As the mercury rises and petrol prices soar, opt for a holiday that encourages you to stay put. No more waiting at airports, cursing the world caught in a traffic snarl or shouting at the hotel clerk at a steeply priced hill station: it’s time to check in for a staycation.
Forget shopping on the Mall in Shimla, think chilling out at a budget hotel in Gurgaon or lounging by a pool in Lutyens Delhi instead. The Mahajans at Greater Kailash did just that. Bhawna Mahajan, 32, who works with Ernst & Young, her BPO consultant husband Suresh and their 7-year-old son Mehul checked into The Park in Connaught Place last weekend. “Beginning with a leisurely breakfast, followed with lounging by the pool, watching Saat Khoon Maaf in the room and letting our hair down at the disc, we had a wonderful time,” says Suresh.
The term staycation (a vacation spent at home or nearby) first found its way into Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary in 2009.
Staycations gained popularity in the US during the financial meltdown and in the UK last year as a weak pound made overseas holidays exceedingly expensive. “During the summer, which is lean season for the Indian tourism industry, you can get rooms at the best hotels at less than half the price,” says Homa Mistry, CEO of destination marketing firm Trailblazers Tours India. “When most flights out of Delhi are full, many frequent travellers quench their wanderlust closer home.”
Consider Burberry India country manager Nalini Gupta. Business takes Gupta, 46, to meetings across the globe. But she often keeps longing for a short, refreshing break. So, Gupta recently checked into a day spa at The Oberoi. “The staff customises massages to suit clients’ needs. All my stress melted away when I checked in with two friends,” she says. “And then, I loved the wines at Travertino.”
It isn’t just the well-heeled traveller who is indulging in stay vacations. With the proliferation of star hotels in the city after the Commonwealth Games, people from all walks of life are discovering the pleasures of 24x7 room service. Neena Gandhi, 38, who works with Punj Lloyd’s IT department, and her husband Himanshu, employed with the ministry of biotech, dropped their staple sojourn to Manali this year to check into Lemontree, Gurgaon, last weekend. “Every year, during school holidays, we ended up spending close to R30,000 at a hill station. This time, we chose a value-for-money weekend break near Delhi. It took us just 45 minutes to drive to the hotel from our Subhash Nagar home.”
Supriya Chatterjee, 29 and Divya Bhatia, 32, managers with an international real estate consultancy, turned staycationers on May 27 for a two-nights corporate package at the Shangri-la. “We were saved the hassle of driving through congested highways,” says Chatterjee. “I binged on beauty treatments and massages. Manicures, pedicures, late check out: the entire five-star experience was rejuvenating.” Tired of online booking snags, wily travel agents or rude airline staff? Make a staycation your first resort. The weekend fix guide