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TripAdvisor to become Facebook and Instagram of travel

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TripAdvisor is soon going to acquire a full-fledged social media avatar as good as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and FourSquare. It will create a social media platform for travel and makes restaurant critics, travel experts and influencers of every user. TripAdvisor unveiled a new site and mobile experience launching later this year. Currently in beta, the world’s largest crowd-sourced travel platform is evolving to become the most personalised and connected travel community, inspiring and empowering individuals with social assistive tools to plan and book better with relevant advice and information from people and experts they trust. During a preview event in New York organised for press on Sept 17, a demonstration of the new platform revealed that the new TripAdvisor will be optimised for mobile devices and take heavy cues from Instagram and Facebook.

Beta version of the new look

TripAdvisor has set out an ambitious strategy to transform itself into a social media platform for travelers. Users will be able to create personal profiles where they can post reviews, recommendations, photos and videos of hotels, restaurants, and attractions. While this feature already exists, the update will amp up the social media aspect, with users able to follow friends, influencers and major travel brands. Members will be able to save posts that appear on their travel feed, and, like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, social media validation will be possible with the addition of “Like” buttons. The new TripAdvisor expands its community beyond travellers to also include brands, social media influencers, publishers and friends. Travellers can follow and connect with individuals or content creators who share information that is relevant to their interests.

Complementing our more than 661 million reviews and opinions, TripAdvisor members will be able to create and view inspirational and helpful new forms of content including photos, videos and articles. The new platform is also being pitched as a space for content creation, for sharing content, and as a one-stop shop, where users can book their hotel directly from the site. Members will also have the ability to create “Trips,” which can be in-depth travel guides, itineraries or simple wish lists of things to do while traveling. Trips can be made private and saved for personal use or shared with the community to inspire and help others.  

Powered by the world’s first “travel feed,” TripAdvisor members will also be able to discover more relevant information faster when planning travel. Assisted throughout the entire travel planning process, members can draw advice and inspiration from their friends, family and trusted experts. When a member logs onto the TripAdvisor app or site, their homepage transforms into a personalised feed of information. When searching a particular destination, the feed automatically narrows the scope of the information displayed to that particular geographic location. For example, members planning a trip to Paris may see a food critic’s article on the best restaurant in the city, an influencer’s travel guide of “must-do’s,” and a friend’s review of a new hotel near the Eiffel Tower.

Steve Kaufer, CEO, introduces the new TripAdvisor travel feed on Sept. 17, 2018 in New York 

“TripAdvisor is poised to disrupt the travel industry once again as we create a more personalized and connected community,” said Stephen Kaufer, CEO & co-founder of TripAdvisor. “The new TripAdvisor is the one travel site that brings together social-assistive tools, amazing content and our existing booking capabilities to merge the joy of planning and discovery together into a single experience. We are assisting our members at each step of their journey as we become a more personalised, inspirational and useful TripAdvisor.”

A New, Valuable Audience for Brands and Publishers

While in beta, more than 500 social media influencers, well-known consumer brands, publishers and travel partners have joined the new TripAdvisor — with more being added every day. In addition to the many content creators joining the platform, TripAdvisor’s team of destination experts and TripAdvisor Media Group brands, including Smarter Travel, Cruise Critic and TheFork.com, will also contribute to the site experience through unique profiles. These partners have already started to create hundreds of pieces of inspiring and helpful travel content, grow their followers, and provide valuable feedback to improve the experience.

Members will be able to follow favorite brands like National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel Channel, Business Insider & Insider Guides, PopSugar, Great Big Story, Pandora Music, GoPro, Goop, NYC & Company (via their consumer-facing tourism website, nycgo.com), Nashville Music City, and The Knot, among many others. Members will also be able to follow leading social media influencers like television personality and restaurateur Giada De Laurentiis, as well as travel bloggers, like TravelBabbo.

TripAdvisor’s Impact on Travel and Tourism

TripAdvisor has unveiled its new site and mobile experience at a time when the company’s impact on the travel and tourism industry is massive and growing. Two recent studies show a growing reliance on TripAdvisor during the travel planning, booking (pre-trip and in-destination) and post-trip experience. According to a 2017 Oxford Economics Study, the TripAdvisor platform has influenced $546 billion USD (10.3%) of global tourism spend annually in the travel and hospitality industry as consumers sought our review content as a part of their decision-making process. A 2018 study from comScore found that 60% of people booking travel online went to TripAdvisor during the travel planning and booking process, and a full 74% of travellers used TripAdvisor when booking on hotel websites. The new TripAdvisor site and mobile experience is set to come out of beta and launch globally to the public later this year across all markets and languages where the company operates.

TripAdvisor covers approximately 7.7 million accommodations, airlines, experiences, and restaurants and provides travellers with the wisdom of the crowds to help them decide where to stay, how to fly, what to do and where to eat. TripAdvisor also compares prices from more than 200 hotel booking sites so travellers can find the lowest price on the hotel that’s right for them. TripAdvisor-branded sites are available in 49 markets, and are home to the world’s largest travel community of 456 million average monthly unique visitors, all looking to get the most out of every trip.

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Bali is the top destination in the World

Bali in Indonesia is the top destination in world favoured by the travellers. This is what TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards for the year 2017 show. Surprisingly (or not) there is no Indian destination in this top 25 list. List has some notable evergreen gems and some equally notable misses. There is no destination in the list from China or Australia or Japan or South & Central Africa, not even Mauritius or Reunion islands. Besides India, Asia also has notable misses like Singapore, Hong Kong, Macao or even Maldives. Probably, travellers always search for newer shores. But what can be said for sure is that more and more people are now travelling to beach destinations. This list of 25 destinations is actually beach heavy with only seven destinations have no access to sea, or are not coastal towns.

This should hardly come as surprise for anybody as the Indonesian island of Bali is a favourite destination for both adventurers and those in need of a little relaxation. The waters off the coast of Bali’s white beaches are an ideal spot for diving, while the dense jungles, teeming with monkeys and hidden stone temples, call out for exploration. Hike the rugged path to the summit of Mount Batur, and your effort will be rewarded with a stunning view. Then coax your sore muscles back into action with a massage at one of Bali’s many luxury spas.

London would have been rattled by Wednesday’s attack at Parliament, but it has always been top choice for travellers across the world. Hence it stands second after Bali. There’s so much to see and do in London, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. Major sights like the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace are on most visitors’ itineraries, but no matter what your interests, you’ll probably find something here. Art lovers should make a beeline for the National Gallery and the Tate Modern. If military history’s your thing, don’t miss the Cabinet War Rooms. Finally, forget everything you’ve heard about bland, mushy British food—the restaurant scene here is fabulous.

