Inside the newly launched Radisson Blu Resort Visakhapatnam that gives you many a reason to fly down south this summer.
I have been to Vizag before. Twice. So it’s safe to say I am quite familiar with its dramatic skies, the cool sea breeze that flows on balmy evenings, strong kick in the indigenous Andhra food, and the genuineness in the smiles of the locals. And yet, when I flew down south once again earlier last month, for a weekend beach getaway to Radisson’s brand new luxury property, the journey bared before me the city’s myriad new shades through a series of fresh experiences. May be third time is really the charm, as they say.
The view was insane from my window seat on my flight from Delhi to Vizag — cobalt blue fading into the golden yellow of the melting sun, spilling a hint of lilac all over the sky! It instantly reminded me why I had fallen in love with the sunsets in this city before. But by the time I landed and made my way out of the airport, it had turned dark. The smooth, short drive to Radisson Blu Resort Visakhapatnam was, hence, sans the picturesque views I had been hoping to catch. When we finally pulled up at the resort some 45 minutes later, except for the dimly-lit porch and fish pond at the entrance, there were barely any lights on.
“It’s the Earth Hour. We have turned off all the non-essential lights to mark the occasion,” one of the staff members smiled at me, probably reading through my confused look, as she put kumkum on my forehead and put a string of shells around my neck to welcome me in. The lobby was lit with wax candles and oil lamps, giving me a glimpse of the swanky setting. Sipping on my welcome drink of fresh coconut water, I made my way to a buggy which then took me to my room.
A king-sized bed with hand-painted headboard, an oil painting hanging from the wall behind, a soothing pastel yellow running through the room and complementing the soft wood floorings, a separate lounging space with upholstered couch, the elegant en-suite bathroom with branded toiletries, and a neatly stacked mini bar — each element of my Executive Room came draped in unbridled comfort of a home and yet exuded the charm of a stylish hotel room. The palatial space ensured it had enough room for a company (or two), while the attached balcony overlooked the resort’s infinity pool.
All 99 rooms, and three independent villas at Radisson Blu Resort Visakhapatnam, I was told, look out to lush gardens or the vast ocean. Divided into different categories of Garden View, Ocean View, Executive, Suites, Garden Villa with Private Pool, these rooms are each tastefully designed, very well spaced out, and complete with latest amenities. Haveli, the eight-room, multi-floor lavish villa, features everything from private Jacuzzis to indoor pool, separate bar and lounge space, and what not!
Separated from the main city by an eye-catching coastal stretch, the luxury property is the perfect balance of style and serenity that sways one to pause, relax, and relish at their own pace. Natural stone, textured tiles, and rough plaster are the materials used for surface treatment at the resort. A colour palette of earthy shades and terracotta colour slopping roofs together with stone finishes make the cottages look cosy and intimate.
The next morning, as I lazily walked out of my room for breakfast, fidgeting with my phone, I looked up and there it was — the view that I had been so desperately waiting for! Little lush lawns outside each room or villa filled with fresh colourful blooms, a cobbled pathway leading to the resort’s fish pond, coconut palms swaying in sync with the gentle morning breeze, and mammoth verdurous mountains lurking from behind. Bliss.
With my heart full and eyes gleaming, I headed to 365, the resort’s contemporary restaurant where an elaborate buffet with global cuisines was spread out and panoramic ocean views were waiting to keep me company. Over three days, I watched this space transform into different buffet experiences — from a Sunday brunch complete with live counters for dosas, eggs, and masala chai, fresh bakes, and salads, to an Oriental food festival with palate-pleasing flavours of noodles, curries, and wok tossed mains from East Asia, to a royal North Indian feast with six types of biryanis, a live chaat counter, cool sangrias, and pipping hot spicy curries!
Other than 365, there are three more dining outlets at the resort. Ethnic, the authentic local cuisine restaurant, offers a delectable array of Andhra-style cuisine. Do try the Andhra thali that comes with local dishes like kothmira kharam (bringal in corriander gravy), vada kadhi, podi rice, spinach and carrot puris, kakarakaya vepudu (fried crispy bitter gourd), ulavacharu (horse gram soup) and bandar halwa. Meat-lovers can bet on royyala iguru (spicy fried prawns), chepala vepudu (fish fry), chicken curry, lamb chops, and lobster with Thalassery pepper. Upper Deck is an urban hangout that doubles as a cafe and a bar, while Zest is a patisserie where you can enjoy a variety of fresh bakes and roasted coffee.
My days at Radisson Blu Resort Visakhapatnam were spent at leisure — lounging in the pool with fresh coconut water or a cocktail, settling on a couch in the lobby with a book in hand, taking evening strolls in the verdant lawns, and cruising through the property in buggies. We stepped out for daily excursions to popular sites like the nearby Ramakrishnan Beach, Kailasagiri Park, INS Kurusura Submarine Museum, and Rishikonda Beach. The team went out of its way to organise high tea at the hilltop of Kailasagiri, where we took in the breathtaking city views on a short toy train ride and witnessed the glory of the 40-foot-high Shiva and Parvati statues. Evenings were reserved for some fun back at the hotel where we grooved to popular numbers at Upper Deck, sipped on our choice of tipples at rooftop sundowners, and enjoyed live bands as we gorged on sea food appetisers by the pool.
A port city, a beach getaway, a hilly escape, or a party town — Radisson Blu Resort Visakhapatnam made sure I experienced all the shades of Vizag. And for what it’s worth, I came back with a heart full of memories and a camera full of pictures of the most magical sunset views with Bay of Bengal shimmering in the backdrop.