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IT’S TIME AGAIN FOR TULIPS! In Srinagar at Tulip Bagh


Be Charmed by Dublin

Exploring India’s Top Treks

Vintage Cars Back on Track

Indulge Your Senses at the ESPA


Dear Readers, We are back with a fresh edition of Go Now and we bring for you a brand new section called Living it Up. Delhi is vibrant, chic and always on the move and what we have captured is but a small essence of the city. We bring forth the amazing restaurants, spas and all that is fashionable. It has some of the ingredients that make the city! Check out the most luxurious spa in the city, ESPA and sample for yourself how the food in the city ranges from an Italian joint Diva Piccola to a youth hangout zone at V Spot Café and Bar. Moving on, in the World Traveller section we bring you the witty side of Oscar Wilde’s city, Dublin. It is a city that goes beyond the pubs, craic and beer. Read on how the city is grappling with the tough times through their wit and the more you read the more you get charmed by it. How often do you get to see a 1938 Mercedes 170V Sports Roadster Coupe, once owned by actress Mumtaz? Well, we bring to you the fine vintage cars collection in Tourism Connect section. The 46th Delhi Statesman Vintage and Classic car rally enthralled the onlookers and the event turned out to be an unforgettable collection of classic cars. Well when it comes to luxury, cruises are the ultimate expression and Celebrity Cruises has taken upon itself to break new grounds in modern luxury. The designs are cool, contemporary and the dining experience is excellent. ‘Celebrity Cruises’ sail to Alaska, Europe and other glamorous destinations. So read on and find out what more is lined up by them. And back home, in India Traveller section, we explore MICE destinations with a twist. MICE has been an important segment for business travellers and now increasingly adventure has become an important part of the MICE segment. It is time to forget convention centres and head to exotic locales like Banjaar Tola and Reni Pani for MICE trips. These are just the highlights of a power packed issue. There is much more, so recline on your couch, a coffee in one hand and Go Now in another and get ready for a remarkable travel journey.

READERS WRITE IN Special Mention

A Niche Product

Looking Back and Last Page seem to be a great addition to your magazine. I see some good pictures of the Jaipur Literature Festival. You seem to have captured a lot of activity! Also, it’s great to know that something like Delhi by Cycle exists. I had no clue. Great job!

The magazine seems to be a very sophisticated product and I appreciate the editor for being a visionary founder and running such an effective niche magazine. However, the format in which it currently exists on the site is a bit complex and somewhat cumbersome to use. Perhaps a simpler and more effective PDF could be used.

Drig Bhanu, Delhi

Apurva Bakshi, Patiala

Truly a Luxury Hotel I visited the Oberoi Gurgaon few months back and was blown away by the opulence of the hotel. It’s great to see that it bagged the ‘World’s Leading Luxury Hotel’ award. It was interesting to read the interview of the Executive Vice-President of such a great property. Anukul Thakur, Chennai

Great Pictures I particularly enjoyed reading about Dubai in your magazine. The article seems to have truly captured the charm of Dubai and the pictures are also delightful. In fact, I simply love flipping through your magazine to check out the pictures used!

Editor: Navin S Berry Assistant Editor: Purva Bhatia Business Development: Sudhir Sood Advertising: Saurabh Shukla Design: Ashok Saxena, Neelam Aswani 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: This issue of gonow contains 88 pages plus 4 pages cover

Ankita S, Delhi

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: Material not used will not be returned

March 2012 GO NOW




Destination: Melaka's coming of age


Destination: A classic, witty Irish city


Feature: Jamaica is the place for surfers and sailing enthusiasts


Celebrity Cruises: Redefining ‘Modern Luxury’


Vintage Cars: Delhi witnessed a bevy of vintage beauties


Heritage: The Pols of the Old city in Ahmedabad


The World: Importance of Indian market in Japan

On the


Adventure: Trekking through the classic routes


MICE: Some excitement and adventure for MICE travellers


Airlines: Recognition for Malaysian Inflight wine selection


Wines: A new range of Fratelli Wines


Destination: World Heritage site, the Lake Malawi National Park


Special: Some of the leading exhibitors at The Luxury Travel Show



GO NOW March 2012


Food & Wine: Buzz, the re-invented pub


Food Trends: The new food fads in 2012


Spa: Leela Spa, an unparalleled spa experience


Spa: Latest trends in spa industry


Food & Wine: Chic oriental dining in Noida


V café, a stylish hangout place for youngsters


Diva Piccola, Ritu Dalmia's fifth restaurant in the city

COVER Tulip Garden, Srinagar Pic: Tanmoy Das

March 2012 GO NOW





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April 2012

Blooming flowers in the Paradise

ome April and Kashmir, the Paradise on Earth, will be blooming with Tulips when the famous Tulip garden, called the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden, Siraj Bagh Cheshmashahi, overlooking the Dal Lake will have its annual Tulip festival. It is one of the best times to visit Srinagar and see the Tulips in full bloom. Although Shalimar and Nishat Bagh are panoramic in their views, the beauty of Siraj Bagh during the Tulip festival is unmatched. For the uninitiated, Tulips were first cultivated in the Central Asian region and are now often associated with Holland; thousands of people go there every year to witness the scenic beauty of Tulips. Well Kashmir, is a strong competition now. With Tulips blooming in myriad colours, the look of the bagh is simply captivating and a visitor's delight. There are approximately about 60-70 varieties of Tulips that bloom in different and attractive colours. Imagine the pleasing site that greets a visitor, the Zabarwan Hills on one side and the Dal Lake on the other. According to floriculturists, cultivating Tulips at Siraj Bagh is possible due to its unique topography and because its slopes support the cultivation of various types of flora. Due to the Tulip Festival, the influx of travellers has increased in the valley and the travel and tourism industry has got a boost. One of the main reasons for the development of the Bagh is to attract more tourists.

GETTING THERE A number of airlines run direct flights to Srinagar. From New Delhi, the flying time is approximately 1.5 hours. Taxi and bus services are available from Jammu and can take up to 8 to 12 hours respectively. There are a few direct buses from New Delhi as well that can take up to 24 hours to reach. WEATHER FORECAST According to the World Meteorological Organization, temperatures in Srinagar in April are expected to range between 7.5째C and 19.5째C.

March 2012 GO NOW



✵ Miami Beach International Fashion Week

MIAMI HEAT! Haute Couture on the ramp 21 - 24 March, 2012


he Miami Beach International Fashion Week takes off this month and it’s time for the fashion frat to rub shoulders with the well-heeled and the famous. Beth Sobol, President, Fashion week, and former international fashion model herself, founded the fashion extravaganza back in 1999. In 14 years of blistering success, the event has provided an international platform to designers from Spain, India, Italy, Greece, Canada, Malaysia, Pakistan, Lebanon, UAE, Australia, Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico and Central & South America. On the opening night, well-known swimwear designers will showcase their latest collections and Florida’s fashion stars will feature in the showcase of works of emerging designers. The next day will host a Banja Luka Fashion Fair designer showcase

that will feature designers from Bosnia, Herzegovina and Montenegro including Marina Banovic, Davor Sladakovic and Liliana Majkic. That will be followed by an evening wear designer showcase. The Latin Fashion Weeks Council designer showcase will feature the top emerging and established designers of Latin America. On the closing night, the fashion week will host the Miami Moda and Music Awards functions: after featuring one special designer, the event will conclude with live performances from international recording artists and an award ceremony. The Fashion Week will also conduct competitions for students and upcoming designers. Jewellery and accessory exhibitions featuring Bagghy Miami, Jilli Johnson, Paola Trindade and Paola Peres, among others will also be held.

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GETTING THERE Miami is located on the Atlantic coast in south-eastern Florida, USA. While a number of airlines run connecting flights to Miami, there are no direct flights from India. The average flight duration is 25 to 32 hours (with one to two stopovers). Starting fares begin from Rs. 70,000 per person for a roundtrip and travellers can choose stopvers/transit in cities like Paris, London, Amsterdam and New York. Perfect for shopping, clubbing and enjoying the beaches, Miami has a diverse and extensive public transport system. Travel by bus or the Metrorail within the city. There are daily, weekly and monthly passes available. Visitors can also rent cars for the duration of their stay. WEATHER FORECAST According to the World Meteorological Organization, temperatures in Miami in March are expected to range between 17.9°C and 26.2°C. VENUE Miami Beach Convention Center, Miami Beach, Florida, USA


✵ The 7908 Aspen Songwriters Festival, Aspen, Colorado

IN CELEBRATION OF SONG For the Love of Music & Lyrics 21 - 25 March, 2012


ver heard of a ‘songwriters’ festival? The 7908 Aspen Songwriters Festival celebrates the work of songwriters and the music which the lyrics are set to. The event prides itself in being dedicated to the artists, allowing them to freely express what their songs are about, thus creating an intimate experience both for the songwriters and the audience. What started as a mini-series titled “The Stories Behind the Songs” has grown into a fullfledged festival with the collaboration between John Oats of the Songwriting Hall of Fame and Aspen’s 1889 vintage Wheeler Opera House. If you are wondering what 7908 stands for – it’s the altitude of Aspen. This year the festival will be kick-started by Darrell Scott who has a talent for playing any musical instrument you place

before him! The next day will see performances from the folk rock/rock artist of ‘Childish Things’ fame – James McMurtry. Joinging him will be the pop/rock artist with a number of Austin Music Awards – Bob Schneider. Other artists performing this year include ‘Blue Sky Riders,’ Matt Scanell and Sophie B. Hawkins. Another interesting interlude will be given by ‘The Berklee Songwriters Circle’ – three young talents from the Berklee College of Music – who have already begun to sound out their talent on the world stage. The finale will see performances from Angel Snow and Matt Nathanson (with band). To wrap things up none other than John Oats will take the stage accompanied by Sam Bush. The duo will swap songs to keep the audience riveted.

GETTING THERE Aspen is situated in the Pitkin County of Colorado, USA. The average flying duration is 25 to 30 hours (all flights have at least one stopover). Fares start from approximately Rs. 70,000 per person for a roundtrip. Travellers can take their picks of preferred stopovers from London, Dallas, Chicago, Zurich and Frankfurt. In Aspen, visitors have a range of activities to choose from – skiing, scenic tours and rafting. Commuting within Colorado is easy with the availability of private tour buses, motor coaches, trains and limousines. There is also an online interactive map on the official tourism website of Colorado. WEATHER FORECAST According to the Weather Channel, expect the temperatures to hover between –5.5°C (min) to 8.3°C (max) in March. VENUE Wheeler Opera House, Aspen Colorado.

For more information, visit March 2012 GO NOW



✵ 3rd Indo-European Dance Festival, New Delhi

A MELANGE OF DANCE Showcasing Indian and International Dance Forms 24 March - 1 April, 2012


one-of-a-kind dance festival, the 3rd edition of the Indo-European Dance Festival will be held in Noida in the NCR this month. Organized by the Alaknanda Institute for Performing Arts, the festival is unique because the audience not only enjoys watching performances but also gets a chance to learn and perform Indian Classical and International dance forms. The brainchild of Nrityashri Alaknanda, a celebrated Kathak Dancer, Choreographer and Art Motivator, the event was launched two years back. Over the years, the festival team has introduced participants to diverse dance

forms hailing from France, Poland, Russia and India. The festival has also covered venues like the Kala Academy, Goa; the Kamani Auditorium, New Delhi; Great India Place, Noida and NCPA, Mumbai. The seven-day workshop will have some of the best dance masters from across the globe in attendance to instruct and pass on their skills. The organisers expect a 900-people strong crowd, so make sure you get your tickets well in advance. The participating dance styles this year are Baroque – Poland; Kathak – India; Russian Folk – Russia; Renaissance – France and Flamenco – Spain. With prices ranging

For more information, visit 8

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WEATHER FORECAST As per the World Meteorological Organization, expect the daily minimum temperate to range between a minimum of 15.4°C and a maximum of around 29.7°C in March. VENUE Alaknanda Institute for Performing Arts, Noida, UP, India. Established in 1990, the institute is the organiser of the event. Situated in Sector-20, the festival will take place inside the Bramhananda Public School.

from Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,500 as participating fee, you pay depending upon the dance style you choose. The festival also offers a great opportunity for international participants. For a fee of Rs 50,000, participants get trained in three dance forms of their choice and get to take the stage for a performance as well. Participants will be awarded certificates. Accommodation, and to-and-fro transportation is included.


✵ International Yoga Festival Rishikesh


1 - 7 March, 2012


festival that celebrates Yoga – an inherent part of Indian culture – is being held for the 14th time by Uttarakhand Tourism and Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh. The International Yoga Festival has grown from humble beginnings from a few people in a hotel, studying under just a couple of yogacharyas, to a world-renowned event with participants from over 30 countries! The festival will include more than 70 hours of classes by world renowned Yoga teachers. Multiple styles of Yoga will be practiced and taught including Kundalini Yoga, Power Vinyasa Yoga, Iyengar Yoga and Kriya Yoga. Yogacharyas including Swami Ramdev, Shiva Rea, Dr. David Frawley, Manouso

Manos, Andrew Cohen, Marla Apt, Akira Watamoto, Chandra Bhandari, Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa and MoMo Loudiyi, among others, will grace the festival with their presence. There will also be evening discussions with leading spiritual leaders of India. There is also a charity fundraiser event – the Yoga Aid Indian Challenge – which will be held at the festival. With classes starting from four in the morning, the daily program wil wrap up by seven every evening (after which the dinner will be served). Special evening programs like satsang, cultural events and campfire will be organised every day. The International Yoga Festival will explore the eight limbs of Yoga seeking a unity of the mind, body, heart and soul.

GETTING THERE Rishikesh is situated about 230 km from Delhi. Fly from New Delhi to Dehradun’s Jolly Grant Airport, which is about 15 kilometers from Rishikesh. Alternatively, the trip takes roughly 6-7 by car. A bus may take slightly longer. When travelling by train, it is a better idea to get off at Haridwar Station and take a bus, taxi or auto-rickshaw. Travelling within Rishikesh, you have various options like buses, autorickshaws, taxies or your own vehicle. WEATHER FORECAST According to the Weather Channel, expect the daily minimum temperature to be around 13°C and the maximum to be around 29°C in March. VENUE Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India. It is situated on the banks of the Ganges, in the lap of the Himalayas.

For more information, visit March 2012 GO NOW



✵ Eristoff Invasion Festival Featuring David Guetta

PARTY CENTRAL David Guetta in the House 9 - 11 March, 2012


fter a smashing debut in 2011, the ‘Eristoff Invasion Festival’ plans to bring some top-rated international, high-energy acts to India. Last year’s highlight were rocking live performances by the rock band Prodigy in Bengaluru and New Delhi. This year, to take things a notch higher, the festival is all set to introduce India to the world famous DJ David Guetta and his powerpacked performances. Guetta, the Grammy Award-winning artist, producer and DJ will be performing live in India for the first time ever this March – 9th in New Delhi, 10th in Pune and 11th in Bengaluru. A multiplatinum selling artist in Europe and America, he has five chart-topping albums to his credit – Just a Little More

Love (2002), Guetta Blaster (2004), Pop Life (2007), One Love (2009) and Nothing but the Beat (2011). The Eristoff Invasion Festival is powered by UTV Bindass and produced by Only Much Louder and UKNY Music. The festival prides itself in being edgy and bold. The Invasion Festival and Wolf Night parties have always tried to do something quirky and contemporary. In celebration of Guetta’s India tour, UTV Bindass will play Guetta hits all through March on ‘Big On Bindass’. David Guetta has played at some of the biggest music festivals around the world: he recently played for over 2 million fans in Brazil on the Copacabana Beach for one of the most happening New Year parties.

For more information, visit 10

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GETTING THERE Flights ply daily to New Delhi, Pune and Bengaluru. Pune is served by the military airport at Lohegaon because of which the number of flights flying is limited. If finding a suitable flight seems difficult, then visitors have the option of flying to Mumbai and taking a road trip to Pune. WEATHER FORECAST According to the World Meteorological Organization, expect the daily minimum temperature in New Delhi to be around 15.4°C (min) and 29.7°C (max); Bengaluru – 19.1°C (min) and 32.8°C (max); Pune – 16.3°C (min) and 35.8°C (max). VENUE 9th March at Huda Grounds, Gurgaon; 10th March at Amanora Park Town, Pune and 11th March at Palace Grounds, Bengaluru.

WORLDTRAVELLER Discover the world with our updates on destinations, airlines and experiences


• Malaysia’s Historical Genesis – Melaka • Get Charmed by Dublin • Sailing in Jamaica • Celebrity Cruises: Redefining ‘Modern Luxury’



An Easter to Remember

Marking the end of Lent – the forty day period of fasting – let this Easter be a glorious celebration for you and your family. Whisk yourselves off to beautiful Switzerland to Baur au Lac, Zurich which is offering a great opportunity to make this Easter an unforgettable feast! Celebrate with a special Easter Brunch and Easter Break Package. Situated at a picturesque location overlooking the Alps and the lake, Baur au Lac is set in its own park. Despite delighting guests with such breathtaking views, the resort is only a few minutes' walk from the Bahnhofstrasse and the Paradeplatz financial district. Which means that once you’re done saoking in the views, you can hop across to celebrated shopping high street of Zurich – Bahnhofstrasse.

The Easter Brunch package (which includes a glass of champagne), is available for 8th April 2012 and priced at Rs. 6,453 (CHF 120) per person. The Easter Break Package, on the other hand, includes a sumptuous buffet breakfast, a special gift from the Baur au Lac chocolatier, mineral water, complimentary mini bar, internet access via wireless LAN, the Zurich Card for free access to over 40 museums and unlimited travel by train and boat, and admission to the fitness club. The package is valid from 4th April to 9th April 2012 and is priced at Rs. 25,813 (CHF 480) per night for a single room and Rs. 35,494 (CHF 660) per night for a double room. For further information, visit


Wooing the Modern Man With a special package, ambiguously called ‘Time for Two,’ the Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong is all set to pamper the metrosexual. Aimed at men, this package offers the luxury of world class 12

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spa treatments and massages. The package includes a fabulous luxury accommodation for two in the L900 Landmark suite and daily breakfast at Amber or Mo Bar. Guests can also opt for

in-room dining. There is also a choice of one 60minute spa treatment for men at The Oriental Spa for Men, a spa that caters exclusively to men (the spa won AsiaSpa's ‘Men's Spa Treatment of the Year’


Calling all Art Lovers For all the art lovers out there, here is a chance that simply cannot be missed! GHM Hotels invites you to indulge in the luxury of The Strand Yangon, Myanmar while also enjoying the beautiful architecture, art and antiques of Myanmar. The package includes accommodation of two nights, daily breakfast, return airport transfers, butler service, local guide, all transfers in a private air-conditioned vehicle, snack and tee break on the first day and one lunch at House of Memories on the second day. You can also enjoy a circular train ride in Yangon, ferry to/from Dhala and trishaw ride in Dhala. The Superior Suite is priced at Rs. 43,696 (USD 880) for two nights, the Deluxe Suite is priced at Rs. 47,172 (USD 950) for two nights and the Strand Suite is priced at Rs. 78,951 (USD 1,590) for two nights. This offer is valid all till the 31st of March 2012. For more information, visit

award in 2010 and 2011). Apart from this, the package also includes a four-course set dinner for two in Amber, a private wine tasting session with the head sommelier, complimentary internet access and an exclusive shopping spree opportunity and privileges from luxury fashion brands. What makes this package

even more special is that guests can choose from extra benefits including – an exclusive made-tomeasure consultation with Brioni's chief Master Tailor, Angelo Di Feb; a complimentary gift set from Pringle of Scotland worth HKD 2,100 and a private viewing of the latest Audemars Piguet collection and a gift upon purchase.

This package is valid till 31st August 2012 and is priced at Rs. 88,344 (HKD 13,800) per night. For more information, visit

March 2012 GO NOW


WORLD TRAVELLER DESTINATION A windmill captures the colonial Dutch era.

