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Resorting to luxury

Right now, the weather’s awful no matter which direction you head in India. But here are some luxury hideouts in different corners of the country that will ensure your comfort even if it is perspiringly hot. One’s only opening in October when the weather will be more bearable. But, like the others, it also promises a mix of luxury and charm in an off-the-beaten-track location.

Samode Safari Lodge, Bandhavgarh

It’s a sprawling 11 acres of open grassland in Bandhavgarh where the Samode Group of Hotels have recently built their latest property called the Samode Safari Lodge. Designed by eminent architect Pradeep Sachdeva, the complex is high on aesthetics and in complete sync with the environment.

The walls are made of hand-moulded bricks and architecturally inspired by the adjoining villages of Mardari and Gohori. Yet there’s no compromise on luxury and comfort with a range of modern amenities fitted in all the 12 villas.

Each villa comes with a spacious sitting room, a bedroom with a modern en-suite bathroom and a dressing area, a unique open-air bath court, and a private verandah that overlooks lush greenery. The lodge will open in October.

The lodge is five minutes away from the entrance to the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve (Ghori Gate). And when you tire of wildlife, the spa and the Jacuzzi are there for endless indulgence.

The highlight of your stay would be a safari with well-informed naturalists as your guides. And of course, with Internet access, you’ll always be connected with the world even if you decide to spend weeks here.

The resort is genuinely far-away-from-it-all and is approximately a five-hour drive from Khajuraho.

Hot ticket!

Approximately Rs 36,000 per room/ night for a couple. That includes accommodation, all meals, park fees, laundry, forest guide fees, soft drinks, house wines, two scheduled safari activities (subject to the park being operational), refreshment on game drives and all applicable taxes. Valid from October 15 to March 31, 2011.

Marari Villas, Kerala

It’s a charming getaway in central Kerala. Called the Marari Villas, it’s near the beach and offers personalised service that includes a chef for each cottage on the property. You can choose between beach houses, villas or cottages.

Owners Olga and Robert say the highpoint here is the personalised service. So, you can have a chauffeur-driven car to take you around, and personalised yoga and cookery classes. The cottages come with a swimming pool.

Hot ticket!

It costs Rs 18,000 for three nights for a couple. That includes breakfast, daily housekeeping services, Internet, and tea/ coffee/ drinking water. Additional nights cost Rs 6,000. The special seasonal package is valid from April 1 to August 31 though the resort is closed between June 1 and July 18 during the monsoon.

Mihir Garh, Jodhpur

Tucked away about 55km southwest of Jodhpur, Mihir Garh is a mud fortress that’s has been restored by the same family that owns Rohet Garh in Rohet village. The just-opened resort has nine luxury suites that are tastefully done up in earthy tones with contrasting bright colours.

Each suite comes with a spacious sitting room, a courtyard and terrace that overlook the surrounding countryside. The fort is surrounded by scrub desert and promises to be a haven of comfort in the wilderness.

Look out for action-packed activities like safaris into the village to experience rural life. Or go on picnics with a packed lunch provided by the resort. You could take yoga lessons from a trained instructor or, on a very different note, even go on a camel cart ride. The family that runs the resort, by the way, is passionate about horses and riding and they breed some fine horses in their stables. So horse riding is also an option.

Hot ticket!

Rs 14,500 to Rs 33,600 per suite per night depending on the suite. This includes all meals, non-alcoholic beverages and a village safari. Valid till September 30.

Raas, Jodhpur

This four-month-old 39-room property is being touted as Jodhpur’s first boutique property. A beautiful blend of Old and New worlds sums up the décor. Some rooms sport an ancient haveli look while some rooms are contemporary. Located in the middle of Jodhpur’s ancient Walled City, most of the rooms overlook the spectacular Mehrangarh fort.

The 39-room property has seven suites and each one comes with a spacious sitting room and large balconies. Four rooms come with private gardens and overlook the old and restored buildings.

The two restaurants serve continental and Indian cuisine. The spa managed by Serena Spas has five treatment rooms.

Hot ticket!

The tariff is as follows: Rs 23,000 for a suite, Rs 16,000 for luxury rooms and Rs 13,000 per night per couple for the Garden Room. Includes only breakfast. Valid till August 31.

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