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.
As members of Taj InnerCircle, India’s largest hotel loyalty programme, valid at over 80 hotels locally, and at 16 hotels at iconic international destinations, we look forward to our yearly stay-cation in our city of residence. Over the years we have enjoyed our free weekends as ‘Taj InnerCircle’ members, at the Vivanta by Taj – President, Taj Lands End – Mumbai and our favourite, The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai, a property we love dearly and have celebrated many a special occasion at. For us, the Taj brand embodies a perfect mix of sophistication and warmth, with high standards of services and etiquette from their staff.
This year, a friend recommended we spend our weekend at the Taj Santacruz, the brand new luxury hotel, located near the domestic airport in Mumbai.
Steeped in history, this European city of a hundred spires, seems to have frozen in time. As one walks along the charming pebbled streets, one cannot help falling in love with the beautiful Gothic churches, the Baroque buildings and the red-roofed homes. With a special place in our hearts for this city, which has culture at its core, Laveena and I were lucky to have returned to Prague after a wonderful stay at Chateau Mcely (Pampered like Royals at Chateau Mcely).
On a Crisp autumn morning in October, Laveena and I drove 70 Kms North East of Prague, to Mcely, a beautiful picturesque central Bohemian village in the Czech Republic, with a tiny population of 300. The colours of fall, had cast an umbrella of red and gold, upon many of the narrow village roads and our mood was gloriously happy and mellow as our car drove through several light drizzles of leaves, which delicately fell to the ground, reminding us of the magnificent season we had chosen to be in the Czech Republic.
For our Diwali (The Indian Festival of Lights) holidays this year, Laveena and I travelled to the Czech Republic. Our first stop was Prague, the ever so stunning capital city, steeped in history, with its colourful baroque buildings, red rooftops, narrow pebbled streets, Gothic churches, old bridges and the glorious Vtlava river. Our first impression when our taxi drove into the left-bank neighbourhood of Mala Strana (Lesser Town), was that Prague (or Praha as the Czechs refer to their beloved city), was one of the most beautiful cities either of us had ever set eyes on.