At third position is the capital of Britain’s neighbour across the English channel, France. Everyone who visits Paris for the first time probably has the same punchlist of major attractions to hit: The Louvre, Notre Dame, The Eiffel Tower, etc. Just make sure you leave some time to wander the city’s grand boulevards and eat in as many cafes, bistros and brasseries as possible. And don’t forget the shopping—whether your tastes run to Louis Vuitton or Les Puces (the flea market), you can find it here.

Next is again the legendary European destination which shaped world history in no mean terms. It’s nicknamed the Eternal City for a reason. In Rome, you can drink from a street fountain fed by an ancient aqueduct. Or see the same profile on a statue in the Capitoline Museum and the guy making your cappuccino. (Which, of course, you know never to order after 11 am.) Rome is also a city of contrasts—what other place on earth could be home to both the Vatican and La Dolce Vita?

Times Square at Night

The Big Apple holds its place in top five with New York. The first time you go to New York, go ahead and be a sight-seer—everyone should visit the Statue of Liberty, the Met, Times Square, etc. But on a return trip, pick a neighbourhood and go deep. You’ll find hole-in-the-wall bars, great delis, quirky shops… exploring the non-touristy side of New York is an incredibly rewarding experience for a traveller.

Greece is sixth but not for Santorini but for Crete. Crete is the largest of the Greek islands and is a paradise for tourists seeking sunshine, beaches, and culture. Chania lies on the northern coast of Crete. It’s the second largest city on the island and is served by an airport. Upon arrival, hire a car and drive the 30 kilometres up to the White Mountains. This beautiful setting is perfect for relaxing or doing a spot of walking and is also a good base to explore the region’s attractions.

Europe continues its hold in top ten with Barcelona at seventh. Stroll Las Ramblas and enjoy Barcelona’s unique blend of Catalan culture, distinctive architecture, lively nightlife and trendy, stylish hotels. You’ll find Europe’s best-preserved Gothic Quarter here, as well as amazing architectural works by Gaudi. La Sagrada Familia, considered Gaudi’s masterpiece, is still under construction (your entrance fee helps to fund the project). Feel like a picnic? Look no further than the rambunctious La Boqueria market, where you can stock up on local delicacies.

Second Asian entrant in the list is Cambodian city of Siam Reap at 8th position. Siem Reap is a fast-growing city with plenty of new hotels, restaurants and nightclubs. But chances are, you’re here not because of the city itself, but for what’s nearby: amazingly well-preserved ancient temples. Even if you have the worst jet lag ever, drag yourself out of bed to be at Angkor archaeological Park when it opens—sunrise over Angkor Wat is worth losing sleep over.

Back to Europe and this time it is Czech Republic. We hear the question, “What’s the next Prague?” a lot. But while we’re all for discovering great new destinations, we hardly think Prague is over. Sure, everyone’s heard of it, but it’s still a grand city with extraordinary historic and cultural sights, and it’s definitely worth a visit. The often-rebuilt Prague Castle has overlooked the city since the 9th century, and the synagogues and cemetery of the Jewish Quarter are must-sees. Nightlife here is diverse and plentiful, from trendy clubs to sophisticated wine bars to late-night cellar bars.

Completing the top 10 is another popular Asian destination in Thailand. Phuket offers a rainbow spectrum of spectacular holiday sights from blue lagoons and pink sunsets to orange-robed monks. Three wheeled-Tuk Tuks, taxis, buses and long tailed boats transport visitors between these marvels. Phuket’s south coast offers its most popular beaches. The north is more tranquil. Koh Phi Phi, Phang Nga Bay and Patong Beach are popular spots. Diving, snorkeling, wind surfing and sailing are just a few active options. Inland, forested hills, mountains and cliffs wait to be explored.

Leading the next ten despite its political upheaval is Turkey. Europe and Asia meet in Istanbul, and throughout this vibrant city, you’ll find centuries-old mosques, churches and markets happily co-existing with modern restaurants, galleries and nightclubs. And plan on visiting a hammam (traditional Turkish bath)—for about $20 your skin will be scrubbed clean. And we mean scrubbed. Your wimpy loofah has nothing on this.

Moving across the Atlantic in the Caribbean Sea is Jamaica at 12th spot. Jamaica is a melting pot of African, Asian, European and Middle Eastern cultures. You’ll experience this diversity in its strong crafts tradition, performing arts and distinctive dining options, like ackee and saltfish with roast breadfruit. Take your holiday to new heights at famed cliff jumping spot, Negril Cliffs. Jamaica offers long beaches, protected coves, rugged mountains, waterfalls, caves and sunshine and chances to play in the surf, ride horses and swim with dolphins. Jump in!

Now comes the another Asian city at 13th, Hoi An. This city on the central Vietnamese coast is a well-preserved example of the important Southeast Asian trading port it was from the 15th-19th centuries. Already a common stop for backpackers, it is becoming better known to tourists. On the 14th day of each lunar month, the town trades its electric lights for traditional coloured lanterns. Sights include the Japanese Covered Bridge and the Quan Cong Temple. Let the town’s expert tailors make you some bespoke clothing.

Finally Russia manages to hold a spot in the list at 14th. The second largest city in Russia, St. Petersburg is the country’s cultural heart. View splendid architectural gems like the Winter Palace and the Kazan Cathedral, and give yourself plenty of time to browse the world-renowned art collection of the Hermitage. Sprawling across the Neva River delta, St. Petersburg offers enough art, nightlife, fine dining and cultural destinations for many repeat visits.

The beautiful Caribbean Sea gets another share in the pie with Bay Islands at Roatan in Honduras. Is there a better way to cap off a day of pristine reef diving and heart-pumping adventure sports than by sipping a sunset cocktail? Didn’t think so! From ziplining to deep sea fishing to exploring the military-protected archipelago of Cayos Cochinos, the Honduran island of Roatan is a playground for lovers of water sports and ecotourism. Landlubbers will flip for the Carambola Botanical Gardens, a tour of the Stone Castle Cameo Factory or exploring the beaches on horseback.

Marrakech in Morocco is the only African entry in the list at 16th position. Your local farmers’ or flea market may be a fun place to spend a Saturday morning, but it’s got nothing on Marrakech’s markets. Spend a day here to immerse yourself in the spectacle. (Yes, that is, in fact, a snake charmer.)

At 17th spot is another gem in the Caribbean Sea. Ambergris Caye in Belize in Central America hovers in a holiday sweet spot: just enough amenities to make it exciting, but not so overdeveloped that you’re tripping over flip-flopped tourists. A mangrove swamp is the eye of this white beach island, the largest in Belize, and golf carts are the main form of transportation along the sandy roads. Reef divers drool over the Belize Barrier Reef and the Blue Hole, a 400-feet deep circle of limestone that teems with angelfish, elkhorn coral, cleaner shrimp and stalactites.

Latin America gets its first spot in the list at 18th through Rio de Janerio. May be your curiosity would have piqued by the last year’s RIO Olympic Games, or you’re heeding the call of the famous twin beaches Copacabana and Ipanema, Rio offers more than you can imagine, and offers it at all hours. With breathtaking views from Corcovado Mountain and breathtaking deals in the city’s endless malls and markets, Rio de Janeiro is a holiday paradise, whatever it is you travel for.

