From the hippest beach shacks in Goa to the plushest resorts in Jaipur, you’ve been there and done that for your annual New Year getaway already. This year, if you are looking for an off-beat escape that encapsulates the perfect pause while settled in the lap of luxury, we have just the thing for you. As 2015 crawls to the finish line, LIVEINSTYLE.COM presents five fabulous getaways to escape the chaotic tedium of India’s biggest metros.
A SOPHISTICATED BLOWOUT NEAR MUMBAI
Gather your buddies and take the seaplane ride (www.mehair.in) to Pawana Lake in Lonavala; then travel uphill for a luxuriously intimate party at the Hilton Shillim. Spread across 320 acres of wilderness, within the 3,500-acre private estate, is a study in organic landscaping. You can rent the 3-bedroom Presidential Pool Villa — replete with a personal butler — and sink into a smorgasbord of gourmet delights from The Green Table restaurant. From individually-curated yoga sessions and spa treatments to horse-riding, there are several appealing R&R options available. You can also party at Reserve (their spectacular wine library), warmed by a calming fireplace, with leather sofas to lounge on, after a delicious Black Angus steak dinner!
A HIMALAYAN ESCAPE FROM NEW DELHI
From hipster to hippie, the spiritual journey from Delhi to Dharamsala is quicker than the physical — we suggest you do a 12-hour Royal Enfield road trip, if you’re inclined towards adventure. Channel a bit of Bond by settling down at Glenmoor Cottages (www.glenmoorcottages.com) (Pierce Brosnan was a guest at this lovely hilltop retreat) amidst the enchanting cedar forests of the Kangra Valley. Roam McLeodganj’s easy-breezy lanes, feasting on thukpas, momos and some of the finest hand-tossed pizzas in India. After your New Year party 2016 here, take a day trip to Amritsar for exquisite gluttony and a nod at the Golden Temple to ensure that 2016 begins on a peaceful note.
A CULTURAL RETREAT FROM BANGALORE
Break out of back-to-back meetings and endless pub crawls by booking a stay at the gorgeous Kabbinakad Estate (www.thetamara.com) in Coorg, nestled within coffee, pepper and rosewood plantations. All villas come with private sun decks which afford stunning views. You’ll be just in time for The Tamara Carnival — a splendid showcase of music, drama, theatre and dance. From Oppana and Kalaripayattu performances to Blues nights, sax recitals and stand-up comedy, there’s a rich variety to sample. Later, drop by at Vivanta by Taj – Madikeri (www.vivantabytaj.com) for a first-rate Coorgi lunch at Nellaki restaurant.
A VINTAGE GETAWAY FROM HYDERABAD
While the city’s swish set does champagne brunches and escapes to Kerala, take the road less travelled (or a 2-hour flight) to Madurai to ring in the new year, royal Chettiar style. Settle in with family at the heritage rooms in a 100-year old palace — Chidambara Vilas (www.chidambaravilas.com) — complete with a four-poster bed, wooden-beamed roof and Athangudi tiles. Get the resort to engage you in the unparalleled world of Chettiar cuisine in their interactive kitchen; then burn those calories with Art Deco tours of the region and shopping trips for jewel-toned Kandangi saris or amazing antiques.
THE KHASI TRAIL FROM KOLKATA
You may have missed the famous Hornbill Festival (December 1 to December 10, 2015) at the emerald valleys of Kohima in Nagaland, but we suggest you travel to India’s most unexplored region anyway, to experience an unforgettable New Year’s Eve at Ri Kynjai Resort (www.rikynjai.com), 20 kilometres from Shillong in Meghalaya. Overlooking the serene Umiam Lake, it offers chic Khasi-style cottages with all amenities including a wonderful spa called Khem Janai. Go strawberry picking at Sohliya and nature-tripping at the Hogwarts-ish Sacred Grove of Mawphlang, before returning for a gourmet feast (try their smoked pork and Cherrapunji Chicken) at the resort’s Sao Aiom restaurant.
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Also, visit our New Year Party page to find out the best new year party in your city.