Top 5 boutique experiences in India

The second most populous country in the world, India is a refined blend of remarkable cultures and ancient traditions that date back for several millennia. A nation that is rich in diversity, geography and cuisine, India offers something for everyone. Here is a selection of the top 5 boutique experiences that can be found in India that belong to a bespoke brand called Secret Retreats. From the peaceful Neeleshwar Hermitage in Kerala situated along a gold sandy beach, the Tree of Life Resort & Spa built in the traditional architectural style of Rajasthan serenely located on the Aravali hills, the smallest luxury hotel Anopura just an hour from Jaipur, a hundred fifty year old fort, Talabgaon Castle in the heart of Rajasthan to The Sukoon Houseboat luxuriously converted into a hotel moored on the Dal lake in Kashmir.

Neeleshwar Hermitage

Neeleshwar Hermitage is located in Kerala and its sixteen luxury bungalows are peacefully situated along a gold sandy beach. Built in harmony with nature, the property features an emerald colored swimming pool amidst lush greenery and coconut groves. Complimenting the Hermitage is the Lotus houseboat that will take you on a voyage out of time and in touch with the ancestral spirits of the place. The Anapura restaurant offers a delicious nutritious cuisine while the beach restaurant offers “Meenakshi” (catch of the day) and crisp salads.

Sukoon Houseboat

The Sukoon Houseboat (‘divine peace’ in Kashmiri) is a boat converted into a luxury hotel moored on Dal Lake in Kashmir. Laden with local villages, floating vegetable gardens and lotus blossom fields, the overall decor with its carved wooden doors open to reveal a lounge adorned with crystal chandeliers and intricately hand woven Kashmir carpets that provide a distinctive Victorian feel. The boat offers five spacious bedrooms and invites you to cruise in style as you discover the natural world of the Zabarwan mountain range situated at the foothills of the Himalayas. On the roof of the houseboat a feast awaits, from raita, pakora, leg of Lamb, yellow lentils, crispy nans and aubergine caviar.

Sukoon in Kashmir

Tree of Life

Tree of Life Resort & Spa is built in the traditional architectural style of Rajasthan and is serenely located on the Aravali hills, about twenty kilometers from the hustle and bustle of the city of Jaipur. The resort consists of fourteen luxurious villas with a garden and private swimming pool. Discover the hundreds of statues of Ganesh, stroll through the wonderful Mughal gardens, or experience one of the many organized excursions that will make your stay in the Pink City unforgettable. The restaurant offers international and traditional Indian cuisines enhanced with the fruits and vegetables from the garden.

Anopura

Featuring two luxurious bedroom suites and one tent, Anopura certainly warrants its title as the smallest luxury hotel in the world. A traditional Rajasthani country home situated just an hour outside Jaipur, Anopura’s inviting plunge pool, natural thatched roofs and charming location amidst a lush landscape and environment makes it the ideal hideaway. The front of the house faces a stone clad plunge pool surrounded by traditional Indian day-beds that invite you to lie back and take in the majestic views of the surrounding hills of the Aravali. Anopura’s resident chef, Chotu, is a master in preparing a variety of dishes that range from Rajasthani to Western. His extensive repertoire is guaranteed to suite any taste.

Anopura

Talabgaon Castle

Talabgaon Castle is a hundred-fifty year old fort that was built by Thakur Vijay Singh ji Rathore and has been beautifully restored as a Heritage Resort. Strategically located in the heart of Rajasthan only one and a half hour drive South of Jaipur and North of the Tiger Reserve. The only hotel with its own Polo field and stables you can enjoy a camel safari or horse trek through the peaceful countryside, visit surrounding villages and experience firsthand local traditions of the people, explore the temples or stop for lunch at a traditional mud house within a local farm. The restaurant features a Rajasthani cuisine that can be served in the dining room, by the pool, in the garden or, for a more local experience, at one of the mud houses in the village mud.

Cristy Elmendorp is Managing Director of Soma Journeys.

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