For the Easter weekend this year, Laveena and I decided to fly to one of our favourite cities in the world, Dubai. We booked tickets on ’flydubai’, an airline which ticks all the right boxes with regards to, ’value for money’, ’comfort’, ’punctuality’, ’service’, ’entertainment’ and ’quality of food and wine choices on board’. Our onboard experience was yet again flawless and we found the standard of service to be nothing short of 5 star. The careful care and attention showered on all passengers in the business class cabin, was deeply appreciated. The chief cabin attedent, the very charming, Aness Charfi Nv Compte and Priyanka Kadam the ever smiling stewardess, had no idea that we were travel writers and yet, both were genuinely sensitive to every need of ours, committed to make our flying experience, even though a short one, a truly memorable one. From the generous servings of a fine French Bordeaux, to a steaming hot cappuccino and repeated visits with trays of delicious chocolates, they made our flight to Dubai, special.
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.
Early December, during a long weekend holiday, Laveena and I packed for a safari and travelled to Ranthambore in Rajasthan, India, in search of the majestic Bengal Tiger. We were greeted at the Airport by our chauffeur Jagdish, from the Aman-I-Khas. Our 3-hour long drive from Jaipur airport, was peppered with interesting conversation with Jagdish, who was bursting with enthusiasm, and showed a keen desire to share with us, his knowledge about the National Park, which he said was formerly a hunting ground for the royals of Jaipur. He also talked about the Ranthambore fort, the local Marwar culture and just as we were getting further engrossed in his detailed description about the Indian Government’s Project Tiger, he suddenly slowed the vehicle down and stopped by a local village belle selling guavas, which he promised would be the tastiest, we had ever tried. We couldn’t resist and with his help, we handpicked a bunch of freshly plucked fruit, which Jagdish cut with a kitchen knife he borrowed from the young village girl. He sprinkled some chilly powder and salt on the guavas and we feasted on this delicious snack. Less than 30-minutes later, we drove in through the gates of Aman-I -Khas, a luxurious camp, located at the foot of the Aravalli hills, a short 15-minute drive from the National Park.