After nine months of masked confinement and socially distanced lives, here are some gifts and wishes I would love fulfilled over the holidays. I have listed them with the hope that family, friends and well-wishers are reading!
Hotels on my radar
Hotelier Kapil Chopras’s The Postcard Hotel Moira, one of the hottest properties to stay in if you love boutique, quirky and fun in a sylvan slice of Goa. I am told they have just opened bookings for December 2022. It was easier to seek time from this entrepreneur on steroids while he was one of the corporate suits. Even getting a booking at his uber-cool boutique properties requires us to wait it out.
Send me back to The Leela Palace Udaipur …please. All credit to Anuraag Bhatnagar and his team, Anjali Mehra included, as the new torchbearers. You have slipped so effortlessly into your roles, holding out a promise of a new high in hoteliering, that I can’t wait to slip into my Maharajah avatar just once more. I will miss the warm voice of the quintessential hotelier Rajiv Kaul though, who checked in to figure if all is ok, even if he was at the other end of the world!
What an absolute pleasure it would be to watch the Himalayas from a soothing hot bath, sipping a smoked Negroni. A snow-scaped week, early in the year at Mr Oberoi’s, The Wildflower Hall – Shimla in the Himalayas has been a dream for soooo long. A dream I need to fulfil as soon as I am serum-ed and before the snow melts.
And if anyone was so generous as to gift me once-in-a-lifetime ‘gap-year’ (adults need to be able to make that choice, too!), I would call one lady who would set me up across one (or many) of her properties, ensuring every luxurious whim, dream and fancy of mine were fulfilled. You know who I am referring to…the one and only Renu Basu of IHCL.
If you were to take some time out and visit Taj Hotels , it’d take you a year to figure which one of the palaces, lodges, uber-luxury smothering treats you’d want to cuddle into. But if you know Renu, the task will become easier. She has a room to recommend for every mood, season or date!
My ultimate food bible
And now, for the other indulgence—food! Order these quick before they sell out!
- Gingerbread cookies and hot chocolate spoons (million calories of happiness in each spoon) from Toujours
- Tongue-stinging Peppercorn Gauda, Fig Jam and Crackers from Avni Biyani’s Foodhall (what better treat then these to melt over…)
- Pork Sausage Chilly Fry from Patrick Bhatti’s kitchen (you have to fly to Goa for this…that’s what I am doing!)
- A table for two or four or fourteen or….only at Gauri Devidayal’s superlative eatery, The Table. She has taken care to ensure a safe dining experience.
What is a year-end indulgence without spirits? Here is my list for a spirited holiday:
- Aberlour 18 year old or Glenfiddich 30 year old (now available across India). Gather family and friends (no more than the recommended number), put on some Sinatra/Ella/Bublé and polish off a bottle or two over catch-up conversations, a game of charades to warm up the night—before Malumo drags you to the dance floor.
- When your duty-free stocks have dried up and your favourites are out of budget, have no fear. Old Monk is here, the rank favourite of pretty much every rum-drinking Indian. The only rum that beats Old Monk in my book is Ron Zacapa XO (in India available only in Duty-Free, sadly).
- Smoked Negroni. The very best in the world, mixed by a discreet lady bartender at The Oberoi, New Delhi under the watchful gaze of most gentlemen of hotel supremos I have met—Jay Rathore, SVP and GM, The Oberoi.
Gifting, from gadgets to books
(Err….this is what I expect from my friends and family, who, again, I hope are reading).
- My well-weathered iPhone 10 desperately needs an upgrade. Anyone generous enough to gift me a 12Pro will be my favourite person, forever—or, at least, till 13 comes along. And if your FD is not maturing anytime soon, the new airpods are cool too!
- If Steve and Tim are not your ideal go-to for gadget gifting, a Marshall Stockwell II speaker will do, too! It’s just the right size for my special dresser, now a work desk (WFH!) and it sounds like a dream.
For those who want a far more modest gifting option, ummm….find these on Amazon:
- I am trying to lay my hands on a book to reminisce and chuckle over during the holidays—Kushwant Singh’s ‘Truth, love & a little malice’. It is available on Amazon and costs under INR2k (I only collect hard copies, please).
- And with all the news swimming around on honey, I stumbled upon one that is real, or at least Amazon says it is. Indigenous Honey. They deliver a bottle a month and it’s a plan I am ready to accept this Christmas, sugar-syruped or not.
- My hard-working trainers need an equally hard-working pair of socks. Where Nike & Adidas failed, Heelium Bamboo succeeds.
- Mask yourself in the best. My choice –Zero Risque.
And before I mothball myself till the New Year dawns, here is one final suggestion. And this one is not for me but just for you…Get a subscription to Traveldine (no, it is not on Magzter. Do it definitely before it goes behind a paywall)
Season’s Greetings and Happy Holidays. See you in 2021, with a mask and without fear 😊
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