It seems that we are not going any far from the region as we again move from Rio to Caribbean Sea in north. Saint Maarten comes to 19th position. Get the experience of visiting two island colonies in the same 37 square miles. Saint Maarten/Saint Martin’s spicy marriage of Caribbean, French and Dutch cultures matches its physical diversity: the island is both urban and untamed, with rain forest-like landscapes, white beaches, and amazing caves and wildlife.

Moving further north we come to Mexico for exploring 20th spot. Playa del Carmen is distinct among Yucatan beach towns both culturally and commercially. While its beaches are similar to other destinations’, its nightlife and hotel culture is hipper in the European and American style, blending the traditional Mexican locale with a more permissive and opulent array of tourist options.

An Asian city of extravagance and opulence is at 21st rank. Dubai is a destination that mixes modern culture with history, adventure with world-class shopping and entertainment. Catch a show at the Dubai Opera, see downtown from atop the Burj Khalifa and spend an afternoon along Dubai Creek exploring the gold, textile and spice souks. If you’re looking for thrills, you can float above the desert dunes in a hot air balloon, climb aboard a high-speed ride at IMG Worlds of Adventure or skydive over the Palm Jumeirah.

Not surprisingly, we come back to Caribbean Sea. This time it is Grand Cayman in Cayman Islands. The farther you go from Grand Cayman’s busy docks, the more peace and quiet you’ll find. At Stingray City (actually a sandbar), stingrays swim alongside you in the tranquil waters. Closer to town, travellers report finding some of the best massage and spa services anywhere in the Caribbean.

India couldn’t find a place in the list but its neighbour does at 23rd position . Nepal’s capital Kathmandu is situated in a valley full of historic sites, ancient temples and shrines, golden pagodas and fascinating villages. Hotels, bars and restaurants cater to all budgets. Shops offer handicrafts, carpets and Nepali paper prints. Bus services, taxis and bicycles open up the city. Trek to see the Monkey Temple, the valley’s oldest and most sacred shrine. Mingle with locals and animals amid Durbar Square’s monuments and temples, or join mountain trekkers in the bustling Thamel District.

Far enough close to the International date line in South Pacific Ocean is all time favourite tiny island of Bora-Bora at 24th spot. The relatively small island of Bora Bora is an activity giant, offering visitors the chance to experience a 4×4 safari, sunbathe and swim at white sandy beaches, dive in a natural underwater park among fish and corals, experience thrilling shark feedings, or circle the turquoise lagoon by boat. And Bora Bora is a superlative romantic spot. Fall captive to this lush gem of a Polynesian island by sharing an intimate midnight dinner on the beach; visiting the Lagoonarium, the Diving Centre, the Coral Gardens or the Leopard Rays Trench; or taking it all in from the lofty heights of 2,300-foot Mount Otemanu.

Last but not least in the list is Cusco in Peru, home to one of the wonders in world. Incan majesty and Andean baroque exist side-by-side in Cusco’s stone streets, epitomized by the Qoriacancha palace and the church of Santo Domingo flanking the Plaza de Armas. In this high-altitude melting pot of Amerindian and mestizo culture, you’ll find extraordinary textiles, lively summer festivals and archaeological wonders.

SO, now for you it is time to decide, where would you want to land first!


Leela Palace Udaipur is the best hotel in the country

Leela Palace, Udaipur
Leela Palace, Udaipur

Rajasthan seems to have developed a penchant for exquisite and exclusive hotels. No doubt, most of these hotels are a different class altogether which make them loved ones among those who are looking for something elite. As per TripAdvisor Travellers’s Choice survey for 2017 among the top 25 hotels in India, 9 are in Rajasthan and all the top three are from state with two among them from Udaipur. Actually City of Lakes Udaipur along with Pink City Jaipur have three hotels each in the list which is maximum for any Indian city. And interestingly, in this list there is also a mini competition among the big hotel chains that quite explains the Indian hotel industry scenario. Among the top 25 hotels eight belong to the Oberoi Group of Hotels and seven to Taj Group of Hotels. That leaves only ten of top 25 out of the fold and among these ten two are from Orange County, one from Leela Group and One from ITC’s Fortune group. Rest six are independent boutique hotels or resorts.

Lake Palace, Udaipur
Lake Palace, Udaipur

Owing to its history, most of the top hotels in Rajasthan are either heritage hotels or the modern hotels with heritage look and feel. Numero uno hotel in India as per 2017 TripAdvisor Travellers’s Choice is the Leela Palace at Udaipur. In a tough competition within the lake city, Leela Palace has established itself at the top notch. It was also voted most favourite leisure hotel of the country couple of years back by Conde Nast Traveller India readers. Umaid Bhawan Palace at Jodhpur is the second which was India’s top heritage hotel in 2014 in TripAdvisor travellers’s choice. At 3rd position in the list is arguably one of the most beautiful lake hotels in the world- Taj Lake Palace, again at Udaipur. Of the two Orange counties in the list, Orange county Coorg is at the fourth place. At 5th place is another city from Rajasthan- Jaipur through Oberoi Rajvilas. Oberoi has another property at 6th place, this time Oberoi Amar Vilas from Agra.

Orange Country Resorts, Kabini
Orange Country Resorts, Kabini

At no 7 is another of Orange county resort at Kabini, located in Nagarhole National Park which has been already included in National Geographic’s list of 25 best ecolodges in the world. On 8th is Wildflower Hall at Mashobra near Shimla which was sometime back, India’s best hill station hotel in TripAdvisor Travellers’s Choice. 9th is third entrant from Oberoi bouquet in the top 10- The Oberoi, Bangalore. Completing top 10 among all these biggies is Namah at Dhikuli in the Jim Corbett National Park region.

Oberoi Udaivilas in Udaipur. In foreground is the lake Pichola.
Oberoi Udaivilas in Udaipur. In foreground is the lake Pichola.

At 11th is the third hotel from Udaipur- Oberoi Udaivilas, which for long has been touted as the costliest hotel in India. Next one is also from Oberoi, its flagship hotel in Gurgaon. 13th is second entrant from the Jim Corbett National Park- Aahana, the Corbett Wilderness. 14th in the list is a comparatively new entrant from Rajasthan- Suryagarh near Jaisalmer in Rajasthan. Built in a fort style on way to Sam dunes, this hotel is quickly rising up the ranks. 15th is Aveda Kumarakom in Kerala and next is a beautiful heritage property in Jaipur owned by, Oberoi again- Rambagh Palace. Then comes another Oberoi property- Oberoi Cecil in Shimla, a heritage hotel part of Shimla’s rich colonial history. The iconic Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai has been ranked 18th and at 19th is third property from Jaipur in the list- Jai Mahal Palace. Only property from Goa in the list- Taj Exotica Goa at Benaulim is on the 20th position.

