the cheeky Thieves Aloo papdi Chaat to Hazari Chicken Tikka to Basil Prawns and the interesting Chor’s Famed Raan Changrezi it’s a fascinating culinary journey into myriad flavours. In distinctively designed ambience, we had for company a thrilling white Louis Jadot 2007 Chardonnay from France and a well picked Sicilian 2007 Nero D’Avola red.

Pierchic – Madinat Jumeirah Out on the mauve ocean, perched on the waves as a gourmet beacon of sophistication, this stunning seafood destination away from the shores of Jumeirah Beach commands unbeatable mastery on the fresh catch. In mood enhancing evening glows, relish Organic Irish Salmon Confit with a dry South African 2008 Chenin Blanc. Move onto their superb Ocean Trout poached in Carrot Fume matched with a 2009 Montana Brancotte New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Don’t miss the Blue Cheese Brulee – c’est magnifique!

Shang Palace – The Shangri-la Hotel Renowned refletts par Pierre Gagnaire: Intercontinental Dubai Festival City

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A garden of freshest wok stirred marvels colouring your imagination at the signature restaurant. Sprightly Chef de Cuisine Eddie


Leong effortlessly whips up Wasabi Mushrooms, Vegetable Ham Salad, Black Pepper Mock Meat with Pinot Grigio Danzante Frescobaldi, Italy and later Rosemount Road white, Australian wines. Not to be missed are signature wonders like Steamed Lobster and Scallop Dumplings, Sauteed Honey Beans with Red Chilli and the most intriguing Minced Carrot!

Sicilia – Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel Delectable Sicilian and Italian flavours entice you in an ambience of wine barrels, vintage magnums, arched brick-finish alcoves and photo-frame memorabilia. Toast with a smart 2009 Soave from Veneto to Beef Carpaccio with mushrooms and Castelmagno cheese shards and onto some great home-made pasta-duck ragout, salted Ricotta with a fine 2004 Chateau Roubine Rose, France. Try out their Sako-Rosemary grilled Tuna with Portabello mushrooms and white wine mushroom sauce. Bellisimo!

Armani/Amal – Armani Hotel This is where Indian contemporary cuisine is elevated to global finesse. Specialty Head Chef Vijay Anand’s creative verve extends from Samundari Milan (crispy tiger prawns) and Mahi Ajwaini to Tulsi Murgh Kebab and

pastries) were served with fine Taylor’s Port 2004.

Shanghai Chic Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel The brilliance of reds and gold speak opulence of the imperial courts of China. The cuisine here was equally evocative such as the Steamed Lotus Root Siew Mai (with prawns and chicken thigh), Braised Shaghai-styled Duck and Sauteed Beef cube, Black Pepper Sauce rule the culinary roost. The Chinese harp lilts as you conclude with a Deep Fried Ice cream, Cinnamon Mixed Fruit. All music to the taste buds.

Spectrum On One The Fairmont The world on a platter enlivens your gastronomic voyage at this lively hotspot, bustling with global flavours from live kitchens. Ace Sommelier Ritwik Shastri lined up an amazing array of wines for our dining zest. From 2009 Wild Rock New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc to

Moroccan belle pouring Moroccan coffee at Marrakech, The Shangri-La

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OUT ON THE MAUVE OCEAN, PERCHED ON THE WAVES AS A GOURMET BEACON OF SOPHISTICATION, THIS STUNNING SEAFOOD DESTINATION AWAY FROM THE SHORES OF JUMEIRAH BEACH COMMANDS UNBEATABLE MASTERY ON THE FRESH CATCH

Bhuna Champ (grilled lamb chops). Experienced Sommelier Rajan Rengasamy enhanced the dining privilege with his hand picked white and red vintages and a grand finale of wine-based tasting chasers to top up innovative desserts.

Marrakech – The Shangri-la Hotel The Naie, the Balalika and the Darbouka are dimly lit in arched grace as steaming Tagines welcomed us at this exceptional Moroccan gourmet address. Complemented by cheery Beverage Manager Santino Cicciari’s fine choice of wines, we relished Moroccan Pie with fresh vegetables (Vina Esmeralda Torres 2010 – Gewurztraminer white). Surprises came as Chorba Dokali (roasted pumpkin and spinach soup) and Couscous Berber and Tagine Pruneaux (braised veal in honey and prunes) paired with Chianti del Barone Ricasoli 2009. The exemplary Halaouyat (assorted Moroccan

2007 Chardonnay Stimson Cellar Washington to Chianti Ruffino Tuscany 2009 to 2008 Wild Rock Pinot Noir Strugglers Flat New Zealand. Assorted flavours sang on to us.

Pax – Dusit Thani Traditional Italian home-made cuisine lived up to its reputation with excellent Spinach Ravioli and pesto, Garlic Lasgna with Rucola cheese and Pumpkin and sage Gnocchi in cheese sauce. Classical décor and soft chandelier glows enchanted our mood for fine dining. A superb Toscana Sangiovese Rosso 2008 was an apt companion.

Café Arabesque – Park Hyatt Simmering woks and Tagines, the café has a giant wood-fired oven and loads of delicious Pitta and Arabian breads. Muhammara, Tabouleh, Fatoush, Falafel, Babaghanoush, fresh vegetables and delightful dips like Hummus and Eggplant with beetroot make for

an irresistible Mid-Eastern to the hilt! The diverse cuisine here smiles with a 2007 Chateau Kefraya red and 2009 Chateau Kefraya white Lebanese wines. A veritable feast with teasers like Muhallabia, Baklavas and Riz Bil Halib.

