As the festive cheer begins to unfurl and merry vibes start to settle in, Oberoi Hotels & Resorts have donned on their Christmas hats as well, ready to welcome the New Year with full gusto. From lavish dinner spreads to rejuvenating nature trails, here’s all that the winners of the Best Safety & Hygiene Protocols in the Editor’s Choice category at Travel + Leisure India & South Asia India’s Best Awards 2020 have in store for the year-end extravaganza. By Bayar Jain
If being a stone’s throw distance from the iconic Taj Mahal isn’t alluring enough, a New Year Eve’s gala dinner at their all-dining restaurant, Bellevue, is sure to do the trick. The festive spread will comprise an array of world cuisine like Asian—including Indian—and western preparations; paired with a live performance by a two-piece band. Those hoping for a more intimate meal can opt for a poolside meal, or a private balcony dining experience against the mesmerising white-domed mausoleum itself. Served by a personal butler, diners can choose between a curated four-course dinner, or the hotel-recommended Royal Indian Thali.
An idyllic setting reflective of Rajasthan’s princely avatar, The Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur comes paired with luxury villas and royal tents in a fort-like setting. Naturally, then, New Year’s Eve celebrations will also personify their regal welcome. Complete with live Rajasthani folk music, traditional dance performances, a DJ, and a bouquet of Indian and international delicacies to binge on, an year-end party here is sure to be memorable. A poolside dinner packaged with a handcrafted Rajasthani thali glistening under mashaal torches with views of an ancient haveli can also be organised, weather permitting. Live instrumental music can also be arranged at a supplementary charge.
With a backdrop of the Aravalli Hills and by Lake Pichola, The Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur radiates with a romantic hue. Adding to this amorous setting is a festive meal at the resort’s manicured lawns. To usher in the New Year, the chefs of the hotel will be offering an exciting mélange of Indian and western cuisines under starry skies. The magical evening will come paired with traditional Indian dance performances and upbeat DJ music. Alternatively, one can opt for a sunset boat ride at the shimmering Lake Pichola for a serene year-end; see the City Palace draped in morning sunlight; and watch locals make offerings at the lakeside temples.
Sandwiched between the Aravalli and Vindhya ranges, Ranthambore’s luxurious The Oberoi Vanyavilas Wildlife Resort is the ultimate destination for adventurists. For New Year’s Eve, the jungle retreat will be serving regional Indian and international cuisines at their main dining room and starlit courtyard radiating with a bonfire glow. Enthralling performances by a live band and dance performances will further elevate the experiences. When here, one can even toast to romance at the private Observation Tower, and catch the last sunset of 2020. Delectable canapés handcrafted using organic ingredients, a flute of classy bubbly, and unobtrusive personalised service complete the romantic evening here.
Being set amid 8,000 acres of the Siswan Forest Range lends itself the ideal opportunity to experience calm. At the The Oberoi Sukhvilas Spa Resort, one can walk into these woods for a rejuvenating session of forest bathing, switch off from the world’s chaos, and tune into nature’s healing vibrations. Post this, one can celebrate the end of 2020 with an array of world cuisine curated by the in-house culinary experts, dance to live music, and enjoy premium alcohols served on the house.
When at the former residence of Lord Kitchener, party like the days of yore. At the Wildflower Hall, Shimla In The Himalayas, guests can enjoy a private nature walk and an Oberoi picnic hamper on the grounds of The Peak, a bungalow dating back to 1863. Once a weekend retreat for viceroys, this hilltop estate—paired with 10 acres of terraced apple orchards—paints the ideal setting for the day outdoors. As the sun sets, one can head indoors to dig into a sumptuous New Year’s Eve dinner buffet. Think live cooking stations, a four-piece band, and tons of Indian and Western gourmet delicacies.
Ideal for a family vacation, the classic The Oberoi Cecil, Shimla offers pleasing views of Shimla and its surroundings. Starting from Annadale, take a guided walk in the woods and meander through the rhododendron and cider forests to settle for a stream-side picnic. When here, one can choose from a wide range of fine international, pan-Indian, and local Himachali dishes.