Malayasia’s Magnificent Time-Bridge

MELAKA Pararmeswara established the embryo of a nation. From that small beginning it grew, over the centuries, into a babe, an infant, a tween searching for its identity, a teenager as rebellious as teenagers generally are, and then into full adulthood and independence. 14

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elaka is where a PIO laid the foundations of Malaysia. It wasn’t called Malaysia then, and the PIO was a Prince of Indian Origin. His name was. Parameswara. On being ousted from his kingdom in Sumatra, he and his followers had camped here under a melaka tree along with their ferocious hunting dogs. At that time, so the legend says, a little mouse deer appeared, snapped at the hounds and frightened them so much that they turned tail and fled. Parmeswara was impressed. ‘There must be something magical about this land’ he said to himself. “If I make my kingdom here my forces will also be able to repel the most fearsome invaders.’ Parameswara established the embryo of a nation. From that small beginning it grew, over the centuries, into a babe, an infant, a tween searching for its identity, a teenager as rebellious as teenagers generally are, and then into full adulthood and independence. Its mentors, in those formative years, were the Chinese, the, Indians, Portuguese, Dutch, British; and the father of free Malaysia: Tunku Abdul Rehman . All of them fell in love with Melaka, and left their indelible marks on this beautiful World Heritage town, In the tourist-alive heart of Melaka, the superbly recreated Sultan’s Palace looked like a replica of the Zamorin’s court in Calicut. Even the wooden glare-diffusing louvers, shading the interiors of the palace, were typical of Keralan architecture. More obvious Indian connections have been established in

Flower bedecked rickshaws perambulate around the square.

his family. He told us that they came from the Coromandel Coast when the Portuguese were the dominant colonial power. They married locally and settled here. Raja distinguished his community from the Nattukotai Chettairs who returned to their large mansions in India and were here only for trade: they did not settle



other parts of Melaka. We drove to the teeming Jalan Hang Jehat, more popularly called Jonkers Street. There, on a parallel road, we visited Malaysia’s oldest temple. A bare-chested pujari informed us that the Sri Poyyatha Vinayar Temple was the property of the ‘Chetty Melaka Commmunity’. A government pamphlet claimed that: Chittys are Straits-born Indians and offsprings (sic) of Indian Traders from Panai. No one, not even the pujari, could tell us where, exactly, in India ‘Panai’ was. Later, however, we visited the Kampung Budaya Chitty in the suburbs and met Nadarajan Raja and

here. Raja had collected the traditional artifacts of Chitty culture in this home-museum. Their Muthu Mariamman temple at the end of the street, affirmed their Tamil origins. Indian and Chinese traders have been traditional rivals in South-east Asia for centuries. Back in the Jonkers area, on the street on which the earlier ‘Chitty’ temple stood, was the oldest Chinese temple in Malaysia. The resplendent Cheng Hoon Teng is revered by Buddhists, Taoists and Confucians alike. It was busy with worshippers wafting blue clouds of fragrant incense: young women in tees and jeans, men in business suits and old

men with wispy white beards who could have stepped out of Chinese engravings. Chinese and Malayans, together, created the prosperous community of the Peranakans, also known as the Baba Nyonyas with their own dress, customs and cuisine. We crossed a bridge into a labyrinth of ancient streets and lanes. Here we were conducted through the Baba Nonya Museum. This mansion, in particular, was a treasure trove of their eclectic Sino-Malayan heritage. Interestingly, not far from here and near the Indian and Chinese temples was the Kampung Kling Mosque guarded by a high wall. We were told that its multi-tiered roof, the absence of a dome, and its strange, pagodalike, minaret indicated that it had been built by Muslims from Sumatra. Jonkers Street and its environs reminded us of Delhi’s Chandni Chowk, in a Malaysian setting. Tourists and locals shopped for food, fabrics, trinkets even glimpses into the future: there were fortune tellers, paper replicas of gifts for those who had passed on, and singing birds in beautiful cages. In our walk through Jonkers we had a rich, multi-sensory experience of traditional Malaya before the Europeans began to plunder Asia.

MELAKA March 2012 GO NOW


factfile GETTING THERE 147 kms. by road from Kuala Lumpur (approx. 2 hours) or 90 kms. from KL International Airport travelling south on the North-South Highway. ACCOMMODATION Available to suit all budgets. • Renaissance Melaka Hotel, Jalan Bendahara 75100, Melaka. Tel: 6 06 284 8888, Fax: 06 284 9269 • Century Mahkota Hotel Melaka, Jalan Kerdeka 75000, Melaka Tel6: 06 281 2828 Fax: 06 281 2322 • Holiday Inn Melaka, Jalan Syed Abdul Aziz, 7500, Melaka Tel: 606 285 9000, Fax: 606 285 9111

A reconstructed water-wheel on the Melaka River.


GO NOW March 2012


From the rotating tower, a replica of a Portuguese ship sits in the foreground of burgeoning Melaka.

Then we drove to Melaka’s carefully-preserved colonial heritage. Very astutely, Malaysians have realised that European tourists will pay to relive their imperial past. Destroying such monuments might give brief moments of retributive satisfaction but they will not reverse history. The best way to do that is to restore and, if necessary, even reconstruct that heritage and then make the descendants of those former conquerors pay to revel in their bitter-sweet nostalgia for a time that will never return! Melaka has tapped into this yearning excellently. From India, in the 16th century, the Portuguese had come to Melaka where they erected their town-dominating fort, A Famosa. The British demolished much of it when they occupied the town but the stone entrance, Porta de Santiago, was saved. Also standing, accessed by a flight of railed steps, are the ruins of the Fort’s Church, where St. Francis Xavier’s body was interred before it was taken to Portuguese Goa. In St. Peter’s Church, near Melaka’s historic central square, there is a stained glass window of the saint who then became the patron of Portugal’s Goan possession. We did fit in a visit to the, so-called, Portuguese settlement inhabited by the descendants of the colonizing Iberians. We had hoped that it would capture some of the vitality that is such an attractive part of Goan culture. We were disappointed. Apart from a few superficial similarities there was nothing that was striking enough to hold our attention. We were told that it all comes alive during its festivals. Possibly. But Goa is more than its Carnival. We returned to the Porta de Santiago and walked from there to the central square of Melaka. Also informally referred to as the Red Square, it stands assertive and stolid with terracotta-red buildings dating back to the age of the Netherlanders who, as in India, had replaced the Iberians. In the 259-year old Christ Church the pastor was once hoisted up in his chair to spout Reformist fire and brimstone from high above his trembling parishioners. Today, trishaws, festive with paper flowers, perambulate tourists in front of the church, around the square, past a reconstructed windmill to evoke a Dutch ambiance, and the Stadthuys once the administrative centre of Dutch rule since 1645, now the Historical and Ethnography Muzium. A plaque on the wall recalls that, after the East India Company ousted the Dutch, Malaysia became part of Queen Victoria’s Indian Empire. Malaysia didn’t have to fight for its independence. After we became independent, Tunku

Abdul Rahman brought back Britain’s promise of independence to Malaya, announcing it at the end of a triumphal procession in Melaka in 1956. There’s a picture of that cavalcade in the Proclamation of Independence Memorial, formerly a starchy British Colonial Club, not far from the Sultan’s Palace. We trudged down, intrigued by the many historic links between Melaka and India. Then it began to drizzle and we ducked into The Museum of Enduring Beauty. It held a bizarre, but compelling, display of the many cruelties that mankind has endured to be fashionable. Long before the fairness fad hit us, men had inserted plates into their lips and ear-lobes, children’s feet had been viciously bound, necks had been elongated with columns of hoops. This Muzium has not reached our skin-bleaching age. The feeling that people with dark skins were inferior to those with pallid ones is as old as colonialism, and the Portuguese fidalgos bought their prejudices with them when they sailed into Melaka. It’s a reflection of the selfconfidence of Melaysians that they have made a full-scale replica of the Portuguese ship, Flor de la Mar , and installed it in their Muzium Samudera. Clearly they do not suffer from a denial of their history. A brisk stroll along the river-skirting road bought us to the ferry landing. Here, we boarded a river-cruise boat that took tourists down the Melaka River and back for about an hour. It was a cool and pleasant change from trudging around the town. Our minds buzzed with impressions and we needed to set them in perspective. In the heart of Melaka rises a 130 foot high tower with a donut-shaped, glass-sided, observation pavilion on it. We took a ride to the top. It was exhilarating. We saw how the town had grown outwards from the river, becoming more crowded, rising higher, as it expanded. There, beneath us, was the reconstructed Portuguese ship, a huge replica of the original wooden water-wheel, and the historic fortified hill of the Portuguese fidalgos. Beyond was the high-rise of our hotel, the Holiday Inn, facing more lands being reclaimed from the Straits of Melaka. Sadly, we had no time to take the amphibious Quacker Duck Tour, and drive-cruise from Melaka into the waters of the Straits and back. Which only means that we’ll have to return to exciting Melaka to replicate a little of Parameshwar’s voyage when he landed here, and started the history of Malaysia.

MELAKA The glittering interior of a Chinese temple.

Text & photographs by HUGH & COLLEEN GANTZER

March 2012 GO NOW


CHARMED BY DUBLIN With a rich legacy of literature, history and heritage, Dublin seems like a classic destination even before you get there. But wait till you meet the inhabitants: the remarkably upbeat and self-effacing Irish demeanour makes an impression which will stay with you, long after you’ve left. 18

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Wit and Humour in Oscar Wilde’s City


n evening spent pub-hopping in Dublin might end up being a tad expensive but the proverbial Irish humour comes for free. In fact, it’s ubiquitous: right from billboards on the side of the streets and graffiti on pub walls to the track of the audio guide at the Wax museum. And nary a conversation with an Irishman (or Irishwoman!) is bereft of a witty play of words. A self-deprecating wan humour seems innate to the Irish. “Quite,” agrees Michael, an old hand at a local pub, “and

Thank God for that – it’s helping us survive these troubled times,” he adds thoughtfully. Times are tough in Ireland, not quite as bad as the catastrophic potato famine which racked the country in the early 20th century, but the economic crisis has taken no prisoners. Surprisingly, even as the dailies dish out gloomy fare about job cuts, there isn’t a pervasive air of resentment. “Everything will be fine. Whatever happens, happens for the better,” says Michael with defiant optimism. It’s not easy to get the Irish down.

WORLD TRAVELLER DESTINATION Dublin is all about. It’s not a city that wears its charm on its sleeve and will get under your skin when you’re not looking. As with all old cities, the best way to get beyond the superfluous touristy track is to explore the city on foot. I’m a bit late to reach this realization: only after I’ve blown a precious 16 Euros on the city tour bus ticket. While the tour hardly does justice to the sights and sounds of Dublin, it is a prudent option if you’re short on time. The hop-on-hop-off bus takes you to as many as 22 spots across the city. I disembark Oscar Wilde’s statue - the first stop on the route. Dublin has an obsession with statues: scattered all over the city and sometimes in the unlikeliest of places. Wilde would have been proud of this one: it’s as much a homage to the man as it is to his eccentricity -lying supine on a stone in a park right across what used to be his house (and is now, appropriately, a library). Looking at people lounging about on a perfectly languorous sunny day, I’m tempted

to park myself on a bench and let Dublin’s literary air and Wilde’s presence get my poetic juices flowing. As any literature student will be quick to point out, Dublin’s literary pedigree is not just about Wilde: the city has been home to veritable heavyweights including James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Bernard Shaw and W.B.Yeats. Obviously, the concept of a literary walk in the city is a no-brainer. Aimed at those who’re inspired by the city’s writer’s roll of honour, this tour takes you to, among other places, Trinity College (which houses the ancient Irish masterpiece, the ‘Book of Kells,’) and Dublin’s Writers Museum, which has paintings, manuscripts, letters, rare editions and mementos of many famous authors. Exploring further, one cliché that rings out loud in my head is that there is something for everyone here: there’s history in the well-preserved mansions, castles, cathedrals and fascinating museums; the other side of the Liffey River offers something to those looking for a glimpse into the Dublin of yore.

Local Attractions

Grafton street is Dublin’s most popular shopping area.

Almost as uniquely Irish as their sense of humour is a pint of Guinness. Indeed it wouldn’t be preposterous to say that there’s something mysterious in the contents of that dark viscous tasty brew which makes the Irish so impervious to life’s vagaries! Made from barley and hops, the stout seems to provide all the answers and induces a uniquely uncloying brand of laughter which echoes on Dublin’s streets way after dusk. The Guinness Storehouse, a brewery and a major tourist attraction, has acquired almost a shrine-like status: you can’t visit the city and not pay your obeisance. And God forbid you find the brew (like I admittedly did!) a bit bitter - better bite your tongue, and keep your uncultured palate’s views to yourself! But the craic, beer and pubs are not what

Dublin Castle & Chester Beatty Library The seat of power when the British ruled over Ireland, Dublin Castle isn’t really a castle in the strict sense of the word: it’s more of a collection of museums, cafés, gardens, government buildings and impressive state rooms, which when embellished with a fascinating history, make it a make it a major tourist attraction. The Chester Beatty library has a rich trove of ancient manuscripts and art encompassing Western, Middle Eastern, and Far Eastern cultures. Kilmainham Gaol Historical Museum The once-notorious jail in which thousands of Irish were imprisoned from the 1780s to the 1920s now houses a museum dedicated to the lives lost tragically within its premises (including the leaders of the famous 1916 Easter Rising who were executed here). The National Wax Museum Plus Well it’s not Madame Tussauds and you’ll be disappointed if you expect it to be. But unfair comparisons aside, it’s certainly worth a visit: with lifelike wax characters drawn from the history and rich cultural heritage of Ireland it’ll introduce you to the country’s famous writers, inventors and scientists among other luminaries. You can even sing and dance in the green screen video room. Guinness Storehouse Nothing evokes images of Ireland like Guinness. Not surprisingly, St. James’s Gate Brewery draws lovers of this classic ale by the droves where they get to experience first hand how Guinness is brewed. The attraction is not all academic either; visitors can look for-

ward to quaffing a ‘free’ pint at the stunning Gravity-Bar, high above Dublin’s rooftops. St. Patrick’s Cathedral As historically significant as it is relevant to Christians, the St. Patrick’s Cathedral – built on what’s claimed to be the oldest Christian site in Dublin – also houses the grave of Jonathan Swift, the permanent Living Stones exhibition, and other historical treasures. Trinity College Ireland’s oldest college has educated everyone from Bram Stoker to Oscar Wilde. With its grand architecture and landscape, it’s a can’t-miss stop in Dublin. History buffs will covet a look at ‘the Book of Kells,’ an ancient illuminated biblical manuscript considered one of Ireland’s greatest treasures. General Post Office (GPO) This massive classical building dominating Dublin’s main thoroughfare is arguably Ireland’s most political site: In 1916, Patrick Pearse stood on the steps and read out a proclamation declaring a free Ireland. Johnnie Fox’s Ireland’s highest-altitude pub is about 45 minutes from Dublin in the Wicklow Mountains. With an authentic old-world charm and adorned with brica-brac, gnarled benches, and crackling open fires, it offers sumptuous seafood and captivatingy Irish music. Temple Bar Full of entertainment, art and culinary action, this area tops the list of famous tourist attractions. Visit it for numerous vibrant restaurants, cafes and pubs, hostels and hotels, as well as small shops selling knick-knacks.

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For pubs, entertainment and all the culinary action, head to the Temple bar.

Doheny and Nesbitts pub 20

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Dublin has a fine selection of delectable cheeses.

Bollywood in Dublin ‘Ek Tha Tiger,’ the forthcoming movie starring Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif has been partially shot in Dublin. The film was shot at Dublin’s Trinity College, St Stephen’s Green and Dublin Castle. This is the first big Bollywood movie to shoot in Ireland and the tourism board hopes to movie’s success will do what ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.’ did for Spain tourism.

The city has upmarket shopping streets for shopaholics and souvenir hunters; theatres and avenues to satiate the most ravenous culture fiends; beautifully manicured parks for those who just want to lie about and soak in the atmosphere which inspired some of the greatest writers ever. And

Liffey. The river divides the city into northern and southern part. On the north side – which appears to be unplanned vis-à-vis the southern part – is O’Connell Street intersected by shopping streets like Henry Street and Talbot Street. On the south are St. Stephen’s Green, Grafton Street, Trinity College, Christ Church,



if the air alone doesn’t suffice then there’s always a surfeit of themed pubs and their eternal springs of Guinness draught. There are numerous tours to cater to people with diverse interests. If you’re looking for something off the beaten track then I would highly recommend a walking tour with Pat Liddy, a historian well-versed in Dublin’s history and everyday life. Before your trip draws to a close, take time out one evening to stand amongst Dubliners at the Ha’penny Bridge over the

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and many other attractions. It’s difficult to put a finger on just what is so heartwarming about Dublin. Certainly, there are no dearth of reasons to fall in love with the city: whether you’re just walking about the cobbled pathways in the older part of town, chatting with complete strangers in the parks and gardens, gulping down copious amounts of Guinness in these amazingly convivial pubs, watching a play, or just sitting near the Liffey and letting it all pass you by,

factfile GETTING THERE British Airways, Air France, Air India, KLM Royal Dutch, Lufthansa, Etihad and Qatar Airways among others connect all major Indian cities to Dublin. However, there are no direct flights at present; the airlines connect via hubs like Amsterdam, London, or Paris. Emirates Airline has launched daily service to Dublin, deploying an Airbus A330-200 between Dubai and Dublin, offering first, business and economy class. WEATHER The warmest months of the year are July and August, when temperatures range from 15° to 20°C, while January and February are coldest. It never gets too cold or too hot; even in summer you’re better off carrying a sweater or a light jacket.

this city will charm you inside out. But at the end of the day it’s the people who live here that make this town as beguilingly disarming as it is. A place of warmth, cheer and unadulterated fun, where it’s truly possible to see the brighter side of things. Maybe even crack into a wry grin about it. by PURVA BHATIA IN DUBLIN

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Sailing the High Seas in


amaica, that fabled Caribbean paradise, know as much for its rastafarian music as for its clear blue waters and laidback vibe, is a thriving hotspot for surfers and sailing enthusiasts from around the world. Not surprisingly, conditions are near-perfect for sailing: the waters are calm most of the year and there are lots of small beautiful islands to visit. The professionals and serious enthusiasts usually have their own boats, but for those who don’t, Jamaicabased operators offer multiple options for visitors to charter a vessel. Most charters span a week to ten days and you can pick from three options – bareboat, skippered bareboat, and crewed charter. Experienced sailors may 22

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wish to charter bareboat – where only the boat and equipment are included – but you and your companions are skipper and crew. Bareboat charters will typically require proof of your skills to navigate and saila boat. Some also include a tutorial of the Caribbean, including important bits of information like locations of reefs and safe harbours. For novices, or those more interested in lounging about rather than the rigors of sailing, a crewed boat is the preferred choice. Crewed charters include a full team from skipper to cook. These are often a husband and wife team who will provide everything you need for the journey. However it’s important to know that the boat Captain will make all the decisions pertaining to the boat

and the voyage. There’s also an additonal option of paying an additional fee for the charter company to provide you with food for your journey. Royal Jamaica yacht club, Montego Bay yacht club and Negril yacht club are the most well-known operators in Jamaica. Approximately half of the Caribbean’s two million annual cruise travelers visit the Jamaica. Such is the charm

of this island that a large number of tourists are return visitors who come back to Jamaica for longer stays. Among the many sailing destinations, the Dunn’s River Falls Cruise is a popular run for those looking for fun and sun aboard a Catamaran. After setting set sail from a beach the cruise heads to a crystal cove where the warm waters are perfect for a swim and snorkeling. The ensuing ride winds its way past emerald hills and numerous waterfalls before docking at the famous Dunn’s River Falls. Here you can follow your guide up the spectacular cascading waterfalls and through the lush tropical rain forest. The boat-ride on the way back is reserved for letting your hair down to the thump of the latest reggae and soca dance tunes. The local Red Stripe Beer and Rum drinks are served on the house. A visit to Jamaica is incomplete without rafting on the Martha Brae, Jamaica’s pre-

mier rafting site. A skilled raft captain on a 30-foot bamboo raft takes visitors on a romantic adventure into the most scenic and tranquil spots on the island. Before embarking on the tour, guests can also take a stroll through the “Miss Martha’s Herb Garden” – a presentation of Jamaica’s herbs famous for their medicinal and healing properties. Established 40 years ago, rafting on the Martha Brae boasts a complement of eighty five licensed and experienced raft captains. The raft ride is operated over a three-mile stretch of the beautiful Martha Brae river and lasts approximately one hour. The site has played host to a host of celebrities including HRH Queen Elizabeth II, heavy weight champion Lennox Lewis, Chuck Norris, Dionne Warwick, Spike Lee, former NBA star Patrick Ewing, Kenny Rodgers, the late Johnny cash and Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt.

Modern Luxury – Our Take Celebrity Cruises has it’s own yardstick for ‘Modern Luxury.’ The entire fleet is characterised by revolutionary design, exclusive accommodation, exceptional service, exquisite dining and expansive onboard programming to give guests a once-in-a-lifetime cruising experience while ensconced in a completely stress-free environment. March 2012 GO NOW


Celebrity’s Destinations Alaska and Europe

Hubbard Glacier

Visiting over 190 ports worldwide, Celebrity sails to Alaska, Australia/New Zealand, Bermuda, California, Canada/New England, the Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, the Pacific Coast, Panama Canal, South America, and year-round in the Galapagos Islands.

