As we do annually we caught the ‘red eye’ down to London’s City airport to attend two frenetic days at WTM 2013 at Excel. City Airport is right next door on the banks of the old river Thames and it is all so convenient for us. 50,000 people from around the world converge for the four days of this vitally important travel mart annually. It is always inspiring and now that the UK is coming out of the financial depression there was a real air of optimism this year.
When I was at World Travel Market I of course met up with the General Manager and Vice President of The Imperial Hotel in New Delhi. The Imperial has elegance, prestige, heritage, comfort and choices for those who would visit Delhi in style and luxury. In this last year the hotel has been presented with a number of prestige travel awards, all too numerous to mention and they are deserved. There is an attention to detail which discerning travellers find attractive.
I visited Kumarakom Lake Resort in February 2011 at the very end of a wonderful trip on the Golden chariot luxury train. The trip had started in Bengaloru and we had indeed stayed at The Paul which is a charming very new hotel also owned by the same people as Kumarakom Lake Resort. It was a really enjoyable but brief experience and so it was entirely fitting that the end of the luxury train journey should end for us as guests at Kumarakom Lake. The speedboat was sent to collect us from the end of the rail journey’s happ
I had long wanted to visit the Samode properties in Rajasthan and then someone distinguished raved about their newish safari lodge at Bandhavgarh. That was the stimulus I needed and we arrived in mid February to stay at Samode Haveli in Jaipur. We travelled by Shatabdhi train from Delhi where we had stayed with pleasure yet again at The Imperial. The train journey is fast and efficient and one arrived in good time for lunch.
Visiting four of the Cyclades Islands has been an immense pleasure; Greece to which I first came 50 years ago will always hold immense charm for me and this time visiting Milos, Sifnos, Los and Paros was hugely enjoyable.
The Claridges is a heritage hotel in Aurangzeb Road in New Delhi. The whole of this area of New Delhi is listed and considered a heritage site and indeed the Lutyens’s style bungalows and wide avenues with flowering trees, large flower filled roundabouts and general air of grace and elegance are the most sought after area of New Delhi filled with prestige homes, luxury hotels, diplomatic residences, embassies and national institutions.
I would like to share with you aspects of one of my favourite UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Mamallapuram which once was the great port city for the 7th century Pallava king Narsimha Varman I, also known as Mamalla the ‘Great Wrestler’. The Pallavas were the first kings to build temples in the whole region of Tamil Nadu.
The Imperial Hotel was opened in 1936; it was built at the same time as the construction of the now famous Lutyens’s Imperial New Delhi when India had not yet gained nationhood from the British. The then vicereine opened this elegant but modest hotel. Fast forward to 2013, and The Imperial Hotel which I have known since a child of 12 years is a lovely luxurious timeless hotel in a superb location on Jan path - one of the major avenues of New Delhi the capital of India.