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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KEEMALA: WHERE LAVISHNESS MINGLES WITH RUSTIC NATURE

Being a frequent tripper, “a holiday in Phuket” – at first – didn’t really sound very exciting to me. Having been to Thailand a couple of times, I had already lived the sun, sand and the sea. But as soon as I browsed the website of Keemala, what I simply wanted to do was pack my bags and head right out of that door! The property looked unbelievably enchanting in pictures and I was curious to know if something like this really existed on the world map. A large part of travel often depends on where you stay, and my stay at Keemala gave me the finest experience of the paradisaical island.

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Keemala is exactly what dreams are made of. At some point in life, we all dream of living in a dimly-lit, swanky villa; sleeping like royalty on a beautifully-carved canopy bed; and swimming in our private pool while sipping on a glass of old, pricey wine. And this rainforest retreat fulfills all these fantasies and more, in the most understated manner possible.

VILLA WITH A PRIVATE POOL

So, when I finally arrived at Keemala and checked into my Tree Pool villa, I still thought I was living in my little bubble of bliss and that someone would burst it any moment.

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My pod-shaped Tree Pool Villa

The villas come in four different categories: hut-like Clay Pool Cottages apt for solo travellers; Tent Pool Houses with wildlife-inspired interiors, perfect for adventurous nomads; pod-shaped Tree Pool Houses with an upper, outdoor relaxation space, great for a family of four and opulent Bird’s Nest Pool Villas with giant terraces overlooking the Andaman Sea.
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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 ofΒ  ‘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. πŸ˜‰

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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.

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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