CELEBRITY’S ALASKA Celebrity Ships in Alaska – Celebrity Century, Celebrity Infinity and Celebrity Millennium Departure Ports – Seattle, Washington; Seward, Alaska and Vancouver, British Columbia

Sample Itineraries Day Ports of Call Arv Dep Activity Day 1 Vancouver, British Columbia 04:30PM Boarding Day 2 Inside Passage (Cruising) Cruising Day 3 Icy Strait, Alaska 03:00PM 10:00PM Tendered Day 4 Hubbard Glacier (Cruising) 10:30AM 02:30PM Cruising Day 5 Juneau, Alaska 07:30AM 08:00PM Docked Day 6 Ketchikan, Alaska 02:00PM 08:30PM Docked Day 7 Inside Passage (Cruising) Cruising Day 8 Vancouver, British Columbia 07:00 AM Departure 2012 Departure Dates: May 13, 20, 27; Jun 3, 10, 17, 24; Jul 1, 8, 15, 22, 29; Aug 5, 12, 19, 26; Sep 2, 9

7 Nights Northbound Alaska on Celebrity Millennium Ports of Call Vancouver, British Columbia Inside Passage (Cruising) Ketchikan, Alaska Icy Strait, Alaska Juneau, Alaska Skagway, Alaska Hubbard Glacier (Cruising) Seward, Alaska


Dep 04:30PM

07:00AM 08:00AM 07:00AM 07:00AM 07:00AM 04:00AM

03:00PM 06:00PM 08:30PM 04:00PM 11:00AM

2012 Departures: Jun 1, 15, 29; Jul 13, 27; Aug 10, 24


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3 Ships, 8 Ports, 19 cruise tours and 4 itineraries to choose from, Alaska and Canadian Rockies cruise tours available; Shore excursions at every port and excursions in each


7 Night Alaska Hubbard Glacier on Celebrity Century

Day Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8

Helicopter Trip in Skagway

Activity Boarding Cruising Docked Tendered Docked Docked Cruising Departure

Alaska Cruisetours includes a seven-night Northbound or Southbound Glacier Cruise on Celebrity Millenium and a multi-night escorted land tour deep into the interior of Alaska. These land tours available before and after your cruise, take you to the Alaska rarely seen by others by train and motorcoach

Sample Cruisetour 04 Jun 2012 – 11 Nights Alaska (4 Nts Pre Cruise Land Tour)

PRE SAILING TOURS Mon 04 June 2012. Ports of Call Fairbanks, Alaska Description: Upon arrival in Fairbanks, you will transfer to your hotel where you’ll be greeted by your Tour Director. Enjoy a relaxing overnight stay in Fairbanks. Tue 05 June 2012. Ports of Call: Fairbanks, Alaska Description: In the morning, take a cruise on the Riverboat Discovery Sternwheeler and stop at an Athabascan Indian Village. In the afternoon, travel by deluxe motorcoach to Denali. The remainder of the afternoon and evening is free for you to explore Denali on your own or book an optional activity, such as the Husky Homestead Tour or Denali Helicopter flightseeing. Overnight in Denali. Wed 06 June 2012. Ports of Call: Denali, Alaska Description: In the morning, explore the incomparable Denali National Park on the Tundra Wilderness Tour. You’ll discover the

Venice, Italy

Santorini Windmill

CELEBRITY’S EUROPE Celebrity Cruises have planned out the largest ever Europe line-up in summer of 2012. You can choose from 6 ships, visiting 63 ports in 25 countries and 29 itineraries in the Mediterranean and North Europe to choose from including, first-time Iceland and Fjords sailings. Celebrity Ships in Europe: Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Reflection*, Celebrity Silhouette, Celebrity Solstice *Debut in November 2012 Departure Ports: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Spain; Istanbul, Turkey; Rome, Italy; Southampton, England; Venice, Italy beauty of taiga forests and gaze at miles of rolling tundra while searching for wildlife. You’ll have the rest of the day and evening to explore on your own. Overnight a second evening in Denali. Thu 07 June 2012. Ports of Call: Denali, Alaska Description: In the morning, you’ll depart by motorcoach for the cosmopolitan city of Anchorage. In the afternoon, you’re free to explore the city on your own, or you may want to enhance your adventure by purchasing an optional activity, such as flightseeing or bear viewing. In the evening, independently enjoy one of the many excellent restaurants near your downtown hotel. Overnight in Anchorage. Fri 08 June 2012. Ports of Call: Anchorage, Alaska Description: In the morning, board the Wilderness Express®, our glass-domed traincar, for a spectacular ride to Seward. Sip a cappuccino while you gaze out at cascading waterfalls and glaciers before traveling through Moose Pass. After your Seward arrival and lunch on your own, you will be treated to a visit at the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, a center dedicated to understanding and preserving the environment of sea wildlife. In the afternoon, you’ll board Celebrity Millennium for your southbound cruise. Tours and activities as described, other than optional activities, are included in your cruisetour vacation.

7 Nights Southbound Alaska on Celebrity Millennium Day Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8

Ports of Call Seward, Alaska Hubbard Glacier (Cruising) Juneau, Alaska Skagway, Alaska Icy Strait, Alaska Ketchikan, Alaska Inside Passage (Cruising) Vancouver, British Columbia

Arv 02:00PM 09:00AM 07:00AM 07:00AM 09:00AM 07:00AM

Dep 08:00 PM 06:00PM 09:00PM 08:30PM 04:00PM 06:00PM

Activity Boarding Cruising Docked Docked Tendered Docked Cruising Departure

Sample Itineraries 11 Nights Eastern Mediterranean – Celebrity Equinox Day Ports of Call Arv Dep Activity Day 1 Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy 05:00 PM Boarding Day 2 At Sea Day 3 Santorini, Greece 02:00PM 10:00PM Tendered Day 4 At Sea Day 5 Istanbul, Turkey 07:00AM Docked Day 6 Istanbul, Turkey 01:00PM Docked Day 7 Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey 10:00AM 07:00PM Docked Day 8 Athens (Piraeus), Greece 07:00AM 06:00PM Docked Day 9 Mykonos, Greece 07:00AM 06:00PM Tendered Day 10 At Sea Day 11 Naples, Italy 07:00AM 06:30PM Docked Day 12 Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy 04:30AM Departure Departures: Apr 30; May 21; Jun 11; Jul 2, 23:, Aug 13; Sep 3, 24; Oct 15; Nov 5

12 Nights Scandinavia and Russia – Celebrity Constellation Day Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8 Day 9 Day 10 Day 11 Day 12 Day 13

Ports of Call Amsterdam, Netherlands At Sea Warnemunde, Germany At Sea Stockholm, Sweden Helsinki, Finland St.Petersburg, Russia St.Petersburg, Russia Muuga (Tallinn), Estonia At Sea Copenhagen, Denmark At Sea Amsterdam, Netherlands


Dep 04:30PM

Activity Boarding




09:00AM 10:00AM 07:00AM

04:00PM 06:00PM


06:00PM 03:00PM

Docked Docked Docked Docked Docked






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Sky Suite, Celebrity Silhouette

Royal Suite Bathroom

Penthouse Dining Room

World-Class Accommodation Modern Luxury is large airy spaces that include all the right, tasteful details! Retreat to your private haven that offers plush down comforters and linens, embroidered robes, lemongrass scented bath products and Samsung flat screen TVs. Only Celebrity Cruises offers the pioneering stateroom classes Concierge Class and AquaClass SM, designed to deliver everything discerning travelers desire in a homeaway-from-home. It’s your private haven, spectacularly designed to enhance your feeling of getting away. Apart from premium amenities, these luxurious staterooms all feature private, spacious verandas, early embarkation and debarkation privileges, and preferred seating in the main and specialty restaurants. And that’s just the beginning. Our relaxing accommodations include: Suites: Suite guests enjoy a full list of extended amenities as well as European-style butler service. AquaClass: This new category of 130 double occupancy staterooms, found only on Celebrity Solstice Class, offers unlimited access to the AquaSpa relaxation room and Persian Garden, as well as a host of other soothing extras. Designed for the ultimate spa enthusiast, these serene staterooms, each with a private veranda, are located high above it all, nestled comfortably close to the


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AquaSpa ® by Elemis ® Relaxation Room, the Solarium and the Persian Garden. And dine in your own restaurant, Blu, featuring health-conscious dishes you’d never guess were good for you. Concierge Class: These exceptional veranda staterooms are set in the most desirable locations of each ship. Designed for the traveler who settles in nicely to accommodations where little details make a big difference. Savor unexpected delights such as fresh flower arrangements, personalized stationery and complimentary shoeshine service. The attention to detail will amaze you, even as you sleep on the perfect pillow you’ve selected from our pillow menu. Interconnecting Balcony Staterooms – connected by an outer vestibule, these are designed to provide family and friends the togetherness they desire. Veranda Staterooms – offering stunning, spacious, private outdoor sanctuaries Ocean View Staterooms – beautiful window staterooms with a sitting area and sofa Non-Ocean View Staterooms – thoughtfully designed with ample space and sitting area.

2-Storey Tihany Wine Tower

Star Chefs’ Cooking Competition

Reidel Comparative Wine Crystal Workshop

Award Winning Cuisine Celebrity defines ‘Modern Luxury’ as dining in restaurants where the design is just as important as the cuisine! Only on Celebrity Cruises will you find award-winning cuisine paired with the extravagance of ordering your entire meal on an ipad. Jacques Van Staden, our acclaimed master chef, constantly conjures up an artfully presented blend of globally inspired contemporary and classic delicacies. What you get on Celebrity’s menu isn’t standard fare, and neither is the time or place you choose to eat. There are choices to suit every mood and appetite.

vance” reservation system. Whether you want a romantic table for two, or a table filled with family and friends, you can make online reservations for every night of your cruise upto four days before you sail. All you need to do is prepay your service charge and we’ll take care of the rest. Celebrity Vineyards: A global vision of cuisine needs a wide selection of wines to match. Enter one of the largest wine collections at sea, combined with certified sommeliers that take pride in recommending the perfect pairing. We also carry more than 500 varieties of spirits, including cognacs and scotches.

Highlights: Ten Specialty Restaurants: Rivalling the best land based-eateries, distinctive and inspiring venues like Blu, Murano, Bistro on Five, Tuscan Grille and Silk Harvest cater to every palate. Then there’s our latest creation, Qsine’– Uniquely out of the ordinary, the restaurant elevates dining to a performance art. Again you order your meal or mix a cocktail using an ipad. Breathtaking Main Dining Room: Experience cuisine taken to new heights, with a venue to match. The menu offers an amazing choice of 29 delectable selections. Almost half of these change every night, so you can try something different each day you’re with us. Celebrity Select Dining: Eat precisely when you want in the main dining room with the cruise industry’s first ‘in ad-

Ocean View Café

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Persian Garden Retreat

Yoga Class

Fitness Centre

Aqua Spa Relaxation Room

Unparalleled Spa & Fitness Center We like to pamper our guests to the hilt. Our exclusive and supremely tranquil AquaSpa by Elemis offers you all the amenities of a world-class health resort, but at sea!. Relax in the eucalyptus infused steam of the Persian Garden, check out the state-of-art fitness facilities, or rejuvenate your body and soul from our vast assortment of treatments. There’s even a new class of stateroom s created for spalovers, right next door to the Aqua Spa.

Highlights: Aqua Spa Treatments**: Indulge in a vast assortment of treatments in our beautifully appointed spa. Try our signature treatments, like a Thai herbal poultice massage, or a La Therapie Hydralift Facila. You can also opt for acupuncture, and med-spa treatments including BOTOX Cosmetics –-all intended to help you maintain a youthful experience. Rejuvenating Amenities: The adults-only Solarium offers a tranquil seawater environment, complimented by the Persian Garden with its eucalyptus-scented steam Premier Fitness Programmes: Choose from our wide selection of fitness classes* including Body Scultp Boot Camp, Yoga, ‘Tour de Cycle’, Pilates and aerobics Exceptionally equipped facilities: Stay healthy and in shape using our state-of-the-art LifeFutness treadmills, stair climbers, rowing ergometers, recumbent bikes, elliptical, cross trainers, and weight training equipment.


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Salon Treatments**: Full service, incredibly luxurious salon offers Fire and Ice manicures, pedicures, hairstyles, grooming and colouring for both men and women. * Additional charges apply ** Available on select ships for an additional charge

Spectacular Main Outdoor Pool

Fortune’s Casino

West-End Style Show

Art Gallery

Onboard Entertainment Modern Luxury is where you do as much or as little as you choose! Full scale-production shows in a state-of-the-art theatre and live music in contemporary venues. Add Celebrity Life, our extensive variety of palate-pleasing, fun-filled and life renewing activities, games and music. With entertainment and amenities you did’nt even know you could experience, you’ll be talking about your trip long after you’re home. We’ll amaze you with jaw dropping spectaculars, and even put on a sky’s – the-limit aerial fantasia show*. There’s a wide range of stylish clubs, lounges, bars and a casino to enjoy. And best if all, when you’ re ready to turn in for the night (or morning) you’re just steps from the comfort of your room. A world of night-time delights: Vibrant Venues: Our bars, lounges and clubs feature live music and are unique destinations unto themselves. Fortunes Casino has the latest gaming tables and hig0enery slots for 24/7 excitement. The Martini Bar and Crush serves over 100 varieties Vodka, while Michael’s Club specialises in contemporary music, malt whiskies, cognacs and over 50 international beers. Interactive Productions: This is entertainment you won’t find on any other cruise line. We thrill guests with full scale musicals and exclusively produced shows like Groove, Flava and Live@sky*. Add to this movies, Karaoke, comedy

shows, theme nights and more. Champagne High Tea** A classi experience featuring live string music, white glove service, loose teas from Te Forte, custom-made Wedgewood Bone China, and elegant selections of savious, pastries, cakes and scones. Fun for everyone: Poolside DJ, games and events. Art programmes, ship tours, scavenger hunts and trivia. Xbox Kinect multigenerational gaming, and much more besides.

Shopping Trendy boutiques selling brand-name watches, fine jewellery, leading beauty and fragrance products, and our exclusive Blue Collection.

OUTSTANDING ONBOARD PROGRAMS Celebrity Life Our unique selection of palate-pleasing, fun-filled and life-renewing activities, games and music. Every day can be a different experience as you try ou the countless culinary, enrichment and wellness programmes. From learing Pilates, to discovering the latest high-tech gadgets in our Celebrity iLounge, or learning how the right glass enhances your favourite Merlot at the Riedel Comparative Wine Crystal Workshop. * Available on Celebrity Solstice Class only ** Additional charges apply

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Celebrity iLounge

The Lawn Club Celebrity Eclipse

Bubble Chair

Innovations, Celebrity Style! Our ships transcend land-based hotels with stunning spaces created by leading architects, renowned interior designers, and landscape artists with an eye for the unexpected. From the remarkable two-storey Tihany wine tower to our astonishing new AquaClass suites, you’ll be surrounded by style and luxury. Innovative New Ships: Experience the apex of style – hailed as a ‘new benchmark in cruise ship design” where design and innovation come together as never before. With Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Silhouette and yet to debut Celebrity Reflection, there will ultimately be five of these spectacular ships. World-class architects and designers have elevated style to high design, surround you in an environment that celebrates you with unexpected gestures at every turn – from The Lawn Club – a half acre of real grass where you enjoy casual outdoor activities in a decidedly

Country Club atmosphere,celebrate the flavorful joys of outdoor grilling in the new Lawn Club Grill, or unwind in your own cabana-style haven, The Alcoves., 10 spectacular dining options to the Hot Glass Show – a live glass blowing studio and AquaClass, an entirely new class of stateroom, Your vacation time is precious. One of a kind Celebrity iLounge: Try out the latest Macbooks and ipads, or masteriphoto, iVideo and iTunes in the first Authorsied Apple Reseller at Sea Chic Cellar Masters wine bar: Savour your choice of fine vintages by the glass with cruising’s first self-servce Enomatic Wine System. Original works of art: Immerse yourself in one of the world’s largest permanent contemporary art collections, complete with your own self-guided ipad art tour. Featured artists include the likes of Picasso, Warhol, Botero, Jeff Koons and other up-and-coming names. For more information, please contact: India Representative: TIRUN Travel Marketing *Ahmedabad: 079-2640 2001 * Bangalore: 080-3340 4828 * Chennai: 044-2829 7022 *Mumbai: 022-4311 2000 * New Delh: 011-4906 1000


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TOURISMCONNECT Bringing together diverse stakeholders of the national tourism product

• A Fine Vintage – Statesman’s Classic Car Rally • Living Heritage – Ahmedabad’s Historic ‘Pols’


• Nippon Overtures – Japan Woos Indian Traveller




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The 46th Delhi Statesman Vintage and Classic Car Rally had a bevy of vintage beauties enthralling commuters on Delhi roads. While the quality and depth of the field (when it came to the participants and their magnificent machines) were extraordinary, the lack of cheering crowds was a big let-down. Delhi’s vintage enthusiasts need to come out in stronger numbers to support this genuinely classic event.


t has all the trappings – history, beauty, splendour and pride – of a royal event. It also has the potential of becoming a world-class attraction. The 46th Delhi Statesman Vintage and Classic Car Rally was held on a breezy winter Sunday. The entries – participants and their lovingly maintained vehicles turned out in full force. There was a full gamut – sports cars, sedans, military jeeps and even a fire engine – glistening in the sunlight. But there was someting missing...the pomp and pageantry associated with the event were were muted. But more on that later.

Statesman and Cars – a Vintage Tradition One of India’s oldest newspapers, The Statesman has been holding India’s most celebrated vintage car rally since 1946. “It was just twice that the rally could not be held – in 1972 after the Bangladesh War and later in 1974 due to the OPEC crisis,” says Ravinder Kumar, Editor & Managing Director of

R. Irani Memorial Trophy for the Queen of the rally and many more. This seemingly large number of awards are due to the fact that the cars are divided into three categories – those manufactured upto the year 1939 and thus labeled vintage; those made between 1940 and 1956 (called Classic), and the postwar category that has cars between 1940-1962. The rally attracted a handful of motor enthusiasts who were drawn by their love for the old beauties. For some of the participants, entire families had come in to showcase their vehicles on the Delhi, Gurgaon and Delhi route. But this time there was one missing element and that was the fact that no participant had come from outside the Delhi-NCR region. This led to the scrapping of the award for the car that had driven the most to participate in the show. A day before the event, cars were brought in for scrutiny on originality, engines, meters, paint job, maintenance and upkeep.



A Ford station wagon with the complete rear portion crafted in wood.

The Statesman. Now held in Delhi and Kolkata (The Statesman even started it in Mumbai but pulled out after holding just three rallies) the rally fired the imagination of local heritage car owners who’ve taken the initiative to host their own event every year. There’s a deluge of trophies up for grabs: over 40 of them in fact, including the ‘Statesman Challenge Trophy’ to the oldest car; a trophy to the most consistent participant, C.

It is not easy being a heritage car owner – mechanics are difficult to find and most of them are old; even people who can drive such cars are hard to come by and Diljit Titus, who has an incredible number of vintage automobiles, could only find three drivers to steer his cars at the rally. With maintaining an old car becoming an expensive passion and a proposition, the rally provides an encouraging fillip to the car owners. March 2012 GO NOW


Cars have a Story to Tell

Ashwin James and family in their 1929 Morris Minor.

Tutu Dhawan makes himself comfortable in a 1909 Willys-Overland – the oldest car at the rally. Photographer Pavan Mehta poses with his wife in front of his 1928 Ford Model A.


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It is not just people who can tell a bewitching story. Cars too can talk. The rally had 81 oldies and for many, it was literally a fitness test (considering some of the cars are a 100 years old)! Others stood out for their beauty, history, ownership and maintenance. One of the first to reach the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium was the 1938 Mercedes 170V Sports Roadster Coupe that was once owned by actress Mumtaz. The owner, Delhi businessman Dev Mohan Gupta, who has three other vintage cars, had bought it from none other than Titus, noted lawyer and car collector who also has a vintage car museum. It was not just this red head turner that had attitude; literally every car here had a story to tell. 85-year-old retired engineer R.N. Seth is the co-owner of a British-make car – Lagonda M-45, manufactured in Staines in England in 1934. The car gets its name from a rivulet in Ohio, the US, as its manufacturer settled in England and named it for love of his motherland. “A sports car, it used to run on English tracks and was owned by the Maharaja of Bikaner who gifted it to Himmat Singh, his doctor. We bought it from his sons in 1965 and it has been with us since”, says Seth, who feels proud to mention that at the first Indian Grand Prix at Noida, international champ Alonso Fernando took a lap in his car. Seth, who has participated in almost all the vintage car rallies has secrets to share. “Very few will remember that the first Statesman Vintage car rally had gone to Bharatpur where even the Maharaja had participated”, he says. Ravi Avalur, a car lover who had come to watch the cars said that Delhi now seems to have the maximum number of vintage cars. “Earlier it was Mumbai and Pune that had the most heritage cars. In fact the Bombay-Pune Time Trials were the first car races to be held in India. There was a time when India would get the latest cars as there were no import restrictions then.” If the cars stood out, so did the owners. Dressed in resplendent traditional Rajasthani attire, Ashwin James’ family was tightly packed in a tiny 1929 Morris Minor. The owner of a travel agency in Delhi, James is just the third owner of this car which had originally belonged to a British officer. Nearly a decade back, his father used to run the car in the rally, but this time the senior James was a judge at the rally. Many car owners share a long association with the rally.

