GLAMOUR-FILLED GETAWAY AT PLANET HOLLYWOO BEACH RESORT, GOA

Yes, we love staying in homestays and sharing a meal with the locals, but a dose of glamour and sophistication – once in a while – doesn’t hurt much. On our recent trip to South Goa, we chose to stay at Planet Hollywood Beach Resort located in the quiet village of Utorda and returned feeling like a celebrity. Owned by director Sachin Joshi, this 10-acre beach resort is the first Planet Hollywood resort operational outside the US. It is the only second such resort after Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas.

PERSONALISED OPULENCE AT ITS BEST
We were picked up from the airport by a courteous, knowledgeable driver in the owner’s very own brand new white Audi! How’s that for a grand entry to the hotel? Post a warm welcome and quick check-in procedure, we were guided to our suite.

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Striking red sofas in the living room, a private massage chair, soft mood lighting, well-stocked bar, sleek sound bar where you can dock your personal music device, bedroom with an interesting slice of Hollywood memorabilia, a spacious bathroom with a jacuzzi tub and walk-in wardrobe – our suite had it all!

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BAROSSA VALLEY – EVERY WINE-LOVING COUPLE’S RETREAT

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With its majestic hills, quiet country roads, picturesque villages, garden-fresh gourmet fare and timeless beauty, Barossa is a little slice of ecstasy

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GOING SLOW IN SOUTH GOA

You may visit Goa several times in a lifetime, but you can never get enough of the coastal paradise! That’s the charm of Goa which is equal parts cool, cultured and tranquil.

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Moreover South and North, with their contrasting vibes and landscape, soothe every kind of soul. Having been to North Goa a couple of times, we decided to stay away from the crowd, and head to South Goa this rainy season. Stretches of paddy fields, gorgeous and kingly Portuguese mansions, historic villages ample greenery and pristine beaches made sure we revelled in solitude and the natural beauty around.

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LUCERNE – WHERE EVERY VISTA IS A POSTCARD

Compact and colourful, Lucerne in Central Switzerland seamlessly portrays a subtle interplay between nature and architecture. Here’s what you can see and do when here

SWISS CITIES

Dainty swans swimming freely in a misty Lake, a flower-lined wooden bridge, gorgeous architectural treasures reflecting in shimmering waters, people cycling and walking on a maze of cobblestone streets and giant mountains looming over a delightful, serene town. Now, imagine immersing yourself in this beautiful view from a sidewalk cafe, accompanied with a cup of hot coffee or a glass of Swiss-made red Pinot Noir! You certainly aren’t at fault if you’re already mesmerised by this inspiring terrain. Located in the geographic heart of Switzerland, Lucerne is where urban life and nature come together to give you endless photo opportunities, and this isn’t an overstatement!

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SWISS CUISINE – A POTPOURRI OF INFLUENCES

Apart from being a harmonious tableau of beautiful images, Switzerland is home to a hearty traditional cuisine. Stay with me as I find out what’s cooking in the land of four languages

ENGADIN St. Moritz: Champagner-Feeling in Engadin St. Moritz

While Switzerland borders France in the West, Germany in the north, Austria and the principality of Liechtenstein in the east and Italy in the south, you can only imagine its culinary diversity.

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PICK YOUR KICK IN SANTA MONICA

Santa Monica isn’t just another coastal paradise. It’s a place where art, nature, adventure and urban excitement converge

The entrance to the Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, California, March 7, 2017.

While soft, sandy beaches, wavy palm trees, sun-lit eateries and orange-pink sunsets heavily contribute to its good looks, it is the vibrant cultural scene and neighborhoods loaded with character that really make it enviable. Santa Monica aptly combines the laid-back appeal of a beach town with big-city sophistication, sprinkled with Riviera-style romance and Hollywood glamour. Yes, you have excellent odds of spotting a celebrity or at least someone who seems like they could be one. With beautiful bodies working out everywhere around you, Santa Monica is as inspirational as it is charming. Spend time here and you’ll quickly discover how much SaMo packs in its compact area that can be easily explored on foot.

HOW ABOUT A CLASSIC CALIFORNIA WORKOUT?

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Whether you’re a fitness pro or a light-hearted, Instagramming babe, there’s never a shortage of ways to get active here. Head to the original Muscle Beach where the bodybuilding movement of the 20th century began and it seems like everyone on the beach can stand on their hands! They make it seem like cakewalk but it really isn’t, and you only realise this when you dare to try a few body-balancing acts yourself. Looking for an aquatic challenge?

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MOWGLI’S MESMERISING LAND – PENCH

You know nothing about the “wild” unless you’ve experienced the mysteriousness of Pench National Park in Madhya Pradesh, where fresh air, sounds of the jungle and feline-sightings await

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After three hours of tossing and bouncing on the bumpy road from Kanha to Pench, my parents and I are about to reach the suppositional cradle of the underwear-clad, little Mowgli. As we drive closer to Sarrahiri, a hamlet near Karmajhiri gate of Pench National Park, we are surrounded by grassy lands with organised patches of plantation on both sides.

The bright green landscape, peppered with tile-roofed mud homes, seems like a heavenly rural scene straight out of a Bollywood film!

We heave a sigh of relief after checking into our tree lodge perched on top of a Mahua tree. Next few minutes are spent relaxing in the balcony that offers uninterrupted views of the deciduous forest; I am delighted to spot some brightly-coloured birds and butterflies while sipping on warm ginger tea. I feel like I am in nature’s paradise where magic is about to unfold.

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Pench Tree Lodge by Pugdundee Safaris offers spacious, luxurious tree houses that give you those jungle feels. Yes, these tree houses come with a private balcony where you can relax/read a book to spend some quiet time amid nature.

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