Czech-ing into Prague

“I’ll never run into anyone I know,” I said to myself while packing my suitcase for a trip to Prague. Indeed, I had never even heard of the Czech Republic being touted as a trendy destination: all the glory seemed to belong to the other countries of Western Europe. By the first afternoon of my…

Jims Jungle Retreat

The evening was so silent that I could hear my heart slamming hard against my rib-cage. I was sure the animal that was a few metres away could hear it too. I was sitting on the open first floor terrace of the café in Jim’s Jungle Resort, at the very edge of the 16 acre…

Narendra Bhawan

To put it in a nutshell, the city of Bikaner was a destination waiting to happen. Quite apart from its position on the Jaipur-Jodhpur-Bikaner circuit, it has superb infrastructure for hotels, all the best ones being heritage homes, where real palaces have been converted. The oldest one is Lallgarh, followed by Laxmi Niwas and then…

Shervani Hilltop, Naini Tal

A couple that I once met in Ladakh – we were staying at the same hotel – claimed that the best hotel they had ever stayed at in their lives was Shervani Hilltop, Naini Tal. I was rather taken aback, because this couple seemed to have visited every hotspot in the world. Then I met…

Eating a Bit of Culture

The Commonwealth Games are sure to flood Delhi’s restaurants with foreign patrons. Why not take a cue from South East Asian  restaurants and treat them to spot of Indian culture while they’re tucking in? Now that the Commonwealth Games are round the corner, I wonder how many hoteliers and restaurateurs have given much thought to…

In the Valley of Flowers

The Lalit Grand Palace makes you feel like royalty in this romantic city with picturesque lakes and historic gardens. God has given a gift to romantics and it is called The Lalit Grand Palace Srinagar. The first time I caught sight of it, it was hardly visible, wrapped as it was in mist that hung…

Eating Indian in London

You don’t want to visit an Indian restaurant in London?” My friend, chef Vivek Singh of Cinnamon Club, was incredulous. “That’s plain bizarre! Everyone knows that the best Indian food on the planet is in London.” It was my turn to be shocked. The whole point of visiting a new city in another country is…

Through the Backwaters

There’s no doubt about it – the high point of my trip to Kerala was a trawl through the backwaters in a houseboat. My hotel – Kumarakom’s Radisson Plaza – has its own houseboat, but getting a houseboat on hire is hardly rocket science: in the course of around six hours, I probably passed eighty…