24 Hours @Sol De Goa- A truly blissful experience!

Many a time we get engrossed in the daily hustle of life so much that we almost forget that we need to stop, breathe and live. Although I try my best to maintain the work-life balance, sometimes the drudgery of life takes a toll on me too. But trust me whenever I get an opportunity to spend some me time, travel, explore a new place, I simply leave everything aside and grab the opportunity with both hands.

Well, this is my first post of the year and it has been so delayed simply because I have been either too busy sometimes or too tired and lethargic the other times to even think about writing a blog post. In fact a past few days I had not even been keeping well, and didn’t feel like doing much anyway, but then came this wonderful opportunity that I wanted to make the best of. I was invited to cover a beautiful event comprising of some soulful jazz music and a 3-course fine dining meal and was also offered a stay at the property. Now imagine, a person who has been feeling so tired and overworked since so many days, don’t you think I would have literally given anything to get a relaxing day at a beautiful hotel followed by a luxurious meal and music and of course that is exactly what I did. I did not think twice before confirming my spot both for the stay and the event.

The property was Sol De Goa, a very quaint hotel situated amidst open green fields and a serene river. I live in Porvorim area of Goa, and the property located at Nerul was about 20 minutes away from my house. I caught hold of a pilot taxi and started my way towards the hotel. One step into the hotel and I knew I was going to have a great time. The warm hospitality of the girl at the reception gave me enough insight to gauge the quality standards that the hotel maintains. I was given a quick tour of the property and the more I saw it, the more I loved. The hotel has two beautiful swimming pools to indulge in. One of the pool is like a sun deck and the hotel’s restaurant also surrounds that area. It seemed like a perfect place to spend some time relaxing. This was also the venue for our evening event.

After touring around the property, I was escorted to my suite which spelled class right at the entrance. The moment the door to my room was unlocked, I was spellbound. The expansive living room area, with a huge TV screen and the couch that you want to jump right on to and all modern amenities seemed very inviting. As I moved further and took my first glance at the bed, I shifted my mind and wanted to jump in right there. It was just the kind of bed I adore. But then there was more, the highlight of my room was the attached balcony which oversaw the green fields and also the pool deck area. The view seemed mesmerizing enough to spend my entire day there, maybe with some music on the iPod, or a nice book and a cup of coffee. Bliss! Check out the full room tour in the link below


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So all of this led me confused on what did I want to do, dip in the pool, be a couch potato, take a nap on the bed or sit in the balcony and enjoy the view. Phew!! But then I felt that given my tired state of mind and body, the bed seemed just the right thing to do. So after fooling around a bit with myself, clicking some funny pictures and posting stories on Instagram, I cuddled myself up in that cozy bed and took a short and sweet nap.

After the nap, I woke up feeling quite refreshed and ready to do more in my room and began exploring all the windows and the scenes behind them. One of the windows offered me a spectacular view of the inner pool, the other opened to the pool deck and yet another gave me a glimpse of the fields and the river. For some time, I just kept sitting by each window, admiring the beauty of these scenes.

Then I made myself a cup of green tea and headed to the balcony to witness a beautiful sunset. The feelings can’t really be put in words and sometimes you literally have to experience to believe. Well, all I can say is, it was wonderful. The setting sun, the chirping birds, the orange sky and a silhouette kind of a tree, everything was just perfect.

After enjoying the sunset, I headed for a quick bath and got ready for the lovely evening that was waiting.

As I went down at the deck, the entire setting seemed magical, beautiful table layouts, candle lights, the reflection of lights in the pool and soulful Jazz music by a band named Orleans.

It was all fantastic. As my other friends joined in at the table, we started with what I can say was a mind-blowing culinary journey and riot of flavors.

Our menu comprised of:

Cocktail

Chilli Coco Pine- a drink made with white rum, pineapple juice, coconut syrup, and green chilies and it was amazing.

Starters

Pepper Rasam- Red snapper ceviche served in a puri with chilled rasam shots.

Camembert En Croute With Tomato Thoku And Coriander Chutney

Beef Seekh Kebab

Calamari Pepper Fry

Main Course

Murg Afgani With Lachha Parantha

Meen Chettinad With Coconut Curry And Kosambri Salad

Tandoori Spiced Pork Belly With Mango Chutney

Cranberry Kofta With Lachha Parantha

Dessert

Guava Cheese And Ricotta With Profiteroles

Gulab Jamun With Gelato

Well, now what words do I use to describe the food, I basically have just one word that it was amazing. We all had a tough time deciding what was the best, there was barely a difference, each and every item was delicious. But still to give you some grading, I would say that the Camembert was the best dish of the evening unanimously for all present, and the meen chettinad came a close second. Put everything else on the number 3 and I am sure you will get an idea about the kind of food experience I am talking about.