Amanbagh at Ajabgarh
Amanbagh at Ajabgarh

Among the last five, at 21st is the only ITC property in the list Fortune, The Savoy at Mussoorie. The Tamara Coorg at Yavakapadi Village is on 22nd position. There is no Delhi hotel in the list but Gurgaon has second hotel- Trident at 23rd. On 24th is Vivanta by Taj at Madikeri. Completing the list is Amanbagh at most unlikely of the places- Ajabgarh in Alwar, Rajasthan.

Indian Accent continues to be the best!

Indian Accent continues to be on top of the list of most popular restaurants in India for another year in running. Well, nothing official about it but this list is based on user reviews on popular reviewing site TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor compiles list based on user reviews and updates them annually according to user ratings.

indian-accent-at-the-manorIt seems that Indian Accent at Friends Colony in New Delhi has continued to maintain its love affair with foodies. But besides this top position this list has seen a lot of upheaval in past one year. Four from the last list have lost their place and consequently there are four new entrants this year. New in this list but already known names. Goa lost one place but than there was another one from Goa to get entry. NCR continues to have its hold in the list with four entrants.

Villa Maya at Trivandrum has moved up a notch from 3rd position last year to number 2 this year. Peshawri at ITC Maratha in Mumbai has actually switched its place with Villa Maya this year. From number two last year, it has now come down to number three. Bukhara at ITC Maurya in New Delhi has also dropped one position from number four last year to number five this year. Karavalli in tech city Bengaluru enters the top 10 list at number four this year. Thalassa at Vagator in Goa is also a new entrant in the list at number six. Malaka Spice at Pune continues to be at the same position as last year at number seven.  But Khyber at Mumbai has dropped two positions from number six last year to number eighth in this year’s list. Lodi, The Garden Restaurant in New Delhi also enters the list at number nine. Gurgaon’s (now Gurugram) Farzi Cafe also makes its way in the list at number ten.

Those restaurants who are out of the list include Agashiye at Ahmedabad (number five last year), Gulati at New Delhi (number eight last year), Pinch of Spice at Agra (number nine last year) and Tuscany Gardens at Candolim in Goa (number ten last year).

Let’s have a look at the four new entrants this year.

karavalli_bangaloreLocated at The Gateway Hotel in Bangalore, Karavalli is to south Indian food what Bukhara is to kebabs. Not only is the food terrific but Karavalli’s influence has transformed the way south Indian food is perceived and served. Having embarked on a journey in 1990 to offer guests traditional cuisine of the South Western Coastal region, Karavalli has reinvented itself to give connoisseurs and gourmands a rejuvenated epicurean experience. At the iconic Karavalli, authenticity is the hallmark, where well-researched home-food recipes come together to ensure an experience that reiterates the greatness of Karavalli with a refreshed blend of novel additions to the menu, innovative desserts and unique dining experiences. The restored Karavalli captures the essence of 22 years of extensive research by the restaurant’s expert Chefs, reflecting the culinary legacy of the coastal regions of south west India. The Chefs have put together a distinctive compilation of vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies with extensive culinary journeys ranging from the best of the Mangalorean Bunts and Konkanis, Kodavas from Coorg, Malayalees, Calicut Muslims and Syrian Christians of Travancore, Havyaka Brahmins of Vitla and the Portuguese of Goa. New experiences like Tiffin carrier, South west coast Grills in the garden, Seasonal Curries and Wood fired dishes await our discerning guests. Karavalli the recipient of many awards both National and International and is featured in the best food guides across the world, like the one-of-its-kind Miele Food Guide (excerpts from the restaurant page).

thalassa-vagator“Thalassa” is an acronym for the “sea” in Greek, and this Greek taverna offers stunning views of Goa’s thalassa. Perched on the edge of a high cliff overlooking the Arabian Sea in Small Vagator village, this open-air restaurant offers one of the most breath-taking sunset views in Goa and a fabulous evening ambiance.  Conceived, owned and managed by Mariketty, diners are invited to share the ‘Greek culture’ that infuses this enchanting taverna, from its authentic and delectable Greek food, to the music and the warm hospitality. Set upon a high cliff that offers a stunning ocean-view, and styled completely in white, replete with with cane furnishings, white plastered walls and billowy white muslins-drapes, this elegant open-air Greek restaurant is reminiscent of any classic chic eat in Mykonos. With the azure waters of the Arabian Sea serving as the backdrop, soft lounge music wafting through the speakers and the attentive (and knowledgeable) staff  who magically appear whenever you need them , it is easy to see why this Little Vagator taverna is one of North Goa’s most adored restaurants. The food is Greek and the plates are bountiful. From classic Greek appetizers, dips and salads, to melt-in-your-mouth meats from the grill and Greek main courses, the food here is simply delicious! (excerpts from whatsupgoa.com)

lodi-the-garden-restaurantLodi, The Garden Restaurant is loved by Delhi. Known for its romantic setting & natural surroundings, Lodi is touted as the city’s favorite alfresco restaurant. The elegant & earthy interiors complimenting the natural landscape create an unobtrusive vibe, setting the tone for an unhurried meal with family or a day out with friends. From popular Sunday brunches to hi teas in the evenings, experiences at The Lodi are customized based on guest preferences.  While the wine bar boasts of an extensive wine list and a 16 tap wine machine, the garden bar is popular for its innovative cocktails. Lodi is well known as a non-institutional cultural hub. We work with well known & upcoming artists to organize a wide variety of events & gatherings ranging from live music and stand up comedy to travel talks and book readings. Highlighted by its lush botanical surroundings, pebbled walkways and bamboo railings, the restaurant is an extension of Lodhi Garden itself. The menu is an eclectic mix of flavors from around the world, though the emphasis remains on the much favored European influenced cuisine. Restaurant borrows serenity from the adjacent Lodhi Gardens. The Lodi has seating that is split between the Atrium, the Bar Floor, the Terrace, the Garden Area and the Ground Floor. The Garden area houses a variety of trees including the Jamun & Peepal, some over 100 years old. Comforting colors like orange have been used to ensure the seamless blending-in of the serene natural environment with that of the restaurant. The restaurant is not only known for its signature dishes like Moroccan Lamb Shoulder, Mezze platters, and The Lodi Chocolate Mousse, but also for its specialized organic farm to fork dishes, catering services and a live outdoor grill that serves authentic Rajasthani food. (excerpts from sewara.com)

