Six great places to escape to, plus four travel mag eds tell us about their favourite rainy day resorts.View Slideshow
Best for: Couples and families looking for a hideout away from the touristy parts of Goa.
Located on a private forested hill in the verdant village of Parra, in North Goa, Capella is a tranquil hideaway for the R&R seeking traveller. Ayesha and Jamshed, the owners of Capella, have converted three rooms of their sprawling home into guest rooms (Heliconia, Silk Cotton, and Frangipani), each furnished with antique four-poster beds and roll-top desks. You can catch up on your reading by the poolside, or on one of Capella’s many terraces and verandahs that are surrounded by frangipani, jasmine, jambul, jackfruit and mango trees. Newlyweds and couples seeking privacy can opt to stay in Silk Cotton, a room below the main house surrounded by a bamboo grove. While the stay at Capella is only inclusive of breakfast, you can request its affable owners to rustle up home-cooked Goan lunches and dinners for an additional charge. After you’ve had your downtime, you can approach the proprietors to draw up an activity itinerary for you, which could include anything from dolphin-sighting cruises and bird-watching excursions, to tours of south Goa’s heritage homes and spice plantations.
Rates: From Friday, June 15 to Sunday, September 30, Heliconia and Silk Cotton are priced at Rs5,000 and Frangipani at Rs4,000. All rates apply to two persons per night. All prices are inclusive of breakfast and tax.
Location: Coorg, Karnataka.
Best for: Urban warriors who want to disconnect from city life.
Don’t come expecting wi-fi access and other mod cons of the 21st century at Kabbe’s sprawling 50-acre coffee estate—the rooms in the guest cottages have no televisions and there is “no swimming pool”, cautions owner Dilip Chengappa. Kabbe, Chengappa says, is perfect for unwinding, with unfettered vistas of the surrounding plantations (the Chengappas also cultivate cardamom and pepper), ambient sounds provided only from nature, and glimpses of fireflies when they light up the night skies. Though the rains severely restrict outdoor activities such as trekking and kayaking in nearby Kakkabe, you can still walk through the property, or sit back on your porch and sip on freshly-made brew sourced from the plantation itself. The Chengappas are hands-on owners, usually attending to guests’ needs themselves, with Dilip’s wife Vidya in charge of whipping up most meals that pull from various regions, including of course, South India.
Rates: The Deluxe cottage is priced at Rs3,450 per couple; the Deluxe rooms are Rs2,950 per couple; and the Luxury rooms are Rs2,650 per couple. All prices are inclusive of breakfast and tax.
Best for: Vacationers with a bent towards heritage holidays.
Most travel guides on Pondicherry recommend visits to the town’s elegant French quarter, which boasts a palm tree-lined promenade, and a cluster of stark white Indo-French heritage buildings. If you fancy staying in a heritage building in this touristy side of the beach town, pick Le Dupleix, a private home-turned hotel, which featured among the top three boutique hotels in the Condé Nast Traveller India Readers’ Travel Awards in 2011. Le Dupleix’s 14 Internet-enabled rooms are furnished with antique rosewood and teak wood fittings acquired from a heritage bungalow inhabited by one of Pondicherry’s former French mayors. Natural light filters in through the large arched windows and breezy corridors of the hotel, which has a courtyard dining area under the shade of a 200-year-old mango tree. On Saturday evenings, the hotel’s guests at the courtyard restaurant are served a complimentary glass of wine and treated to a violin performance. The restaurant serves Creole and Continental fare and is also hosting a mango food festival until Tuesday, July 31. If you seek the beach, you won’t have to stray far as the promenade is five minutes away from Le Dupleix.
Rates: Le Dupleix is offering three summer packages until Sunday, September 30. The package, inclusive of breakfast, is priced at Rs8,999 for two nights and three days; the package, inclusive of breakfast and dinner, is priced at Rs10,999 for two nights and three days; and the package, inclusive of breakfast, lunch and dinner, is priced at Rs12,999 for two nights and three days. All rates apply for two people and are exclusives of taxes.
Location: Jaipur, Rajasthan.
Best for: Activity fiends who want the option of urban and adventure distractions.
Located adjacent to the magnificent Amer Fort, Rasa is the newest property from the Devi Resorts group, owned by eminent art collectors mother-and-son duo Lekha and Anupam Poddar. Rasa bills itself as a “camp” property, but the 40 cubed “tents” are anything but rustic. These futuristic abodes, with large bay windows, have wi-fi, televisions, private gardens and marble bathrooms. Though it’s easy enough to get to the centre of the city— Jaipur is 15kms away—Rasa’s appeal is its relative isolation, with all rooms offering a similar view of the rocky landscape, where you can go mountain biking, trekking or bird-watching. If you’d rather not venture too far, lounge by the black-tiled pool or ask the hotel to arrange a visit to the Animal Rescue Centre nearby, which houses animals, mostly tigers, rescued from zoos and circuses.
Rates: The rooms are priced at Rs15,500 per night for single/double occupancy. The price is inclusive of breakfast and exclusive of tax.
Location: Korlai, en route to Kashid.
