Staycations are new-age but they’re hardly a millennial trend. Low on holiday costs of time and carbon footprint, a staycation is a win-win for everyone. Here are top 10 properties in India ideal for a staycation. By Rashima Nagpal & Sushmita Srivastav
Check out 10 properties in India for the perfect staycation
Back To Basics – Alila Fort Bishangarh
Rajasthan’s star palace-hotel, Alila Fort Bishangarh, is reason enough for a vacation closer home. And with the kind of experiences it offers, it is time you explore your neighbourhood with a fresh pair of eyes. The warrior fort-turned-hotel comes with royal accommodation options, from the Heritage Room to the Regal Suite, and ample luxuries, but it is the wide range of engaging Alila Experiences that you must not miss out on. For instance, a hot-air balloon ride over Rajasthan’s undulating terrain that concludes with a personalised picnic lunch; a revealing rendezvous with a local farmer and his family; an experiential insight into the craft of local artisans; a braaivleis alongside cocktails by the pool; a horse-riding itinerary along a river bed; and a Rajasthani rasoda (kitchen) masterclass. For wellness- seeking couples, the hotel’s immersive ‘Journey to You’ experience is a huge draw.
A Tryst With Nature – Tamara Coorg
Tamara in Coorg gets its name from the Malayalam word for the lotus, which holds a sacred place in some cultures. It is a resort worthy of a staycation from Bengaluru, Mysuru, Kozhikode, or Mangaluru. Stay here to take the proverbial path less travelled—lose yourself in the aromatic coffee plantations of Kodagu district, observe a wide variety of indigenous birds, explore lesser-known streams and waterfalls on treks, or experience deep meditation with the guidance of a resident guru. The property ensures an immersive experience of the region’s natural bounty with 56 cottage- style villas with private balconies that look out at the Coorg Valley. The resort’s restaurants, The Deck and The Falls, are stunning venues to dine at. While the latter takes pride in its architecture that features a natural stream running underneath, The Deck offers swanky indoors as well as outdoor lounges.
Disconnect To Reconnect – Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat & Spa
The hamlet of Shilimb, 55 kilometres from Pune, is a destination that makes most North Indians envious. Blessed with a bucolic spot amidst the Sahyadri Mountains (Western Ghats), it is home to the one-of-its-kind Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat & Spa, which has effectively put the tiny village on the world map. The resort is spread over an expanse of 320 acres, and all of it breathes wellness. It may be a short hop for Pune residents, but Mumbaikars don’t seem to mind the 110-kilometre drive for a staycation here either. Surrounded by unadulterated natural beauty on all sides, the retreat offers elaborate treatments for your mind, body, and soul in a soothing setting. From acupressure, chakra cleansing, reiki, and treatments steeped in Ayurveda and naturopathy, to fun activities like cycling, aqua aerobics, swimming, dancing, and even creative offerings such as painting and pottery, the property caters to guests across tastes and age groups. So, switch off that phone, and reconnect with yourself.
Escape The Mundane – ITC Grand Bharat
As enchanting as its historical corners may be, New Delhi is one of the most populated cities in the world. Hence, a getaway is always on the minds of its dwellers. While many a hill-station lures Delhiites into a holiday, the Himalayas are not exactly a stone’s throw away. In busy times, an all-encompassing resort closer home, like ITC Grand Bharat, comes to the rescue. Located 50-odd kilometres away from the capital, the property is set in an expansive 1.2-square- kilometre estate along a stretch of the Aravalli range. As soon as you leave the Gurugram traffic behind, a smooth drive, with pastoral landscapes on either side, sets the mood for your getaway. At the all-suite luxury resort, there are enough offerings to keep you occupied—a 27-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course, regal dining at The India Room, regional cuisine at Apas Promenade, a fine selection of malts at Peacock Bar, 64 spa treatments at Kaya Kalp, and more.
Into The Wild – The Serai Kabini
As you drive swiftly by the River Kabini— taking in the wild, fresh air, and careening through village roads, The Serai Kabini rises like a dream in the wilderness. With many a bird trilling atop soaring groves of sandalwood, teak, and rosewood, deer roaming free, and langurs letting out warning cries as big cats prowl the bordering forests, the resort plays a gateway to wildlife adventures—it sits between the protected parks of Bandipur and Nagarhole. A four-hour drive from Bengaluru, The Serai Kabini is where you should go if your adventurous soul fancies a few days in the woods. Choose from among the eight Waterfront Verandahs, 11 Waterfront Villas, and one stand-alone private villa called The Residence. Go on a nature walk at the crack of dawn, spend your time bird-watching (the resort is home to over 300 species), take a safari, rejuvenate your body and spirit at the holistic spa, experience the thrill of kayaking, or gaze at millions of glistening stars by a bonfire—the wilderness is your home here.