farzi-cafe-gurgaonFarzi Cafe in Gurgaon will seem to be as quirky as the name suggests. The cafe is located in the hot spot of NCR ie DLF Cyber Hub. If you are a sucker for Indian cuisine but are bored with the sameness or wary of the overwhelming spices, then Farzi is the place for you. This place serves all the popular Indian dishes with quirky plating and presentation. If you want to have Indian food with a twist, look no further because Farzi Cafe is dedicated to providing the customers with innovative variations of Indian foods. A lively ambience and a polite staff. Have a small menu so really easy to choose stuff. A very large place with a long bar running on the left side. For large groups, there are round tables with black leather couches that kinda gives you a private space. A small platform on the right hosts live music on a few select days. Everything is wood and as soon as you enter its brown up and down. Even the ceiling has a wooden finish. A formal dining place with a twist. Focusing on the gourmet diner as well as the youth of India, Farzi Café aims to bring Indian cuisine back “in-Vogue”. “Farzi” can have many connotations, but at Farzi Café, it has just one, “creating an illusion” with its cuisine. Best described as a gourmet experience, it amalgamates traditional global and Indian classics, with Indian influences, contemporary presentations, culinary styles and ambiance. It is a quirky, chic, modern Indian café, where guests enjoy a sensory experience through the finest modern Indian cuisine, with a high energy ambiance. Infusing a generous dose of Indian flavours, Farzi Café presents Indian cuisine where culinary art meets the alchemy of modern presentations and cooking techniques like molecular gastronomy to absorb the guest into the ultimate gastronomic illusion (excerpts from restaurant site).

Indian Accent is the most popular restaurant in India

We Indians love our food. Ain’t we! We can proudly challenge any country in the world with the wide range of food we have from North to South and East to West and can beat the nearest competitor by a huge margin. No doubt we have some of the choices restaurants in the world as well. We might not be having many Michelin-starred chefs around but we do score on taste and hospitality. So here is a list of India’s top 10 restaurants as compiled by TripAdvisor on the basis of reader reviews. And they are actually in the order from top to ten.

Indian Accent, New Delhi, India

Indian_accentLocated in the manor hotel in Friends Colony it is easy to see why this has been voted best restaurant in India and Top 3 in Asia. Listed among top 100 restaurants worldwide by Foodie top 100, also amongst the Asia’s finest restaurants of 2013 by Miele Guide, Asia’s 50 best restaurants for 2014, best Indian restaurant in time out food awards, best restaurant in India by varli culinary awards, New York, and among the 101 best places to eat in world by Newsweek foodie awards, Indian accent has much more to offer than awards. It showcases Indian food for the 21st century with a path-breaking contemporary menu that is sure to excite the adventurous, yet satisfy traditional palates.

A wonderful place, a piece of Indian culture with its atmosphere, perfect Indian cuisine, with friendly and helpful staff and soulful music!!! Said to be a perfect place for couples, it gives a superb dining experience. People say, fantastic is an understatement for this place!!! Food, presentation and hospitality! Such diverse flavours and you can get a taste of each in every bite you have. Food is simply incredible, innovative, contemporary, unthinkable combinations, delicious and exquisitely-cooked. Chef’s menus is a popular choice.

Overlooking the cool verandah and the lush lawn, the restaurant also has a private dining room and a bar. Two gigantic silver diya trees of life provide an Indian accent to the otherwise modern décor.

Peshawri, Mumbai, India

PeshawriAt Peshawri in ITC Maratha in Mumbai the cuisine has been inspired by the essence of North West frontier tradition, of camaraderie around the warm glow of a campfire – succulent tandoori fare, low on oil and high on authenticity. The food is cooked in clay ovens or tandoor in the traditional style of the Indian North-West Frontier region. This style of cooking requires great expertise on the part of the chefs, since the meat is not accompanied by any sauce or gravy, but only pre-marinated and cooked before serving. It takes a chef years of meticulous training and dedication to master the technique of the art of making the breads that are so much vital part of the cuisine, or to acquire the ability to gauge spices, mix marinades, and the most vital of all, to judge the heat of the tandoor and the time necessary for each dish to be perfectly cooked.

A unique concept, the restaurant offers a sophisticated yet totally ethnic experience where the kitchen is part of the restaurant. The decor comprises rough-hewn trestle tables and wooden stools complete the rugged look. Copper pots and urns are suspended from the ceiling and pillars; the crockery is earthenware in an earthy ochre colour, while the menu is painted on a block of wood. The chequered apron is also a totally novel concept that has become very popular. The view of the kitchen with the busy chefs adds to the warmth of the restaurant, inviting one to take time off to photograph the activity inside the kitchen. The speed by which the food is cooked and delivered to the tables justifies its claim of having one of the most efficient service.

Villa Maya, Trivandrum, India

VillaMayaLocated west to the famous Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Villa Maya is among the top restaurants in the region. A very broad selection of dishes from Moroccan, to buffalo wings, to mouth watering Indian dishes. The setting is wonderful in Villa Maya’s beautiful courtyard. Villa Maya is a lovingly restored 18th century Dutch manor that once enjoyed the attention of the royal house of Travancore. In the spirit of its noble heritage it continues to exude timeless elegance through contemporary design and haute cuisine. Villa Maya is a treasure trove of subtle sensory delights; a theatre of the senses meticulously crafted to offer you an escape into serenity. Authentic traditional cuisines from around the world are exquisitely plated to harmonise with its classical architecture, minimal style and carefully selected art and craft pieces, creating an experience of beauty and grace. It has introduced sophisticated dining experiences. It believes in comfort, privacy and finesse, our varied dining spaces have been individually styled to suit your every mood and celebration.

Trivandrum’s culinary history inspired the restaurant to combine traditional cuisine with contemporary style. The menu presents a wide repertoire of cuisine from the countries that historically traded with Kerala. The menu is a gastronomical journey through Kerala, India, Morocco and Italy. Each dish has been carefully handpicked for its cultural heritage, authenticity and resonance with the tastes of Kerala and is presented in a multisensory delight of exciting flavours, textures and aromas.

Bukhara, New Delhi, India

BukharaIt has been historically known as one of the top restaurants in India. ITC Maurya’s finest restaurant serves the North-West Frontier on a platter. Yes, we’re talking tandoors and kebabs. Bukhara has held a place on the Restaurant Magazine UK’s Top 50 (world). A favourite of food critic Vir Sanghavi’s, Bukhara is on his best restaurant list too. The restaurant serves cuisine in a clay ‘tandoor’ oven with a special emphasis on kebabs, which are served without cutlery. Bukhara specialises in Indian food, and the north Indian cuisines. In 2009, US Secretary of state Hillary Clinton, also visited the restaurant, the “Hillary Platter” later became part of the menu, in line with “Presidential Platter” based on the non-vegetarian dishes ordered by Bill Clinton during his visit, and also “Chelsea Platter” composed of vegetarian dishes ordered by Chelsea Clinton.

Agashiye, Ahmedabad, India

AgashiyeAgashiye in Gujarati means on the terrace. This beautiful restaurant is spread over two huge terraces are inter-connected by a smaller one that houses a small wooden cottage. At Agashiye, the food is freshly prepared, a lot of it in the terrace kitchen where one can see it. Their attempt is to retain the distinct flavours of the ingredients and they use both spices and oil sparingly. The menu at Agashiye changes daily and varies seasonally too, so an item that one particularly liked during a previous visit may not be there on the menu. Though it hopes one world find another favourite!

