Join the club if you’ve been feeling low and demotivated lately. This is your sign to slow down, relax and take it easy. And the best way to unwind? Change of environment! It’s time for you to take a short vacation. Head to the hills for fresh air and peace of mind or soak up the sun at a beach resort or even better, head to a wellness retreat where spa and mindfulness are the key activities. We bet imagining this has convinced you already. And now, we make it simpler for you by giving you a list of boutique hotels and villas you can head to for unforgettable getaway. Bookmark them below.
1. Anand Kashi By The Ganges, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand
On the hunt for a secluded space, away from all the hustle and bustle? Then you must bookmark this property, which was also the summer residence of the Maharaja of Tehri Garhwal once upon a time. Tucked away in the lush valley of the Himalayas, this hidden gem features traditional Garhwali architecture with contemporary design elements. And each room is carefully crafted to indulge your senses–wake up to the sun’s dance on the river’s surface or breathe in the abundant mountain air as you de-stress in our spacious rooms. There are plenty dining options ranging from indulging in global cuisine made from fresh produce from the in-house orchards at the all-day diner Ana Rasa to sipping on cocktails under a starlit sky at the rooftop bar Amrit Tara to enjoying a relaxed meal at the splendid Ganga deck. If trekking is on your itinerary, you can always come back to the hotel and visit the Amrit Kashi spa for a relaxing massage.
2. Shel, Ladakh
Built on a private estate, this new homestay is a three-bedroom house with minimal wooden architecture and an an irresistible view–the Himalayas, River Indus, chinar trees, the Shey Thickset and Matho monasteries. As it takes only one booking at a time, expect nothing short of serenity here. Initially, the homestay was a simple house made of wood and mud bricks. But the owners continued to keep its sustainable roots and used a lot of material from the past house. The water supply is also powered by solar energy here. You can dine at multiple locations in and around the homestay. The in-house chefs prepares meals with fresh produce, ranging from eggs and poha for breakfast to pasta and Thai food for lunch to Indian cuisine for dinner. You can also try local dishes like momos, thukpa and skieu here.
3. Aramness, Gir, Gujarat
Gir’s national parks are now the only remaining home of the Asiatic lion, and this makes a strong case for wildlife enthusiasts to visit there. Plus, wildlife lodges are perfect for you if you truly want to connect with yourself and nature. We recommend staying at Aramness Gir, a luxury wildlife lodge that not only helps you arrange for jungle safaris but also offers that immersive experience that allows you appreciate the ways of the Earth. Your annoying alarm is replaced by the song of exotic birds. Get up, close and personal with nature and wildlife through jungle walks, and indulge in authentic Gujarati meals. And once you’re done with all the experiential activities, take a day off and enjoy the cosy heritage rooms with luxurious beds and bathtubs or rejuvenate yourself at the wellness spa before heading home.
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4. Casa by Venya, Bhimtal, Uttarakhand
This new collective of private villas serves as a serene escape and you only have to drive a few kilometers up to the lake town of Bhimtal to get there. Tucked away in the Vinayak valley, the property features four exquisite villas–two three-bedroom, one four-bedroom, and one lavish five-bedroom property with a garden, a terrace and a 24-hour front desk for your convenience. The best part? They’re all different in terms of architecture but overlook a picturesque view–pristine valley, up towards the towering mountains. In terms of food, you can either choose to cook or opt for an additional service kitchen that will provide you with what you want, including local Kumaoni meals.
5. The Alampara, Cheyyur, Tamil Nadu
At The Alampara, you can retire under its luxurious tents to the sound of the gentle waves that will lull you to a relaxing slumber. Surrounded by lush foliage with a secluded lagoon and a private sandbar, The Alampara is a boutique resort that not only serves as a peaceful getaway but whose backwaters serve as a great spot for water sports. Adventure lovers can go for kayaking, surfing, kneeboarding, stand up paddle boarding, among other activities. The 50-acre property also includes a tented restaurant and a private lake. It is in close proximity to the Alamparai fort, so you can either kayak to the monument or paddle up to the scenic salt pans nearby. You can go fishing and depending on your fresh catch (prawns, fish, or crabs), the chef will cook it for you. Sounds fun, right?
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6. The Villa Himalaya, Sonmarg, Kashmir
Wake up to a gorgeous mountain view and the sound of the fast-flowing Sindh river at this small but luxurious boutique villa. You can either choose to have a warm cup of Kahwa in your room balcony or even head downstairs for a meal where you’re closer to river and feel one with nature. Don’t miss out on the delicious trout meal, which the team whips up in an Indian or Continental preparation.
7. The Aodhi, Kumbalgarh, Rajasthan
The historic importance and breathtaking view of the Aravali ranges has made Kumbalgarh Fort a tourist hotspot. Planning a visit there soon? Then it only makes sense that you elevate your stay there by checking into a heritage hotel. The Aodhi is one such property, whose architecture will make you feel like you’re living in a rustic fort. Plus it’s surrounded with ample greenery. Relax in the privacy of your balcony, gazing into the amazingly blue skies and hearing the sound of birds chirp in the morning. Monkeys will also be a common sight on the trees, so do be careful of eating food in the open. You can dine in at the hotel’s multi-cuisine restaurant Chowka (you must try the Laal Mas here) as well as enjoy some snacks and beverages at Chhapar, the coffee shop overlooking the scenic hillsides and the swimming pool at The Aodhi!
8. Baale Resort, Goa
While some people head to Goa for its beaches, belinis and late night parties, others like to opt for a much more secluded route. If the latter is where you stand, you’ll love this private pool villa resort with a tropical ambiance, and a host of spa and recreational facilities. The villa offers three or four bedroom options, each attached to a private swimming pool. Whether you want to enjoy some cheese and champagne on your villa’s balcony or read a book by the pool, expect nothing short of calm here. The vila’s decor will transport you to Bali. The high ceilings and wide windows let you enjoy moments of solitude while reconnecting with the sights and sounds of nature. But if you want to let your hair down for one night, you can head to The Gong Bar that has a fine selection of fine wines, cigars and hand-crafted cocktails or even dine at The Mandala Restaurant featuring a selection of gourmet fare and home-style meals.
9. Villa in the Woods at RAAS Devanya, Kumaon, Uttarakhand
Imagine escaping to a treehouse but an upgraded version. One that’s a three-storeyed villa sitting on a 90-acre hill surrounded by fruit orchards and a virgin forest featuring willow trees and Himalayan raspberries. One whose large rooms offer a panoramic view of the hills and lets you be amidst nature, literally. You can turn this imagination into reality by simply heading to Villa In The Woods at RAAS Devanya. Expect a memorable Kumaoni experience through its Kumaoni style koti-banal villa built on stilts as well as Rajasthani and Kumaoni food using seasonal organic produce and grain that’s either grown on Devanya’s own organic farms or sourced from local farmers. While there is absolute serenity inside the villa, you can bring out to the adventurer in you by going on a safari to the nearby Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, or hiking trails along rivers and waterfall spots in the surrounding hills. For the spiritually inclined, the ancient shrines and cave sites of Kasar Devi, Jageshwar and Gananath are within driving distance.