■ Bombay-Pune Time Trials were the first car races to be held in India ■ Mumbai-based Pranlal Bhogilal has the largest collection of vintage cars in the world at his museum in Ahmedabad ■ Delhi has the maximum number of vintage cars ■ The total number of vintage cars in India is estimated between 1,000-3,000

Photographer Pavan Mehta has been participating every year since 1980, except the one time he was honeymooning. His 1928 Ford Model A, which he says, “was built in the very first year when assembly line systems had been introduced and was one of the initial cars to have come out of that innovation”. It had belonged to a family in Punjab which used it for partridge hunting. “The family even took off the original tyres and put jeep ones instead”, he says with a chuckle. One of the most feted automobiles at the rally was the 1914 John Morris, India’s first fire engine, which was owned by the Nizam of Hyderabad. Built in Manchester, over a hundred such fire engines and tenders were

Dev Mohan Gupta with his 1938 Mercedes 170V Sports Roadster Coupe that was once owned by actress Mumtaz.

Diljeet Titus poses with his Stutz Series M Speedster, that was previously owned by Maharaol Sir Ranjitsinhji of Baria, Gujarat.



sold across the world. It is believed that just two of these fire engines are in existence today and this one, owned by the National Rail Museum, is a regular at the Statesman Vintage & Classic Car Rally.

The Missing Element Now we come to the missing element. It was the crowd ( or rather, the lack of one) and it was apparent. There were very few people to cheer the participants on as compared to previous years. Neither at the Statesman House where the rally began, nor at the

Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium where the cars assembled, did we notice many people. There were probably more cars and their owners than the audience, except for a handful of families. According to Mehta, “There used to be a time when the cars would go till Sohna and we would have hordes of people lining the roads, cheering and waving. There were lots of crowds. The Statesman rally completes 46 years literally without a break and it still does not have a festive air about it,” he rued This sentiment was shared by James who

thought that it was a shame that such a magnificent event had failed to attract tourists. “If marketed properly, we can always attract a lot of foreign tourists to such a rally. For example, if we add a couple of historic spots like the Red Fort we can always attract more tourists. Foreigners are interested in heritage cars. In Jaipur there is someone who has been using his vintage car to take tourists around”, said James. On the other hand, Mehta adds that the Statesman Vintage & Classic Car Rally has gained credibility. “The Statesman does not charge us for participation and that is why we come back every year,” Mehta says. Maybe just a bit of marketing and brand promotion can bring in the crowds and lend the event that missing dose of colour. Text & photographs by RAHUL KUMAR

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A Heritage of Security

The Pols of the Old City in Ahmedabad A heritage walk in the old city reveals some great traditions in the architecture of Ahmedabad. Every Pol held small, interconnected, family-owned residences served by narrow zigzagging streets, a temple, open congregational areas and secret escape corridors into the neighbouring Pols. 36

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ujarat’s old Ahmedabad preempt-ed today’s exclusive urban ‘colonies’ by many centuries. We dis covered this when the well-informed Girish took us on his fascinating Heritage Walk through the unique Pols. As we walked, it slowly dawned on us how closely the city’s citizens had co-operated to meet their special needs; including their spiritual ones! As most trading families do, they believed that success in their profession often depended more on chance than on skill. The deities had to be propitiated. Fittingly, our morning tour started with aarti in the Swaminarayan Temple. We noticed that the idols were black and had the inserted glass or metal eyes which we have seen, most often, in tribal and Jain icons. Gujarat’s powerful Jain traditions probably influenced

CONNECT HERITAGE was a feeding trough and containers of food had been stacked against it. True to their conviction that life was precious, the Pol’s residents had erected bird baths and feeding trays and from the first meal, cooked by the Pol’s families, a portion was offered to free-ranging animals like cows and dogs. In one of the Pols we spotted mynahs nesting in holes created for them. The welfare of the animals that contributed to the well being of the Pols also shared in the Pol’s prosperity. Clearly, the families living in the Pols were affluent. Wooden facades and pillars were beautifully carved, Though there were an estimated 12,000 properties massed in 120 Pols there was an assertive sense of pride in these unique dwellings in marked contrast to the tenement griminess that is normally associated with such cheek-by-jowl living. In fact the 600 year Muharat Pol, had been an enviable river-side complex built on the banks of a seasonal stream that fed into the Sabaramati river. The British had spanned it with the Fernan-

the iconography in the temples of the Pols. We moved on. According to Girish, every Pol held small, interconnected, family-owned residences served by narrow zig-zagging streets, a temple, open congregational areas and secret escape corridors into the neighbouring Pols. They were overseen by committees of five elderly people, drawn from the families living in each Pol, known as the Panch. When we entered the first Pol we noticed an unusual structure. Built on top of a tall column was a tiny, roofed, shelter. A ladder led up to it. At its base, on the level of the road,

There is also a special slide show and guided tour run by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. It starts at the Swaminarayan Mandir, Kalupur, at 8.a.m. and terminates at Manek Chowk at 10.30 a.m.. The ‘contribution’ from Indian and SAARC country visitors is Ten rupees, and from other international visitors is Fifty rupees.


government to construct such places of worship during the reign of the Mughals. Then, because arthritic worshippers might find it difficult to climb up and down the flight of stairs, a mirror had been installed near the start of the steps. It captured a reflection of the idol so devotees could worship it without taxing their aching knees! We also spotted a bracket carved with effigies of writhing dragons, a tribute to trade links with distant China. Such international trade, and its profits accumulated generation after generation, had clearly resulted in the unique design of the Pols. Narrow, winding, streets which, even today, could take only pedestrians and two-wheeled vehicles deterred marauders. We saw a woman step through a door that looked like the entrance to a house. It was a secret escape route. In case of attack, the one hundred families in a Pol could disperse through the entire maze of stacked apartments while belligerent defenders bombarded invaders with missiles from the balconies and rooftops. Moreover, some of the Pols we visited had detachable ladders leading to trap-doors accessing higher floors. A tug and a slam could isolate every floor, sequestering it from unwelcome intruders. Particularly impregnable was the Javeri Pol Wad. It was the rich complex of the jewellers. While its carved façade proclaimed the affluence of its residents, its massive gate, crowned by a guard-house, deterred would-be brig-


dez Bridge and then filled up the brook to create living spaces and a road. The absence of the watercourse had been compensated for by rainwater pouring into subterranean cisterns which then recharged wells in the courtyards of every Pol. The old architects of the Pols had also adapted their designs to the evolving needs of their communities. There was a temple meant exclusively for women possibly because their men spent much of their time away from home. Another temple had been built underground to circumvent the rule that permission had to be sought from the

ands. It captured the entire ethos of the Pols. The word ‘Pol’, we were told, is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Pratoli’, similar to its Latin cousin ‘Portal’. It means a gate or an entry. Walled and fortified cities, hamlets and villages had their gates, closed at sunset. They protected multi-disciplinary societies. The Pols, however, protect groups of, possibly, trade-related, families who have chosen to live in close and mutually supportive proximity. The Pols are, probably, the world’s earliest gated communities. Text & photographs by HUGH & COLLEEN GANTZER

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GO NOW catches up with Motonari Adachi, Executive Director, Japan National Tourism Organization at the recently held Visit Japan Seminar & Tourism Exchange to talk about the importance of the Indian market and how Japan plans to promote itself as a business and leisure destination.




hy is India such an important market for Japan?

India is increasingly becoming an important market for us; while South Korea, China and Taiwan, are still our focus areas, India is a big market and has always extended its support to us. We want this support to continue. In an awareness survey we asked the question “What would be the most attractive reason to visit Japan” and most Indians replied with “I want to go to Japan because I believe that it will support Japan”. Also, we believe that Indians love to spend. After the French and Russians, Indians are big spenders.

Japan has been more popular as a business destination for the Indian traveller. How are you planning to promote the country as a leisure destination as well? Our 2010 survey shows that 65.3% Indians travel to Japan on business and only about 8.7% visit Japan for the purpose of leisure. We want to change this. We want to bring awareness among the Indian travellers about the natural beauty, rich art and culture, and magnificent historical sites that Japan has to offer. We want them to know that Japan is a great place for individual, group and family holidays. For this purpose, we are inviting media and travel agents along with family to visit Japan and see for themselves the beauty that lies in our country. We want to educate the travel 38

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agents about the various places to see in Japan and the fun things that visitors can do on the trip. Another thing we have noticed is that the most popular places for the Indian traveller in Japan are Tokyo, Kanagawa, Osaka and Kyoto. We want the visitors to see places like Okinawa, Kanto and Hokkaido as well. These are beautiful places and are great for holidays and leisure activities.

There are certain concerns that


“The most popular places for the Indian traveller in Japan are Tokyo, Kanagawa, Osaka and Kyoto. We want the visitors to see places like Okinawa, Kanto and Hokkaido as well. These are beautiful places and are great for holidays and leisure activities.”


WHY JAPAN ➤ Mount Fuji, The Three Views of Japan, The White Heron Castle and abundant natural beauty for a sightseeing traveller ➤ Every month is filled with traditional annual festivals like the Awa-Odori Folk Dance Festival and the Sapporo Snow Festival, displaying the rich culture of Japan ➤ Japan boasts a number of UNESCO World Heritage sites like the iconic Floating Torii of Itsukushima, the Bomb Dome in Hiroshima, Daibutsu in Kamakura and many more national treasures ➤ The land of Sushi, Sake and Shoyu, Japan offers a wide variety of delectable traditional and contemporary dishes. Many restaurants also prepare vegetarian food on request

most Indians have when travelling to Japan such as language, expenses, food and visas. Are you planning to do anything to quell these concerns? We recently did a survey and found that 52.5% visitors feel that Japan is too expensive. We would like to change this perception. Japan is more affordable than you expect. There is a variety of reasonably priced accommodation options available for visitors. This is another reason we are investing in family trips for travel agents so that they can suggest the best places according to the budgets of the travellers. We are also giving subsidies to the agents and encouraging them to give offers and packages to travellers. 39.2% people feel language will be a big problem. However, we have signboards in English everywhere so that no traveller feels lost. European visitors mostly travel by themselves and have not faced any problem with language. Talking about food, we know that many Indians prefer vegetarian food and for this purpose

we have introduced many Indian restaurants. There are also local restaurants that can prepare vegetarian meals if informed in advance. Visa issues need to be overcome. If all the documentation is correctly filled, the process is smooth. However, we are trying to reduce the paperwork and make it an easier, quicker procedure to ensure a smooth clearance.

What are the various marketing activities you have undertaken to promote Japan and attract the Indian tourist? We know that the most popular destinations for Indians are Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong while Japan comes only at number 17. Our competitors are the places that Indians like to visit like Australia, Switzerland, Hong Kong and USA. We are looking into their marketing strategies and promotion activities. Last year, we launched a Visit Japan page on Facebook, especially for the Indian market. We give lots of updates and travel

➤ Japan has all kinds of accommodation from the affordable capsule hotels to the exquisite Shangri-La

information on that page. We also share pictures to show the land of contrasts that is Japan! We also launched a quiz campaign – one of our online campaigns. We have introduced Indian restaurants and have compiled a list of all Indian restaurants in Japan. We have invested in print advertisements in magazines and other print media, targeting the month of May, which is the peak season for Indians to travel. We have also planned new projects in the fiscal year 2012 like commemorative activities for the 60th anniversary of Indian-Japanese diplomatic relationship, seminars and business matching. We just started our promotional activities only last year. For now, our focus is only on two major Indian cities – Delhi and Mumbai. We do plan to extend our activities in other places as well such as Chennai and Hyderabad. by AARUSHI GUPTA

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INDIA TRAVELLER Travel and Discover a Subcontinent


• Exploring India’s Top Treks • MICE Travellers Get Adventurous


Mayfair Hideaway Spa Resort, Goa

An Autumn Getaway in Goa The winter crowds have all but left and Goa has regained its tranquil ambience. For visitors looking to take advantage of the this lull, the Mayfair Hideaway Spa Resort, Goa has come up with a spectacular Winter-Autumn Holiday package this March. The package includes 3 nights and 4 days for single/double occupancy in their grand Suite Room, welcome drinks, in-room chocolates, dry fruits, breakfast, lunch and dinner at Nautica Restaurant or a predesignated F&B outlet. Complimentary transfers to the airport or the railway station are also included. It doesn’t end there: the package also offers a complimentary half day of sightseeing; free usage of swimming pool, gym, pool table and library; daily mineral water bottles and snacks; cocktails every day from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m; two movie shows everyday and free WI-FI access in rooms

and public area. This amazing, wholesome package is priced at Rs 41,999. The same package for a Deluxe Room is priced at Rs 29,999. For reservations and more information, visit

Hotel Madhuban Highlands

Chasing the Winter in Mussoorie And just like that, the onset of summer is here. For those who are ruing the departure of their favourite season and aren’t yet prepared to pack in the woollies, Hotel Madhuban Highlands, Mussoorie, is offering an extended winter package this March. The 2 nights and 3 days package is packed with incentives including Double Deluxe room accommodation, a non alcoholic welcome drink and fruit basket on arrival, buffet breakfast and dinner, complimentary use of gymnasium, two bottles of mineral water per day, complimentary tea, coffee makers in room and a complimentary stay for two children below five years of age. The package also includes 20% discount on food and beverages, laundry and spa and is priced at Rs. 13,999. For reservations or more information, call 01352740066, 77, 9837388699 or 9927186333.


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Sterling Holidays Golden Sands

Sterling Bargain in Puri If you’re looking for a beach holiday yet have had just about enough of Goa, then consider the unspoilt shoreline of the Bay of Bengal in Puri. Besides the typical seaside accountrements, Puri has a rich heritage and lots of sightseeing in the city. To

up the ante, Sterling Holidays Golden Sands is offering their best rates of the season: the Superior Room is priced at Rs 3,000, Junior Suite at Rs 3,500, Deluxe Suite at Rs 4,000 and the Luxury Suite is priced at Rs 5,500. The package includes

breakfast. Guests can enjoy the in-house library, the special bean-shaped swimming pool and the open-air discotheque at the resort. For more information on the packages, call +91 6752 254093/ 254094, 09937036918.


‘R’ The Spa at Radisson Blu Hotel (NH-8)

Holy Retreat

Courtyard by Marriott, Gurgaon

A Winning Presentation A special package by Courtyard by Marriott, Gurgaon to sweeten the deal for its business visitors. And significantly, the package is irrespective of how long or short your visit is going to be and includes a two-way airport transfer, complimentary in-room high speed internet access, sumptuous buffet breakfast of multi cuisine specialties at MOMO Café - the all day dining restaurant and an option for late check-out till 1600 hours. The offer is valid all seven days a week till 31st December 2012 at an additional Rs 1,500 plus taxes over the best available rate. For reservations or more information, call 0124-4888-444.

The festival of colours leaves more of a mark that you’d like: if you’re concerned about any adverse effects the colours are going to have on your skin this Holi then consider the special Holi rejuvenation packages being offered by ‘R’ The Spa at Radisson Blu Hotel (NH-8) – Holi Retreat; Head-to-Toe; Festive Delight; Holi Detox. The Holi Retreat package includes Shirodhara and Indian Marma Massage. The Shirodhara is a powerful Ayurvedic treatment where a steady stream of medicated oil is directed on the forehead. For the Indian Marma Massage, home-

discount on food and soft beverages in restaurants. The package is scheduled between the 7th and 11th March 2012, at a discounted rate of Rs. 6,999 per night. This offer is fully pre-paid, non-refundable, noncancellable and non-amendable.

pedicure and shampoo and dry. It is priced at Rs. 4,000. Festival Delight includes Tropical Skin Renewal treatment, where you get to choose from fruit extracts such as Papaya-Pineapple or Mango-Passion Fruit, and Aromatherapy Massage, that showers your body with a calming sensation which can easily induce peaceful sleep. This package is priced at Rs. 5,000. The Holi Detox Package is one of its kind with a comprehensive treatment that includes Javanese Lulur Scrub, Balinese Massage Aqua Therapy with Moroccan Skin Purifying Wrap and Aroma Awakening Face Therapy. This fabulous package is priced at Rs. 10,000.

For more information, please call 022-6147 0000.

For more information, please call 011-26779191.

grown herbs and oils are used to alleviate aches and pains. This package is priced at Rs. 5,500. The Head-to-Toe package is a wholesome treatment that includes Spa Radiance Facial, a relaxing head massage, manicure,

Westin Mumbai Garden City

A Colourful Affair As enjoyable as Holi is, it can be a tedious job cleaning up afterwards. For those who don’t want to take the colour back into their homes, the Westin Mumbai Garden City has offered a smart Holi package with great promotional rates for its single and double occupancy rooms. Guests will enjoy also enjoy a 25%

March 2012 GO NOW



arkha Valley


This is one of Ladakh’s classic trek routes, linking the Spitok monastery at the edge of the Leh airport runway with the Hemis monastery via a week’s circuit over the Ganda La. Alternately, there is also a higher-grade route for the fully acclimatised which starts from Stok village across the Indus from Leh, passing Namlung La, linking up with the former trail at Rumbak village at the end of the first day. Thereafter the route is common. Streams must be crossed carefully, as a general principle, preferably with someone well versed with the route. The right time of year is July to September, during the short Ladakhi summer, when access is at its optimum and long-distance views at their virtual best. The route takes in some of the grandest mountain vistas. The trekking stages blend the views of Stok Kangri peak, the Ganda La, the Zanskar mountains and the imposing Markha Valley as it opens up to the massive Kangyaze peak. The elevated Nimaling plains then make way for the climb across the Kongmaru La getting to the final halt at Chogdo village before

winding up at Hemis.

Lahul-Zanskar: the Himachal Pradesh – J&K Link Another classic! Connecting Himachal’s desert district of Lahul with the isolated Zanskar basin, here is a trail that will impart that exploratory sense of wonder which highlighted the Central Asian trade route. Either way, the roadhead lies at some distance. From the Manali end, in Himachal Pradesh, there is a day’s drive to Darcha on the Leh road. On the other side, the Kargil access to Padam follows the mountain road that heaves up the Pensi La and past the Ringdum monastery. The usual trek timeframe is one week (though there is always the temptation to linger another day savouring the Padam amphitheatre!). Just 10 km away from Padam lies the Bardan monastery – one of Zanskar’s most revered– where the route aligns with the Tsarap, one of the most enduring river arteries in this part of the world. There is a wealth of the remote Zanskari legacy as the trek gets under

From the verdant Markha valley in Ladakh to the arduous trails in Himachal, Uttarakhand and Sikkim, the mighty Himalayas offer a host of trekking routes to the adrenaline junkie.


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way winding past remote monasteries and villages at Purne, Phugtal and the elevated Kargyak settlement. Two more stages take the trail across the Great Himalayan Range at the Shingo La with its grandstand views. The final halting point is Ramjak from where the roadhead at Darcha is a half day’s descent for the drive to Manali or (in the reverse direction back to Leh!)

Chandrakhani Pass – Malana The mystical village of Malana, in Kulu district of Himachal Pradesh, continues to hold an enigmatic appeal even today. Its origins are shrouded in a different sort of Himalayan mist, believed to pre-date the Aryan arrival from the steppes of Central Asia. Village residents would not speak to visitors and still follow their own unique beliefs and behaviour codes. The trail originates above Naggar Castle in the Beas valley (made famous as the residence of the celebrated Russian artist

Nicholas Roerich and now housing the art gallery named after him). From Rumsu, on the second day, the route crosses the impressive Chandrakhani Pass, named after its crescent-like shape, and descends to Malana village. For the fully fit, the corresponding Rashol Pass on the exit will lead to Kasol – at the confluence of the Malana and Parbati rivers – and the road to Manikaran or the Kulu airstrip at Bhuntar. Alternately, this mystical journey can conclude with the descent to Jari for re-joining the Manikaran-Bhuntar road.


Symbolic of the surreal attributes embodying the Uttaranchal Himalayas is Eric Shipton’s ecstatic rendering as Bill Tilman and he made the first-ever entry into the Inner Sanctuary of

SIKKIM Dzongri and the Goecha La The roadhead in western Sikkim is Yoksam where the first Chogyal was consecrated. A three-day trek ascending through the Ratong valley leads out to Bakhim and finally Dzongri, easily one of the most spectacular viewpoints in the world! The full sweep covers the shapely, sacred Pandim peak and the great summits on the Singalila ridge, finally going out to the dominating mass of Kanchenjunga, Sikkim’s presiding deity. That’s not all – two more days of trekking takes the route into the very lap of Kanchenjunga, from the vantage point of the Goecha La at 4948 metres. For pre-monsoon close-ups till early May or the post-monsoon glow from October, this route rates highly amongst Sikkim’s unending array of trysts with the magical.