After this hearty meal and loads of fun and conversations with my friends, I happily retired to my cozy room for a good night’s sleep. I literally slept so calmly and peacefully that I had to force myself out of the bed for breakfast. But I surely didn’t want to miss it, and hence I headed to the pool deck once again for a lovely buffet spread of the breakfast. And now it was almost time to return home, so I went back to my room and got ready once again, but this time I wasn’t too excited to get ready because it felt that my holiday got over too soon. But nevertheless, I was taking back some great memories and feeling fully charged up and already looking forward to my next visit at Sol De Goa soon.

Sol De Goa

Address:
Road Opp Bank of India, Bhatiwado, Nerul, Goa, 403114,
Nerul India , Goa – 403114.

Phone : 0832 671 4141

Reservation Phone : 9552134385

Email : reservations@soldegoa.com

Nature’s Nest Goa- A Staycation Close To Nature!

Well on some of the days, we really wanna get away from the hustle bustle of daily life and that is one of the prime reasons I left Delhi and chose to live in Goa. Goa in itself is so peaceful and surrounded by nature that I find it refreshing me all the time, but even then, sometimes we want to go a little far away from the daily life and spend a couple of days relaxing. What better than staying close to nature for a perfect getaway and relaxation.

Nature’s Nest

I had read about a lot of places that offer accommodation in the lap of nature, and Nature’s Nest true to its name was the one name that cropped in my head. I discussed it with my friend, and she too readily agreed to the trip. We chose the Independence Day Eve as a perfect day for our mid-week adventure. Nature’s Nest is located in Surla area of Goa, which was approximately 60kms away from where we stay. Its truly surrounded by nature, its close to the Mahavir Wild Life Sanctuary and very popular with bird watchers and trekking lovers, as it offers perfect spots for both.

The Journey

We set out around 10 AM from our place, as it would take us 1.5 hours drive to Nature’s Nest and the check in time was at 12 Noon. The weather was totally on our side and once you cross Ponda, the drive becomes even more beautiful. The narrow roads, with greenery in abundance on both sides, makes for a fantastic view. We added some music in the background, grabbed a couple of drinks and snacks for the way and we were all set. We reached Nature’s Nest quite on time, at 12:15 we were at the reception of the resort.

The Ambiance and Rooms

The ambiance has a very raw appeal to it and is surrounded by greenery. It’s like practically living in mud and bamboo cottages in a middle of a jungle and in one look, I loved it. The greenery seemed even more alive and fresh after the rains and as per me, monsoons are definitely one of the best times to visit this place, not that you cant visit during other months, but trust me monsoons are the best. After a warm welcome at the reception along with a refreshing Kokum drink, we were directed towards our cottage. The resort houses 10 cottages and they look so lovely.

Our cottage was named Kunjan, and once again the raw appeal of the cottage, the mud walls, the thatched roof, all reminded me of the times I have spent in the villages and it was nostalgic. The room was spacious and comfortable, twin beds, with side tables, a dressing table and an open cane shelf for keeping clothes etc. The bathroom too was very spacious and huge, it almost felt like another room.

Lunch

After settling in the room and chilling for sometime imbibing the nature, it was almost time for lunch. At 1:30, we headed towards the restaurant area and a traditional Goan lunch was waiting for us. Prawn Curry, Chicken Xacuti, Rawa Fish Fry, Veg Gravy, Bhaji, Dal, Solkadi, Salad, Papad, Bhakri and Rice, the menu was quite a big one and was perfect for both vegetarians as well as non-vegetarians. It was freshly prepared and had the authentic taste of Goan flavors. Loved the kheer for sweet-dish.

More in Goa Food- Habanero- A Tex-Mex Culinary Experience

Activities

After lunch, we retired to our rooms for a power nap and returned to the activity area at 4 PM. We indulged in 3-4 activities before our dinner and they were:

Artificial Wall Climbing

Well, this one was not for me, as with my fingernails I just could not get the grip and climb even one step. My friend did try a bit, but even she couldn’t do much. So we kind of skipped this one and moved to the next activity.

Flying Fox and Zip Line

Now both of these were really fun, I had never tried a zip line before and although it wasn’t a very high or long one, I really enjoyed it. Zipping between the greens and with raindrops drenching me, it was something I really loved.

Trek to a Plateau

Well, this was an evening trail amidst nature, we trekked to a nearby plateau, the slight uphill climb was beautiful. The sounds of a peacock and a flowing stream were almost filling the entire place. View from the top point was breathtakingly beautiful. I could not manage a lot of clear pictures because it rained heavily while we went there and also some of the pics came blurred because of this reason. Nevertheless, what I captured in my mind and soul will remain with me for a long time. We also saw an insectivorous plant and a pair of Hornbills, they looked amazing as they flew from one tree to the other. Their flight looked magically beautiful.