Imperium – Jumeirah Zabeel Saray Grand gilded columns and filigreed arches, profuse designer marble environs and spacious covers make up a thrilling dining adventure. Multi-cuisine accents waft from fresh Sushi and Yakitori platters, French-style a la-carte specialties to Lebanese, Egyptian and Indian delicacies. The inviting ravioli in tomato-pesto sauce with thyme scores brilliantly here, with the Lamb Tenderloin.

Certo Radisson Blue Dubai Media City Unassuming and friendly Italian manager Michele Lorusso will make sure your crisp Pizza Napolitano has enough black olives and garlic to match your Primitivo Manduria Negroamaro red wine from Puglia. The Gamberi (prawns) with ricotta cheese and Porcini mushrooms is another delicacy we savoured with crispy roasted garlic fritters with a glass of the 2007 chilled Proseco from Veneto. September 2011 GO NOW

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destination germany Among the world’s great “Riesling” wine regions, Bavaria and Saxony are acclaimed for their food, wine and cultural experience. The slopes of the Valley look down on a colourful patchwork of vineyards and picture book villages, where historic churches, stone buildings and cottages beckon explorers...

on a

german wine trail

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DID YOU KNOW? The story of the remarkable ‘Eiswein’ aka ‘Ice wine’ or ‘Vin du Glace’ began in Germany

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M

esmerized

The mesmerizing natural beauty and simple lifestyle add to the seductiveness of this region, which is largely devoid of crowd. The city of Frankfurt, which is not too far, certainly reflects the importance of tourism in the local economy of this place. Yet nothing to date has really upset the region’s “bliss balance”.

Franconia’s treasures, you will want to find out more about them.

Seducing Saxony The state of the Federal Republic of Germany is located in the south-eastern corner of reunified Germany and boasts of beautiful cities and a number of stunning buildings, operas, art, architecture, castles and gardens. There are several activities like

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MY FIRST STOP WAS MEISSEN – THE BIRTHPLACE OF PORCELAIN IN EUROPE. TO A WINE CONNOISSEUR, THE NAME ‘MEISSEN’ IS ASSOCIATED WITH VINEYARDS PRODUCING TOP QUALITY WHITE WINES IN GERMANY. AMONG THE HIGHLY-RECOMMENDED ONES ARE MÜLLER-THURGAU, WEISSBURGUNDER AND GOLD RIESLING

Beautiful Bavaria While on my way to Wurzburg from Frankfurt, I stopped by for a cup of tea and delicious Danish pastries at a café. The origins of this city date back to 1000 B.C.E and over the years, it has been known not only for its wine, but some prominent inventors such as Wilhelm C Rontgen, who discovered the X-rays. The best part of this tour was the visit to the wine cellars where you will find that the Riesling has a moral premium among white wine grape varieties. Next day, I visited Franconian Vinotheque which is the perfect place to find the most impressive selection of exquisite wines in a stunning ambience. The sommelier was extremely knowledgeable and guided us in our selection. He not only showed us different wines, but also gladly pointed us in the right direction to find and visit more local wineries. Once you have tasted some of 34

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hiking and nature trails which you can engage yourself in. My first stop was Meissen – the birthplace of porcelain in Europe. To a wine connoisseur, the name ‘Meissen’ is associated with vineyards producing top quality white wines in Germany. Among the highly-recommended ones are MüllerThurgau, Weissburgunder and Gold Riesling which can be bought from the producer, Sächsische Winzergenossens-chaft Meissen. The romantic location amidst the vineyards of Radebeul and the production of sparkling wines offers a feast at the Wackerbarth castle Saxon estate winery. I enjoyed the fine Saxon type here with sparkling champagne and distinctive wines which are prized for their special character, rich fruit extracts and refreshing integrated acidity. Dresden, the capital city also has a number of old buildings. Bruehl Terrace is a favourite place for both locals and tourists

factfile Getting there: Fly Lufthansa Airlines to Frankfurt (local carriers are always economical). From Frankfurt travel by local trains, bikes or hire a cab too. Frankfurt Airport: Gateway to Germany is the world’s 8th largest airport in terms of passenger turnover. It’s an international hub for all the main arteries of transportation. Visa-wise: You require a valid passport and a Schengen Visa. Best time to visit: Throughout the year. Currency: Carry Euros. 1 Euro is approximately 67 INR. Must buys: Riesling white wine and sausages. Don’t forget to pick up chocolates, perfumes and liquor from the duty free on your way back. Best place to stay in Wurzburg: Best Western Premier Hotel Rebstock, Neubaustrasse 7 97070. Tel: +49 (0) 931-30930 Best place to stay in Bamberg: Romantik Hotel Weinhaus Messerschmitt, Lange Str 41 96047. Tel: 0951 29780-0 Best place to stay in Meissen: Welcome Hotel, Hafenstrasse 27-31, 01662. Tel: +49-3521-722-50. E: info.mei@welcome-hotels.com Best place to stay in Dresden: Steinberger Hotel de Saxe, Neumarkt 9, 01067. Tel: +49 351 4386-0.

as from this large square, you can enjoy a wonderful panoramic view of Dresden, where harmony of nature and old architecture meets. The mighty Köenigstein Fortress is a hot spot for travellers too. In its 750 years of existence, this historical monument successfully repelled all its enemies, even time.