TOP TREKS Trekkers at Dzongri

Nanda Devi in 1934: “Before us, rising out of a misty shadow-lake of deepest purple, stood the twin summits of Nanda Devi, exquisitely proportioned and twice girdled by strands of white nimbus. This was backed by a liquid indigo, changing to mauve as it approached the south-west, where the icy pyramid of Trisul stood in ghostly attendance. Then, after passing through every degree of shade and texture, the colour died, leaving the moon to shed her silver light over a scene of ravishing loveliness, and to revive within me childish fancies, too easily forgotten in the materialism of maturer years.” The secret shrine of Nanda Devi (presently in the forbidden core area of the bio-sphere reserve) can still be reached only on foot. The trekking season extends from the end of April till October – in between which the monsoon is heavy. When the snow melts, the valley floors carpet themselves in a riot of flowers.

Gangotri-Tapovan Among the holiest dhams in the pilgrimage pantheon, Gangotri is reached by a tarmac road from Uttarkashi. The trek begins at the Gangotri temple. Five hours up the thundering Bhagirathi, after traversing for all of nine km, you reach the first day’s camp at Chirbasa – known for the unforgettable first view of the distant Bhagirathi peaks, framed by the last of the pines. The next day’s walk is shorter, rising five km to the now birch-less Bhojbas, usually bypassed for a further two km just short of Gaumukh at the snout of the Gangotri glacier. The air is markedly thinner here…but the rewards are many…this is the gateway to one of the world’s best known mountaineering arenas. For the devout, a dip in the chilly waters of the nascent Bhagirathi at Gaumukh is a lifetime’s cleansing act. Ascetics from afar seek its solitude to meditate near it, the crowning peaks of Shivling and Bhrigu looming above the glacial snout. With a guide, equipment and acclimatisation, the next stage ascends the tangled mass of the glacier for three hours. Over the final hump, with energy spend at full throttle, rises the full bulk of the awesome Shivling in one sweep from Tapovan meadow. The prospect is truly grand…the glacial expanse unfolds in the distance. Some may wish to descend the same day to Gaumukh. But for the fit, a night out here will answer the call of the wild. March 2012 GO NOW


Har-ki-dun God’s own valley is interwoven with the Kaurav and Pandav legacy of the Mahabharat. It is dominated by the mammoth Swargarohini peak, rising dramatically from the valley floor. The peak is locally revered as the Pandavs’ gateway to heaven at the conclusion of their epic. But paradoxically, the Har-ki-dun also forms the upper end of the Jamdar-Tons valley whose presiding deity is Duryodhan, patriarch of the Kauravs! From Mussoorie, the roadhead at Sankri in the lush Tons valley, is usually reached in 7 hours via the Yamuna crossing at Barkot. The Tons remains a constant companion till the final stages of the trail where the Maninda Gad, emerging from the Har-ki-dun, joins it. 46

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Rising gently from Sankri, the first trekking day is lined with forests of bamboo and deodar, for 3 hours to Taluka, making it possible to ‘break in’ gradually. On the following morning, the trail continues upriver, parallel to the gushing Tons, for 5 hours to Seema, gateway to the Govind Pashu Vihar that encompasses the Har-ki-dun and the upper Tons basin. The sanctuary’s apex predator is the rare snow leopard, supported by the herbivorous bharal, bear and the colourful monal pheasant. The short climb across the river to Osla, the last village, provides an interesting diversion with village residents around their temple courtyard. An early start on the final day will help thwart the midday sun which comes strong-


Valley of Flower


ly through the rarefied air. The route inclines westward, away from the Tons river, giving a brief glimpse of the high peaks up the main valley. Winding through pine forest and meadows where the Gujjars graze their herds. The final bend comes after four hours, along the gurgling Maninda and opens out to a clearing with the Forest Rest House. Just a short distance below lies the vast meadow of the Har-ki-dun, the majestic Swagarohini spiralling high above the pine and silver birch forest at the edge of the glistening Jamdar glacier. The altitude requires acclimatisation and the afternoon can be spent relaxing, soaking in the magnificient panorama. Before the clouds build up, Har-ki-dun can be combined with extensions to the Baspa valley in adjacent Himachal Pradesh or the main Tons valley for exits to Harsil in the Bhagirathi valley or even the Yamunotri Pass for the source of the Yamuna. But this is for the more energetic…

across the Hemganga. The right fork, heaving up for 6 km next morning leads to the lake, ringed by steep mountain faces. As divinity takes over, the tribulations of the journey quickly recede. From Ghangaria, the left fork leads to the Valley of Flowers. Being a protected habitat, overnight stay is not permitted. The return day trip takes 12 hours. The route lies up the Bhyundar Ganga to the point where it emerges from the Valley. Upwards, the Valley broadens to stretch 10 km at a mean altitude of 3800 m. The visage is dramatic, alpine meadows rimmed with silver birch and bound by the well-known Garhwal giants Nilgiri Parbat, Rataban, Nar Parbat and the shapely Ghori Parbat. This is Smythe and Holdsworth country. It was they who named it the Valley of Flowers while descending from their ascent of Kamet, spellbound at the profusion of primulae, gentians, anemones and a myriad other Himalayan flowers.

Valley of Flowers & Hemkund

Called the Curzon trail after the Viceroy who crossed it, the Kuari Pass was a fairly regular approach prior to the motorised access to central Garhwal. After Joshimath, the route ascends by the 12 km cart road or cable car to Auli, well known as a winter ski base. Nanda Devi pierces the eastern sky among the long distance views, many among the finest anywhere. Hathi and Ghori Parbat stand sentinel high above the confluence of the Alaknanda and the Dhauli Ganga, opposite, across the valley. The trail opens out from Auli to the attractive alpine meadows at Gorson. Chitraganta lies a little farther where the mountain prospect reveals yet more alluring shapes, a cluster of high points that stretch to the four Chaukhamba peaks, Nilkanth’s craggy profile and Kamet on the far skyline. The first night’s camp lies here, reached after a 6 hour trek. Though nowhere quite as spectacular as the stuff that the next morning holds. Ascending steadily, till the crest of the Pass is attained, the grandstand focus is dominated by the spires of Shipton’s ‘secret shrine’ Nanda Devi. The Zanskar range, fans out in the far distance towards Tibet. Two more trek days, extendable to three for those not in a hurry, lead past absorbing close-ups of the outer wall of the Nanda Devi sanctuary the roadhead at Ghat for connections to the plains via Nandaprayag and Rishikesh.

This region witnessed some of the earliest mountaineering exploits against this backdrop, including the first ascent of Kamet by RL Holdsworth in 1931 and of Nanda Devi by Tilman and Odell in 1936. Here too, the many valleys and peaks in the heart of Dev Bhoomi can be attempted via high inter-linking passes. The Ganga is formed at Devprayag at the confluence of the Alaknanda and the Bhagirathi. The road swings east from here, up the changing manifestations of the Alaknanda, through the numerous prayags or tributary junctions to Joshimath, terminating 40 km on at holy Badrinath. Joshimath embodies the essence of a mountain staging post. Here lay the fabled trails to the Mana and Niti passes on the route to Tibet…among the major inlets to the Great Game…the shadowy Anglo-Russian race for supremacy in the cockpit of Central Asia around the turn of the 19th century. On the Badrinath road, a short distance from Joshimath, lies Govindghat. Its cluster of shelters marks the starting point veering off the Alaknanda, on the 14 km trek winding up to Ghangaria, junction of the routes to the Valley of Flowers and holy Hem Kund (revered in the Sikh faith as a site for Guru Gobind Singh’s meditation). Soon, the bustle of the motorable road is left behind. The gradient increases to Pulana and Bhyundar, through forested track, and

Kuari Pass


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Adventure gets Popular as a Side Dish in the overall MICE Plate After spending their time in convention centres and boardrooms, MICE travellers are asking for excitement fuelled recreation activities to complement team-building and corporate bonding.


t’s an inescapable outcome of modern living that human beings have become alienated from the natural environment. Living in our temperature-controlled sealed and sanitized bubbles in these large urban jungles, we’ve lost touch with the great outdoors. Tourists today pay absurd sums for’being able to experience natural (or for that matter even rural) living. And adventure also has become a shadow of what it used to be: In Sidney, before being taken up a tall building for a view of the city, I was required to sign a non-liability agreement . Then I was counseled, reassured and divested of all jewelry (including my wedding ring). Then I proceeded to wear what resembled a space-suit, harnessed and counter-harnessed, before being escorted up an elevator to a balcony with high metal railings. Up here, in this very safe place, I was duly photographed in a pose indicative of extreme adventure! Then again, the operators of a Harley Davidson bike-tour of Sidney insure the pillion rider for a sum of AU$ 1 million, dress you up in enough protective gear to withstand a missile attack– all for the doubtful thrill of being driven around the city at a speed not exceeding 50 kmph by a very experienced, very conservative motorcyclist. Of course, as the situation demands, you will be given a photograph of yourself in blackleather, astride the Harley, looking like Lara Croft ––perfect for posting on social networking sites. Elsewhere I have walked through 48

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virgin rain-forest on a beautiful wooden walkway, without getting a speck of dirt on my shoes and a bottle of cool Evian always at hand. My experience of ‘Adventure’ ’overseas’has been so sanitized; it’s almost like staying home and watching it on TV.’ In India, while there are many adventure destinations, there are surprisingly few options for high-end MICE travellers who want

their Conferences and Events with a side-serving of adventure. MICE travellers typically seek ‘soft’ adventure such as camping, easy walks and jungle safaris, or engaging with tribal/village cultures – experiences which are safe and do not make excessive physical demands. Adventure for the MICE segment is still a very niche market in India, and some of the


Ladakh Adventure by Incent Tours Incent has had considerable experience organizing adventurous MICE tours to places in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. In India they have combined MICE with riverrafting on the Ganges, trekking in Ladakh, and even hosted a conference in the middle of tea-garden in Munnar, Kerala. In Leh, Incent has the capability of factfile setting up luxury tented accommodation, organising treks to Yangthang (where a Leh is easily accessible by air with picnic lunch is spread out next to a most airlines flying from Delhi to Leh gurgling brook!) and later up to Ridzong Airport. monastery (where visitors can meditate Incent Tours (P) Ltd. with monks). Incent can even organize a 29 Panchsheel Community Centre, polo match! Panchsheel Park, New Delhi - 110 017 Tel: +91 11 4085 0000 MICE visitors can also opt for Fax: +91 11 4085 00 01 sightseeing trips to the Basgo, Likir and Web: Alchi monasteries and the Stok palace. Email:

bigger Destination Management companies are yet to stick their toes in the water, preferring to stay with established market demands. Arjun Sharma, Managing Director of Le Passage to India says “We have luxury MICE travel and then we have luxury adventure travel – but there are few instances where the twain may meet”. Likewise, Krishna Wattal, Head – Inbound, Cox and Kings

Ltd., adds, “In terms of adventure we still lack the infrastructure to cater to the high-end Adventure MICE movement”. P.S. Nageshwaran who runs Incent Tours, one of India’s leading MICE market operators disagrees: “It is easy to continue to live off a winning formula of culture, but the fact is that the MICE traveller is changing. Young corporates today are extremely well-traveled

and are eager for a more real, less synthetic, less commercial experience.” And so it falls to smaller, boutique firms to develop innovative packages for adventurous MICE travellers. Taj Safaris is a high-end safari operator which though oriented to FIT movement, has had remarkably successful experiences with small-sized MICE groups. Its exclusive jungle-lodges are part of the luxury Taj chain, and have anything from 12 to 18 cottages at each location at premium sites near reserve forests. Says, Mridula Tangirala who heads Taj Safaris, “It is the perfect adventure experience for the créme-de-lacréme of the business world, or as an unusual off-site for say a Company’s Board of Directors.” The safaris also make for a wonMarch 2012 GO NOW


INDIA TRAVELLER MICE derful post-event breath of adventurous air, such as the time Ted Turner swung by after he was done chairing an event in Mumbai. Companies too are very enthused at having exposed their top management to the “wilder side of things” at the Taj jungle lodges. Mridula elaborates, “a company used our jungle setting to trigger out-of-the-box-thinking among its managers, by posing a real-life project wherein teams were to come up with innovative solutions for capacity/livelihood enhancement of a nearby village.” There’s another unintended, but relevant bonus of MICE travel to remote, off-the-beaten track destinations: In today’s business climate, as the battle for market share shifts from metro cities to rural India, companies hope to gain the competitive edge by exposing their managers to rural life within the controlled and comfortable environs of a luxury safari lodge (such as the one Taj offers). Companies use such soft-adventure experiences to stretch the ability of their managers to find solutions to complex real-life rural problems!


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Banjaar Tola One of Taj Safari’s most scenic and wild locations is at the Banjaar Tola Lodge inside Madhya Pradesh’s fabled Kanha National Park – a Kiplingesque world where the tiger and wild dog prowl the dramatic ravines, grasslands and Sal jungle. Perennial streams run through the Reserve even in the hot summers, facilitating opportunities for game-spotting. Kanha is known for its population of endangered swamp deer and antelope. Brought back from the brink of extinction, these handsome animals are a remarkable conservation success story for Kanha. This wild world has often been compared to the Ngorongoro Park in Tanzania. Small to medium-sized MICE groups are accommodated in 18 luxurious tented cottages. While the days are left free for meetings, team-exercises and inhouse leisure, the mornings are dedicated to the adventure component which includes – jeep and elephant safaris into the Park with a naturalist, a visit to an elephant rearing home and a jun-

gle walk with the resident birder. Typical evening a activities include a visit to the Bahmini Dadar plateau for a panoramic view of sundown over the wild, - star-gazing in a clear night-sky under the guidance of the resident astronomer and a village visit. Theme dinners and cocktails are organized beside the river with tribal dances by firelight. Besides in-house facilities for basic conferences, the Resort offers the option of bespoke meeting venues in the outdoors.

factfile Jabalpur is the nearest airport from where an air-conditioned vehicle will cover the 4 hour trip to Banjaar Tola. Alternately , charters can be arranged for connectivity to the airstrip at Birwa, 30 kms. from the Lodge. Taj Safaris C/o Taj Palace, Delhi Web: Email: Tel:+919212305607 Toll Free 1 800 111 825 (non-MTNL/ BSNL customers call +91 22 660 11825)

Reni Pani


Some of India’s most authentic, Connectivity from Metros is to the Bhopal airport. The drive from the personalized adventure experiences come airport to Reni Pani, Satpura Tiger from stand-alone home-grown, yet high-end Reserve takes about three hours. properties such as Reni Pani. The 12Reni Pani Jungle Lodge cottage Reni Pani Jungle Lodge is set in 30 Contact: Zafar Rashid wild acres located in the heart of the Tel: +91 80850 21925 l Satpura forests in Madhya Pradesh – India’s E-mail: wild, thudding heartland. It is the perfect Web: setting for an authentic engagement with the jungle and the nearby village. Visitors can look forward to fireside bush dinners, game-spotting in the national park accompanied by the resident naturalist, bicycle rides, birding trips and high-tea with the villagers.

At the best of times it’s not easy to cart a large group to a remote, rugged destinations. This is compounded by problems such as road and air connectivity, difficulties in obtaining liquor permits, or in requisitioning a large number of entrypermits into sensitive zones. So while challenges remain, there are a few travel operators who succeed in serving you foie gras at 12,000 ft. or apple-pie in a tree-top machan. But at present this is feasible only for small to mid-sized MICE groups from 20 to a maximum of 40. But India is changing everyday even in small towns and villages, and tour operators are finding that it is now possible to outsource components to local providers – for instance Incent Tours found that local caterers from Dehradun could be trusted to serve up an elegant on-site meal with high-quality silver and spotless table-linen, to a group of 48 corporate guests river-rafting on the Ganges. Or to find a local outfit to set up a large parachute tent beside the river that doubles up as meeting hall and a meditation hall. This segment may be niche right now, but it looks set for exponential growth over the next few years. by BHARATI MOTWANI

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LUXURYTRAVEL Exclusive focus on luxe experiences on destinations and products in India and abroad

• Malaysia Airlines’ Wines Win Plaudits • Fratelli Wines Launches New Range


• Pumulani – Star of Malawai

Experience and interact with top luxury and hospitality brands at the first ever Luxury Travel Show by GoNow Read about some of the leading exhibitors from page 62-68



tarting from 1st September 2011, Malaysia Airlines commenced serving a new selection of premium wine and champagne labels from France, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Australia. Just two months later, the airline came in third place in three categories of the ‘Cellars in the

MALAYSIA AIRLINES’ Inflight Wine Selection Wins Recognition at ‘Cellars in the Sky’ Awards 2011 Sky’ Airline Wine Awards 2011 organised by Australia’s Business Traveller magazine. Malaysia Airlines came in third in ‘Best Business Class White’ (Stonier Chardonnay 2009, Mornington Peninsular, Australia), ‘Best First Class White’ (Frédéric Magnien Meursault Coeur de Roches 2009, Burgundy, France) and ‘Best First Class Sparkling Wine’ (Champagne Dom Pérignon 2002, France). The 2011 International Wine Awards recognised the best Business and First Class wines available to passengers from around 250 wine types submitted by 32 carriers worldwide. Blind tastings took place over two days in November in London last year, with five judges scoring the wines independently. The highly-rated panel of judges included: Charles Metcalfe, TV wine presenter and Co-Chairman of the International Wine Challenge ■ Tim Atkin, Master of Wine ■ Sam Harrop, Master of Wine and winemaking consultant ■ Peter McCombie, Master of Wine and accredited tutor for the Wine and Spirit Education Trust ■ John Worontschak, leading winemaker and wine business development consultant ■

Charles Metcalfe, head of the judging panel and co-chairman of the International 54

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Wine Challenge, presented the awards to winners at an event held in London last week. Winning these wine awards has given further impetus to Malaysia Airlines on a course to continuously improve its offerings to passengers in line with efforts to build itself as a preferred premium carrier. The airline has recently appointed Dr Ron Georgiou MW (Master of Wine), an exclusive wine consultant, to recommend more premium world-class wines and to better the

overall experience on-board. As one of only 299 Masters of Wine in the world, Dr Georgiou’s expertise and passion for excellence has already been successfully reflected in his unique wine selection for Malaysia’s national carrier. Premium wines are offered to passengers on Malaysia Airlines’ international routes covering London, Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Los Angeles and major cities in Australia, New Zealand, North Asia and South Asia.

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Fratelli Wines’ new range has the ruby-red hued ‘Cabernet Franc Shiraz’, which blends 50% Cabernet Franc and 50% Shiraz on offer. The wine offers familiar and pleasing notes of fully ripe dark fruits and berries.


ines have been considered, since time immemorial, the perfect accompaniments to celebration. Symbolic of premium festivities, wines have been bringing together great tastes, rich textures, and lavish aromas to aficionados who believe in appreciating the finer things in life. This year, Fratelli Wines brings, from its elite vineyards, a range of premium wines comprising ‘Cabernet Franc Shiraz’, ‘Sangiovese’ and ‘Merlot’ for connoisseurs who’re looking from something truly special. On offer in the new range is the ruby-red hued ‘Cabernet Franc Shiraz’, which blends 50% Cabernet Franc and 50% Shiraz offering a

FRATELLI WINES A Refreshing Blend familiar and pleasing taste of fully ripe dark fruits and berries. WIth a robust introduction, this elegant red from the Fratelli Wines stable balances out the tannins before delicately fading into a fruit-lined finish. The wine boasts of a good concentration of flavours which evokes a cheerful glaze to all the occasions it is featured in. ‘Sangiovese’ is one of the proud conceptions of Piero Masi – the creator of Fratelli Wines – and is made of 100% Sangiovese. The characteristic aromas of this wine boast of a bright clear robe, cherries, violets and a hint of spice. Sangiovese brings with it a refined taste and approachable style which makes it one of the attractions of the premium collection. Typical of the fabled Italian grape of Sangiovese, the wine is crisp, medium-bodied with delicate tannins and brings in a lingering spicy-fruity aftertaste (which blends well with rich dishes) and is a must have for aficionados who relish their reds. While the connoisseur may enjoy the light bodied Sangiovese, the Merlot makes for a perfect food pairing option with Kebabs and rich spicy curries. Made of 100% Merlot, the 2011 Harvest Vintage boasts of a rich deep 56

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robe, with deep notes of pepper, dark chocolate and natural earthy tones to accentuate the aroma of this vintage. Typical of Merlot grape characteristics, the wine is fullbodied, rounded and well balanced, leaving a definite lingering aroma which augurs well with the food pairing that it is blended with. Kapil Sekhri, Co-promoter and Director, Fratelli Wines Pvt. Ltd. says, “It is our endeavour to introduce wine connoisseurs to a premium range of wines which, while complementing their luxurious lifestyle, also afford them a niche’ feel of premium wine tasting. This year we are introducing this new range of elite wines which brings together the exclusive art of wine making coupled with celestial tastes of unique Fratelli Wine produce. I hope that our patrons find the aromas, tastes and texture of our new offerings appealing.” Available across all leading liquor stores, hotels and restaurants, Fratelli Wines are a very competitively priced and are available across theboard at Rs 650 for the Cabernet Franc Shiraz and Rs 850 each for the Sangiovese and the Merlot.

