What would you say to a week’s holiday every year for 25 years, at over 6,500 resorts in locations ranging from mountain slopes to coastal plains? What if this holiday was accompanied by significant savings? Would you bite the bait? Magic Holidays, a timeshare product of the Panoramic Group of Companies, offers ownership at 33 properties (and increasing) in India and abroad. Service apartments in Singapore and Thailand, resorts in the United States of America and New Zealand, as well as lesser known destinations such as Bageshwar, Tehri, Bhimtal and Todgarh in India, feature in their diverse line-up. Magic Holidays offer quality of services at affordable prices as well as surety of bookings and reservations. Flexibility is the keyword here. The seven-day holiday entitlement need not be used at a stretch, but can be broken up into three vacations of two, two and three days apiece. A one-night stay is also feasible. Moreover, members have access to apartments and seasons aside from their membership entitlement. This sounds ideal for people interested in shorter holidays.
Of course, as is the norm, conditions apply.
Learn more at www.magicholidays.info
Nestled in Calangute’s bustling tourist area, Swissôtel Goa is not situated, as one might expect, on a prominent junction with great visibility. Instead, it takes meandering down a typically crooked Goa street, to reach the stark white hotel with crisp red signage.
Built around a large courtyard pool, are contemporary straight-lined structures that house 135 guest rooms and suites, a pool-side bar, an all-day dining space, a deli (in the making), a fully-equipped fitness centre, a kids play area, a banquet space and a boardroom. The exuberance of Krsna Mehta’s art, framed on the walls, sprawling over table tops, bedecking tissue boxes and even encircling lights, seems somehow subdued by the white walls and dark wood designs of Malaysian architects Chong Chee Ching and Greg Dall. The menu is expected to feature both European and Asian cuisine. The beach is just a few minutes away as are the popular bars, eateries and other tourist attractions.
Swissôtel, in true conservationist style, separates its waste and sends the dry waste to a local organisation called Samarpan that recycles it into jewellery and clothing. It is also exploring the possibility of installing solar panels. We’ll have to allow for the passage of time to get a true reading of whether the clean-cut high-quality service expected of the Swiss and the laid-back ethos of Goa go together as well as Swiss cheese and pork sausages.
Log on to www.swissotel.com/hotels/goa/
Marriott’s Courtyard range of hotels is known for catering to a corporate clientele, but with Courtyard Pune Chakan the group has gone further. Keeping in mind the huge automobile and ancillary industry thriving in Chakan, the hotel has created a car deck, to showcase new cars. Its ballroom is named Rivaz, after Francoise Isaac De Rivaz, known for creating the world’s first internal combustion powered automobile.
Even the cocktail menu features names from the automobile industry. Unlike most hotels, which have a common wi-fi hub, Courtyard Pune Chakan, has a wi-fi hub in each room to ensure that the remoteness of the location doesn’t create network issues. The hotel has a very modern structure, but the menu lays emphasis on the food culture of the Kolhapuri belt of Maharashtraha. It is also the only green build of the Marriot’s Courtyard hotels in India. Read more at www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/pnqck-courtyard-pune-chakan/
Off-the-grid is more than just a fancy phrase as far as MaplePine Farm is concerned. Powered by solar and wind energy, this small family-run farm located about 25 km from Shillong, is a great place to spend a few days in, and connect with your rural roots. Bordered by two streams and surrounded by agricultural land, MaplePine Farm rests in the valley below Mawphlang Sacred Forest of Meghalaya. Cosy individual cabins with a loft make it an ideal location for families. You can opt for the fitness training regimen on offer, or ride, hike, trek and rough it out in tents. Efforts are underway to set a standard for eco-friendly habitats in the area.
For details go to www.culturalpursuits.com
Do you love chai? Is its fragrance intoxicating? Do you get cranky if you don’t get your cuppa on time? Wild Mahseer, nestled in the Balipara division of the Addabarie Tea Estate, in Assam, Northeast India’s most popular tea growing state, is a tea lover’s dream. You could run your fingers through the tea leaves as you stroll through the tea gardens. There’s an elephant waiting to chauffeur you to your afternoon tea party. You can also spend some time figuring out what goes into the making of your favourite brew at the tea factory nearby. If you’re a more hands-on traveller, the tea plucking season, which extends from May to October is the best time to visit.
Whether you opt for an individual room, one of the five bungalows named after teas, or at the heritage bungalow, this is an experience you won’t forget. A chance to immerse yourself in the time and style of the British planters that this boutique resort offers, is rare indeed. Visit www.wildmahseer.com for more.