Local food and wine Think German food and you think of beer and sausages. But this is not all. My personal favourites were Pork Schnitzel, Spatzle and the famed Pretzels. And the Wurst (pronounced ‘Vurst’). Here you will never taste a sausage like this anywhere in the world. The dish tastes brilliant with mustard and bread. The meal ends on a sweet note with cherry cakes and semolina pudding. Germany produces 80% of the world’s white wine. While the most popular red wine here is the ‘Dornfelder’, my vote goes out all out to the ‘Riesling Kabinett halbtrocken’, a semi dry white wine. With so much to offer the German wine route is a favourite holiday destination and a playground for a growing number of international visitors. Bon voyage! by RUPALI DEAN


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destination cinemascapes

bollywood productions, untapped destinations Multi starrer production by Zoya Akhtar might have had a larger motif about living large but it also did something else. Against all stereotypes, the movie was not shot in Mumbai, Switzerland or New York. The production team took a huge risk in setting its story in the Kingdom of Spain. And when the bets were out, the risk paid off – not just for the movie, but also increasing the number of Indians who want to experience Spain this holiday season.

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THE RELEASE OF THE ZINDAGI NA MILEGI DOBARA IS SEEING A HUGE DEMAND IN ROAD TRIP ITINERARIES WHICH PROMPTED THEM TO FLOAT A MOVIE ITINERARY AMONGST TOUR OPERATORS. ‘THE TOTAL ARRIVAL IN SPAIN IN 2010 WAS 70,776 WHICH WAS INCREASE OF 11% THAN LAST YEAR. WE LOOK FORWARD TO HAVE 25% INCREASE IN THE CURRENT YEAR.’ NEELAM TALERA, Media Manager, Spain Tourism

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he cinema lovers of capital cities were eager to binge over a weekend show of cine production Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. And their expectations paid off when the film was spot on: good performances, scenic locations and a new destination to visit. Directed by Zoya Akhtar, the plot thickens after an engagement party of protagonist Abhay Deol whose bachelor party is a road trip in Spain to try adventure sports with his best friends Farhan Akhtar and Hrithik Roshan. While the guest list only includes three friends, this twenty day long ride leads to inner self journey for the trio. That aside, the three and a half hour movie builds on a trip that was pictorially perfect, keeping the audience glued to the seats. The movie progresses from never before seen beauty of Spain, the trio is seen going to cities like Costa Brava where the actors are seen deep sea diving – a sport that fasci-


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A

part from Spain being on the priority list this holiday season, another blockbuster set to woo travellers is Don 2, releasing in December 2011. A riveting sequel starring Shah Rukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra, the film has been shot in Germany. In a press conference director Farhan Akhtar said ‘When I came to Berlin on holiday in 2007 I was amazed and overwhelmed by the spirit of the city and most excited to see it. Just like my character Don, this city is avant-garde and

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cutting edge. Two reasons for me coming here – Berlin is the right location for my film Don 2 and Berlin has to be on the Bollywood screen’. In locales like The Berlin Wall, The Brandenburg Gate and the Olympic stadium, this tie-up is projected to put Berlin on an Indian travellers map. The CEO, visitBerlin is very elated to have such a big production set in a city not explored by Indian travellers as much as the rest of Europe. ‘With this movie we want to enthrall an audience of millions for destination Berlin and invite Indian visitors to our city’ says Burkhard Kieker, CEO, visitBerlin.’ Don 2 has two starring roles, Shah Rukh Khan and Berlin.’ New packages and tours “on the tracks of Don” with our hotel partner, The Mandala will be available in 2012. Even Abbas-Mastan’s Players has been extensively shot in New Zealand. On his recent trip to India, Prime Minister John Key visited the sets of the movie and signed a film co-production agreement encouraging Indian filmmakers to shoot in the country and also attract tourists. This Abhishek Bachchan and Bipasha Basu starrer flick is set to release in early 2012. All in all, cinema goers which include a large part of explorers should be ready to see unseen lands on 70 mm screens soon.

“WHEN I CAME TO BERLIN ON HOLIDAY IN 2007 I WAS AMAZED AND OVERWHELMED BY THE SPIRIT OF THE CITY AND MOST EXCITED TO SEE IT. JUST LIKE MY CHARACTER DON, THIS CITY IS AVANT-GARDE AND CUTTING EDGE. TWO REASONS FOR ME COMING HERE – BERLIN IS THE RIGHT LOCATION FOR MY FILM DON 2 AND BERLIN HAS TO BE ON THE BOLLYWOOD SCREEN”. FARHAN AKHTAR

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nates everybody. Also on adventure sport map are Seville and Pamplona where they are seen parachute jumping and bull running. ‘We had many proposals from the Hindi film industry,’ admits Neelam Talera, Media Manager, Spain Tourism ‘but the plot of the movie was well in synchronization with our vision of promoting Spain as a tourist destination in India.’ Promotion of destinations through the tinsel town productions has been a discreet act in the past. It was Hrithik Roshan’s first release in 2000 ‘Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai’ that had gotten a majority of Indian Travellers curious about New Zealand – a country that again caught the wanderers’ fancy after ‘I Hate Luv Storys’ in 2010. It helped Singapore Tourism when Rakesh Roshan’s production, ‘Krrish’ was shot back in 2006.Before that Switzerland had an unofficial watermark by Yash Chopra and his lineage. Apart from Zoya’s film story and theme being dangerously close her to brother’s film ‘Dil Chahta Hai’, there is another common ground between the two. The movie which was a smash hit on box offices in 2001 also glorified the destination, quadrupling crowds on the streets of Goa. ‘Spain has a great diversity of cultures, food, landscapes steeped in history’ reiterates Talera. ‘To visit Spain is as to visit several countries in just one land. Like in India you have to go there to realize how many different cultures has Spain.’ The team of ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ stayed in Spain for about two and a half months to shoot the film in which the Tomatina festival was re-created for the shoot in Bunyol. This along with bullfight run was riveted by audiences, putting a new travel stop for those planning their holidays. After the release of the movie, Spain is now known for its scenic beauty in Europe. ‘We have acquired great visibility in both consumer and travel trade market as a standalone destination’ says Talera. While Spain Tourism is busy tending calls from travel agents and consumers, Talera tells us ‘the total arrival in 2010 was 70776 which was increase of 11% than last year- we look forward to have 25% increase in the current year.’ According to her, the release of the movie is seeing a huge demand in road trip itineraries which prompted them to float a movie itinerary amongst tour operators.Also in the pipeline; the tourism board is working closely with the airlines flying into Spain organising trade FAMs regularly. by MANAVI SIDDHANTI


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destination ranthambore

ranthambore

the tiger princess As the safari season begins, Go Now travels into India’s popular national parks in search of the majestic cat playing hide and seek with tourists.

