Royal Retreat - Udaipur, RJ

We took a weekend getaway to the Royal Retreat Resort and Spa (early December 2017) just five kilometers outside of Udaipur in a superb countryside location. It was a Hotel Guys first: a complimentary two-night stay in a Royal Retreat Suite room (Rs13,383 or $US215 plus GST including breakfast -- sometimes less depending on the season) in exchange for our honest review. Nearly surrounded by a protected forest preserve this stunning four-star property is overflowing with art objects, both originals and reproductions. The rooms and common areas are decked out in a world-renowned uniquely Rajastani artistic style. There are three pools and sprawling grounds strewn with more mood-elevating art. Popular as an Indian wedding destination, this 105-room property includes a horse stable with riding options, the spa for massage and a really nice gym workout area. You can visit the the adjacent artisan workshop to see exquisite creations coming to life in stone and wood. In a word - exhilarating! Most properties do not go this far with aesthetic treatments. Talk about a weekend renewal - it worked!  Did I mention the superb Indian cuisine coming from the kitchen -- in the, of course, totally artistically tricked out dining room or the 24-hour available in-room service? You get the idea. We liked it. (We really liked it!)

Udai Kothi Hotel - Udaipur, RJ

One evening while staying at the Amet Haveli, we wandered into the nearby Udai Kothi Hotel to have dinner at their intriguing rooftop restaurant. We loved it so much we canceled our onward travel arrangements and stayed for two months - yes two months. We found the perfect place to process months worth, and gigabytes worth, of India travel adventures for our website and other social media platforms. Udai Kothi (November 2017) is an elegant, artsy hotel teeming with fresh plants and flowers, antiques and a designer's sense of style -- with a superb staff! Near perfection! We had a gorgeous room (Rs6,500 including breakfast or US$100 plus GST).


Royal Tulip Hotel - Kufri, HP

We stayed four nights at the Royal Tulip Luxury Hotel (Hotel website link) (mid-October 2017) a new, modern and stylish mountain location with a top-notch staff and management! We were so thankful for the steam and sauna facilities that really helped us refresh and get healthy! We had a luxury room with a large outside deck (Rs10,359 including breakfast or US$160 inclusive of 18% GST). Quiet, luxurious and delightful in every way. A real standout highlight on our entire multiple-month tour of India! Check out our video review below.


Modi's Hotel - Kalka, HR

We stayed one night at Modi Hotel (mid-October 2017) in transit to Kufri/Shimla (Rs3,200 including breakfast or US$49 plus GST). We were the only guests in a rather large hotel -- it was during the Diwali festival timeframe. The dining room (breakfast room) turned out to be our favorite part -- beautifully appointed and good food. And the manager of the hotel was very helpful and friendly -- getting us medicine late in the evening and helping with our change in transit plans as we decided, due to our illness, not to take the toy train from the nearby station up the mountain. Check back for our hotel review video for Modi Hotel.


Golden Tulip Hotel - Amritsar, PB

The Punjab, a state northwest of the Delhi capital region borders Pakistan, is the heart of India’s Sikh community. The city of Amritsar, founded in the mid-to-late 16th century by Sikh Guru Ram Das, is home to the major pilgrimage site known as the Golden Temple. While in Punjab we visited Amritsar and attended the nearby Wagah border ceremony.

We stayed three nights (mid-October 2017) at Golden Tulip Hotel (Hotel website link) in Amritsar (executive room with breakfast Rs6,087 or US$93/night inclusive of GST). Jackpot! We loved this hotel. Great breakfast buffet and beautiful tile work throughout.  Enjoyed the cool bar in the basement. And wifi was good throughout the hotel. Superbly managed with a helpful and friendly staff and lots of little touches including a coffee cart offering fresh brew by the cup! Great value for the money. Check out our hotel review video below.


    Adventure Highlights

    • Visited Golden Temple in the evening. 
    • Attended the nearby Wagah border ceremony, a nightly coordinated military drill performed on both sides of the border. While symbolic of the two countries’ rivalry, the colorful and elaborate performance draws thousands of citizens on both sides in an uneasy gesture of brotherhood and cooperation.

    Chicago Houseboats - Srinagar, JK

    Kashmir and Jammu is India's northernmost state. While in the Kashmir Valley we visited Srinagar, the summer capital of the state, and stayed on a great houseboat on Dal Lake.

      We stayed four nights (early October 2017) at the enchanting Chicago Houseboats (Hotel website link) on Dal Lake in Srinagar (entire three bedroom houseboat with breakfast and dinner Rs4,500 or US$69/night inclusive of airport pick-up plus GST). Ajaz, the fourth-generation family business owner, and Kahn, the house manager and "magic maker," offered absolutely supreme and unsurpassed hospitality. We loved every minute of it and wished we had stayed at least a week. Private dining, with simple home-cooked food, provided in our ornate private dining room. We've just never stayed anywhere like it and have never been made to feel so welcomed from the moment we arrived. Check out our hotel review below.


      Adventure Highlights

      • Late afternoon boat tour on Dal Lake. No motorized boats! So peaceful. Great light for photos. Beautiful open lakes views of nearby mountains and darting kingfishers. And unexpected backwater byways with interesting shops and sights.
      • Toured multiple city gardens including Mughal Gardens and visited Shankaracharya Hindu temple atop Zabarwan mountain. 
      • Shopping adventure: bought brilliant Kashmir rugs!

      Hotel Godwin Deluxe - Delhi

      Deciding where in Delhi to stay was a big decision. We expect for our multi-month visit we may very well pass through the city again. If so, we intend to try different areas. For our first-ever visit we chose the Paharganj neighborhood, an area north of Connaught Place and the government center but also close to Old Delhi and easy walking distance to the New Delhi train station. It was convenient for first-time sightseeing.

      We chose Hotel Godwin Deluxe. We were here for one week in late September 2017.