Thursday, December 14, 2023

5 Hotel Brands that Celebrate the Spirit of India

Custodians of our country’s rich heritage, here are some hotel brands we love whose work is nothing short of a tribute to India’s history, its environment, and its people. Each of them showcases lesser-known elements of the diverse cultures they are located from, bringing them to our city-bred generations with unmatched yet distinctive hospitality – that is, in itself, a reflection of the local traditions.

Celebrating Indian art

Samode Hotels – You may have heard of or seen the magical frescos at the 16th century Samode Palace Hotel, the gorgeous backdrop to many fashion photoshoots and viral insta posts. Not so commonly known among Indian travellers are the intricate Gond artworks that the Samode family promote at their relatively newer property, the Samode Safari Lodge in Bandhavgarh. Featured across Interior design and architecture platforms, the murals that adorn the walls in the lodge’s villas have been delicately hand-painted by renowned Gond artists, Venkat Ali & Daleep.

Celebrating Indian forests

Jehan Numa Wilderness –These silent troopers were one of the firsts in the region to introduce and promote non-motorable safaris across the Satpura forests, starting with their highly-acclaimed conservation lodge, Reni Pani Jungle Lodge. Opt for their horseback safaris, canoe rides, and anthropological walks across the forests and villages of Satpura. One can also take their boat safari across the Denwa River to their recent addition, Bori Safari Lodge, saving a 3-hour long drive. It’s also a brilliant opportunity to observe bird and animal life along the river banks. The boat guides are local fishermen who have been trained as guides and naturalists by the Jehan Numa Wilderness team in a bid to move them away from overfishing the Denwa River. 

Celebrating Nature

Moksha Himalaya Spa Resort – Did you know there is an exclusive and private cable car service that operates in Himachal Pradesh? Well, if you did not, this is at Parwanoo located near Chandigarh. Stay at the luxurious Moksha Himalaya Spa Resort which is built at an elevation of 5000 meters and gives you a bird’s view of the stunning landscape dotted with pine trees and home to a variety of flora and fauna. The retreat offers some authentic Ayurvedic spa treatments that are done by therapists from Kerala. A quiet oasis of calm, this is where you can soak in the sights of nature with undulating views of the hills that perfectly frame the dense forests. Take a dip in the infinity pool or relax in the jacuzzi as you are surrounded by bird songs and the gentle breeze of the trees. Indulge in local Himachal fare and discover its many nuances. There can be no better way to have the most immersive experience in India than this one.

Celebrating all things local

CGH Earth – Celebrating the local culture, cuisine, architecture, and communities, and doing so very sustainably, is a non-negotiable philosophy for these pioneers of responsible tourism. Take the kettuvallams (wooden houseboats) used by Spice Coast Cruises for example. From the way the kettuvallams are built to the food served onboard, they are an immersive reflection of Kerala’s backwater life. Or Marari Beach Resort on the shores of the Arabian Sea in Mararikulam. The thatched-roofed villas, food, and local aesthetics and experiences juxtapose perfectly with the luxurious earthy amenities, plush facilities, and impeccable CGH hospitality. On the other hand, Maison Perumal and Palais de Mahe in Pondicherry are sublime experiences of the French and Tamil Quarters of the once-French colony. 

Celebrating the far-flung cultures and festivals

The Ultimate Travelling Camp (TUTC)  Ever heard of the heady, exotic Hornbill Festival in Kohima, Nagaland? Pioneers of glamping in India, The Ultimate Travelling Camp (TUTC) sets up their signature uber-luxurious tents in Kohima every November through December during the festival days to encourage travellers to experience the annual cultural carnival of the local tribes of the region. TUTC also has some unique offerings at their stylish nomadic Chamba Camp in Thiksey and Diskit, Ladakh where guests can experience the vibrant Hemis festival every summer. Perhaps little known to domestic travelers is also TUTC’s beautiful Sangan Niwas camp in Prayagraj which operates during the Khumbmela that occurs every six years.

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