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hy venture

For those of you who love the outdoors, Ranthambore won’t disappoint. There is nothing to beat the experience of spotting a tiger in its natural habitat and that too in a place which is picturesque. The Ranthambore National Park, in Sawai Madhopur district in Rajasthan, is named after the historic Ranthambore fortress, that lies within the national park. The park covers an area of 392 km and is one of India’s Project Tiger reserves. It used to be the hunting ground for the royals of Jaipur and was converted into a national park in 1980.

The journey The drive from Delhi to Jaipur was pleasant getting tedious after Jaipur. Beastly trucks made us swerve off the highway several times during our night drive. However, it was welcoming to see a flock of Rajasthani women dressed in hues of pink, red, green and yellow, their with faces covered, dexterously balancing pots of water on their heads. Also, the sunrise at Sawai Madhopur too weaned away our weariness.

Tracing the tiger Our canter safari trailed through routes, including water bodies, – many of them artificial – where tigers are generally spotted. Though we saw a number of spotted deer, nilgais and peacocks, there were no tigers to be seen. The flora was varied and consisted those we also see in cities like banyan, pipal, mango, jamun and tamarind. The bare dhok trees, which were beautiful, were the commonest of all tree species. After a long day, the ambience, food and drinks at the Ranthambore Bagh Hotel made up for the disappointment of not being able to see the

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‘AFTER A TEDIOUS JOURNEY, AN EARLY SUNRISE AND A FLOCK OF RAJASTHANI WOMEN DRESSED IN RED, YELLOW AND GREEN WEANED OUR WEARINESS AWAY’ stripped magnificent animal. A good night’s rest filled us with hope. It was a cheerful day and excitement started building up right in the morning after the guide from another trip in the jungle informed that they had spotted a tiger. With September 2011 GO NOW

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bated breaths, we circled the same area for almost 45 minutes but without success. Crestfallen, we got an impression that the guides were trying to keep our excitement levels. Forlorn, we returned a second time without a glimpse of the stripy. Back at the hotel, we were extremely jealous to find that a couple had not only spotted a tiger but long enough to take photographs. After witnessing others’ delight, we were even more determined to find the cat of the jungle and decided to stay for another day. Day three. Somehow, on our early morning trip the surroundings looked ethereal. A slight haze that lingered on added to the effect. We drove around a bit and came across some cheetahs, sambar deer and langoors lazing around in their

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home as a cocky peacock enthralled us with its dance. We again got news that a tiger had been spotted. We immediately turned around our vehicles and headed in that direction. As the vehicles stopped, there was a sudden stillness in our bodies except for our eyes. Everyone had a fixed gaze. I too automatically turned around and started looking in the same direction. I wasn’t convinced by what I saw. I stopped abruptly and held my breath. She was lying underneath a tree some distance away. We kept hoping that her ‘highness’ would move and get closer so that we could get a better view. And then the tigress got up in all her majestic glory and began a slow stealthy walk. Seven minutes later, the tigress walked right past our canter. A mere 20 feet away,

‘THERE WAS A SUDDEN STILLNESS IN OUR BODY EXCEPT OUR GAZE. I WASN’T CONVINCED BY WHAT I SAW BUT THEN, I WAS ABRUPTLY STOPPED BY WHAT I WAS. I WAS CAPTIVATED- IT WAS LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT

factfile Where to stay There are a wide range of options. The Ranthambore Bagh Hotel which is a cosy resort with rooms (Rs 2,365 onwards) and tents (Rs 2,915 onwards). Landscaped gardens, dining around a campfire, local decorations and friendly staff and excellent food all add up. What to visit Ranthambore National Park, Ranthambore fort and the Surwal lake. Where to eat The place has a whole range of options but we recommend the garden restaurant at the Ranthambore Bagh Hotel which serves excellent local Rajasthani cuisine and some selective continental dishes. The fare is good but don’t miss the dal-bati-churma. Must dos Jeep/canter safari in the Ranthambore National Park and a trek to Ranthambore fort. How to reach Nearest Airport: Sanganer Airport, Jaipur is 180 Km away. Nearest town and railway station: Sawai Madhopur is about 11 km away from Ranthambore and well connected by trains from Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur, Udaipur and Jodhpur. By road: Ranthambore is 440 kms from Delhi. Drive down to Jaipur on NH8 and take the Jaipur-Tonk highway. It takes a total of 9 hours to get there. Weather Summer day time temperatures can shoot up to 48 degrees celsius. The best time to visit is between October and March. The park is closed from July to August. Winter day time temperatures are between 16-20 degrees. Temperatures at night can go down to 2 degrees in winter. Population The population of Sawai Madhopur district is 1,338,114.

don-ning a ‘without-a-care in the world’ attitude. I captivated- it was love at first sight. Never before had I got a bigger adrenaline rush! My companions too were overwhelmed. Numbed by her royal presence, we were speechless. We watched her silently as she disappeared into the bushes in the distance. To sum up, the long drive to Ranthambore was tiring; the blaring horns, humungous trucks and two days of disappointment had paid off in less than 30 minutes.And for years to come, I would savour these moments. by ANUJA UPADHYAY

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check out noor mahal, karnal

commercial karnal gets its first upscale hotel Good things are often found where you least expect them. Noor Mahal in Karnal proves this statement right

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ocated on GT Karnal road, this luxury hotel is a welcome surprise. The only hitch is that it is located slightly off-road so you might not ‘chance upon’ it, unless you’re already aware of it. With no other options in this category in the area, this hotel is a delight for hosting grand social functions, business events, a luxurious stay for transit travellers and for localites with its appetizing dining options.