Best for: Families looking for the comforts of home away from home.
This 2,200 square feet sea-facing villa was built as a weekend escape for its Mumbai-based banker-owner Sridhar Iyer, who eventually decided to make the property, perched on a private patch of beach, available to the public. Salt Rim, which can board up to 12 people, has two bedrooms with four-poster beds, a mezzanine, and a long verandah furnished with planter chairs for viewing sunsets. The stay includes all three meals, which are catered by the bungalow’s multi-tasking caretaker, who is proficient in cooking simple Maharashtrian food. There’s also a fully functional kitchen should guests want to cook their own food. A kilometre’s walk along the beach from Salt Rim will lead you to the 14th-century Korlai Fort, which houses a lighthouse and offers sweeping views of the Arabian Sea. In Korlai village, you can visit a Portuguese synagogue and a Birla temple, which draws throngs of pilgrims around the year. The adventurous can even set out to explore the coastal temple towns of Revdanda and Chaul, which are four kilometres away from Korlai, and camper’s favourite Murud-Janjira, which is 30 kilometres from here.
Rates: Salt Rim has a Rs12,000 per night minimum charge for up to four individuals. They charge Rs3,000 for every additional person per night. Those travelling with a driver will have to pay an additional Rs500 per night for his food. Prices are inclusive of breakfast, lunch and dinner and tax.
Location: Off Kochi, Kerala.
Best for: Couples looking to unwind in isolation.
This five-islet, seven-acre haven an hour’s drive from Kochi was initially purchased by a German professor in 1998, and only became a resort in 2007. The five villas, which together house seven rooms, have been recently revamped and kitted out with deluxe amenities like infinity pools, massage pavilions and private jetties, from where speed boats (or the more low-tech wooden country boats) can take you around the backwaters at your leisure. The island’s lure is its seclusion from the bustling mainland, which for those wanting to occasionally hop over is a 30-minute boat ride away. Everything on Vaamika is said to be sourced within a 5kms radius, including the veggies (grown onsite in the organic garden), the fish (caught that day in the lagoon, and by yourself if you so desire) and the meat (purchased the day of your meal). There’s a museum of South Indian art on one of the islets, but to truly breath in the historical settings, request a room in the High Noon residence, a 200-year-old abode that was bought, dismantled and restored piece by wooden piece on Vaamika.
Rates: The Lake House rooms are priced at Rs8,000 per night per couple; the Stone House and Wooden House at Rs12,000 per night; and the High Noon Residence at Rs18,000 per night. The prices are inclusive of breakfast, garage for your car, food and lodging for your driver and exclusive of taxes.
“I’d recommend the new Vivanta by Taj Bekal in north Kerala (Rs7,500 per night). The monsoons are the perfect time to indulge in Ayurveda, as it’s believed to be most effective in the rains. And where better to experience this than at what is now India’s biggest spa? (It’s 165,000 square feet). It offers a massive array of incredible massages, to-die-for food from the south, all in stunning green landscape overlooking Kappil lake. Villas come with private plunge pools, mine even had a jhoola outdoors, perfect to lie on and watch the rain.”
—Divia Thani, Editor, Condé Nast Traveller, India
“Goa’s a monsoon secret—the beaches are pretty dramatic at this time, and it’s definitely worth exploring the hills, which everyone tends to ignore. I like a hidden place called Wildernest at Chorla Ghat (from Rs5,000 per room per night). It’s a proper eco resort with a resident naturalist, lovely little cottages in the forest, an infinity pool, great hiking and the other side of Goan food.”
—Vardhan Kondvikar, Editor, Lonely Planet Magazine, India
“My favourite hotel in the rains is The Verandah in the Forest in Matheran (from Rs3,500 per room per night). Why? Because it’s located in a densely forested corner of Matheran. Because it allows me to actually experience the monsoon; it does not shut it out. Because that expansive verandah, when enveloped in the clouds, is surreal. Because I love the sound of rain pounding on their tin roof. Because even if the rooms do get a bit damp and the Continental food isn’t great, I love that they always try. For instance, they do a lovely colonial-style candlelight dinner at an enormous teak dining table. And mostly because it’s so homely and real—I always feel like I’m time travelling and visiting the old home of my (fictional) grand aunt.”
—Niloufer Venkatraman, Editor-in-Chief, National Geographic Traveller India
“The Delhi/NCR region is blessed with a number of weekend getaways within half-a-day’s driving distance or a short train ride away. A trip to a recently-launched activotel (an activity-based hotel) 30kms from Rishikesh in Uttarakhand can make for an unforgettable holiday. Latitude 30*N, Ganga (from Rs6,250 per person per day) is a great concept for adventure- and comfort-loving souls. A luxurious resort, this property offers a host of outdoor pursuits from river rafting [to] rock climbing, hiking, astronomy, kayaking, yoga, birdwatching and even mountain biking. The friendly and super-qualified Active Officers are at hand to help customise and guide you or the kids through all activities safely. The food at the White Water café is also varied and great.”
—Payal Kohli, Editor-in-Chief, Travel + Leisure, India and South Asia