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The Brightest Star on the Lake



umulani is situated on the western side of the Nankumba Peninsula at the southern end of Lake Malawi – romantically called “The Lake of Stars”. The Nankumba Peninsula is recognised as one of the most beautiful shores of the lake and borders the Lake Malawi National Park. This Park was established in order to protect the cichlid fish which is unique to the area. In 1984 the park was designated as a World Heritage Site. The lodge is built on a steep hillside which provides the most spectacular views from the

villas, dining and main lodge area. The central area consists of a spacious open restaurant with a covered area, bar and a cosy corner for evening fires. The infinity swimming pool is located on a lower terraced deck. Three raised walkways with steps lead off from the central area to the villas and down to the beach. The lake shore bar is open all day and offers light snacks as well as refreshments. The ten villas have unique individual shapes and are all equipped with a spacious bedroom, bathroom and extensive sitting area. The front sliding doors open onto the

deck – elevated above the ground giving optimal views. Privacy, space and a sense of well-being are key elements. Guests can simply relax and soak in the beautiful and tranquil scenery or can choose to head out and partake of the many activities on offer. These include snorkelling, kayaking, waterskiing, fun tube, wake boarding, sailing, fishing and scuba diving. For those who want to get acquainted with true African life, the resort also organises village walks. This is also a Birdwatchers’ paradise – there is an abundance of birds at

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Walking Trail A popular combination is a walk along the trail heading through the hills, finishing at a secluded beach and kayaking back to Pumulani along the shoreline of the National Park. The walking trail offers some excellent birding as well as opportunities to spot Hyraxes, Samango Monkeys, Bushbuck and Klipspringer and Spot-Necked Otter whilst paddling back. Bird specials include Bohms Bee-Eater, Narina trogon, Livingstones Flycatcher, Red-Throated Twinspot, Verreaux’s Eagle and African Hawk-Eagle amongst others. A popular excursion is to Mua Mission (an hour and a half’s drive away) – The mission was established by the Roman Catholic Church over 100 years old. Local craftsmen have their arts and crafts on show. There is a unique Malawian culture museum that provides insight in to the history and culture of current day Malawi.

the lake shore beach and gardens, as well as the hillside woodland. At the end of the day guests can enjoy Africa’s most spectacular sunsets from the pool on the upper terrace, from the beach or on board the resort’s dhow. This 12-metre wooden boat has been handcrafted by local inhabitants of Likoma Island.


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ACTIVITIES Birding: Malawi is regarded as an excellent birding destination. Diving (12+ years): The Lake is regarded internationally as a top fresh water dive location. Conditions are generally excellent with good visibility. Fishing: Rods and tackle are available at the beach bar and one may fish off the beach or from the boats. Strictly catch and release policy Fun Tube, Skiing and Wakeboarding: For the thrill seekers there is a fun tube, skiing equipment and a wakeboard. Kayaking: A range of single and double kayaks are available for exploring the surroundings. Mountain Bikes (12+ years): An excellent option is to combine a bike ride with a kayak. Snorkelling Trip: Lake Malawi contains more species of fish than any other lake in the world. Colourful ‘Mbuna’ Cichlid fish are the most attractive and diverse of all the

The Villas The 10 villas (including a honeymoon villa and a family villa) are nestled in the hillside and the terrace garden appears to merge with the rocky outcrop and foliage around. They vary in size (125 – 175 sq mts) and design – each with cool clean curved lines and a spacious bedroom, bathroom and sitting area. The bedroom has opening doors to the outside deck from where residents can take in stunning views of sunrise. The bathroom consists of a bathtub, double basin, double shower and (separate)

species. The clear water and safe conditions make Lake Malawi one of the world’s best fresh water snorkelling spots. Take a 20 minute speedboat trip from Pumulani towards Cape Maclear and snorkel at ‘Otter Point’, ‘The Aquarium’ or one of the beautiful, sheltered bays around West Thumbi Island. Sunset Dhow Cruise: The lodge’s traditional Arabic dhow sets sail daily for sundowners and snacks; a great way to enjoy the spectacular sunsets over Lake Malawi. Alternatively enjoy breakfast on the dhow or a lunchtime cruise. Sailing: There are 3 sailboats available for guest use; an ideal way to get out onto the Lake and enjoy the freedom of sailing on your own. Village Walk: This is an opportunity to meet with the locals and learn a bit more about their way of life.

toilet. The sitting area is accessed via sliding doors to an outside deck which has grand views of the lake. Large size frames along the whole expanse of the bedroom; bathroom and sitting area enable you to revel in lifesize views.

Meals Meals are served (either inside or outside on the deck), at the spacious central restaurant – with a magnificent view of the lake. The day starts with an extensive breakfast, a la carte menu.

factfile Transfers: There are seat rate charter flight options from Lilongwe (45 minutes) to Monkey Bay airstrip and then 20minute drive to Pumulani. Alternatively one can enjoy a lovely three-hour scenic drive from Lilongwe. Electricity and water: Pumulani is supplied by electricity – 220V, three square pin UK plugs; backed up by a generator. The water is purified but the lodge recommends the bottled water (free of charge) for drinking. Pumulani is open – April through to first week of Jan each year Address: PO Box 43 Monkey Bay Malawi Tel: +265 (0)1 900 686 Children’s policy Children are most welcome at Pumulani but during the high season months the age limit is 7 years.

While enjoying the sunset some snacks and drinks are served. Delicious three-course dinners end the day. Meal times are flexible with regard to arrival and departure times and activities. Photo courtesy MALAWI TOURISM

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Nestled high in the foothills of the Himalayas, a stone’s throw from the holy town of Rishikesh, ‘Ananda in the Himalayas,’ is the most highly regarded destination spa in the country. For those looking for complete rejuventation of the body and mind, and who will spare no expense for the authentic Indian spa experience, Ananda is nothing short of a pilgrimage.



et among 100 acres of virgin forest, ‘Ananda in the Himalayas,’ is built around the majestic palace estate of the Maharaja of Tehri-Garhwal offering breathtaking views of the Himalayas, the valley of the holy town of Rishikesh and the river Ganga. At the heart of Ananda’s wellness philosophy is an amalgamation of Yoga, Ayurveda, meditation and Vedanta, which is further combined with international therapies to bring about complete harmony between the inner and outer self of the individual. The 24,000 square foot spa offers an extensive menu of over 80 body and beauty treatments, integrating the traditional Indian systems of Ayurveda with the more contemporary Western spa approach. Visitors have access to 24 treatment rooms with specialised areas for Ayurveda, Oriental and European systems of holistic health, a team of qualified nutritionists, Western & Ayurvedic physicians, and spa therapists. The personalized therapy and activities programme synthesizes age-old therapies and modern spa technology to meet individual needs and health goals. The 70 understated yet luxurious deluxe rooms feature panoramic views of the valley or of the Palace. With a serene and natural feel, each room is a haven in itself with luxurious


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beds, perfectly appointed bathrooms (with bathtubs overlooking landscaped gardens or the valley), and private balconies with picture perfect views. The three Deluxe Suites and the Ananda suite face either the Valley or the Maharaja’s palace and have secluded private gardens with tented salas overlooking the valley. The two 2-bedroom villas and one 1-bedroom villas are ensconced by the surrounding forest and are ideal for a quiet retreat into a tranquil environment. Each villa is elegantly furnished with an expansive living room, a pantry for the butler, and a huge bathroom featuring a private sauna, and a 40 sq. meters private pools surrounded with a deck area. Ananda’s health cuisine is a vital part of its wellness philosophy and for guests on specific

programs such as Ayurvedic rejuvenation, weight loss or detox, the menu is customized in consultation with the chef and the Ayurvedic doctor. The health menu, as well as the range of other options available, are created with natural, balanced and fresh foods. Ananda also features a 6-hole par 3 mini golf course. A range of activities of outdoor activities are on offer including treks through the lower Himalayan ranges, white water rafting on the Ganga, safari at Rajaji National Park which abounds with wildlife including Leopards, Wild boar, Sambhar Deer, the Grey Langur, the Red Rhesus Macaque, the Barking Deer, the Peacock, Quails, Hornbills, Hawks, Falcons, Vultures and many other birds of prey.

SpecialOffer Exclusively for visitors at Ananda’s showcase at Go Now Luxury Travel Show 23-25 March, 2012, The Atrium, DLF Emporio 4 Nelson Mandela Marg, New Delhi Purchase an Ananda gift certificate booklet worth Rs 40,000 (Includes 8 voucher certificates of Rs 5,000 each) and get an additional gift certificate worth 5,000 free! Each Gift Certificate is valid for up to 6 months from the date of issue and can be used at Ananda in the Himalayas against room stay, food and beverage or spa treatments.


Surrounded by France and a hop skip and jump away from Italy, Monaco literally has the best of both worlds. From marvellous casinos and pulsating nightlife to some of the finest hotels in the world – Monaco is a millionaire’s retreat.

The playground of the seriously rich and very famous



sovereign city state on the French Riviera, Monaco is within shout ing distance from various Europe an capitals and has traditionally been a retreat for those looking for luxury holidays. Officially called ‘The Principality of Monaco,’ it is surrounded by France from three sides and the Mediterranean Sea on one side. A stone’s throw away from Italy and just 25 minutes by car and 7 minutes by helicopter from France’s second-largest airport in Nice, Monaco has always been very accessible to Europeans who’ve been drawn to it for its rich cultural heritage, history and beautiful surroundings. To add to its allure, the climate in Monaco is mild throughout the year, with the sun shining bright on most days and an average temperature of 17 degrees Celsius. Then there are the wonderful hotels, numerous cultural activities, sporting fixtures (including the well known Grand Prix) and special events. In terms of luxury hotels, Monaco is in a different league: the Principality has 2,472 rooms on offer out of which 323 rooms are part of 4-star luxury hotels, 1,709 in 4-star hotels, 399 in 3-star hotels and 41 in 2-star hotels. One of the gems in the Monaco tourism industry is the Grimaldi Forum Monaco

(GFM), a third millennium Convention Centre. With its cutting-edge communication equipment, the centre was designed as a versatile avant-garde facility for events. It serves as an ideal venue for all types of business tourism events like congresses, conventions, product launches and trade fairs. The meeting rooms have seating ranging from 400 seats to 1,800 seats. There are also 11 modular commission rooms with state-of-the-art technology and great facilities. The Monaco Convention Bureau serves as a link between service providers and tourists. It provides logistical support and plays a crucial role in helping visitors execute their plans and itineraries successfully. Monaco is known around the world as

an exceptional destination with infinite appeal which is admired for its fascinating history and places of interest to visit. Picturesque traces of Monaco’s past dominate the old town: the typical medieval narrow streets, the Prince’s Palace (and its spectacular daily ceremony of Changing of the Guard) among others draw tourists from all over. There’re modern attractions too – the Oceanographic Museum with its extraordinary aquarium, the Exotic garden and its luxuriant plant life, the Monte-Carlo Casino and most exceptionally, The Prince of Monaco’s Private Collection of Classic cars, all feature in a typical itinerary. Monaco is also known for its pulsating night life. Whether it is an evening of excitement and glamour, dancing in a fashionable nightclub or gambling at a night club in a casino, there’s enough to keep you awake all night! There are famous casinos like the Casino de Monte-Carlo, Casino du Café de Paris, Sun Casino notable bars including Le Bistroquet, Cosmopolitan, Moods, Studio and Music Bar. High flyers docking into the city head to hotels like Bar Americain and Bar Columbus Monaco. Indians visiting this extraordinary town should pop by into New Indian restaurant which serves up some of the most authentic food in Europe. March 2012 GO NOW



Classical in its 19th century elegance, The Royal Park is like a grand hotel in miniature. This luxury boutique hotel comprises three carefully restored historical townhouses, and is perfect for business, leisure or romantic trysts!



uite appropriately, the Royal Park hotel lies very near London’s largest Royal Park – Hyde Park. Located in Westbourne Terrace, the hotel is quite central and within easy walking distance of a number of wonderful London attractions. The hotel itself is an intimate, luxury establishment with forty eight exquisitely appointed rooms, suites, and a private garden terrace. The hotel has been restored throughout with handmade Bellestrata beds, antique furniture and period features in all rooms. This classic design is complemented with modern facilities and attention to detail. Besides the welcome drink when they check-in, guests are also served a complimentary glass of champagne every evening. Breakfast is served to the guests in the comfort of their own rooms, and private dining is also available. The guests also have the option of dining at the in-house private café which offers a select menu offering a classic and international range of cuisines. The basics are covered too: 24 hour room service, complimentary Wi-Fi or cable broadband, and a well-connected concierge. All rooms feature period furniture and original oil paintings, handmade beds with silk details, Italian bed linen and limestone 64

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Grove and the famous Portobello market, where stalls sell everything from antiques and vintage clothing to fruit and vegetables. A short taxi or underground ride takes visitors to the West End theatres or any of the ‘must-sees’ on every tourists’ list: from Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London and Madame Tussauds.

factfile bathrooms with Penhaligon toiletries. If you’re planning to explore London, then you’ll find the hotel well connected and in close proximity to all the attractions of Central and West London. The royal parks – Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens – provide one of the largest green spaces in Central London. The Serpentine, The Serpentine Gallery, Marble Arch, Kensington Palace, Speakers’ Corner and Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Walk are all a short walk away. The Royal Park is also ideally situated for world-class shopping, from High Street to Haute Couture, at Oxford Street, Bond Street, Knightsbridge, High Street Kensington and the Kings Road. The hotel is on the doorstep of the exclusive boutiques of Westbourne

The Royal Park is centrally located and is easily reached from London or Gatwick Airports, via road or rail: Heathrow Airport is a 15 minute direct train journey away on the Heathrow Express from Paddington Station, which is just a fiveminute walk from The Royal Park. Paddington also offers underground access to the rest of London on the Circle, District and Hammersmith & City lines. The Central Line runs from Lancaster Gate station which is also a short walk from the hotel. The tube, or a ten minute taxi ride, will take guests to Victoria Station, from where they can take the Gatwick Express to Gatwick Airport. Address: The Royal Park, 3 Westbourne Terrace, Lancaster Gate, Hyde Park, London, W2 3UL For reservations and further details Tel: +91 11 2341 5385/+44(0) 20 7244 1700 E-mail: Web:


Make a new beginning this spring with a trip to some of the finest destinations in the Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) portfolio.

SMALL LUXURY HOTELS OF THE WORLD Hotel Le Vallon De Valrugues & Spa, Saint-Remy-de-Provence, France

A Greco-Roman style bastide set in pretty gardens close to Saint Remy de Provence, Hotel Le Vallon De Valrugues & Spa provides a taste of Provencal magic with gourmet cuisine. More Value by SLH: Includes breakfast and Vat for 2 nights minimum and for 2 persons. Service and charges are included. City tax Rs. 98 per person per day is not included. Exclusive Tax 2 pct. Price from: Rs. 17595 per room, per stay, inclusive of service charges, exclusive of city tax. Minimum 2 nights stay

Alpin Royal St Johann, Italy

Price from: Rs.10782 per room, per night. Minimum 3 nights stay.

Set in breathtaking mountain scenery of the Ahrntal in South Tyrol. An intriguing mix of traditional arts and crafts and contemporary styling, Alpin Royal Hotel is an eye-catching alpine lodge. Spring offer: The offer includes buffet breakfast, light wellness buffet lunch, gourmet dinner, VAT, service and use of the Royal Spa. Horse sleigh ride and a guided visit to the Tures Castle. Price From: Rs. 13860 per room, per day, inclusive of tax and service charges. Minimum 2 nights stay. The Arden Hotel Stratford Stratfordupon-Avon, United Kingdom

A stunning Warwickshire hotel, the Arden Statford is the perfect base from which to discover the birthplace of William Shakespeare and the surrounding English countryside, The hotel sits in an enviable position directly opposite the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatres in Stratford-on-Avon. Expect River Avon views, a stylish brasserie and a champagne bar. Complimentary Nights by SLH: Three nights for the price of two offer based on the Best Available Rate, inclusive of accommodation, full English breakfast and VAT.

Rockliffe Hall, Darlington, UK


A tranquil golf and spa resort on the banks of the River Tees, Rockliffe Hall is a magnificent 18th-century country house lovingly restored and extended to create an outstanding resort close to the North Yorkshire Moors. Spring offers: Includes accommodation with full English breakfast, three-course dinner in the Brasserie by Atkinson or the Clubhouse, use of the Spa facilities from check in to check out and all taxes. Price from: Rs. 17920 Minimum 1 night stay

Reservations for any Small Luxury Hotels of the World property can be made by calling 00 0800 650 1456 (India), online at or via the SLH iPhone app. Travel agents need only remember the GDS code LX for Luxury. To receive special benefits including a complimentary breakfast, upgrade (subject to availability) and late check-out, join The Club of Small Luxury Hotels of the World at Membership is offered on a complimentary basis. March 2012 GO NOW



From high-end beach resorts in Ko Samui, glittering palatial hotels in Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya, luxury spas in Krabi and boutique homestays in Chiang Mai – Thailand is setting a dynamic benchmark for luxury travel in South-East Asia.



yutthaya, the erstwhile capital of Thailand (then know as Siam), lies just over an hour's drive out of Bangkok. What is today a major tourist attraction, was, for over 400 years, one of the most opulent and grand cities in the world – plied by trading ships from across Europe and home to embassies of a number countries of the world. Ayutthaya was destroyed in the 16th century by the invading Burmese army, but relics of its splendour remain, drawing thousands of tourists every year. Given its history of grandeur, it's only fitting that today Thailand has become a case-study for countries looking at promoting Tourism – especially in the luxury segment. There are simply too many resorts, hotels and boutique hotels in the South-east Asian nation to single a few out for a mention: Bangkok has the classic Mandarin Oriental, Westin, Marriott, Pathumwan Princess, Terminal 21 to name just a few. The point to note is the quality and standardization of service: irrespective of which luxury hotel you check into, you're assured of exemplary service and access to every conceivable facility which you could possibly need, (or want). While Bangkok caters to shopaholics, business tourists and those interested in history and culture (Ayutthaya, Kanchanaburi, Hua Hin and Phetchaburi


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(Cha-am beach) are located with a few hours' drive of the Capital), the majority of vacationers to Thailand head for it's phenomenal beaches. Ko Samui, is the most upmarket of the coastal destinations on the Gulf coast of Thailand. Most resorts cater to the luxury vacationer and its not unnatural to find private butlers at your beck and call to acquiesce to your whims and fancies. Right from the spas, restaurants and golf courses in the region – the industry here is tailored for the discerning vacationer. Phuket, on the Andaman coas attracts a much more diverse crowd but the coastal province is equally well-equipped for the luxury traveler. Case in point: the Dusit Thani Laguna hotel. Representative of well-heeled luxury resorts in Phuket, the Dusit Thani, nes-

tled amidst the acres of tropical gardens and caressed by the azure water of the Andaman Sea is an idyllic retreat. Another hotel which is very popular amongst honeymooners is the Banyan Tree Resort: affording complete seclusion and romance, this Phuket resort is the epitome of exclusivity and class. For those who'd rather not share their vacation space with others, Thailand's island paradises of Ko Kut, Ko Chang, Ko Samet and Ko Tao offer enticing holidays in super-exclusive resorts where visitors have their personal piece of beach and absolute privacy. Just like the plethora of hotel options, there is a never-ending array of things to do, places to see, in Thailand which make it a very versatile destination for vacationers. Whether you're interested in visiting temples, historical sites and museums; or just want to head for a rejuvenation retreat to a luxury spa; or are more interested in scuba diving and adventure sports; or are a gastronome and want to sample Thailand's amazingly succulent seafood dominated cuisine; or want to the hit the nightspots in Bangkok or Pattaya…the draw of Thailand is extensive and all pervasive. And once you've been there once then the mark it leaves on your memory is indelible: with an inescapable pull, Thailand will pull you back. Year after year.

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Well-known for its world-class service standards and elegant properties, ITC Hotels have introduced exclusive ‘Welcombreak – Luxury Getaways’ for its discerning patrons.