Design & architecture Giving the impression of a palace housing Maharajas and Kings of yesteryears, the building appears to store in itself several untold tales. However, it is a new construction. The owner obviously had ‘heritage’ on his mind when thinking about the concept. Karnal is known for its lush greenery. The property replicates that with verdure all around it. The building beautifully blends traditional Mughal and Rajput architecture, elegant furnishings and artwork give the hotel a lavish look. The lobby itself is grandiosely designed with imported chandeliers and stunning marble flooring. The furniture placed there, however, needs a tad more maintenance. The spacious lobby opens with an inner courtyard where you can watch puppet shows and traditional folk dances.

Rooms & facilities Noor Mahal boasts of 122 rooms including a Presidential Suite, 3 Heritage Suites along with seven banquets. Of the total rooms, only 59 are functional at present. The rooms are spacious, each offering a spectacular view. You can either see the inner courtyard or the outer ones with fountains and lush green lawns. The hotel is equipped to hold social functions as well as business conferences and events. It claims to have the biggest convention hall in a hotel in India, having a capacity of 2,000 guests indoor and has state-of-the-art meeting facilities. Apart from this, there are three other halls – Regal, Rangmahal and Sheesh Mahal. For health and wellness, the hotel has “The 7th Heaven” – Spa & Wellness Centre

factfile Weekend package: 2 nights & three days @ Rs 14,999 + taxes Offer includes: Welcome drink on arrival, cocktails at The Polo Bar 8.30pm-9.30pm, buffet breakfast at The Brown Sugar, buffet dinner on Saturday at The Brown Sugar, complimetary use of gym, swimming pool, steam, sauna and jaccuzzi. Where: Noor Mahal X-ing, NH-I, Sector 32, Karnal - 132001, Haryana Call: +91 (184) 3066600

with a gym. The massages aren’t world-class but are good for some relaxation. There is also a swimming pool, which offers a spectacular view of the front of the hotel.

Food & beverage In a regal setting like this one, you naturally expect a royal meal. The specialty restaurant at the hotel, ‘Frontier Mail’ will satiate that particular craving. The décor of the restaurant, done by recreating train compartments, looks elegant. It offers regional delicacies from Mumbai to Peshawar. The restaurant promises you a good time with high quality of food and interesting ambiance. ‘The Brown Sugar’ is a 24-hour dining place offering various cuisines in buffet as well as a-la carte menu. Also, there is The Polo Bar which is designed in colonial style. In all, the three eating places give you a variety of options to eat. Overall, we think Noor Mahal is a great offering in Karnal. There isn’t much to see in this town but the property is good enough to take care of that as well. Spend time by the pool side, take a massage or listen to some folk music or watch a puppet show in the evenings. And if this is not enough, simply pick your camera and go about clicking the marvel! by PURVA BHATIA

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luxury feature

it’s a woman’s world Not long ago, women travellers were seen as prized accompaniments with their spouses and superiors the hotel industry tended to their needs with a hair dryer in the bathroom or a magnifying mirror to help them get on with their makeup. As women become the Alpha Male, hotels in India get busy wooing.

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s the number of single lady travellers ratchets up across the country, India’s hospitality industry is rolling out the proverbial red carpet for them. Gender equity is now manifesting itself in a reverse – albeit pleasant – discrimination with hotels wooing the women travellers demographic with a raft of amenities. Ergo, from exclusive floors dedicated tagged for‘women’s only’, a beefed up security system, a women-sensitive staff and a priority check-in, is what is offered to the fairer sex with a trolley bag. Realizing that balancing travel and work with personal life requires fine calibration, the support system for female business travelers in the hospitality sector seems to have strengthened organically over the years. According to Sanjay Sharma, General Manager of the two Westin properties in New Delhi (Sohna and Gurgaon), which are a part of the Starwood Hotels chain, business from women travellers is too substantial to be ignored. “Women are increasingly occupying top leadership positions in business and indulging in extensive travel schedules,” elaborates Sharma. “They not only account for 16 per cent of our hotel’s total business, their per capita spend during the hotel stay is about 30 to 40 per cent more than their male counterparts’.” According to a Westin in-house survey, female travellers also tend to have more disposable income at hand, are less aggressive customers with fewer demands. To woo this golden constituency, The Westin Gurgaon offers a whole repertoire of

According to Tamir Kobrin, General Manager at The Leela Palace New Delhi, the she traveller’s demographic is an ever expanding one. “It’s a very dynamic segment,” he adds. “To cater to it, we’ve cobbled together an exclusive and extensive program at our hotel.” Coined as ‘An Ode to The Woman of Substance’, the Leela Palace’s program will be launched on September 15,2011 offering custom services to ensure seamless safety, maximum comfort and privacy for women. “The idea is to make the single lady guest

