Ever since the end of the cold war in 1991, I was curious to see what lay behind the symbolic iron curtain. When I finally landed in the city by the Moskva river last week, I wasn’t prepared for what lay ahead. I was in Moscow for a 2 day conference, but I knew I had to make my limited time in this city count and I had to visit at least a few of the captivating architectural marvels this magnificent city had to offer.
Nestled in the heart of a 180 acre rainforest, 4000 ft above sea level, with it’s villas perched on the side of a hill, the Vivanta by Taj Madikeri, offers guests an extraordinary getaway experience which is an absolute once in a lifetime must.
Last summer, after spending a week in Gais, in Switzerland’s charming Appenzeller region, Laveena and I took the train to Stein Am Rhein. We had plans to meet up with our friends from Germany, the effervescent and affable Lydia and Oliver Kirchel, a delightful couple we met in the Maldives in the late 90s and with whom we have toured different parts of the world including Scotland, Denmark, Luxembourg, Germany and France. We arrived at the station and almost as soon as we stepped out, in keeping with the well known reputation of German precision, our dear friends announced their arrival with a light honk of their car horn.
Not every property I stay at lives up to my expectations, however it is rare that a hotel I choose, disappoints on almost every front. Sadly, The Gateway Hotel, Ummed Ahemedabad, failed to impress. This despite the fact that The Gateway Hotels & Resorts is a ‘Taj’ brand and is described on the official website of the Taj Hotels, as a full service upscale hospitality brand in the South Asia region.
We spent New Years at Ko Lanta, a large island in Southern Thailand which has coral rimmed sandy white beaches, a fabulous coastline dotted with over 70 small islands, blue waters and miles of green virgin forests and hills. Unlike the more famous Koh Phi Phi, Ko Lanta is relatively less known to tourists. After spending Christmas in Bangkok, Laveena and I, along with our dear friends from Germany, Lydia and Oliver Kirchel, flew to Koh Lanta to celebrate New Years eve.