PAMPER YOUR MIND, BODY & SOUL AT HILTON SHILLIM ESTATE RETREAT & SPA

When my husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday this year, I said some peace and solitude. So, we opted for a three-day getaway to Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat & Spa, near Pawana Lake, a 45-minute drive from Lonavala. Set amidst the breathtaking landscape of the Sahyadri mountain range in the Western Ghats, the 320 acre property offers undisturbed natural beauty, topped with complete seclusion and serenity.

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Since it was a warm summer’s day, it was nice being greeted with a cold, fragrant towel, a glass of fresh juice and some homemade energy bars that instantly helped us regain all the vitality we had lost during the five-hour road journey from Mumbai to Pawana Lake, courtesy the traffic jam at Mumbai-Pune expressway. Yes, our stomachs were growling with hunger and we headed straight for breakfast, obviously a healthy one.

STAY
Post a hearty breakfast, we were escorted to our discreet King Spa Pool Villa – a 205 sq m villa, with a private pool and lawn area as the name suggests – and we were more than delighted to make it our home.

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Apart from offering breathtaking views of the valley from the private deck, the villa featured a sun bed to spend some relaxing time outdoors, a beautiful stone bathtub with candles to amp up the romance factor, outdoor and indoor shower with indulgent bath amenities and, not-to-forget, a royal four poster bed. Clean, contemporary and elegant. Read more

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TRAVELLING WITH YOUR LITTLE ONE THIS SUMMER VACAY?

Air travel with kids can be highly stressful if you fail to plan it well. With the holiday season approaching soon, here’s an air travel survival kit for flying with your mischievous munchkin. Bon Voyage!

Implement a reward system
Before you head to the airport, sit with your kids and work out a reward system in which they get points for behaving well as travellers. It will include things like staying quiet, not crying and fighting, eating properly, being courteous by saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to the air hostess etc. You can keep a notebook and record the points and tally up the points at the end of the trip. Also, make sure you give them a good reward and on time or else they’ll never be motivated to behave well in future. If you have more than one child, see to it that the prizes are equal. During the entire process, you aim should be keeping your kids on track and less likely to misbehave. Also, stay away from any reward that is monetary in nature.

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WALLOW IN A BREATHTAKING BEACHSIDE SETTING AT SURYA SAMUDRA – KOVALAM

Planning a trip to Kerala and looking for a setting that will give you an ethereal experience of  ‘God’s Own Country’? I happened to stay at this beautiful heritage property called Surya Samudra – Kovalam by Niraamaya Retreats with my family a couple of months ago and simply didn’t want to return. I had almost planned to apply for a job as a staff member only so that I could live in the tranquil surroundings for the rest of my life. 😉

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The jade blue infinity pool surrounded by greenery. How can you not love it?
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Some bird watching at the nearly private beach of the resort

Set in 20 acres of landscaped gardens, Surya Samudra is a peaceful retreat built at a stunning cliff-top location with dramatic views of the Arabian Sea apart from the two secluded and nearly-private beaches, yet not more than 12 km from the hustle and bustle of Kovalam. Everything from the reception to the polished wooden cottages reflect the 100-year old traditional Keralan homes and lifestyle.

Reception 2 - Surya Samudra at Kovalam
The reception of the resort has a very earthy appeal with its wooden interiors

Spaced well apart, surrounded by a number of coconut trees, the cottages are perfect for families looking for deep relaxation or even a couple looking to sharing some romantic moments with each other. In fact, a solo trip here is highly recommended too as you’re sure to come back with a lot more calm and renewed energy for your next opus. Read more