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COINED AS ‘AN ODE TO THE WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE’, THE LEELA PALACE’S PROGRAM WILL BE LAUNCHED ON SEPTEMBER 15,2011 OFFERING CUSTOM SERVICES TO ENSURE SEAMLESS SAFETY, MAXIMUM COMFORT AND PRIVACY FOR WOMEN

female-friendly features. Named after the Greek goddess of breeze, there are Aura Rooms for single women located next to the elevators on each floor for easy access. These rooms offer a lavish bathroom featuring a makeup table as well as a rainforest shower and a separate soaking bathtub. The well-appointed rooms also contain two circular love seats, a large oval desk with an ergonomic chair, a tea/coffee counter plus the signature Westin Heavenly Bed complete with seven layers of crisp bedding and a pillow-top mattress. A doorbell with video function as well as exclusive service by female associates takes care of the guests’ security.

feel well-looked after and catered to,” explains Kobrin. Here on, a lady butler will greet the Leela guest upon arrival at the airport. She will also complete the guest’s registration en route to the Palace in the comfort of a BMW sedan. A shawl will be offered to the guest in winters while the Private Dining food order service from the sedan will ensure that the lady’s meal is ready before she disembarks at the hotel. In addition, the lady in question will be attended by only female staff members. The exclusive single lady floor will be fully equipped with CCTVs and also have a per-

manent female security guard, female butlers and an all-women housekeeping staff, adds Kobrin. The Leela’s yet-to-be-christened ladies’ floor will also allow private access to the spa without the guest having to pass through the lobby. A relaxation room with space for a personal yoga session on an open terrace will be an added attraction. Incidentally, ITC business hotels were the first in India to launch entire floors with standardized facilities for women travellers. The ITC Grand Central Sheraton & Towers in Mumbai launched its 26th and 27th floors as Eva floors way back in 2005. However, many feel that sealing an entire floor does not give them the leverage to be flexible. What they consider more prudent to offer are different category rooms with all facilities for the lady traveller without additional charges. This service has the vote of Komolika Basu, a frequent business traveller working with a leading MNC: “It is reassuring to stay at hotels which take special care of a woman’s needs. For one, with lady staff, one isn’t under pressure to be fully dressed in the room.” Industry experts put the figure of women travellers staying at luxury hotels at around 20 per cent on average and confirm that it’s part of a growing trend. According to Parmeet Singh Nayar, Executive Director & General Manager, Radisson Blu MBD Hotel Noida, “In these times, women are extremely September 2011 GO NOW

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well-travelled. Be it for leisure or for business, they do not have any qualms about travelling alone. Contemporary hotels understand this scenario and are taking special initiatives to create a secure and enabling environment for this segment.” The Radisson, says Nayar, offers a dedicated floor to its single female travellers. “These rooms are serviced by lady attendants while high-resolution CCTV cameras and round-the-clock security. In addition, there are specially customized menus, lady attendants and single lady amenities. A special ladies’ guest relations team consistently interfaces with the guest for a ‘second home’ feel. The freshly-minted The Marriott, Jaipur’s ‘Single Lady Guest program’ even allows the room’s controller to scan single lady arrivals and book rooms according to their preferences. Guest Relations also ensure that only female associates go for airport pick ups. Special comfort amenities for ladies traveling alone are placed in the room before

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BE IT FOR LEISURE OR FOR BUSINESS, THEY DO NOT HAVE ANY QUALMS ABOUT TRAVELLING ALONE. CONTEMPORARY HOTELS UNDERSTAND THIS SCENARIO AND ARE TAKING SPECIAL INITIATIVES TO CREATE A SECURE AND ENABLING ENVIRONMENT FOR THIS SEGMENT

arrival. These include a manicure set, loofahs, bath salts and women’s magazines amongst others. Special care is also taken to

provide an early turn down service for the women in an effort to not invade her privacy. Many hotels, like Fortune Select Exotica,

Navi Mumbai, are also training their staff for their Single Women Program. “This training involves making the staff aware of all the facilities we offer and all procedures to be followed in the case of single lady guests,” explains the hotel’s spokesperson. Unsurprisingly, safety concerns in the wake of 26/11 have propelled hotels to amp up their security quotient for women in particular. Courtyard by Marriott, Ahmedabad, for instance, ensures that its women guests are tracked right from the moment a reservation is made with a special VIP code to their arrival extending until their departure. Besides, regular patrolling, telephone calls are regularly screened before being connected to the room. But does such attention to the female guest tantamount to reverse discrimination? Not really, argue hoteliers. Most admit that it is in keeping with a spiraling demand and international trends. Plus, they argue, competition is scalding hot right now in the hospitality sector, so it is in their business interest to mop up business from any segment, however small. Fuelling market insecurity further are global hotel chains which are foraying into the Indian hospitality industry lured by the country’s exponentially growing economy and multiplying business and tourism attractions. Over 40 international hotels are expected to open in India covering all ranges in the next three years. Manav Thadani of HVS, a consulting and services organization focused on the hotel and leisure industries, estimates that as much as US$10.3 billion will be invested in India in the next four years, doubling the room capacity of branded hotels to 125,000. With global chains snapping at the domestic players’ heels, it is no surprise that the latter are going out on a limb to woo women customers. The Jaypee Group, for instance, has already firmed up plans to launch more properties in Agra and Jaipur as well as southern Chennai and Kerala. Oberoi Hotels will add five properties in the next two years. Taj Hotels and Resorts are also opening eight new properties this year. Starwood Hotels, which already operates 31 hotels (including 10 under the Sheraton brand), plans to reach the number 100 by 2015 making its third largest presence in India. All in all, savvy hoteliers have quickly cottoned onto the fact that good service – when combined with safety and an enabling environment – is a sure winner to capture the flourishing demographic of women travellers. by NEETA LAL

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lifestyle neoveda spa

a blend of the ancient and the modern

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arlier this year, The Metropolitan Hotel New Delhi launched NeoVeda Spa. The spa claims to be ideated on the concept of ‘new Ayurveda’ that combines traditional techniques of Ayurveda with a modern influence. You can choose from a range of signature therapies like NeoVeda Experience, Energy Equalizer with Volcanic Hot Stone and Vedic Journey. My choice is Shirodhara, a regime in vogue at most spas of metropolitans. I am greeted by the spa head, Dr Akhilesh, who familiarizes me with the 7,000 square feet of this haven to unwind. The space is divided into the main reception area, about four separate rooms and a common waiting area where I am introduced to my therapist for the day. When I enter the massage room, I find it faintly lit with a brass lamp in the corner and a vintage wooden massage bed typical of an Ayurveda spa.