TC Hotels – India’s premier luxury ho tels chain of luxury hotels has wellestablished standards of excellence. Reaf firming its reputation for innovation, ITC Hotels have now introduced unique luxury experiences for the leisure traveller with an exclusive ‘Welcombreak – Luxury Getaways’ offering. The offering is in line with development of new services at ITC hotels which enable them to provide a range of products that can be converted into wonderful ‘occasions and reasons’ to take a break. Significant within these are cuisines and spas, both of which are distinctive in their respective offerings. ‘Welcombreak’ captures these unique offerings with a range of experiential getaways. The 'Short Break' is a traditional two nights & three days holiday offering and is a great way to make the most of the weekends. While the Mini Break offers a one night 'in city' getaway to local residents. ‘Culinary Breaks’ are two nights & three days gastronomical journeys at signature restaurants. Curated for the foodie in you, these 68

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‘Culinary’ and ‘Spa’ Breaks are truly experiential and come with a host of inclusions, representative of the nature of the break. Taking one of these breaks more than satiates the objective of indulging in cuisine or wellness in an ambience of supreme luxury at delightful value. So go ahead, refresh yourself with breaks that go beyond just a quick getaway! Take a Welcombreak!

factfile breaks take your taste buds on a delightful gourmet safari with authentic cuisine from around the world. The ‘Spa Break’ offers a two nights & three days getaway and is the perfect way to revive your senses through exotic therapies & spa treatments from ‘Kaya Kalp,’ the internationally recognized indigenous Spa brand from ITC Hotels. The ‘Short Break’ is a vanilla offer with breakfast included for up to two adults and two children below twelve years and significant discounts on key services. The

You can even gift a 'Welcombreak' to your family and friends. Be it birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, educational achievements, festivals or any special occasion for that matter, Welcombreaks can make the perfect choice of a high quality gift for you, your family or your friends and business colleagues. For bookings or details Tel: 1 800-102-2333. Web: To gift a Welcombreak, visit



Life in New Delhi and NCR Region – The Best of Spas, Lounges, Bars

• Evolving Food Trends in 2012 • A Grand Entry – ESPA Spa at The Leela Palace • The Vyoma Experience at Radisson Blu • Food Reviews – Xian, Diva Piccola, V Spot Café & Bar



The party shifts to the MGF Metropolitan Mall Buzz, earlier located in PVR Saket complex, recently relocated to a mall in Saket. Go Now found the re-invented pub still buzzing with its trademark vibe.


refined bean sauce, and dressed with Jalapenos and partly melted cheese, the dish is impressive in presentation as well as taste. Other innovative fare on the menu includes ‘Karvari Prawns,’ which the Chef says has been inspired by cooking style in Karwar, Karnataka. ‘Crunched Barbeque Chicken Supreme’ deserves a mention as well. There isn’t too much innovation in cocktails but the regular list is quite expansive. Catering to teetotallers, the mocktails menu has been spruced up as well.

sk a Delhite about the most ‘happen ing’ places in town, and chances are that ‘Buzz’ in Saket will surely find a place on that list. Now the PVR complex (where the pub has been located for years) has seen a perceptivble drop in footfalls after the the Select Citywalk complex opened in its vicinity. Not surprisingly then, Buzz recently made the strategic move to the MGF Metropolitan Mall. While the MGF still sees less activity compared to its neighbouring malls in the same complex, it is still a huge jump in terms of accessibility for the pub which still has a large group of loyal patrons.


Ambience The new Buzz retains the lounge feel of the original – replete with comfortable furniture and orange hues. The huge bar takes centrestage with seating on both sides. Buzz has always been popular with office-goers and this new setting is perfect for a relaxed evening after a tiring day at work. Predictably, there’s a large big television screen and an interestingly designed smoking area. The one thing, which the new Buzz could have changed was add more space for people to dance – unfortunately this remains unchanged. The place doesn’t have a very 70

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young appeal; the target group seems to professionals above 30-years-of-age working in and around the area.

Food & Drinks The place scores with its innovative selection of food and drinks. It offers Continental, Oriental as well as Indian cuisine. A must-try here is the ‘Coffee Infused Bamboo Shoots’. The Chef, Biswajeet, with 15 years of experience in the industry, loves to experiment as evinced in the popular Nachos starters: served with avocado sauce, sour cream and

Buzz is experimenting with the music it plays. Thursday’s are Sufi nights. On weekends, you’ll find DJ Rahul spinning the groovy hip-hop and Bollywood (which is what people have always gone to Buzz for). The new Buzz is a bit of the new but more of the old. Regulars – breathe a sigh of relief!

factfile Location: Ground Floor, MGF Metropolitan Mall, Saket Timings: 12.30 PM to 1 AM on all seven days of the week Average bill for two: Rs. 2500 Reservations:

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ndustry professionals concede that while food inflation has, literally, eaten into people’s budgets – acting as the proverbial spoiler for both chefs and diners – fine dining will still retain its appeal in 2012. And by fine dining, we’re not just talking about the food itself, but the entire gamut – ambience, visual appeal, presentation, and the standards of hospitality. Award-winning Mumbai-based restaurateur, Rahul Akerkar, is of the view that with the exponential growth in India’s culinary industry, restaurants will focus on

building solid back-end teams, acquiring and working with high-quality, fresh, organic ingredients, and novel cookery techniques. “While diners will remain price-sensitive, they will continue to splurge on quality food. This will act as the driving force behind foodcentric restaurants,” he proffers. Despite a dispiriting meltdown which threatens to crimp industrial growth, the Indian culinary scene thrived in 2011: pathbreaking restaurants opened and did well, and modern European styles infused with South-East Asian flavours set a successful

template. Le Cirque at Delhi’s Leela Palace, for example, adapted to Indian palates by downplaying alien French flavours through Italian ingredients. Megu, another iconic restaurant – also at The Leela – promises to set the bar really high for Japanese cuisine. If the first batch of food reviews is anything to go by, the eatery is poised for spectacular success.

Food Presentation According to Neeraj Tyagi, Executive Chef at The Claridges, New Delhi, another important trend this year will be an evolution in

AN EVOLVING PALATE IN 2012 It’s tricky making predictions about upcoming trends when it comes to a highly creative and evolving subject like food. Nonetheless, these are the new fads which we think are likely to dominate the larger culinary narrative across dining establishments in 2012.


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LIVING IT UP FOOD TRENDS food presentation. “You eat with your eyes first; visual appeal will be vital for diners. Restaurants will also be coming up with innovative ideas in cooking like ‘Sous Vide’ cooking, which is going to be launched at Sevilla, the Mediterranean restaurant at The Claridges, New Delhi,” says the award-winning chef. For the uninitiated, ‘Sous vide’ is a cooking technique in which food is encased in airtight plastic pouches (typically vacuum sealed) and cooked for a long period of time at a very low temperature for many hours (as long as three days)! The technique was first

edged out by the oomph of the organic. The Hyatt Regency Hotel, New Delhi, has already taken this concept a notch higher with its ‘Farm Fresh’ cuisine which offers dishes created using fresh, home-grown produce. To maintain a constant supply, the hotel runs its own six-acre farm on the outskirts of Delhi where it produces the ingredients for its kitchens. Neatly terraced and serviced by drip irrigation, the farm yields a whopping 182 kinds of vegetables and fruits. Rotations, compost and cover crops form the bedrock for the farm’s fertile soil which is maintained

loom’ or ‘artisanal’ foods are set to gain currency this year. These refer to produce of an older variety that is genetically distinct from commercial produce (and synonymous with quality). Tomatoes and beef, and others such as corn and beans are all acquiring an ‘heirloom’ status.

Ingredient-driven Cuisine Chef Anurudh Khanna, Executive Chef, The Park, New Delhi feels that showcasing local cuisine in its freshest form with an accent on the farm-to-plate approach, will dominate

Chef Neeraj Tyagi


developed by French chef Georges Pralus, who discovered that food cooked in this manner remained exceptionally tender, moist and flavourful for longer periods. “These days, people know their cuisine very well because of their peripatetic lifestyles, and to cater for this informed gastronome, menus are increasingly based on authentic flavours and ingredients,” says Tyagi. “Local flavours and comfort food will always have a place in coffee shops and Indian restaurants. It’s different for specialty restaurants where the primary focus will be on rare ingredients and novel ways of cooking. Good food, served at the right temperature with exotic ingredients and new techniques will be the guiding mantras this year,” he adds.

Oomph of the Organic Most chefs admit that they will incorporate fresher, organic produce in their dishes to promote ingredient-driven cuisine. Ergo: ghee-laden, artery-clogging nosh will be



by no less than 30 agriculturists. With more and more people getting conscious of ‘food miles’ – the time taken by raw produce to travel from the farm to the table – tony dining establishments are competing to offer the freshest of produce. The Claridges, New Delhi, for instance, has crafted a special ‘Organic menu’ for its multi-cuisine restaurant Pickwicks. The Westin group, similarly, offers ‘superfoods’ – a gamut of organically grown produce served up with minimal intervention from chefs. The concept has won accolades for it’s health quotient and features items like sprouts, organic juices, antioxidant-rich berries and food that’s healthy and low on calories. As a corollary to the organic trend, ‘heir-

2012. “Local cuisines in their purest and simplest forms with wild, caught, handpicked, farm-reared and organic ingredients will be most popular. The cooking will be simple and light but authenticity of recipes and ingredients will be paramount,” elaborates Khanna. Techniques such as molecular gastronomy are also making inroads. Molecular gastronomy is a modern style of cooking, which is practiced by both scientists and food professionals in labs and commercial kitchens. It leverages technical innovations to make food more inventive and hike up the diners’ surprise element. While this technique is already being employed in popular, high-end restaurants, a section of the chefs aren’t convinced that March 2012 GO NOW


LIVING IT UP FOOD TRENDS molecular gastronomy does anything to augment the dish’s value. “Manipulating ingredients is just not real cooking,” observes a Delhi-based chef.

Foreign Invasion With a heightened global interest in India, more foreign chefs are now working in Indian kitchens and a raft of international hospitality chains are in the process of setting up shop. While the West is more or less saturated, India is one of the few frontiers left open to experimentation. This, say industry professionals, is great news for adventurous diners whose palates will be tickled by a larger repertoire of cuisines.

Food as Theatre With the art of cooking becoming a ‘specta-

kitchens, the ‘Teppanyaki’ style of Japanese cuisine will also curry favour with gastronomes. As ‘Teppanyaki’ uses an iron griddle or a propane-heated flat surface grill as its main tool, it is conducive to open kitchens with the guests looking on. `Food as theatre’ is likely to be a popular concept this year.

Hic, Hic Hurray! According to Piyush Tyagi, Assistant Director Food & Beverage, Westin Sohna Resort and Spa, both the Westin properties (at Gurgaon and Sohna) will be introducing lots of innovations in the beverage section. “Our chefs will be harnessing ingredients like chili flakes, red chilli, Tabasco, Worcester sauce, pepper, Cointreau and ginger at all our F&B venues to maximum effect. This will fill in an important vacuum in the much-neglected

Coffee- and liquor-based beverages will be predominant at all Westin venues, informs Tyagi “as there are very few winter beverages available beyond coffee and liquor”.

Whisky and Food Pairing With foreign brands of wines and liquor inundating the cellars of Indian dining establishments, food and liquor pairings will be another top draw in 2012. According to Executive Chef Rajkamal Chopra, WelcomHotel Sheraton, New Delhi, guests will explore new cuisines paired with premium spirits. “Our guests are well-travelled and quite clued in about high-end products from across the world. They want to experience global cuisines with a superlative presentation in combination with fine alcohol,” says the chef.

Sevilla, the Mediterranean restaurant at The Claridges New Delhi.



cle’ for diners, the popularity of open kitchens will gain momentum in 2012. Punters will not only enjoy delicious meals but will also be able to partake of the theatrics as skilled chefs cook for them in front of their eyes. “The concept behind live counters is to make the culinary experience a personal one. The wall between the kitchen and the diners has broken down,” feels Chef Manish Mehrotra of Indian Accent, New Delhi. Due to the increasing popularity of open 74

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beverage section,” elaborates Tyagi. The Westin has also fleshed out a special beverage promotion – Zesty Fair – where guests can savour out-of-the-box cocktails such as ‘Lychee and Chili Collins,’ ‘Peppertini,’ ‘Ginger Lemon Frappe,’ and ‘Brandy Alexander’. Then there’s ‘Mango Mary (an innovative mix of vodka with mango, Tabasco and Worcester sauce) and Tango Charlie’ (combination of vodka with orange, tomato, coriander, ginger and Worcester).

Chopra ascribes this trend to augmented purchasing powers and the influx of foreign chefs. “Both these factors have led to a phenomenal growth in the consumption of quality products and innovation in the F&B industry,” reasons Chopra. For instance, Sheraton’s Pan Asian, recently showcased the ‘Flavours of East Asia’ where two maestros came together to curate the best of Japanese cuisine. Visiting Master Distiller Miyamoto from Tokyo delved deep into decades of experience to pair culinary masterpieces created by Chef Nakamura with Japanese malts. The Suntory whiskeys – Hibiki (17 years) and Yamakazi (12 years) – were paired for the first time in India with Japanese cuisine.

Street Smart An interesting offshoot of slashed budgets will be inventive street food. According to Chefs, this concept will really become popular this year because it allows recession-hit foodies to satiate their taste buds without raiding their banks. “Street food is about instant gratification,” says Mumbai-based Chef Arvind Surana. “You eat it right there, it’s easy to eat with your hands, it’s portable and you can experience all these different, exotic flavours at a cheap price.”

Inventive Menus Despite a crippling downturn, both standalone establishments and hotel eateries promise to unleash inventive food menus in 2012 with an accent on healthy cuisine and cooking techniques. Novel varieties of dishes, eclecticism in food and inventiveness on the plate will, say the kitchen connoisseurs, be the year’s salient features. Yogender Pal, Executive Chef, The Claridges, Surajkund, Delhi-NCR, elaborates that his restaurant menus will incorporate ingredients which will achieve a triple whammy – nourish the body, provide warmth, and be wholesome. “The food techniques will largely involve poaching, braising, stir-frying, while meats like duck and lamb shanks will rule the roost.”

The much-feted chef will also be launching noodles in newer avatars – as one-dish meals, in fragrant broths or as side dishes. “At Oasis, our multi-cuisine restaurant which offers four cuisines – Indian, Chinese, Italian and Japanese – will showcase all these techniques.” Eau de Monsoon, the award-winning contemporary Indian restaurant at Le Meridien, New Delhi, has recently launched a degustation menu curated by famed Australian chef Opel Khan. Davinder Kumar, Vice President, F&B Production, Le Meridien says that the hotel will keep innovating. “We will keep offering new fare to raise the bar and introduce elements of novelty for the diners this year.”

Oriental Cuisine According to Rajneesh Malik, Director, Saffron Hospitality, who owns two awardwinning outfits – Sidewok (Oriental) and Fez (Mediterranean) in Delhi – says that his endeavour this year will be to craft healthy menus. “Oriental cuisine will be seen in its healthiest form yet this year – textures and cooking processes will all be simple yet

tasty,” he promises. Sidewok, for instance, points out Malik, has recently reconfigured its dimsum menu to incorporate pan-fried and steamed options (which keep the dish’s flavour intact while whittling down calories). Popular choices in this segment are ‘Pan Fried Water Chestnut and Chicken Gyoza,’ ‘Steamed Chicken Roll with Galangal’ and ‘Assorted Vegetables Dumpling with Five Spices’. The restaurant’s soup section has fresh additions like the ‘Laksa Soup,’ ‘Seafood Lemon Grass Soup’ and the ‘Steamboat style Mizutaki Soup’. For vegetarians there is the flavour-charged ‘Burnt Garlic Soup’ and the ‘Tom Yum’ (vegetarian). Malik predicts that the popularity of the ‘Clay pot’ (meal in a bowl) will continue. The restaurateur also predicts that reign of good standalone eateries that give spiffy five-star eateries a-run-for-their-money, is not going to abate. “People are far too enlightened about food these days. So they will demand valuefor-money cuisine that is authentic, well-presented and tasteful,” he sums up. by NEETA LAL

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The Leela Palace New Delhi is undoubtedly the city’s most opulent hotel yet. Befitting its grandeur is its spa – ESPA – that fuses luxury and expertise to create a superlatively exclusive spa experience.


ample this: An indulgent treatment in a private suite in exclusive spa surroundings. To say that the ambience of the spa is rich is a gross understatement: an abundant use of gilt and lights, distinguished artwork and carved furniture are par for the course. The products and expertise used for the treatments come from a world-renowned spa company guaranteeing a superlative spa experience. As opulent as it is exclusive, the spa is only open to residents. Welcome to ESPA, the spa at what is one of the Capital’s most expensive and grand hotels – The Leela Palace, New Delhi. Apart from the obvious evidence of luxury that make the hotel as regal as it is, what stands out is the luxury of space: the spa is

no exception, spread over two sprawling levels. The level where you arrive (advisably an hour before your scheduled appointment so that you can enjoy the facilities at the spa), is level one: the Active Spa. After you’re welcomed with a refreshing drink of cocogel, mint, lemon, sugary syrup and black salt, you can choose a treatment post a discussion with the spa consultant. If you opt for treatments like Abhayanga, your welcome drink would be signature tea offered according to your body type. The active Spa is like a pre- and post-treatment level featuring changing rooms, a fitness centre, sauna, steam and drench showers and a relaxation lounge. There’s also a spa café where you can enjoy Aloe Vera juice, herbal tea or other healthy food options.



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SIGNATURE TREATMENTS TAN LEPA RITUAL Duration: 2 Hours. Charges: Rs 7,500 After an exfoliation, a tailored body mask of Algae, Marine Mud or Oshadi Clay fused with aromatherapy oils is applied, before the body is wrapped in warm linens. A personalized marma point massage helps to release muscular tension and increase energy flow to rebalance mind and body.

KIZHISWEDANA SYCHRONISED RITUAL Duration: 90 minutes. Charges: Rs 10,800 A cleansing foot ritual is followed by a massage


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with gently heated aromatherapy oil. Warm herbal poultices combined with advanced massage techniques soothe tight muscles. A therapeutic scalp massage completes the treatment.

ROYAL LEELA FACIAL Duration: 90 minutes. Charges: Rs 5,800 Your skin is cleansed and exfoliated, prior to a regenerating marma point massage using warm poultices infused with indigenous herbs to restore and rejuvenate. A replenishing mask is then smoothed onto your skin to help reveal a more radiant and youthful complexion.

On level two is the ‘Passive Spa’ which boasts of spa treatment rooms, a ladies’ relaxation room, a roof terrace and a finishing studio. The spa’s ultimate luxury quotient lies in the ‘Private Spa Suite for Two,’ – a comforting space made of rosewood timber and soft furnishings, equipped with a steam shower and jetted bath. ‘It’s ideal for socialising amongst friends or colleagues, while the romantic bath for two and double steam shower provide the utmost luxury for you and a loved one,’ reads out the spa catalogue. The suite is divided into two: the treatment area with two beds and the other half has a Jacuzzi where you can unwind for Rs 3900 an hour. That isn’t much considering the regal experience that comes with it.

Signature Ayurveda-influenced Treatments “A must-try at the spa is one of the signature Ayurveda-inspired treatments,” recommends the spa manager. The spa blends traditional Ayurvedia treatment techniques and indigenous ingredients with those of ESPA. The ‘Tan Lepa Ritual’ exemplifies this – the treatment begins with exfoliation, after which a tailored body mask of Algae, Marine Mud or Oshadi Clay (which is fused with aromatherapy oils), is applied on your skin. Upon

being cocooned in warm linen, you are given a personalized marma point massage to release all muscular tension. I went for an Aromatherapy Massage that used a blend of essential oils (selected on the basis of my choice of the kind of massage I wanted). Your therapist will give you an option to select from a De-Stresser, Energiser or Muscle Relaxer massage. I’ve got to admit that my masseuse did not tell me categorically the distinction in these massages and it seemed to me the difference was only in pressure points and not in oils and technique.

visual appeal to the spa’s ambience. The spa manager tells me the artworks represent different dispositions. The one near the café, for instance, represents diverse moods and forms of a woman while the one in the changing room has a romantic appeal. The lighting and music too change tones. Four different ‘moods of music’ to choose from are on offer. I am particularly impressed by the steam rooms where subdued lighting induces tranquility and a soothing environment, which you seek after a relaxing treatment. The room channels the healing powers of an amethyst crystal.