The staff at Agashiye comprises mostly of men from neighbouring villages. During dinner, they will guide guests to the waiting area where one will be served juice and starters. Patrons will be informed when their table is ready. During lunch, people are seated at the table right away.

The food is served in a kansa thali immediately on being seated at the table. The meal starts with a choice of Indian breads and ends with rice. Servings are unlimited. The staff has been instructed not to constantly hover around and yet be attentive.It is neither an ethnic nor a theme restaurant. It is meant to be a dining experience in a contemporary Gujarati home.

Khyber, Mumbai, India

KhyberKhyber is an iconic restaurant located in the art & heritage district of the city of Mumbai. Frequently patronized by local & international celebrities, distinguished personalities and even royalty, we have had the pleasure of serving the Prince of Luxemborough, Kuwait Royal Family, Sir Richard Branson, Sir Paul McCartney, Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Wendell Rodricks, Goldie Hawn, Richard Gere, Demi Moore, and many more.

Khyber has successfully maintained utmost consistency in its hospitality as well as food quality & taste for over five decades! Today the brand enjoys an enviable position in the premium segment cuisine of the North-West Frontier Province and has created a niche for itself as one of the internationally acclaimed fine-dining restaurant of the world. Khyber has many awards in its kitty to prove the love and admire it receives from its connoisseurs..

Malaka Spice, Pune, India

Malaka-SpiceRestaurant started in 1997 in Lane 6 Koregaon Park at Pune. Malaka Spice is a culinary journey. When you order a Chef Cheeru original dish here, you will get a delight not available anywhere in the world, except at Malaka Spice. Because it has been conceived, designed, tested and tasted to an original perfection by favorite Chef Cheeru. Every offering at Malaka Spice is special. There might be few inspirations from an internationally popular traditional recipe…but always with a unique tasteful twist.

Malaka Classic is a dedication to the roadside cafe that Malaka Spice started as. This al fresco dining opportunity is rare in fast growing urban India and is extremely popular with the young and hip. It is especially popular with South Mumbai foodies who drive down to Pune on weekends to spend long epicurean afternoons at Malaka Classic. Celebs from sports, media and movies are a common sight here. Candle lit evenings draw romantic couples whose age may range from 16 to 60 plus. The Malaka menu evolves every day… Every day you may see a special dish being offered to foodie patrons… Many of these float into seasonal special menus and finally the best move into its Classic Menu. Restaurant is winner of MasterChef Australia Award 2012 – Viewer Recommended Food Joint – 2011 and Times food Award – Best Pan Asian Restaurant – 2013.

Gulati, New Delhi, India

GulatiUndoubtedly, the most trusted and revered place for authentic Indian, Mughlai & Tandoori delicacies for over four decades. Set right in the heart of the national capital, this, 130+ cover restaurant at Pandara Road offers the best of traditional hospitality and a true classy ambience that speaks sheer luxury. Since it’s inception in 1959 Gulati Restaurant has generated a happy guest list, which includes the highest social strata and countless prominent dignitaries. It is not only the high strata, its guest list cuts across the social boundaries and people from all walks of life form a part of the prestigious guest list. A testimony to the fact is it being voted as The Best North Indian Restaurant in Delhi in an exclusive HT City Reader’s Poll 2003.

The tender, melt in the mouth, Murgh Malai Kababs, the Barrah Akbari, the Kakori Kabab and Veg Galouti Kabab are sure to transform you to an old world charm. No wonder its Shahi Dal Makhani has been rated as the very best in the capital by Eating Out magazine. A range of select Hyderabadi dishes like Dumpokht Biryani, Paneer Hyderabadi and Fish Curry add a new flavor to the Mughlai Cuisine. To enchant the guests with the varied hues of the great Indian cuisine Gulati regularly host special food festivals. Its Biryani Festival, the Kabab Festival, the Tawa and the Hyderabadi have been overtly successful and have brought much reclaim. Gulati Restaurant provides the most modern and comfortable ambience to the guests, to relish the most authentic Indian cuisine.

Pinch of Spice, Agra, India

Pinch of SpicePinch of Spice is an exclusive fine dining restaurant with three outlets, two in Agra and one in Delhi. The company started its first restaurant in Agra with name – “Pinch of Spice” – A family Dining Restaurant at Agra’s commercial hub- Sanjay Place in 2007. After the success of first outlet, company started its second outlet overlooking Taj at Fatehabad Road in 2009, accommodating spacious dining and banqueting area spread over three floors. After that, company also opened its third restaurant in Delhi at a very famous market of Delhi – Rajouri Garden in 2011, spread over three floors i.e. Fine Dining, Banqueting and Lounge Bar. ”Pinch of Spice” has now become a renowned brand in Delhi and Agra, due to the delicious cuisine and soothing ambience it offers.

Pinch of Spice offers authenticity in each dish present on the menu and offers world class cuisines whether you are looking for traditional Indian food, Continental, Chinese or Italian. Dining at Pinch of Spice is a wonderful holistic experience; everything that greets you upon entering the place makes you feel special and pampered. Exclusive range of cuisine at the restaurant has a wide variety offering mouth watering vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies. Exotic yet authentic, the Pinch of Spice chain consist of fine dining with a five star feel and promises all food lovers a journey of specialised north west frontier cuisine with exotic picks from regions of Punjab and the Mughal era, at a substantial pricing.

Tuscany Gardens, Candolim, India

Tuscany-GardensOnly Italian restaurant in the list, although many other serve Italian dishes as well. Tuscany Gardens is the proud winner of the prestigious Italian “Ospitalita Italiana” quality seal -a symbol of the highest standards in Italian quality and Italian hospitality. Started in 2007, this garden restaurant is one of the coziest in Candolim and provides a calm and romantic ambience.  As the evening goes on, the area around the restaurant gets very quiet, providing a peaceful environment for you to enjoy your dinner and admire the beautiful little chapel opposite the restaurant. Combined with the Italian food and music, you might even forget you are in Goa for a little while!

Tuscany Gardens also makes an excellent cup of freshly brewed coffee and its own homemade desserts. It also believes that good food should be accompanied by good wine,  so they always track down some of the best wines available on the market –both Indian and foreign. It’s the place to visit if you’re tired of curries and Indian spices or if you have a craving for a decent thin-crust pizza or al dente pasta.