Themed after embracing the ancient ayurvedic treatments in a modern ambience, the newly inaugurated NeoVeda Spa at The Metropolitan Hotel is ready for you.

About Shirodhara The word Shirodhara means shiro (head) and dhara (flow). Shirodhara involves deliberate gentle pouring of liquids over the forehead, above and between the eyebrowsalso known at the chakra point, also known as the third eye which is known the centre of human consciousness. The liquids used in the treatment depend on what is being treated, but can include oil, milk, buttermilk, coconut water, or even plain water.

The Procedure After a conversation with my therapist, the oils are suggested according to my skin type and weather conditions. The therapist begins by dipping my feet in salted water and giving me a light neck massage. Then I am given a full body massage or abhyanga from bottom to top. The massage is extremely relaxing, good enough to put you to sleep. This is followed by a body scrub, which I am told is made of salt and spices. The scrub works well with my skin and helps soften my skin.After abhyanga, comes the moment for the therapist to pour lukewarm oil which hangs in a vessel over the massage bed. The oil flows in first gear over my forehead and is the most relaxing experience of this massage.

I am told by my therapist that the treatment helps in mood stability and improved stress handling ability. It also increases blood circulation to the brain, improves memory, encourages sound sleep and calms the mind and body.

Overall Experience All in all, what I particularly liked about NeoVeda include my discussion with Dr Akhilesh before the spa treatment. The

therapist assigned to me was very professional and equipped with the great knowledge of spa treatments. by PURVA BHATIA

factfile Location: The Metropolitan Hotel, Bangla Sahib Road, New Delhi - 110001, INDIA For Reservation: + 91 11 42500200 Email: info@hotelmetdelhi.com

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dining out buzz

Lobster Thermidor

the imperial presents nostalgia Traditional roast chicken

oktoberfest 2011 begins at TLR Hosting its first Oktoberfest - the popular Beer festival celebrated all over the world, TLR is sticking to the authentic dates, themes, drinks & cuisines of the original festival from Munich, Germany. Start off this authentic feast with a tall, hearty glass of Schneider-Weisse beer, straight from Munich. Delicacies like Bratwurst (Pork Sausage) and Schweinebraten (Roast Pork) and crowd favorites

Pretzels are some of the specialties. Also on the menu are Käse-Spätzle (cheesy noodles) and baked delights like Apple Strudel and Plum Cake courtesy of Elma’s Breads, Cakes & Tea Room. What: Oktoberfest 2011 Where: No.31, Hauz Khas Village, Delhi When: Saturday, Sep 17 to Saturday, Oct 1 Phone: 46080544, 46080533

1911 Brasserie, the all-day dining multi-cuisine restaurant at The Imperial, New Delhi takes you back in time with the all time Western favourites. On offer are Vegetable Terrine with goat cheese, Salad lyonnaise, Scottish smoked salmon, Ratatouille, Traditional roast spring chicken, Traditional pepper steak, Lobster Thermidor, French duck breast “A L’orange” and French lemon tarte, flambéd and complimented with a fine selection of wines. To liven up the evening, guests will be treated to live Jazz music and renditions of Jim Reeves, Louis Armstrong and Elvis Presley. Timings: 7:00pm- 11:45pm Meal for two: INR 8000 + taxes

the world on a plate The Urban Café in Khan Market, New Delhi is a chic restaurant popular for its international cuisine. To add to its Chinese, Continental, Indian, Thai and Italian cusines, the restaurant now offers Japanese and Lebanese food. On offer are Chicken barbeque, Lamb Kofta Kabab and Vegetarian Shawarma in the Lebanese section and sushi, sashimi, tempura, tofu, grilled vegetable skewers and a host of seafood dishes 48

make up the Japanese offering. Further, the Café has doubled its seating space with the addition of two new sections to accommodate its guests in one of the city’s hottest nightspots in town. Phone: 011 43597127

GO NOW September 2011

time to sip on your favorite blend of tea Taking to the popular trend of tea tasting and sipping, Asia7, Fresc Co & Zambar have launched four distinct varieties of tea in all their locations. Some of their flavors’ include Chamomile Tea, Ginseng Oolong Tea, Oriental sencha and Jasmine pearls. With sub-varieties of the Camellia sinensis plant, processed and cured using various methods, this tête-à-tête is not to be missed. At an affordable price of Rs.75 per blend, the offer stands till the end of this month. Where: Asia7, Fresc Co & Zambar, New Delhi When: 12 noon to 11 pm.


dining out shiro With the ambience constructed thoughtfully to the tee, the details are evident in Shiro’s tasteful delicasies which turned reluctant oriental cuisine eater into a believer.

