The ITC Grand Central has a palatial feel, modelled on the architectural styles of the British Raj in India. Marble floors, plush carpets and gold touches throughout provide an elegant vibe, while nods to the city’s heritage are evident in its architectural features and artworks. Spot a replica of the Rajabai Clock Tower in the courtyard between the main hotel and the restaurant, and note the old photographs and drawings of Colaba in the lobby and hallways.
A small boutique hotel in Mumbai is an exceedingly rare bird: usually the choice is between budget dives, mid-range blandness, or splendid five stars. With only 16 rooms, this is something special, a place with genuine charm and character, where rooms have plenty of space and light (though no views). The hotel is decorated by contemporary artworks that use traditional Indian motifs, reflecting the theme of each room (Krisha, Ashoka, and so on). The works are the creation of more than 150 local art students, with pieces such as sculptures set into the glass-topped coffee tables or wall niches, murals, or hand-embroidered art on the walls.
A lush, tropical jungle practically envelopes this family-friendly beach resort of 106 classic Thai-style rooms and suites. You’ve a choice of three eateries; the main restaurant, Full Moon Samui, specialises in chargrilled delights, the other two have a good selection of Thai and International dishes. Rooms are on the small side but chances are you’ll be in them very little; we’d suggest spending your time in the impressive infinity pool or pampering yourself in the beautifully-designed spa instead. The bars and restaurants of relaxed Fisherman’s village are within striking distance should you want to venture further afield.
Find enlightenment just a 40-minute drive away from the airport at this beachside resort that’s been sensitively constructed around a hillside and cave where monks and locals have been coming (and still do) to meditate for centuries. This is the place to switch off, reboot and reset your body and soul, and we’re not talking the odd yoga or meditation class; an individually tailored spa and wellbeing programme are planned as you check in. Rooms are basic but feature local art and woods, and two open-air restaurants focus on healthy living (don’t worry, there’s a wine list)
Literally a feast for the senses, or at least the olfactory system, once you light your complimentary incense. Step back in time and choose between a European, Chinese or Thai colonial-style suite (there are 15 in total), all brimming with luxury and opulence but filled with individual pieces to set them apart from eachother. It’s set on Bangrak beach, which is clean, swept and great for swimming. Restaurant food is on the pricey side, but the included breakfast is huge. The charming staff are welcoming and on hand to arrange taxis, tours and free kayaks.
Vying for top spot among Koh Samui’s most luxurious pads, these 27 individual, modern villas cling to a hillside, offering stunning views across the Gulf of Thailand. All mod cons prevail, including all-weather fully-equipped kitchens and BBQs, and private infinity pools. There’s no need for a restaurant as your villa manager or chef will come and rustle up a feast in your kitchen, and if you’re too stuffed to move afterwards, fear not – the team of wellness therapists, yoga instructors and even Thai-boxing coaches will also attend to your needs in the comfort of your own villa. The airport is just 10 minutes away.
“A charming little hotel that’s big on style,” is how Gayle Henriques, the Waterstones Hotel General Manager, describes the Waterstones Hotel and with ten different themes running through this 99-room boutique property, we’d have to agree with her.
Wireless internet access, SIM cards on request, and a travel desk make life easier if you’re here on business. Also ask about the free airport transfers, buffet breakfasts and baggage storage for late check-outs.
You’ll feel like a kid in a candy store. Should it be one of the classy floral suites? The turquoise-and-white Marine Room for the see-through bathrooms? Or the Mountain Room with jazzy cow skin-print sofas? Whatever theme you choose, you’ll get ironing facilities, a bar, refrigerator, DVD player and a choice of movies.
And if the pillows aren’t fluffy enough, housekeeping, which comes around twice a day, will be glad to resolve that for you.
The warm colors and quirky bronze sculptures of the new Trident Bandra-Kurla are the first indication that if you’re here to mix business with pleasure, this hotel will serve up a pretty heady cocktail.
Those that like a tipple will love the wine tasting room and wine library at Oh Two Two (022, the all day multi-cuisine restaurant), as well as the grappa display and enoteca at the Italian fine dining restuarant, Botticino. Indian specialty restaurant Maya and the in-house delicatessen complete the delectable quartet.
All rooms and suites come with iPod connectivity, DVD players with a USB plug-and-play port, and all hour valet and laundry services. “The staff has been trained well to extend gracious, personalized and dependable service,” says general manager Visheshwar Singh. And if you’ve brought the kids along, you can book the babysitter to watch them while you’re out.
The first hotel in North Mumbai’s new business district, the Trident is 30 minutes from the international airport (on a good traffic day).
When George Harrison wanted sitar lessons, he took notes from maestro Ravi Shankar in one of the Taj Suites. When Jimmy Page and Robert Plant toured India in the 1970s, they made the hotel their Mumbai base. Playing host to cultural icons like these had already made The Taj Mahal Palace a cultural landmark before the 2008 November terrorist attacks seared the hotel into public memory.
The hotel offers a choice of 543 unique rooms and suites across the Palace and the Tower Wing. The slightly heavier price tag is absolutely worth it once you lay eyes on the stately Gateway of India aglow at night, with yachts bobbing in the distance. Aside from the views, there is round-the-clock butler service, free airport transfers, variable check in/check out times and complimentary breakfast and cocktails.
Chontaduro is a new restaurant experience in Barcelona. A restaurant of latin flavors with emphasis on the tropical area of the Pacific coast. Where the mood is festive, the food is tasty and the vibe is welcoming.