Top Travel News from India

Ladakh, India
Ladakh, India // Photo by Astalor/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

India, always buzzing with luxury activity, has been stirring quite a bit lately, with luxury openings happening almost on a daily basis. Here is the latest roundup from the great subcontinent:

Swissôtel Goa is ready for its close-up on March 1. We hear the resort will open its doors in the town of Calangute in North Goa, just an hour from the international airport. The resort has 135 guest rooms and suites, set in nine three-level buildings. The buildings are tucked in a tropical garden with lily ponds and a courtyard pool area. Dining option include an all-day venue, pool bar and cafe. There is also a fitness center, adult an children's pools, kid's club and meeting space. Beach lovers will flip over the exclusive beach club, as well.

It’s been years in the making, and now The Leela Palace has finally opened on the shores of the Bay of Bengal in Chennai. This is the 8th property for the Leela hotel group in India, and the first five-star hotel in Chennai with sea-facing rooms. Early TripAdvisor reviews are glowing about “experiencing the palace life.” The region’s regal Chettinad Dynasty was the inspiration for the architecture- an opulent spread on six acres of urban beachfront. The 326 rooms and suites are the largest in the city and come equipped with the latest technology, luxury bathrooms with spa mood lighting, a gourmet corner; and 24-hour butler service. There are five diverse restaurants including a rooftop Italian restaurant; a spa by ESPA; infinity pool; fitness center; and lavish meeting and conference centers.

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Here's the latest coming out of New Delhi: Kempinski has debuted the 480-room Kempinski Ambience Delhi in East Delhi. The luxury hotel has two towers, connected by a sky bridge. Each tower has its own entrance, lobby and check-in desk. Dining options include four specialty restaurants including Cafe Knosh for all-day dining, Dilli 32 for Indian specialities, Mei Kun for Asian cuisine and Casaluna, which serves up Italian fare. We love the Cherry Bar, a glass-enclosed bar which ups the level of chic at this city hotel. There are also two business centers, a spa, ice fountain, two fitness centers and two outdoor swimming pools. 

Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts has announced the launch of Banyan Tree Kerala in Q1 2013. The resort’s debut marks the first property in India for the Banyan Tree Group. Banyan Tree Kerala is an all-pool villa retreat. Located on the private island of Nediyathuruthu in the Alleppey district of Kerala, Banyan Tree Kerala is an hour south of Kochi International Airport and a 10-minute boat ride from the resort’s private jetty in nearby Vaduthala. Framed by the backwaters for which Kerala is renowned, the resort offers a setting to discover the beaches, canals, tropical greenery and Ayurvedic therapies. Each of the resort’s 59 villas features a private pool and views of the surrounding waterways and canals. Boasting local architectural accents of gabled roofs and carved wooden facades, the villa interiors showcase indigenous materials such as coir – a natural fiber extracted from the husk of coconuts, ornamental wood carvings, paintings and frescoes as well as Kathakali art, which depicts the traditional and highly stylized classical Indian dance-drama from Kerala. Banyan Tree Kerala features the group’s first dedicated Ayurvedic Center, offering personalized consultations by Ayurvedic doctors. Guests can also enjoy a variety of other wellness therapies from the Banyan Tree Spa in one of four Ayurvedic treatment rooms or one of six Spa pavilions. The resort’s gymnasium and yoga pavilion are also available. The Activity Island, situated just five minutes away from the main resort can accommodate groups of approximately 150 guests for private events and functions. A grass area is ideal for receptions and a recreation zone offers a court for various sports, a climbing wall, archery range and an obstacle course. A houseboat offers leisurely evening rides on the backwaters. Banyan Tree Kerala is also ideal for small to medium meetings and events. A boardroom and two meeting rooms ranging from 269 square feet to 430 square feet hold eight to 18 people each. Additionally, the 2,281 square foot banquet hall accommodates up to 150 guests and is perfect for sophisticated gatherings and gala functions. Banyan Tree Kerala offers an array of dining options. South Indian cuisine is available at the All Day Dining venue; while the group’s much-lauded Saffron restaurant features Thai cuisine. Classical Indian dance performances are presented in the Bar Lounge nightly, and the Spa Café features a menu inspired by the tri-dosha concept of Ayurveda. Special dining experiences include dinner aboard a local palak boat typically used by royalty on which Keralan fish curry and a variety of other traditional dishes are served. Guests may also dine atop a specially built tower, the tallest point on the island, while admiring views of the resort.

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