Effortless Luxury – Golkonda Resort and Spa
What if we tell you there’s an otherworldly escape not far from Hyderabad? Golkonda Resort and Spa, nestled right next to the enormous Osman Sagar, boasts 13 acres of outdoor space and lush greenery. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill five-star resort—arrive at this abode of tranquillity when you are willing to do nothing at all, and the place will make sure you are thoroughly pampered. While the lavish lawns and swaying palms draw you in, all of the 44 luxury villas and 24 premium rooms come fitted with modern amenities. Whether you are craving an exquisite culinary experience by the pool, or are keen on indulging your senses in Thai therapy, the resort has got it covered. Outsiders can also opt for a city tour.
Eat, Sleep, Beach, Repeat – Le Pondy Resort and Spa
Puducherry is a melting pot of cultures that charms one and all. It is no surprise then, that Chennai and Vellore dwellers seek refuge here all the time. Getting lost in its fascinating French Quarter is as easy as in the buzzing marketplaces dotted with traditional South Indian eateries—this cultural juxtaposition makes Puducherry’s appeal timeless. Le Pondy Resort and Spa imbibes the character of the coastal town beautifully. Simple and traditional in its look, and luxurious in its feel, it sits by an estuary between Chunnambar River and Bay of Bengal. It is spread over 14 acres, and offers 70 beautifully appointed rooms, including eight Presidential Pool Villas. Treatments at the Ayurveda Center and Spa, a huge outdoor swimming pool, and a private stretch of beach make it a home away from home.
Urban Indulgence – The Lalit Chandigarh
Think Chandigarh, and you picture unending boulevards, grand civic squares, lush gardens, and serene lakes—all draped in an old-world charm. Albeit a little aged, the city exudes a quaint aura garnished with a pinch of modernity. The Lalit Chandigarh, is steeped in the same dichotomy. Overlooking the Shivalik Hills, the property is located in the famous business hub of Rajiv Gandhi Infotech Park and talks the language of urban luxury. Fusing state-of-the-art design with contemporary comfort, the hotel offers 179 luxe suites and rooms that have sweeping views of the mountain range and forests in the distance. Dine at any of the five restaurants, and sip on your favourite tipple at one of the two bars (one of them is the renowned Kitty Su). The hotel offers an all-weather pool, luxury air charter service, butler service, a holistic spa, and a fitness centre. Gurudwara Nada Sahib, Sukhna Lake, Pinjore Gardens, and Elante Mall are all within reach.
All Things Regal – Jehan Numa Palace
If you have ever dreamed of living like a royal, this is the place to get a taste of it. Resting serenely on the slope of Shamla Hill in Bhopal, the regal Jehan Numa Palace plays the perfect host for your dream staycation. A living tale of the glorious era of Begums of Bhopal, the palatial property was built in the 19th century, and is a blend of British colonial, Italian renaissance, and classic Greek architectures. Shrouded in pure opulence, all of the 94 rooms and six suites here are decked with colonial furniture, traditional furnishings, and indigenous tribal artworks on the sepia-tinted walls. All the modern amenities and the dedicated room service make stepping out an option. But if at all you do, its arched walkways, lush courtyards fringed with floral appeals like bougainvillea and champa, a huge swimming pool, a fully-equipped fitness centre with Jacuzzi, spa and sauna facilities, a riding track, and six F&B outlets make you feel like a king with a lavish kingdom at his disposal.
In The Lap Of Nature – Vedic Village Spa Resort
Sprawling over 150 acres of land teeming with exotic flora, shimmering lakes, swaying coconut groves, and flocks of migratory birds, the Vedic Village Spa Resort near Kolkata is the ideal boutique getaway if a wellness staycation is on your mind. With Ayurvedic treatments, organic farming, a balmy milieu, and medicinal shrubs dotting the grounds, the resort exemplifies nature. Though it is fashioned like an old-school Bengali village, each of the 200 accommodation options is equipped with modern luxuries. Discover your own piece of paradise as you choose from the lavish bungalows, ethnic villas, and well-appointed rooms. If you feel outdoorsy, you can go horse riding, try your hand at archery, go boating in the lakes, or play a round of golf.