Taj Mahal is 3rd among top 25 landmarks

Panoramic view of the Taj Mahal from Mahtab Bagh
Panoramic view of the Taj Mahal from Mahtab Bagh

Simply the greatest architectural achievement on earth, not to mention a testament to love- Taj Mahal is among the Travellers’ Choice Top 25 Landmarks in the World for 2015, selected by TripAdvisor users around the globe. For its sheer beauty made out of white marble, Taj Mahal has always been considered as one of the wonders of the world. It is indeed among the most recognisable buildings on this globe.

angkor-watNot surprisingly though, the top place in the list goes to Angkor Wat temples in Cambodia’s Siem Reap. Another of man-made wonders Machu-Picchu in South American country of Peru is at 2nd position. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre at Abu Dhabi in United Arab Emirates is at 4th position and Basilica of the Sagrada Familia in Spanish city of Barcelona completes the top five landmarks.

corcovado-cristo-redentorNext two positions are held by two other cathedrals in Italy, St. Peter’s Basilica at Vatican City and Milan Cathedral (Duomo) at Milan. Alcatraz in San Franciso, California is 8th, Corcovado – Cristo Redentor at Rio de Janeiro in Brazil is 9th and another of San Francisco’s landmark- Golden Gate Bridge is at 10th. Two of world’s most famous landmarks are surprisingly out of top 10- Eiffel Tower in Paris is at 11th and Church of the Savior on Blood at St. Petersburg in Russia at 12th. Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is at 13th and The Alhambra at Granada in Spain is at 14th. Hagia Sophia Museum / Church (Ayasofya) at Istanbul in Turkey completes the top 15 list.

charles-bridge-karluvContinuing human fascination for bridges Charles Bridge (Karluv Most) at Prague, Czech Republic has earned 16th position. Very surprisingly, one of the landmarks that we study about since our childhoods- The Great Wall of China is only at 17th spot. Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool at Washington DC, District of Columbia in USA is 18th. Next two are probably the most newest structures in the list- Burj Khalifa at Dubai is at 19th and The National September 11 Memorial & Museum New York City, New York at 20th. Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho) at Bangkok, Thailand is 21st and Chichen Itza at Mexico is at 22nd position. Sydney Opera House at Sydney is Australia’s only entry to the list. Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur are at 24th and the 100-year old crossroad for world commerce and a feat of human ingenuity- Panama Canal at Panama City completes the most fascinating list.

Providenciales is the top island in world

Tropical Paradise
Providenciales island, Turks and Caicos

Providenciales island in the Turks and Caicos which lies southeast of Bahamas has been named as the top island in the world by TripAdvisor™, the world’s largest travel site in its its Travellers’ Choice™ awards for Islands. This year’s awards honour more than 100 islands worldwide including lists for Asia, Africa, Caribbean, Europe, South America, the South Pacific, the U.K., and the U.S. The annual awards are based on the millions of valuable reviews and opinions from TripAdvisor travellers across the globe. Actually, the Grace Bay in Providenciales, was last month named second in the list of top 25 beaches in the world by TripAdvisor.

Koh Tao , Photo: news.thaivisa.com
Koh Tao , Photo: news.thaivisa.com

All of the top 10 islands in Asia are located within the Southeast Asia region, with Ko Tao named the number one island in Asia, ahead of Bali and Phuket. Five of Thailand’s islands have once again been featured within the top 10 islands in Asia for the 2015 Travellers’ Choice awards. Ko Tao and Bali were also amongst the top ten islands in the world, placing 5th and 7th respectively. Award winners were determined using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for hotels, restaurants and attractions on islands worldwide, gathered over a 12-month period.

Boracay, Philippines
Boracay, Philippines

“Our well-travelled community has uncovered the best islands around the world for that perfect island escape whether you want to lie on the beach or seek adventure,” said Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor. “To help travellers book their trips to these remarkable destinations, TripAdvisor has surfaced amazing island hotels to accommodate a range of travel budgets.” “From the budget seekers to the luxury travellers, visitors will find that there no shortage of possibilities for travellers of every type,” said Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Minister of Tourism & Sport for Thailand.

Here is the look at the list-


Top 10 Travellers’ Choice Islands World

  1. Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
  2. Maui, Hawaii
  3. Roatan, Honduras
  4. Santorini, Greece
  5. Ko Tao, Thailand
  6. Madeira, Portugal
  7. Bali, Indonesia
  8. Mauritius, Africa
  9. Bora Bora, French Polynesia
  10. Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
Palawan, Philippines
Palawan, Philippines

Top 10 Travellers’ Choice Islands Asia

  1. Ko Tao, Thailand
  2. Bali, Indonesia
  3. Phuket, Thailand
  4. Ko Samui, Thailand
  5. Lombok, Indonesia
  6. Ko Lanta, Thailand
  7. Ko Phangan, Thailand
  8. Boracay, Philippines
  9. Palawan, Philippines
  10. Langkawi, Malaysia

For travellers planning an escape to a Travellers’ Choice Islands in Asia, TripAdvisor has also identified the 2015 average hotel rate and highly-rated value, mid-range and high-end hotels with availability to book on TripAdvisor.

Radhanagar is among top 25 beaches in world

Radhanagar Beach
Radhanagar Beach

One of India’s most known and popular beaches Radhanagar Beach at Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands is among the top 25 beaches in the world according to Trip Advisor, the top travel & tourism reviewing site in the world. Radhanagar beach, known for its white soft sand stands 12th in the list and is second Asian beach in the top 25. Mind it, this is a list compiled on the basis of ratings by the users around the world who travel and then review different places. In this regard it is more realistic based on user experiences. Brazil’s Baia do Sancho at Fernando de Noronha is at the top. For the second year in a row, the golden crescent hugged by rocky cliffs has earned the No. 1 spot on the global list. Not so easily accessible, but this is hardly disappointing to be there. It is followed by Grace Bay in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos which lies southeast of Bahamas. Rabbit beach at Lampedusa in Islands of Sicily in Italy completes the top three.

Baia_do_Sancho: By CCINTRA
Baia_do_Sancho: By CCINTRA

Cuba’s Playa Paraiso Beach at Cayo Largo is 4th and another Mediterranean beach Playa de Ses Illetes at Fomenter, Balearic Islands in Spain is 5th. Anse Lazio in Praline Island of Seychelles is the top African entry at 6th. Asia’s topmost inclusion in the list is beautiful White Beach at Boracay in Aklan Province of Philippines at no 7. Flamenco Beach at Culebra in Puerto Rico, Whitehaven Beach in Australia’s Whitsunday Island and Elafonissi Beach in Greece complete the top 10. South Africa’s Camp’s Bay Beach is just above the Radhanagar at 11th position. Asia has another two beaches in the list—Nai Harn Beach at Rawai, Thailand at 18th and Ngapali beach in Myanmar at 24th. Maunganui Beach in New Zealand is the last in the top 25.

