Gone are the days when a kitty party meant a group of bored housewives gathered at the neighbourhood club or restaurant playing cards and gossiping over lunch.
New-age kitty parties are being hosted on luxury private jets, yachts and even overseas.
In Mumbai, Pallavi hired a
luxury private jet to take her close friends to Udaipur for the day.
The group took off from the VIP terminal and enjoyed a sumptuous mid-air breakfast followed by the usual kitty party activities: card games and exchange of gifts and gossip. Upon landing, the women were taken to a spa at a plush hotel in a luxury sedan. They then had an exotic lunch before heading home in time for dinner with the family.
"It was the perfect hen party and didn't even disturb the routine at home," said Pallavi. In all, her party cost about Rs. 10 lakh.
Baron Aviation, a Mumbai-based private charter company has conducted more than a dozen such parties over the past year, "We do not promote such tours because their novelty lies in the wow factor," says Rajeev Wadhwa, CEO and founding chairman.
In New Delhi, the parties are heading overseas.
"A lot of city women, most of them belonging to business families, are travelling to Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai for kitty parties," says Radhika Khanijo, managing director of Welgrow Travels, a Delhi-based luxury travel company.
"A three-day kitty party trip for a group of 15 to these places costs about Rs. 15 lakh," she adds.
Unlike the traditional kitty parties, which were low-key affairs, those held in foreign locales include cocktails, dancing and trips to nightclubs and casinos.
"Sometimes these women rent out villas with private swimming pools, chauffeur-driven cars, a chef and a maid," says Taruna Seth, founder of Delhi-based Pearl Luxe, a company that specialises in luxury travel. "We organise quite a few such 'girl getaways'. Most of these women are aged 25 to 40."
Kitty party regulars say the relatively easy availability of private jets has opened up new opportunities in cities that seemed to have run out of surprises.
"Kitty parties in the air stay etched in people's memory for some time," says fashion consultant Rima.
"The growth potential is noteworthy and we have seen requests not just from metros, but increasingly from mini metros and tier 2 and 3 markets," says Madhavan Menon, managing director, Thomas Cook, (India) Ltd. "While short-haul destinations such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Dubai and Hong Kong are popular, new hot spots such as Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam are emerging too."
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