This point is otherwise very famous for sunset, but as we were in monsoons, there was no sunset to watch, but a lot of refreshing greenery, the water stream, plants, birds, frogs, and yes the peacock. I felt so so good after this trek. Also met an Ornate Flying Snake Baby, never had a chance to see a snake so closely, it looked so so beautiful. And strangely enough, I wasn’t scared.

Night Trail

By the time we returned from our trek, it was almost 6:30, we came back to our rooms to freshen up a bit and then at 7 PM headed for a short night trail. This night trail was specifically to show us a luminous kind of mushroom that glows in the dark, so complete darkness was important.

After a walking for a short while, we reached the spot, though we were using our flashlights to walk through the dense forest, at this point, our guide, Mr. Ramesh, one of the partners at Nature’s Nest instructed us to switch off all lights and close our eyes for a few seconds. After those few seconds, when we opened our eyes we were astonished. A full tree branch, from the ground to the top was glowing, it felt as if someone had put a tube light there. We even held one of the branches in our hand, with the flashlight on, it felt like any other branch, with nothing special to notice, but the magic happened when it turned dark.

Source

Dinner and a Good Night’s Rest

After this night trail, we were a bit tired with the day’s activities and chose to have an early dinner. A spread of simple dishes including Kadhai Chicken, Mushroom Curry, Dal, Baingan Bhaji, Rice, Roti, and Seviyan was laid out. It felt like a home cooked comfort food, nothing fancy, but simple yet tasty. Though we had all intentions to retire to bed early as we had to go for a morning trek too, but we ended up chatting for long hours sitting and relaxing in the restaurant itself and then with some background light music supported by the music of falling raindrops on the roof, the sounds of the cricket and watching the fireflies glow near the window, we drifted into to a good night’s sleep.

More About Goa- Artjuna- A Perfect Combination of Food & Lifestyle Place

 

The Talde Waterfall Trek

We got up early the next morning, as, after a quick breakfast of omelet, poha, pav and black coffee, we had to leave for the Talde Waterfall Trek. We left the resort at around 8:30 AM. The trek point is about 10 minutes drive from the resort and its a 30 minutes trek into thick forest with very narrow lanes. 20 minutes of the trek is more of a straight walk, but like I said the walk is on a very very narrow lane which can barely fit one person, and the last 10 minutes of the trek are tougher with more of an uphill climb on slippery stones and rocks, but once you reach the waterfall, its all simply worth it.

The view is mesmerizing, the noise of the waterfall filled me with so much calmness that I words will fall short to explain my feelings. It’s definitely worth a visit. For me, it was my first experience of almost dipping in the water and feel a waterfall so closely. Its one of those experiences that I will never forget. We spent a good half an hour enjoying the waterfall and after capturing memories in my camera, we started on our way back. Once back to the resort, we did our check out formalities and came back home completely refreshed and rejuvenated.

This entire experience filled me with so much of positive energy that as soon as I was back home, I was raring to go for another adventure. I did not feel even a bit tired. This staycation was a much-needed break for me and although I was not very sure about anything, as everything was new for me, all I can say is I am glad I took this decision and chose Nature’s Nest.

Also Read- Exploring the Fontainhas, Goa

As per season, Nature’s Nest offers a lot of activities like Bird Watching, Jungle Safaris, Night Trails, Trekking, Waterfall Treks etc. Make sure you check with them of the available options and plan your travel accordingly.

 

Leela Ambience Convention Hotel, Delhi- luxury and food experience at its best!

I am a sucker for luxury and a five star hotel is one of the best ways to indulge in some luxury, leisure and one is lucky enough if the hotel also offers some great food. I recently stayed at the Leela Ambience Convention Hotel, Delhi and I can easily say, that it gave me a perfectly balanced experience of everything. The comfortable stay in a spacious room, culinary delights at Dilli 32 and Cafe Knosh and immense hospitality throughout. Read the full story here

The culinary experience at Dilli 32 was indeed a special one, as the restaurant was running a food festival, Dining with the Maharajas, serving the royal food from Mahmoodabad. Read my complete post here 

I had a very pleasant and fulfilling experience at the Leela Ambience Convention Hotel and I look forward to a visit again soon and also recommend the place to all my readers, I am sure you too will love it.

Witnessing Royalty of Rajasthan at Fairmont, Jaipur!

Opulence, Royalty, Class, Expansiveness, Luxury are some of the words that came to my mind the moment my car stopped at the porch of Fairmont Hotel, Jaipur. And as I kept moving from the porch to the entrance and finally to my room, all these words turned into reality. Right at the welcome, when a man clad in traditional Rajasthani clothes sings “Padharo Mare Des”, you start feeling the royalty of Rajasthan seeping in, at least thats what I felt. To me whenever this song is sung with a deep tone, it gives me goosebumps.

