Imagine this: you’ve booked an innocent holiday for yourself around the Valentine’s Day weekend, but within minutes, it becomes clear that those guests canoodling in the cabanas are celebrating the death of a Roman saint, because Hallmark says it’s the day of love. The romantic hotel has sprayed chocolate and rose petals everywhere, and you have to inhale the scent of romance while devouring a chicken burger in your room. In a sea of risque-ly affectionate couples, you get a sympathetic nod from the waiter and a complementary bowl of chocolate covered strawberries for one. “You’ll find someone soon,” his eyes say.
Oh, who am I kidding? You’re never going to get a room at any of these romantic hotels in India around Valentine’s Day. They’re usually fully booked out in February. Nonetheless, it’s better to prepare yourself in case a couple breaks up before Valentine’s Day and you get a pushy email from booking.com.
So, this is what I’m proposing: let your attached friends enjoy these love nests because if you needed a reminder of your singlehood, you could have just gone to a wedding alone. In case you find yourself at one of these romantic hotels in India due to any unfortunate reason, pick up the complementary glass of champagne (that came with the strawberries) and raise them a toast. Love is love, after all.
Ah, Coorg. Where all is green, where the air carries the fragrance of coffee and cardamom. Sitting in the balcony of your luxury cottage, take a moment to just be one with nature…a steaming cup of coffee in hand. The food is served at The Fall, which again brings you close to nature with the unique architecture of the restaurant built as a bridge over a stream. The Deck is the evening spot, where you can listen to Nature’s nightlife–chirping and night bird songs. Book the Signature Coffee Experience at the spa that uses natural products to relax the body. The hotel also offers more nature-based experiences including trekking, plantation tours and birdwatching. But if you’d rather stay ensconced in your room, looking at the birds from your bed, that’s blissful, too.
Cost for two: Rs 14,000 per night upwards
Nestled in the pine forest, circled by the Himalayas, The Khyber Resort is a lover’s warm embrace. In February, the slopes will be dusted white, turning the scenery into a snowglobe. You can go skiing–the world’s highest ski lift, Gulmarg Gondola, is just minutes away. Stay in your cottage and draw a warm bath, or go for a dip in the indoor pool and catch the sun flirting with the trees through the mountains from the resorts floor-to-ceiling windows. Traverse through the meadows and forests on foot, dine at the restaurants with panoramic views of the peaks, watch the starlit sky…you will nod to Amir Khusrau’s words, Hameen asto.
Must-do: The Khyber Spa by L’Occitane offers a variety of relaxing treatments–from massages to body wraps, so it deserves a spot on your day’s agenda, too.
Pro Tip: It’s a dry resort, so remember to bring your own alcohol.
Cost for two: Rs 24,000 per night upwards
A fairly new property in the Golden City of Rajasthan, this yellow sandstone, fort-like resort stays true to the spirit of the state with its warm hospitality. The guests are welcomed with nagadas and flowers are showered on them as they walk over the threshold. Every morning, you wake up to the sweet music in the courtyard and start your day with hot paranthas from the all-day dining restaurant. There’s laal maas for dinner and another performance by local artists. Sometime during the day, you can take a tour of the Jaisalmer Fort and go dune bashing, learn pottery from a village potter and book yourself a massage.
Cost for two: Rs 10,500 per night upwards
A 19th-century tea estate in Darjeeling, Glenburn takes pride in its heritage and the beauty of its surrounding–the world’s highest peak Kanchenjunga can be spotted from here. Stay at The Planter’s Suite, which is decorated with old maps and prints and opens up to the garden. Wooden furnishings, hand embroidered linens, chequered bathroom flooring and a four-poster bed are some of the touches that remind you of the history of the place.
You can learn the intricacies of brewing a hot cuppa at this tea estate, and go for hikes passing through the fields and the village. They also offer fishing, cooking classes and massages.
Cost for two: Rs 43,710 per night including all meals, transport, activities and taxes
Homegrown wines are finally catching up in India and Sula is a frontrunner in the market. The wine brand hosts Sulafest every year in its vineyards and you can visit them any time of the year for a tasting and tour. Here, you will also find an Italian restaurant that pairs Sula wines with freshly-prepared Italian fare and an Indian restaurant that proves that our culinary heritage, too, complements wines. Hop on a bicycle and explore the meandering paths and come back to your lakeview room for a flute of their house bubbly. The sun setting behind the rolling hills at Beyond at Sula should be enough to bring you here and make you stay.
Cost for two: Rs 10,000 per night upwards
Planning to escape to the mountains? Read my blog on Ramgarh, Uttarakhand and go, go, go!