a taste of pan asian cuisine in delhi

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ituated in Hotel Samrat in New Delhi’s upscale Chanakya Puri, Shiro greets you with oriental charms. As you cross the hotel lobby, with its hallmark public sector vibes, and move towards Shiro, you can feel a journey to the Far East. As you descend the wooden stairs, you are surrounded by bamboos and ropes. It gets dark but not gloomy. As you enter the restaurant, the surroundings of giant statues and numerous Buddha heads, enveloped in dim lighting and exotic aromas, certify that it is indeed a restaurant specializing in Pan Asian cuisine. This could be very exciting for the lovers of oriental food, but I admit my palate is very Punjabi or North Indian. If anything, it made me a bit apprehensive of my reaction to the offerings at ‘The Chef’s Table’ for which I, along with a few other scribes, was invited. Chef Parampreet Luthra was about to launch the ‘Monsoon Menu. The restaurant, with its very high ceiling, tries to give the feel of a world in itself. It is divided into four realms – the ‘earth’ (the lowest level), the ‘sky’ (slightly elevated one), the ‘fire’ (almost the same level as sky where chefs cooking the food are surrounded by guests), and the ‘heaven’ (higher than sky; we sat here). We were seated in the heaven section.There are two giant statues – 15 metres each, I was informed – of curvaceous yakshis with East Asian features. There is a giant head of the Buddha, apart from many smaller icons. The hair style, however, resembles that of Gandhar Buddhas. The idols look like stone carvings but are actually made of fibre.

factfile Where: Hotel Samrat, Chankayapuri When: 12.30 pm – 3:30 pm and 7.30 pm – 2:00 am Meal for two: Rs. 2500 to Rs.4000 Phone: 011-2611606

Chef Parampreet Luthra

recommends ☛ Malaysian Style stir chicken fried with chilly mustard sauce ☛ Lamb dumplings stir fried in BBQ sauce ☛ Stir fried vegetables in chilli mustard sauce Knowing little about oriental food, I decided to be completely guided by Luthra. I asked him if a Bloody Mary would be okay along with the starters. He answered in the affirmative. The very first item on the platter was Hung Shao green beans. The beans were fried and were dripped in sauce, yet they

were crunchy and not soggy. Luthra told us that the frying does not kill the nutrients. Assorted vegetarian stir fry with chili mustard sauce, mushrooms & babycorn stir fried with Thai spices, and potatoes stir fried with chili sesame sauce were better. I liked non-vegetarian items even better – Malaysian-style chicken stir fried with curry leaves, stir fry chicken with chili mustard sauce, and chicken & asparagus with ginger lemon sauce. A lot was offered: tofu cubes with spicy Korean bean paste; fish with chili mustard sauce, fish stir fried with Hoisin & Thai chili sauce, prawns stir fried with Kaffir lime leaves and Thai red chilies, prawns in creamy garlic butter sauce, prawns in Tom Yum sauce, lamb dumplings stir fried in wood smoked BBQ sauce, green curried tenderloin, and stir fried tenderloin with oyster & black bean sauce. The desserts were chocolate-based, presented in an elegant manner. They were tempting, almost like sin, presenting a delicious dilemma to the invitees – taste buds vs calories, with the former winning decisively. If somebody with a Punjabi palate could enjoy the experience, I think oriental food buffs are likely to have a good time at Shiro. by RAVI SHANKER KAPOOR

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festival season lightens in gujarat

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he Navratri festival in the months of September and Octo significant place in Navratri celebrations. Set to folk music, the dancber is the most eagerly awaited and the most evocative in ers use sticks at the end of which ghungrus are tied so that they give Gujarat. According to native customs, Nav means nine and off a clear jingling sound when they strike one another. The Garba this year, the festival begins on 28th September, 2011 till is a folk dance before the ritual of worship in which participation by 5th October, 2011. women is pre-dominant. From localities to open expanses, every And for this entire duration, it is the ‘Season Spectacular’ for area turns into make-shift stages as dance venues going late into wee Gujarat which spontaneously erupts into a dance of dandiya, garba hours of the dawn. perhaps the longest of its kind in the world making it a truly unforFrom the first day to the last, tens and thousands of people attired gettable experience. Since last many in their colorful dresses and costumes years Gujarat Tourism is celebrating congregate in villages, towns and cities to Navratri festival on a large scale. celebrate the feminine Divinity personiThe excitement begins long before the fied by Goddess Durga, who destroys all festival itself. People spend endless hours that is evil and protects the Humanity. to design, stitch, assemble or buy the best The whole atmosphere is one of revelry Courtesy GUJARAT TOURISM attire for Navratri. This is the period when and celebration leading to the 10th day women acquire what are called ethnic wear, especially Chaniya when Goddess Durga kills the demon King Mahisasura symbolizing Cholis, the most popular dress which is embellished with mirror in- the triumph of Good over Evil. The tenth day, Dashera, is celebrated lays, appliqué woks or tie and dye prints. The streets and markets of by doing a puja to bless one’s vehicle, and is also the day to buy Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar and new vehicles, if necessary. every village cities as also towns and villages are lined with cosThe ringing laughter, the rustles of skirts, the glitter of ornaments, tumes and ornaments for sale. the fervor and the festive spirit all combine to make it a festival of The festival which commences on the first day of Gujarati month grandeur when celebrations become awash with a riot of color. Come Ashwin is a perfect amalgamation of spirituality and mirth making Navratri festival Gujarat dazzles as a rainbow of colours with an aura the nine nights an unparalleled event in sheer size and scale. of verve and zest that is amazing and has to be experienced first hand. The Dandiya Raas is the most popular dance form and holds a For more information please visit: www.gujarattourism.com

thebig eye

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GO NOW September 2011


September 2011 GO NOW

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RNI No. DELENG/2000/3645 Posting Dt. 9-14/09/2011 Reg. No. DL-(C)-01/1250/09-2011 Licence No. U(C)-299/2009-2011 W.P.P. at MBC-1

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GO NOW September 2011


Go Now September 2011 Issue