It was in 2017, that the magnificent Soneva luxury brand came into our lives. Given our penchant for travel and luxury brands, I was appointed as a Soneva Ambassador, a title and an honour which I proudly embraced. And with Soneva, came an introduction to a precious jewel in Thailand, Soneva Kiri, located in Koh Kood, one of Thailand’s largest, but perhaps least developed islands. It had everything that I was looking for to make my 50th birthday, truly memorable. A luxury resort, located on a remote island in Thailand, accessible by a private jet and speed boat, set amidst a jungle of lush green trees and surrounded by an inviting calm blue ocean.
Located in a charming remodelled 1970s villa on Yen Akat road, in Bangkok, Thailand, Suhring is a Michelin starred eatery which effortlessly puts German cuisine on the vast, mysterious and exciting global culinary map. It is a restaurant where magic happens daily and exquisite dishes are crafted by the multi talented, Suhring twins.
As India celebrated it’s 69th Republic Day on the 26th of January 2018, Laveena and I boarded a flight to Udaipur in Rajasthan. Udaipur, was founded in 1559 by Maharana Udai Singh II and was the former capital of the Mewar Kingdom. After a short hour-long flight from Mumbai, we landed at the Maharana Pratap airport, where we were greeted by Kamal Bhati, the regally dressed chauffeur from The Leela Palace, Udaipur. This was our first ever stay at a Leela property and we were beyond excited about what lay ahead.
In February this year, one of our dearest friends, Nikita Sanyal, celebrated her 40th birthday in Bangkok and we were invited to spend a night at the Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park. We had arrived in Bangkok a day earlier as we didn’t want to miss out on staying at our favourite city hotel in the world, The Siam Kempinski. On the day we were to shift, I remember telling the staff at the executive lounge at the Siam Kempinski, that we were sad to be leaving to stay at another hotel in Bangkok, but we did tell them that we would be back in a day. When our taxi arrived, the Bell Captain at The Siam Kempinski, while loading our bags asked, “ we hear you are moving to another city hotel Mr. Mitha. Why?” We explained it was only for a night, for a friend’s birthday celebrations and promised we would be back.
Laveena had a short break for Holi ( the Indian festival of colour which ushers in springtime). An early morning flight to Colombo, on Sri Lankan Airlines, was followed by a long wait at the Bandaranaike International airport. From Colombo, we boarded a flight to Male, the densely populated capital of the Maldives, a stunningly beautiful island nation in the Indian Ocean. The hour long flight to Male was a pleasant one. Indian citizens receive their entry visas for the Maldives on arrival at immigration. We collected our luggage and were greeted at the airport by a Soneva Jani representative, who first checked us in for our sea plane ride to our resort island and then drove us to the Soneva Jani lounge where we waited for over an hour for our 40 minute long sea plane ride from the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport in Malé to Soneva Jani.