This could well be a flower-bedecked shikara on the Dal lake, a perfect setting for a lover’s night out. Recreated by a Kashmiri, the glass and flower shikaras, glimmering in a lotus pond at a premier hotel of the city, comes for a cool Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 a night, along with a suite and a dinner fit for royals. And yes, all the shikaras have been sold out for Valentine’s night.
"Almost eight out of 10 Kashmiris claim that they proposed to their wives and girlfriends on a shikara. We wanted to try the theme in Kolkata. All the shikaras have been sold out this t ime. All the couples are in their 40s and we have screened the ladies and their valetines thoroughly. In fact, dinner on the shikara will be an exclusive fare comprising the finest champagne—Dom Perignon---and the finest caviar and salmons”, Virender Razdan, Resident Manager of the ITC Sonar Bangla told Hindustan Times. The dinner sans the suite costs Rs 12,000.
Most of the couples who have zeroed in on this luxurious date--Kashmiri style---have also splurged on other goodies, like Thai massages at the hotel’s spa, champagne and strawberries for the day leading on to the a la carte dinner-date in the lily pond. But if taking your wife to a plush hotel is not up your alley, most of the hotels have are offering designer Valentine’s cakes to take home ---in strawberry and chocolate flavours. Cheese cakes topped with chocolate and fresh strawberry dressings are fast flying off the shelves of the five star pastry shops at the Taj Bengal and the ITC.
"Stawberry and chocolates are the best-known aphrodisiacs for a night like this. So while we have received orders from Valentine’s couples for our two-pound cakes at Rs 750 each, we will gift heart-shaped sugar boxes with chocolate truffles to all the women who walk into our restaurants on 14th February”, said Harpawan Singh Kapoor, Sous Chef(pastry) at the Sonar Bangla. At La Pattisserie at the Taj Bengal, heart shaped cakes, weighing 250 grams each have found popularity among Valentine’s couples in their 30s who want something romantic to spruce up a special evening.
Water is also a crucial theme at the Park Hotel, where Aqua---the Al Fresco Bar---is dressing up the two ch ampagne lounges with roses and fragrant candles. “The lounge which has 50 covers is going to be full of valentine pleasure seekers tomorrow. Chocolate hampers with names of the sweethearts engraved on them are also expected to do well,” said Namrata Ray, Assistant Manager, Events and Entertainment, The Park.
As for the couples, nobody seems to mind. “Haven’t you heard of a Thai restaurant which is offering a valentine’s dinner for USD 5000? If you want the ambience and to pamper your beloved, you hav e to pay a price”, said Manmeet Singh, businessman who is taking his wife to a five star hotel for dinner on Wednesday night.