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Everlasting memories of a fairytale birthday celebration at Soneva Kiri

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.

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The Palace On Pichola – where you will find The Leela and Luxury in a royal embrace

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.

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Aman-I-Khas; A haven where wildlife and 7-star luxury, embrace effortlessly.

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.

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