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HindustanTimes Sat,01 Nov 2014

Holiday close, yet far

Zofeen Maqsood , Hindustan Times   December 14, 2012
First Published: 23:17 IST(14/12/2012) | Last Updated: 02:15 IST(15/12/2012)

It's that time of the year again when the chatter above the clink of champagne glasses often goes like - 'so where are you ringing in the New Year'? But if you haven't planned a vacation overseas as yet, then you are in luck; travel experts say that the holiday trend of the moment is to rediscover discreet places locally rather than flying off to some frothy sounding fancy destination. The 2012 Travel Trends Report by ABTA - The Travel Association also points towards the trends as it says: "Value for money will be a key trend for holiday goers" and mentions that consumers are increasingly searching for destinations that are off beat and are looking for authentic experiences.

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Richa Khurana Singh, VP, Treehouse resort says, "City dwellers  look for a secluded place that gives them both space and serenity. The culture of checking into that 'it' place where half the world would converge doesn't exactly seem gripping." Perhaps that is why homestays and smaller hotels are becoming popular.

A recent survey, on a sample size of 1 lakh Indians conducted by Journeymart.com, a travel portal, revealed that this year some of the most commonly researched domestic adventure destinations were smaller, less touristy places like Landsdowne, Auli, Aizawl and Naukuchiatal."

Manish Kalra, Marketing head, Makemytrip.com says, "Often city slickers want a quick holiday minus the hassle of visas and passports. Also local getaways score as for a working person its not often that one can chalk out week long travel plan." Psychologist Pulkit Sharma sees it as an encouraging trend. "It reflects maturity of the society when you are not carried away by luxe holidays. An understated elegance is returning, at least in certain quarters of society, where people are inviting guests for home meals rather than meeting in swish restaurants or people are opting for neo-classic pieces instead of ornate, expensive décor. Experience based small holidays are a part of that collective sentiment."

Another reason for alternate holidays is an increasing awareness on wellbeing and adventure. Tracey Poole, Spa director, Six Senses spa says, "Indian market is in a blossoming stage, where people are getting aware and are seeking wellness holidays." Experts also point out that the European trend of pursuing hobbies on holidays is catching up in India, People are getting together to organize photography holidays where they just shoot landscapes for a few days. Richa Khurana of Treehouse resort agrees by saying, "We get lots of requests for biking holidays, music holidays and even art holidays for groups of people."

This reflects that a holiday spent around the town discovering oneself and pursuing a hobby is the new sign of urban éclat.

Looking for a new year getaway that is far from the madding crowd, yet comfortably close to the city? If you're thinking of making plans, here are some new options for you...

Lakshman Sagar resort, Pali district, Rajasthan
For lovers of thrill, spending a weekend in a 19th century hunting lodge, redesigned into a holiday destination, can be a compelling reason to block their calendar.

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The 32 acre property is an eco lodge and is inspired by the local culture of Marwar. You can enjoy the landscapes of the Raipur district or explore the Aravalli foothills.

The property has 12 separate cottages with zanana and mardana areas.

USP Built on the zero km concept, it also has activities like goat herding, fruit plucking and sundowners.

Distance from Delhi: 500 kms  

How to get there: Train trip to Agra followed by a two hour cab ride to the resort, Price: Rs. 16,000 per cottage including meals

Dhampur Estate, Village Mallah, Bhowali
A weekend spent bird-watching as you sit ensconced in orchards of peaches, plums and apricots is what you can experience in this 8 acre private property belonging to the ex raja of Dhampur.

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There are trekking trips too for holiday goers.

USP The place houses maximum four families at a time giving a totally private experience. The govt reserve jungles in the surroundings guarantee frequent deer spotting.

Distance from Delhi: 281km How to get there: Take a train trip to Kathgodam and then an hour drive from there to the home stay. Price: Approx Rs. 9000/ person including meals.

Jaypee Golf Resort, Greater Noida
If you want to enjoy luxuries as  F1 players do when in the country then you can spend a weekend golfing, spa-ing or nature walking at the 9 acre lush abode.

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Ideal for an urban break the resort has a cigar bar besides sporting fields.

USP Houses India's longest golf course with 14 lakes besides the world famous destination spa -Six Senses

Distance from Delhi: 54 Kms from domestic airport How to get there: A road drive from Delhi Price: Rs. 19999 onwards per couple.

Treehouse Club and Spa, Bhiwari
If you want to avoid the hassle of rail or air travel then just drive from Delhi to Bhiwari.

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The lush resort is built on the theory of relaxing while pursuing your hobby. The sylvan property arranges biking tours, photography trips and wellness weekends.  

USP Sufiyana retreat for the New Year's weekend 

Distance from Delhi: 71 kms How to get there: 30 mns drive from Gurgaon. Price Rs. 19,000 onwards for weekend.

Royal Orchid Fort Resort, Mussorie
For old-world charm you can check out the restored legendary Tara Hall estate.

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Located on the slopes of 200m high Himalayan foothills, the resort is like an ancient fortress. 

USP The pine terrace offers a hill top view of snow-capped mountains and Doon valley.

Distance from Delhi: 280 kms How to get there: 6 hrs by car.By air to Jolly Grant airport and then an hour long cab drive to the resort Price: Rs. 17,000 onwards.


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