Aesthetically Designed Designed by interior designer Jeffrey Wilkes, the décor of the spa is intrinsically striking with exquisite Indian stone-carved wall panels and warm rosewood timber creating a surreal spa experience. Exceptional marble carvings of an intricate hand-carved marble mesh, dark timber flooring, beautiful patterned ceiling designs and soft rich fabrics complete this warm and welcoming ambience. Leelaventure provides a platform to artists by displaying distinguished works of art at its various properties to resuscitate the dying indigenous art forms. Artwork by artists like Shipra Bhattacharya, Seema Kohli and Sanjay Gupta displayed at ESPA adds a dramatic

Accomplished Staff Each massage therapist is given an extensive training on the ESPA philosophy, treatment customer journey, human physiology, anatomy complemented with the basic massage movements. From the 2nd week to the 5th week, they are taught ESPA Western/ European treatments such as Swedish Massage, Aromatherapy, Body Scrubs and Facials. Finally, the therapists are given an intensive week-long course on ESPA’s range of highly natural and effective products and their appropriate application within the treatment rituals. by PURVA BHATIA

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LIVING IT UP SPA Vyoma – Spa, Salon and Fitness Centre – at the Radisson Blu Hotel New Delhi in Paschim Vihar creates a stunning first impression: glitzy golden and copper interiors adorn a spacious reception area. If space is an indication of luxury then Vyoma certainly has oodles of it. The service levels, as you’d expect in an establishment of this pedigree, are impeccable from word go. Vyoma, has five massage chambers which are symbolic of energy and life – Vitality, Serenity, Voda, Harmony and Accord. Voda is designed specially for hydrotherapy sessions while Harmony and Accord have a connecting passage (in case couples want to go in for a massage together). Before you enter the therapy room before a session, you’re put through a pre-massage consultation in which a skin specialist ascertains your skin type, asks you about the kind of oil which you’d prefer, and takes into account any other preferences you may have. That done, you’re asked to choose between three Pevonia Botanica organic oils – Serenity, Vital-

ity and Recovery (named for the kind of results they help achieve). You might be a trifle disappointed if you’re not a fan of hard pressure massages: there are multiple options for hard pressure treatments as opposed to medium or light massages. But don’t fret just as yet - you’re not likely to be disappointed with the techniques employed and your overall level of satisfaction for the entire experience once you’re done. The therapy rooms, quite like the entrance lobby, are rather spacious easily housing steam and shower rooms, comfortable leather chairs and other paraphernalia. Once you’re dressed (or rather dressed down) for the treatment, you’re led into the treatment room where soothing music eases you into a state of complete relaxation. I’m informed that the spa takes great care in choosing just the right kind of music to complement the treatment. Once you’re finished, you can quaff a cup of herbal tea and get forty winks.

THE VYOMA EXPERIENCE At the Newly Opened Radisson Blu in Paschim Vihar, West Delhi


GO NOW March 2012


Catering to the Demand for Organic Spa Treatments Adding to the long list of high-end, 5-star hotel spas in Delhi, Radisson Blu Hotel New Delhi in Paschim Vihar launched Vyoma about 3 months back. GO NOW spoke with Sanjana Bhandari, Spa Manager, Vyoma, on the latest trends in the industry and what makes this spa different from its competitors.


ou are a new set-up as compared to many other 5-star hotel spas. Do you see that as a challenge? It is true that we opened only about three months back. However, being new is one of our biggest advantages. We have been able to equip ourselves as per the requirements of the contemporary client. Our modern look and feel is what will help us stay ahead of our competitors. What would you say sets Vyoma, Radisson Blu Hotel New Delhi, apart from the other spas in Delhi? Apart from being new in the market, which we consider an advantage, a significant point, is our space. We designed the spa keeping this in mind. Especially for a Delhi person, it is space, peace and quiet that is vital. We give our clients the opportunity to get away from their busy, boring schedules and enjoy this extravagant treatment! Our service sets us apart as well. Clients expect the personal touch and we train our therapists to deliver exactly that! We pride ourselves in our service and client handling. What have you done to ensure better, more personalised service for your clients? We never like to say no to our clients’ needs or requests. We want people to remember Vyoma as a spa they would love to visit again. We literally pamper our guests. In addition, as part of taking care of our clients, we get confidential consultation forms filled before every treatment. We want to know everything – the skin type, areas of concern, skin problems, the make-up they wear, the brand they use, any cosmetic or medical surgery they have undergone, if they are allergic to anything, if they are on special

medication or treatment so that we can customize the treatment as per their skin/ body requirements. You have been in the spa industry for some time now, what would you say are the latest trends? What is it that you find clients look for in spa therapy these days? These days, people have become extremely health and fitness conscious. Everybody is going organic. People prefer natural treatments and herbal products that would not harm their skin and body in any way. Another thing that we see today is that people increasingly look for personalized, intuitive service. They like to see happy staff, who is glad to see them again, who is eager to assist. When I say intuitive, I mean to say that clients expect everything to be in order and the processes to be simple and smooth. In addition, more and more people want to feel close to nature. They want to hear the water flowing, they want to smell fresh flowers and natural aromas like the blood rose oil aroma that we have used today in all our rooms. So would you say that Vyoma is in sync with these trends? Absolutely! Using organic products is one of the most important things. All our spa products are organic. We use only Pevonia Botanica's organic products for the treatments. Our oils, scrubs, and moisturizers, are all natural. Products from natural resources offer more nutrients to your skin and can keep you looking healthier and more youthful. People world over are realizing the importance of going organic and we assure our clients that they will leave Vyoma look-

ing and feeling happier and fresher. Talking about personalised and intuitive service, as I said, we never say no to a client. Sometimes, during the massage they tell the therapist to extend their session, say from 60 to 90 minutes, we try not to refuse if the therapist does not have a further appointment. This is our way of showing that we care and that our therapists are more than happy to help them. We make an effort to make the entire experience as flawless and smooth flowing as possible. For example placing a pillow under your head as you turn for a front massage, facilitating you with things such as shower caps, moisturizers, and shampoos, providing a wardrobe to hang your clothes with a box to keep your valuables like watches and rings. We are intuitive because we never give our clients a chance to complain. Whatever they may require, we provide before they even ask! At Vyoma, we believe in helping clients rediscover themselves. We bring them close to nature; make them feel one with nature. It reflects in small things like the placement of floating rose petals in an earthen pot under the face cradle of the massage table or the tranquilizing music that we select specially for our spa. The best feedback we can get from a client is if they fall asleep during therapy! by AARUSHI GUPTA

March 2012 GO NOW


LIVING IT UP FOOD & WINE The Minimalistic Look

seafood allergy?

The first thing that strikes you when you enter Xian is its minimalist, sleek and elegant interior. Spread on three floors, the fine wood finish and off-white textured walls emit a warm appeal .

A Choice for Everyone

Diversity on the Platter The menu offers an eclectic mix of oriental dishes which have been picked up from diverse regions of South East Asia like China, Vietnam, Japan, Thailand and Philippines. The range starts from the very popular Japanese Sushi which is available in three distinct styles of preparations – Uramaki (Sushi roll with rice on the outside), Hosha Maki (the iconic Sushi roll wrapped in seaweed) and Nigri (topping vinegared rice with a dab of Wasabi and a thin bite sized slice of fish). If you are a first-time Sushi eater, don’t hesitate to call the Corporate Chef, Tsewang Lhargyal, who will not only tell you the way to eat it, but also give you interesting facts about the ingredients used while preparing Sushi. For example, did you know that mustard which is used to make Wasabi, actually helps in killing

You can choose from a variety of dimsums and appetizers like ‘Pakchoi Rice Flour Dumplings,’ ‘Fat Horses’ and ‘Prawn Rice Roll.’ If you’ve got a really big appetite, then try the ‘Burnt Garlic Chicken Soup’ followed by the ‘Chicken Aniseed’ (sliced chicken tossed in Sichuan pepper with crispy spinach) – absolutely lip-smacking! Moving on to the main course, if you’re a light eater, then try the ‘Sliced Fish’ (cooked in your choice of sauce). Other options include Shing La – a Chinese preparation with chicken cooked in nine secret ingredients. There are very interesting picks for vegetarians as well. The health-conscious can opt for the ‘Bean Curd Mushroom Bamboo Shoot’ or an all-veggie treat with Cantonese Vegetables. There are choices in Clay Pot (a wholesome meal served on a hot bed of



GO NOW March 2012

rice) and many more. Last but not the least, try Dar San (crispy flat noodles with a honey glaze), Banana Twinkle (banana stuffed with dates, batter fried, topped with honey & sesame seeds) and Yen Yan (crispy batter fried apple rings). by HEENA MENON

factfile Address: Xiian, Oriental Dining & Bar, G-Block, Sector-18, Noida Tel: 91-9999204514; 91-120-4553131/32 Timings: 12.30pm - 11.30pm Meal for two: Rs 900

The restaurant gets its name from Xi’an, one of the oldest cities in China with more than 3,100 years of history.


HITTING THE SPOT After a successful run with it’s popular outlet at Saket, the V Spot Café & bar has opened in Gurgaon. GO NOW has a look...


s it a café? Or is it a bar? A bit of both if you go by the décor, and the food’s not bad either. In fact, it’s surprisingly good. My companion is on his second helping of, would you believe it – Khichdi! Well, to be fair, it’s not the basic slop you’re imagining: the ‘Butter Chicken Khichdi’ at the recently opened The V Spot Café and Bar at Gurgaon is anything but boring. The outlet follows suit – right from the wacky and spunky décor, the table mats, the napkins, the games and entertainment options… everything has a naughty vibe to it. Another very smart strategy seems to have been the intertwining of a bar and a café feel: thereby targeting the college-going crowd, as well as office goers who come in to relax after a hard day’s work. The café has an indoor space, an outside sit out area and a smoking zone. The bar is very appropriately called ‘Tully Vision’ and if you just happen to use the washroom, be prepared for the funkiest graffiti ever. If you are waiting in line to use the washroom, there is another innovative idea to stay engaged. The

‘Video Booth’ is total entertainment – you can use the i-pad kept there to make a video. If your video has the zing and Channel V likes it, then you get your fifteen minutes of Bacon wrapped chicken

factfile Address: The [v] Spot Cafe & Bar, Cross Point Mall, Terrace Wing, Second Floor, Gurgaon Tel: 0124-4033885/4033886 Web: Timings: 11 am - 1 am Meal for two: Rs 900; Rs 1,500 with alcohol

fame when it is aired on the channel. So all those out there who have a bit of theatrics in you, go try your luck! Ceicil Raj, the corporate chef at the café, explains that the menu is complete fusion (that explains the khichdi): there’s Italian, Mexican and Indian food. On the chef’s recommendation, we had the Lasagna with Ragu, which although was delicious (but we didn’t really see the fusion element). Drinks have the craziest names ever, from a Sheila ki Jawani to Mingle Pandey and even a Marg Mein Rita. On the bar supervisor’s recommendation, we ordered El- Mexicano and Roz Pina. The ElMexicano, was extremely refreshing while the Roz Pina had a strong papaya aftertaste which was bit of a dampener. On the dessert menu, the Coffee Mousse with a rich coffee flavour literally takes the cake! It’s an interesting place, the [V] Spot café and bar is. And there’s no doubt that the inventive approach not to slot itself as just a café, or just a bar, seems to have paid off. Check it out next time you’re in the neighbourhood. by APRAJITA SHISHOO

March 2012 GO NOW



Yet another pedigreed eatery has opened its doors at the buzzing Hauz Khas Village. Diva Piccola – the latest offering from the house of celebrity chef Ritu Dalmia, has a flavour that is different in its simplicity.



imple ‘home style’ Italian food, nofrills interiors, and a small menu: that’s practically the antithesis of what one has come to expect at an eatery from the house that runs one of the finest Italian restaurants in the Capital. Consider it experimental cooking, or simply a different topping, but that is what Diva Piccola is all about. This baby (Piccola means ‘baby’ or ‘little one’ in Italian) stands out in striking contrast to the existing Diva eateries in the city. Unlike the others, this one is a Trattoria which offers you only the basics. Haphazard as it may seem at first glance, the design essentially makes optimum use of available space, making it a 25-cover eatery. A see-through kitchen area in one corner and colourful picture frames on the walls add zing to the mustard-toned interiors. Call me picky, but I certainly felt that the music could have been better chosen to befit the ambience. I mean sure Opera is Italian - But the same tenor, singing the same song multiple times was a bit much. And in any case,


GO NOW March 2012

even good Opera would seem a bit misplaced in a casual eatery - Italian or not! The USP of Diva Piccola is touted as ‘grandma’s cooking’. I begin sampling it with Zuppa Di Porri e Funghi (mushroom soup with leeks and onions). This one stands true to the claim: simple yet delectable. The second course is an Antipasti Platter, consisting of crispy prawns, haloumi and eggplant croquettes, parma ham wrapped muskmelon, rocket salad and tomato mozzarella salad. The quality of cheese and prawns is excellent. Motivated, I order Spaghetti tossed with sauce of prawns, basil, white wine and fresh tomato, which turns out to a bit too simple. Next I gorge on what is (or at least should

factfile Address: Diva Piccola, first floor, 30, Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi. Timings: 11:00 am - 11:00 pm Contact: 011 40536001 Meal for two: Rs 1600 + (excluding alcohol)

be given that this is a café) Piccola’s specialty: a rectangular, soft thin-crust pizza served fresh from the wood-fired oven. No complaints there. Saved for last, desserts are usually the best part of any meal… and Piccola doesn’t disappoint: the Ricotta Cheesecake and a creamy Panna Cotta with Berry Sauce is really really good: the perfect way to end the meal. To be fair, Diva Piccola only opened about a couple of weeks ago and there are bound to be teething troubles for this baby. Still, if ‘Grandma’s cooking’ be considered the theme of the restaurant, then the service has some catching up to do. I’d recommend a pinchful of warmth and a generous sprinkling of subject matter knowledge amongst the servers. Hopefully, those are issues which the outlet should have under control sooner than later. I would recommend Diva Piccola as just the kind of place where you could pick up a quiet corner and spend hours reading a book or chatting with a friend, albeit it may prove to be a little expensive for frequent visits. by PURVA BHATIA


Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week Autumn-Winter 2012

FLAMBOYANT FEBRUARY The 19th edition of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week AutumnWinter 2012 had India's most sought-after designers and models in attendance. Wasn’t just all about the ramp either: WIFW’s CSR initiatives with PETA and against Human Trafficking made a strong statement. GO NOW came away suitably impressed.


he usually staid ambience at Pragati Maidan got a dose of serious glamour and haute couture as the ‘who’s who’ of the fashion fraternity descended at the Delhi venue of The Wills India Fashion Week (WIFW) this February. Organised by Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) the event celebrated its 19th anniversary with the Autumn Winter 2012 edition. From the opening night (15th February), till the finale on 19th February, the Fashion Week saw no less than 38 designers showcasing their work to buyers, fashion critics, and a discerning audience. Buoyed by the strong showing, Sunil Sethi, President FDCI was optimistic about the prospects of the event. “This year we have a list of outstanding designers with representation across geographies who will display their creative excellence on the runway. With combined elements of innovation, creativity and tradition of the WIFW, these designers will give a fresh perspective to the Autumn-Winter collection. With so many talented designers in India’s fashion industry, we are hopeful that this edition will also break all records like the past season. I wish all of them, the very best as they gear up to participate at the WIFW Autumn-Winter 2012,” he said. The ball was set in motion by designer duo Shantanu and Nikhil whose collection was inspired by the ‘modern women of today’. The duo’s line got as many eyeballs as the supermodel Carol Gracias who walked the ram in their showstopper. Sethi was especially pleased to have the duo open proceedings at WIFW.“FDCI is thrilled to have ace designer duo Shantanu & Nikhil to open for WIFW 2012, that so befits the glitz & glamour that they are known for and hence the apt choice to unveil the biggest fashion event of the year. We wish them the very best for March 2012 GO NOW



Fashion for Freedom Taking a cue from the international fashion fraternity, the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) joined hands with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in an initiative titled – ‘Fashion for Freedom – Boycott Zoos.’ The partnership was announced with by FDCI President Sunil Sethi with Bollywood stars – Gulshan Grover and Mahima Chaudhary – in attendance. Drawing attention to the cause were two striking models dressed in body-fitting costumes (to resemble big cats) in a cage. The pertinent message being conveyed was that animals belong in their natural habitats, not in locked-up cages in zoos. The campaign will extend to FDCI’s next fashion week in September. 86

GO NOW March 2012


Rohit Gandhi

Viveik Oberoi with wife Priyanka Alva at Smoke House Deli Lounge

their show,” he said at the opening. Designers Preeti Chandra, Vineet Bahl and Rohit Bal also showed their collections on the first day. The second day saw heavyweights, most notably, Tarun Tahiliani take the stage. Showcasing three collections, Tahiliani’s use of fabrics like velvet and silk georgette which seemed to be inspired by the Ottoman empire, generated a lot of interest. Designer Anand Bhushan’s futuristic collection, displayed on the third day, was put together with scraps and rustic metal. Manish Malhotra ended the day with his collection resplendent in shades of red, ivory, rust orangey, deep pinky and off-white. Malhotra’s collection featured Kashmiri embroidery and thread-work along with velvet and chiffon.

Tokyo Fashion Week comes to India FDCI announced its association with the Japan Fashion Week Organization to present the ‘Tokyo Fashion Week’ for the first time in India at WIFW 2012. Supported by the Ministry of Economic Trade and Industry, Japan, the event was billed as a cultural exchange between the two countries. The association also marked the 60th anniversary celebration project of diplomatic relations between India and Japan. WIFW witnessed a joint fashion show by three Japanese Design houses – ANREALAGE, Mintdesigns and Suzuki Takayuki. A 30member Japanese delegation was present at WIFW to acquaint itself with the Indian design scene. Besides the show, products and philosophies of ten brands representing the “10 Faces of the Tokyo Culture” were on display at the Fashion Week.

Ashima Leena Singh with Hemant Sagar

Leander Paes

Post Show Party for a Cause Smoke House Deli Lounge hosted an exclusive photo exhibition and a cocktail party at WIFW to champion the cause of Human trafficking. 12 leading designers and a smattering of celebrities including photographer Subi Samuel, Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi and Australian Open Doubles winner Leander Paes showed their support by attending. Other prominent faces from the city seen a tthe party inclduded Nasir Abdullah, Rohit Gandhi, Vikram Baidyanath, Vandana Singh, Sanjay Sharma, A.D. Singh, Pushpanjali, Leena Singh, Hemant Sagar. The initiative was in-line with FDCI’s announcement to generate awareness for a drive against human trafficking as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility. FDCI is supporting ‘YouCanFree.Us’ – a not-for-profit organisation working towards rescuing and rehabilitating women who become victims of human trafficking in India.

The fourth day featured designers like Charu Parashar, Priyadarshini Rao, Rocky S. and Payal Jain. Rocky bridal collection, not surprisingly, revolved around heavy works, loud embroidery and voluminous lehengas with gold, green, ivory and red hues. The finale of the WIFW was marked by JJ Valaya’s stunning collection (who completed 20 years in the fashion industry this year). Also inspired by the Ottoman Empire, Vallaya’s show was imbued in shades of ivory and black and culminated with the gorgeous Kangana Ranaut sashaying down the ramp in his showstopper. The WIFW also showcased budding talent in the industry: this year’s event had 14 new runway and stall designers. 11 new and aspiring models also took the ramp. March 2012 GO NOW



pairing Indian food with single malt, the Glenlivet way


f you haven’t started sipping your wine with your food then you’ve obviously missed the boat. Admittedly, it is a concept of more recent vintage. Indians have never been in the habit of carrying their drink to the table, and are certainly not accustomed to drinking along with the food! Of course, wine drinking itself, has become really popular in India only in the past decade or so. And this entire pairing business began when the patrons of wine and the good life came along and started suggesting the best combinations of wine with Indian food. Now, ‘pairing wines’ with Indian starters and main courses has become pretty much the done thing. And now, if you listen to the folks at Glenlivet, we are evolving to the next stage – ‘pairing’ whisky with food. That's not 88

GO NOW March 2012

such a bad thing when you think about it: Indians have always loved their whisky – way more than their wine anyway! So now, if you ‘pair’ it right, then you don’t have to put your glass down when dinner is served! Never mind all those new hefty fines that the government wants to introduce against drunken driving. But then, there’s something to be said for drinking responsibly! At a recent event, the city’s leading fusion Indian food haven, ‘Varq’ at The Taj Mansingh, laid out a sumptuous spread, specially created in consultation along with the makers of Glenlivet. On sample was a range of 12, 15 and 18-year old whiskies paired with specific Indian dishes. As of now, these dishes don’t feature on the restaurant’s menu, but will be introduced when the restaurant goes

for another makeover of the regular menu. ‘Kukkad chaat’ (Crispy Chicken, Coloured Peppers, Onion and Tangy Chutney) was paired with Glenlivet 12-year old. 'Masala Sea Bass' (pan-fried Chilean Sea Bass on Sautéed Spinach and Mushroom) was appropriately paired with Glenlivet 15-year old and ‘Dum Nalli Gosht Masala corn’ (slow-braised lamb shanks served with Masala Corn), was paired along with Glenlvet18 years old. ‘Varq’ is well-known for its signature dishes and accompaniments. These single-malt pairings will add another dimension to the culinary fare at the restaurant. In fact, as this fad catches on, it could lead to creation of more innovative dishes, new flavours, customization and uniqueness in the Indian by NAVIN BERRY food offering.

March 2012 GO NOW


Go Now March 2012  

Go Now March 2012

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