Ampersand's Little Black Book 2017
By Cosmo Brockway
The New Year has now commenced, and we are already excited about the recent and upcoming openings across India, Sri Lanka and ‘the happiest kingdom on earth’ Bhutan... What could be a better tonic to the January comedown than indulging your chakras in beachside spas or discovering the latest Mumbai dining hotspot? Our Little Black Book for 2017 has it all covered...
ALILA FORT BISHANGARH
This year sees sensational spa brand Alila arriving in Rajasthan with a heritage resort outside Jaipur. The sensitive restoration of a spectacular 230-year-old fort has created an all-suite hotel with 59 suites, each boasting glorious views Alila Fort Bishangarh is a unique example of the Jaipur Gharana architecture influenced by both the Mughals and the British. Find pure indulgence in the spa, carved out between granite rocks under the main fort. The famed Alila Experience comprises five themes including wellness, outdoor sporting pursuits, culinary arts (complete with food trails) and the romantic couple celebration – offering something for every taste.
The first five-star wellness resort in the dramatic Kangra Valley and an easy drive from holy town Dharamsala, Raas Kangra is the newest outpost of the famed Raas Jodphur and promises to be a star in its own right. Perched on 19 acres with 41 luxurious (and enormous) bedrooms, all boasting picture perfect views of the lower Himalayas towards the north or enchanting slopes of tea gardens to the south. This is a place to soak up the freshest air to be found, and get lost in an authentic spa retreat. There’s also a heated indoor pool and plenty of outdoor activities including trekking, cycling and yoga all with the unique Raas touch.
Combining superb design with an electric atmosphere, W Goa, spread over 25 acres and next to the idyllic Vagator beach, is the seaside state’s newest buzzword. The in-house Woo Bar is already a place to be seen for India’s cool set and watching the sunset with a cocktail by the Rock Pool is now one of our top Goa experiences. Detox from the hedonism at the indulgent Spa by Clarins and explore the area’s history by hiking up the nearby black rocks to the romantic Chapora Fort with panoramic vistas of the Arabian Sea.
ORANGE COUNTY HAMPI
UNESCO World Heritage Site Hampi in Karnataka has recently gained a fabulous addition with the opening of Orange County Hampi. This opulent property echoes the splendour of the Vijayanagara Empire with its striking architecture and lavish interiors. Just 4 km from the ancient city ruins that are strewn throughout the landscape along with dramatic boulders, Orange County Hampi is a magnificent base for exploring the area. We love the Ayurvedic massages and the unique electric bicycle rides available.
TOAST & TONIC BANGALORE
Bangalore is a cosmopolitan city buzzing with vibrant options to stay, eat and play. Recent opening Toast & Tonic has resident foodies and socialites alike raving about its innovative menu from Chef Manu Chandra and its East Village vibe. Explore locally inspired cocktails (including delectable herb-infused G&T’s) and admire the funky interior. Five stars here from us!
BY THE MEKONG, ST.REGIS HOTEL, MUMBAI
The highest (and arguably the best) Pan-Asian restaurant in India, By The Mekong is THE place to enjoy astonishing city views, fabulous cuisine and a glimpse into Mumbai’s glossy posse at play. Join Bollywood royalty and feast on a South East Asian culinary journey. The country’s dining scene has come a long way in the last five years and By The Mekong, perched at the top of the decadent St Regis Hotel, which opened last year, sets the bar high. Early booking recommended!
NICOBAR DELHI & MUMBAI
The fashion and interiors scenes in India have never been more dynamic and each year brings exciting new independent label launches with Nicobar being no exception. A sister brand to iconic Indian homewares giant, Good Earth, Nicobar has opened branches in both Delhi and Mumbai and is fast gaining a cult following for its considered design and fresh takes on local aesthetic. Go here for relaxed chic garments and house treasures such as tropical printed cushions and marble accessories.
The newest arrival to Sri Lanka’s burgeoning wellness scene, this unique sanctuary, Santani (meaning ‘in harmony’), lies in the heart of island’s spiritual centre. Opening its doors before Christmas and easily accessible from Colombo, this innovative Ayurvedic retreat offers deep wellbeing, yoga, detox and healing. Gaze out across the unparalleled views of the local mountain ranges from the thermal salt bath, the only one in the country. Pure rejuvenation!
Opening in 2017 this grand former tea planter’s bungalow converted into a six-bedroom luxury hotel stands graciously in several acres of private gardens. Nine Skies offers a croquet lawn, swimming pool, sundeck and superb views across the valley with the working tea factory and famous Demodera Loop (a train across the viaduct is a must). The picturesque hill town of Ella is nearby along with the beautiful Ravana Ella Falls.
SIX SENSES BHUTAN
Follow in the footsteps of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge this spring to the mysterious mountain kingdom of Bhutan and revel in the Six Senses’ newest property. Comprising of five different luxury resorts, Six Senses Bhutan offers an unforgettable retreat with emphasis on the local heritage and landscape. Bhutan is an ancient and colourful culture where happiness is seen as a measure of success and this standout property promises an authentic journey through an untainted paradise.
For more information or to start planning your tailor-made holiday to India, Sri Lanka or Bhutan please contact us:
firstname.lastname@example.org // +44 (0) 207 819 9770