As I moved towards the lobby, smiling faces awaited me to process a smooth check-in. While it just took about 5 minutes for the entire process, even in those 5 minutes, glimpses of luxury started to show. Cold Towels, Welcome Drink and Escorted entry to my room, I had already started to enjoy my short vacation.

Now coming to the best part, the room, it oozed out opulence and class and trust me when you open the doors to the expansive bathroom, your heart almost skips a beat. Calling it lavish, would be an understatement. The bathtub in the centre catches your attention instantly and all you want to do is, fill it up with a hot bubble bath and just soak yourself and let the luxury take its course on you. But as I reached late in the afternoon, the hunger didn’t let me indulge in the bath at that moment, and it had to wait for a later time in the night.

Now to satiate my hunger, I headed down to Zoya, the all day dining multi cuisine restaurant. A chicken caesar salad, a platter of non-veg kebabs and lamb biryani comprised of my hearty meal. The salad was good and gave me a refreshing start to the meal. From the kebab platter, I loved the Kasundi Mahi Tikka the most and also the Chicken Tikka and Chicken Malai Tikka were done well, but the best was the fish.

The Lamb Biryani is surely something you shouldn’t miss, it was one of the highlights. The rice were perfectly spiced and the fried onions garnish added another layer of flavour to it. The mutton pieces were really soft and tender. Served with raita, its a complete meal and believe me you won’t need anything else. 5 senses and toffee date pudding are the desserts you can’t afford to miss again. They will melt in your mouth.

After this appetising meal, I retired to my room for a small nap, whereas my son tried his hand at Table Tennis in the hotel itself. The hotel does offer quite a lot of activities for children of all age groups. Later I spent most time of my evening dipping myself in the expansive pool, almost for 2 hours and it made me feel refreshed and tired at the same time, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

A quick shower and was ready for yet another culinary exploration and this time headed to  Zarin, a speciality restaurant that serves Persian delicacies. Shishlik, boneless lamb chops on skewers was a melt in the mouth experience and is definitely a must try. Jujeh Kebab was the next dish on my platter, succulent pieces of barbecued chicken, this too was delicious. We also ordered for roasted lamb chops and they too were a delight, full of flavours, but only I wished that the meat was a little more tender.

For main course, we tried Dal Zarin, Nihari Khas and a Chicken based gravy dish, and all the main course dishes were fabulous and should surely be given a try. But the best was yet to come, it was the dessert platter, with Baklawa and Baglawa and I just could not have enough of both of these items. They were simply the best I have ever eaten.

After a very hearty meal yet again, I headed to the comfort of my room for a good night’s sleep. I really had a very peaceful sleep as the rooms are completely sound proof, I got up just in time for the breakfast. The breakfast was a lavish spread at Zoya and one can get a lot of options from English breakfast to American and Indian with regional delicacies as well.

I spent the day at leisure, indulging in games, hitting the gym and dipping in pool. The lunch was special on this day, as we got to savour the typical Rajasthani Thali and no amount of words can justify the flavours, the presentation and the taste. You really need to have it yourself to believe the goodness of it. I have to admit that I had once earlier also tasted the Rajasthani Thali but didn’t like it much back then, but here at Fairmont, it was easily one of the best things I had. The veg thali especially included things which I had never tasted before and I loved all of them. Papad Mangodi ki Subzi, Gatte ki Subzi, Sagri Ke Kofte and Dal Batti Churma, everything was outstandingly delicious. In the non-veg thali, Laal Maas was obviously the highlight. Finishing the meal with Kulfi Falooda was just the thing to do.

For dinner, we have a private set up done at the terrace overlooking the pool and a magnificent tomb. We settled for some Asian food that night and I think this is one area where the hotel needs to work a bit. In comparison to the Indian and Persian food, Asian food did not meet much of expectations. Main Course consisting of Sichuan Chicken and Chicken Garlic Noodles was really good whereas starters except Chicken Spring Rolls were disappointing.

After a luxurious bath at night I once again had a comfortable sleep at the Hotel. The third morning, after a continental brunch at Zoya, I had to bid goodbye to this luxury and head back home. I enjoyed a grilled chicken breast with mushroom sauce for my brunch and it truly was delicious.

Goodbyes are often the most difficult thing and who wants to leave such comfort, class and luxury, but like they say ‘all good things come to an end’ and so did my short 2 night-3 day trip to Fairmont Jaipur. But I am sure I will be going there back very soon as I fell in love with the place. If you haven’t stayed at this hotel, it should definitely be in your list. I am still swooning over the place.

Hotel Fact File

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FAIRMONT JAIPUR

Toll Free (Room Reservations only):
1 877 289 1012
jai.reservations@fairmont.com

2, Riico Kukas
Jaipur
India
303101
Maps & Directions

TEL + 91 142 642 00 00
FAX + 91 142 642 00 11
International Numbers

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