There’s always a rush for the really nice and easy-to-reach getaways. We’ve collected the luxurious best so you can book ahead for the big Easter weekend coming up on March 25. By Shibani Bawa
A winding path down a coﬀee or spice plantation spread over undulating hills, with fresh air hanging perpetually overhead to keep you company—if this is a picture you draw of a quick getaway from the city, then Kodagu or Coorg is an option. Head out of Bengaluru early morning for a 5-hour drive to reach the estates, and feel the calm take over. Pay a visit to the local Kodava community that has a distinct ethnic identity and a fascinating culture that’s been safeguarded for centuries. Stay at Orange County, Coorg, set in a lush 300-acre plantation of coﬀee and spice. Here one may live the way the erstwhile planters did, in the Lily Pool Villas or Private Pool villas that are inspired by ethnic Kodava architecture. Vivanta by Taj Madikeri is also a verdant haven where 63 cottages, suites, villas, and rooms are set in 180 acres of a living rainforest.
If you’re willing to drive 260 kms from Bengaluru, the small town of Wayanad in northeastern Kerala oﬀers lofty ridges and a rugged terrain interspersed with dense forests, tangled jungles, and deep valleys of the Western Ghats. The Kabini river ﬂows through this area, and its beauty is further enhanced by the amazing waterfalls, tea plantations, and reserve forest. A family picnic is in order, and if you’re the outdoorsy type, Wayanad Silverwoods oﬀers guided bird watching, trekking, tribal village visits, ﬁshing, and boating tours to guests.
In under an hour from Chennai, you reach the famous archaeological wonders of Mamallapuram or Mahabalipuram, the World Heritage Site that is home to the windswept Shore Temple—a sight to behold on the water’s edge, you can book bicycling tours to the neighbouring villages and experience activities like rice and masala grinding as well as kolam or rangoli drawings. The Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay Mamallapuram spans 44 tropical acres against the scenic Bay of Bengal. Choose from a variety of room types, including chalets, villas and suites, with patios or balconies overlooking the grounds, sea or pools.
The combination of a faded colonial bohemian chic with a touch of French culture gives Puducherry a very unique vibe, unlike any other city in India. The French Quarter is a quaint neighbourhood laced with cobbled streets and white and mustard colonial buildings. The presence of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram further lends an inimitable serenity to this place. The charming Anantha Heritage is a 7-room heritage home in an 18th century Franco Tamil Villa.
Just a few kilometres from Mussoorie, Landour is located at an altitude of 6,600 to 7800 feet and oﬀers striking views of the Garhwal Himalaya. You can view up to 200 km of the snow clad Himalayas on a clear day. This is the perfect hill station to go for long walks, eat momos and noodles at quaint teashops, or view the magniﬁcent sunset at Lal Tibba. Check into the Rokeby Manor for its colonial charm and an exclusive opportunity to dine and converse with the famous author Ruskin Bond.
Located around 160 km south of Delhi, Alwar has been popular because of its proximity to the famous Sariska Tiger Reserve. It is also home to the newest Neemrana palace hotel. The 19th century Tijara Fort-Palace features seven terraced gardens that command a magniﬁcent view above the tall ramparts that have been restored painstakingly. The 21 suites and rooms have been named after India’s leading lady painters, and done up in ethnic luxury.
Located 265 kilometers from Mumbai, the picturesque town of Mahabaleshwar is famous for its strawberry farms. Its unique mix of old world charm and stunning natural beauty has secured its reputation as a popular hill station of the Sahyadri hills in western Maharashtra. Set high on a cliﬀ Bella Vista Resort has an enviable location and oﬀers an incredible view over the green tree covers of the Wilson point, Lingmala valley and across to the hills extending to Panchgani. Le Méridien Mahabaleshwar Resort & Spa is surrounded by evergreen forests and features a lagoon-style leisure pool. The spectacular rooftop inﬁnity pool, lends stunning views of the forested valleys.
Star gazing, trekking, birding and historical sites, Lonavala oﬀers it all within an easy driving distance from Mumbai. For a luxurious experience, stay at the all-villa Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat & Spa. Set within the natural beauty of a private estate, it oﬀers complete seclusion and serenity. For nature lovers, an eco-resort, The Machan makes an exciting getaway with its treehouses rising 30-40 feet above the forest. Each machan oﬀers spectacular views of the lush surroundings.