Luxury Family Holidays To India - Best Things To See & Do

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Alison from Travel Essence updates us on India: SEPTEMBER 2015

I have just returned from the most amazing trip to India; where I was hosted by my fabulous India specialist Nikhil Chhibber from Western & Oriental, in conjunction with The Oberoi Hotel Group. Over the years I have been fortunate enough to travel extensively to many wonderful places in the world, but I can honestly say that no where has ignited all the senses and touched my heart in quite such a unique way as India did. I find it impossible for words to truly do justice to this magical land and as my host Nikhil said ‘India is a destination full of surprises and many contrasts. What binds India is its tradition of storytelling, you can start anywhere and that’s where you will begin your own story..’

My story began in Mumbai where we witnessed the organised chaos that India is famous for, jostling for space on a busy street in a rickshaw alongside cars, pedestrians and even cattle was definitely an ‘only in India’ experience! Mumbai is the commercial and entertainment capital of India - and the home of Bollywood. Here, we were taken on a tour of Dharavi slum which gained notoriety through the film Slumdog Millionaire. Home to more than one million people, Dharavi is also a centre for small business in Mumbai, with industries turning over more than US$650 million per year.

Our next stop was Jaipur where we discovered a more relaxing side to India. We stayed at The Oberoi Rajvilas, an absolute haven for families, couples or single travellers, set in wonderful gardens with tranquil pools and amazing villa and tented accommodations. The setting was sublime, yet what really sets the Indian hotels apart from others, is the staff and the impeccable service you receive from these warm and gracious people. In Jaipur, the Pink City, we tested every mode of transport to see this incredible place. Floating above the city in a hot air balloon at sunrise was a great start, then we moved to elephant back, vintage car and rickshaw to visit the many historical monuments in style, including the City Palace, Jantar Mantar Astronomical Observatory and the Amber Fort. There really is something to inspire and engage every family member in Jaipur.

A journey 2,200 metres above sea level to the former British summer capital of Shimla in the Himalayan Foothills provided the group with a complete change in scenery and a morning hike certainly gave us a taster of the possible outdoor activities available in the area and the breath-taking scenery that envelops you. Shimla is home to a number of wonderful yoga and spa retreats, with many offering unique treatments and programmes. An afternoon of pampering in the spa at The Oberoi Wildflower Hall certainly worked its magic on me- it was bliss!

We travelled by local train to our final destination, this gave us a good chance to witness life in small villages and farming communities; a total contrast to what lay ahead for us in the bustling city of Delhi, where once again we became intoxicated by the sights, smells and sounds as we journeyed by rickshaw through the mesmerising yet chaotic spice market.

With presentations throughout from local experts on India’s history, wildlife and tourism opportunities, the trip was an invaluable means for me to discover first-hand the complete range of experiences and landscapes available within India. The trip has certainly changed my perceptions, misconceptions and preconceived notion about India; I am now a convert and as a keen ambassador eager to share this knowledge with my clients. My hope is to convince as many of you as possible to experience this amazing sub-continent, so whether a family, couple or single traveller let Travel Essence craft the ideal bespoke Indian adventure for you.

May I invite you to visit www.westernoriental.com/brochure for exciting possibilities and inspirations in India. Each person or family travelling to India is different (some may like culture and religion, others architecture, some like wildlife, others markets, for some its people or food, others may like hotels or it may be a combination of all). It’s a-la-carte India and my objective with Western & Oriental is to ensure you have a wonderful experience of India that is just right for you.

For more inspiration or to personalise and create an Indian experience that is unique for you:

Please call 01932 863300

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LUXURY BEACH HOLIDAYS - Escencia, The Mayan Riviera, Mexico

The Mayan Riviera is the perfect place to relax at the end of a busy itinerary, to snorkel amongst the brightly coloured fish in the beautiful waters, explore the Mayan archaeological site of Tulum, or simply collapse on the beautiful white sandy beaches and enjoy the view.

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