SUITE DREAMS

The largest re­sort ho­tel in the NCR beck­ons

India Today - - CONTENTS - SAYS CHUMKI BHARAD­WAJ

Grat­i­fi­ca­tion may be at the bot­tom of famed psy­chol­o­gist Abra­ham Maslow’s hi­er­ar­chy of needs, but in an era of high-speed com­mu­ni­ca­tions, hy­per so­cial dig­i­tal cul­ture and in­stant re­ac­tions, an In­sta­gram fix best cod­i­fies the ar­ma­ment of lux­ury. In­dia Ho­tel’s new of­fer­ing, Vi­vanta by Taj in Su­ra­jkund, ex­em­pli­fies pre­cisely that sen­ti­ment. The cozy property, hemmed by prob­a­bly the only green stretch of the Araval­lis, is a 120-char­ac­ter Twit­ter-tas­tic state­ment. Spa­cious but not sprawl­ing and cozy, though not con­fined, this ho­tel packs a punch with its man­age­able size yet fair bit of great op­tions for en­ter­tain­ment.

Ear­lier man­aged by the Clar­idges, the Taj only re­cently took over its reins. Al­though changes to the façade and gen- eral phys­i­cal­ity have been sub­tle, the famed Taj brand of hos­pi­tal­ity is the no­table distinguisher. The best thing about the ho­tel is its lo­ca­tion. Su­ra­jkund, his­tor­i­cally con­sid­ered the lungs of pol­luted Delhi, of­fers un­in­ter­rupted patches of tran­quil green. And the ho­tel does not dis­ap­point, with ev­ery room in the semi cir­cu­lar property of­fer­ing glo­ri­ous views, with each ter­raced suite crowned by an over­ar­ch­ing tan­gle of flam­ing ma­genta bougainvil­laea—an easy marker for those try­ing to scout out the ho­tel.

The ho­tel how­ever, is proud to bare its re­sort roots not just for har­ried city dwellers but for those look­ing to find an ac­ces­si­ble ur­ban ad­dress for mar­riage vow re­newals and des­ti­na­tion wed­dings.

With 22,000 sq feet of ban­quet­ing space and am­ple cam-

era phone venues for that per­fect vedi setup, it is idyl­lic. Of course, the nat­u­ral rocks that abound pro­vide the per­fect craggy back­drop for the build up to be ro­man­ti­cised on cue. The two ho­tel restaurants don’t ex­actly kill you with choice but less is more in this case. Es­pe­cially if you de­cide to in­dulge at Paranda, their In­dian restau­rant that takes in­spi­ra­tion from the five river cui­sine of the Pun­jab. The calo­ries may com­pel you to go on a life-long diet but it’s well worth the con­se­quences. In­ge­nious menu with sug­ges­tive names of dishes such as Sood de Dhabhe di Dal (ac­tu­ally in­spired from the name­sake dhaba in Lud­hi­ana, ac­cord­ing to Chef Joshi) and

Sec­tor 7 ke Tari wala Mut­ton were as de­lec­ta­ble as their names were novel. A spe­cial men­tion has to be made of the chat­pata

ananas (pineap­ple); one of the most unique Barbie-grilled fruit ever. The cof­fee-shop, Oa­sis, serves pre­dictable reg­u­lars but the view sieved through the slanted sun­light stream­ing through glass walls is a win­ter spe­cial. Of course, a chilled glass of Chardon­nay, by the foun­tains teas­ing the tall mashals at twi­light paints the court­yard in a painterly mood­i­ness that pro­vokes ex­is­ten­tial ques­tions at the very least.

From sole sat­is­fac­tion, we board the soul train at the Jiva Grande Spa. The 18,500 sq feet space is an af­fec­tion­ate nod to sur­real in­dul­gence. I am of­fered the Shringar treat­ment, an ini­ti­a­tion rit­ual for the bride. The two hour treat­ment be­gins with an anoint­ment of a paste with royal in­gre­di­ents such as saf­fron, san­dal­wood, turmeric, honey and all that’s won­der­ful, fol­lowed by glo­ri­ous ablu­tions in warm milk and rose petals to re­store ‘sparkle and soft­ness’. Close on the heels of this Cleopa­tra-es­que rit­ual, is a one-hour aroma ther­apy mas­sage where the ther­a­pist kneads my trou­bles into obliv­ion with skilled strokes that purr con­fi­dence.

Per­fec­tion is best left un­touched so I call it a day or was it night, I can’t quite re­call, and pro­ceed to my cav­ernous suite that has more room than most ho­tel lob­bies and three bal­conies; each tempt­ing with a bet­ter view. I will en­joy an al fresco break­fast to­mor­row I prom­ise my­self. But for tonight, I want to crawl into bed and sub­li­mate on noth­ing­ness. To­mor­row is an­other day.

THE SEMI-CIR­CU­LAR FA­CADE OF THE HO­TEL IS LIT UP TO COM­BAT THE FAD­ING LIGHT AT SUN­SET

Photo cour­tesy VI­VANTA by TAJ

THE BRIDAL SUITE IN MUTED SHADES OF GOLD ( TOP); RUS­TIC IN­TE­RI­ORS OF PARANDA ( ABOVE)

RA­JWANT RAWAT / www.in­di­a­to­day­im­ages.com

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