Radhanagar Beach
Radhanagar Beach

As a beach which offers a wide range of flora and fauna, the beach at Radha Nagar – located at a distance of 7 km from Dolphin Yatri Nivas, it is rated as the one of the best in Asia. Sometime ago it was also revered as one of the top ten beaches in the world. Bestowed with the precious award of ‘Asia’s best beach’ by TIME Magazine, Radha Nagar Beach situated 12 kms from Havelock’s ferry pier is undoubtedly one of the beat beaches of Andaman Islands. Fine white sand, turquoise blue waters and a lot of peace and serenity are the hallmark of this beautiful landmass. The water at the beach is of exceptional quality as there is almost not turbidity and wave action. It is not a huge island to explore. An overall length of 2 kms and width of 30-40 meters is all that it extends to. There is so much to do at Radha Nagar that one could hardly get time to breathe. Yet, it is the place to have a gulp of fresh air free from all the adulterations of a city life.

Radhanagar Beach
Radhanagar Beach

Radhanagar beach has something for every kind of tourist – be it the adventure lover, the sports freak, the family guy or the romantic soul! Couples prefer this beach over many others as there is not much intrusion into their private moments. The sports lover could go for a plethora of activities like Scuba Diving, Snorkelling, Game Fishing, Swimming and many more that have been recently started there. In fact, Radha Nagar beach has some of the best dive centres of Andaman Islands. It is also a great place to spend some quiet, quality moments with family and friends. A silent walk on the beach or around the lining forests, enjoying a sunbath, reading that favourite book in one of the coffee corners overlooking the ocean – what more could one ask for! Tourists from all corners of the world flock the place for meeting new people, clicking great pictures & adding beautiful moments to their holiday album.Activities like kayaking, snorkelling and scuba diving are very prevalent here. Even elephant drives and sunset views can also be enjoyed at this beach.

Three Udaipur hotels among best Heritage hotels in country

Lake Palace, Udaipur
Lake Palace, Udaipur

City of Lakes- Udaipur has always been popular among tourists- domestic as well as overseas for its sheer beauty. It always had some of the top notch hotels in the world to its credit. As the latest list from reviewing site TripAdvisor shows Udaipur is getting popular for its classic hotels worldwide. TripAdisor list for top 25 heritage hotels in India consists of three hotels from Udaipur. Actually when it comes to heritage properties Rajasthan in general is far ahead from any other state in India. Rajasthan has nine hotels in this popular category claiming the top four positions.

Welcoming guests at Umaid Palace
Welcoming guests at Umaid Palace

Umaid Bhawan palace in Jodhpur, the erstwhile palace of Jodhpur royal family gets the maximum votes in this category. Considered to be one of the most beautiful hotels in India Taj Lake Palace at Udaipur is pitched second. This astonishingly beautiful hotel made in white marble is located in centre of Lake Pichola in heart of the old city. At the 3rd position is a rather new entrant to the category, which obviously is gaining popularity with every passing day- Rawla Narlai. Rawla Narlai is situated midway between Jodhpur & Udaipur. It is a 17th century “villa” with 30 exquisite rooms renovated over the last decade. Narlai is a village in Desuri tehsil of Pali district in Rajasthan state in India. It lies 36 km to Ranakpur and is at base of a hillock crowned by a colossal statue of an elephant. At 4th position is Jaipur’s eternal Taj Rambagh Palace, always a favorite among top class travelers.

Samode Palace
Samode Palace

Another hotel from Jodhpur- Ratan Vilas is at 9th spot. This too is a new name trying to make a place in the top list. Samode palace at Samode near Jaipur is ranked no 14 in the list. Historical Jai Mahal Palace in Jaipur is at the 20th position. Two havelis from old Udaipur- Jaiwana Haveli and the Amet Haveli are ranked at 23rd and 24th position among the top 25. Interestingly many more heritage properties from Rajasthan are missing the list; few of them have been immensely popular. These include Devigarh, Neemrana (perhaps the oldest heritage property in India), Ranbanka Palace near Jodhpur and Raj Palace in Jaipur, which was awarded as Best Heritage Hotel in the world at the World Travel Awards.

Hotel Chapslee in Shimla. Photo: courtsey indiafamousfor.com
Hotel Chapslee in Shimla. Photo: courtsey indiafamousfor.com

Nonetheless, this TripAdvisor list has some very exclusive Indian hotels including- Chapslee at Shimla (5th),  The Oberoi Grand at Kolkata (6th), legendry The Taj Mahal Palace at Mumbai (7th), Kalmatia Sangam Himalaya Resort at Almora (8th), The Imperial Hotel at New Delhi (11th), The Lalit Great Eastern at Kolkata (15th), Kumarakom Lake Resort at Kumarakom in Kerala (16th),  The Spice Village at Thekkady in Kerala (17th), Netuk House Hotel at Gangtok in Sikkim (19th), Fortune The Savoy at Mussoorie (21st) and The Naini Retreat at Nainital (22nd). Kerala has its six properties in the list including Niraamaya Retreats at Kovalam (12th) and Coconut Lagoon at Kumarakom (13th). Colonial Brunton Boatyard at Kochi (Cochin) also makes the list at no 18th.

Bangalore has the best amusement park in India

wonderla-resort-amusement-parkWonderla Amusement Park in Bangalore has been named as the best amusement park in India by TripAdvisor, an online review community of travelers across the world. TripAdvisor released the travelers’ choice awards for best amusement parks and water parks around the world. Siam Park, Adeje in Spain was named best water park in world and  Discovery Cove, Orlando, Florida was named best amusement park in world.  In total, 242 winners were identified, including the top 25 in the world and dedicated lists for Asia, Canada, China, Europe, India, South America, South Pacific, the U.K. and the U.S. Orlando in Florida comes out to be richest in world in terms of water and amusement parks.

Discovery coveTravelers’ Choice awards honor top travel spots worldwide based on the millions of valuable reviews and opinions from TripAdvisor travelers. Award winners were determined using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews for amusement parks and water parks worldwide, gathered over a 12-month period. Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor said, “there is a wide variety of activities to appeal to all ages at these top-rated parks across the globe. Travelers in search of outdoor entertainment should look no further than the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Amusement Parks and Water Parks”

ramoji_filmcityIn combined list of amusement and water parks in India, Ramoji Film City near Hyderabad was the no 2 and another Wonderla property- Wonderla Amusement Park, Kochi (Cochin) at third place. Water Kingdom at Mumbai was 4th and Science City at Kolkata stood 5th. India’s one of the earliest amusement parks EsselWorld in Mumbai was 6th in list. Kolkata’s second entry in list Nicco Park was 7th and another park near Bangalore GRS Fantasy Park at Mysore was 8th. National capital region of Delhi gained last two places in the list- Adventure Island in New Delhi at 9th and Worlds of Wonder in Noida at 10th spot.

Beach Park, BrazilBut the world list for amusement and water parks were separate.  Beach Park, Aquiraz, Brazil was 2nd in list of water parks. Florida’s two water parks stood next- Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, Orlando at 3rd and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, Orlando at 4th. Asia had next two winners- Waterbom Bali, Kuta in Indonesia at 5th and Wild Wadi Water Park in Dubai at 6th. Brazil had another of its park in top list- Hot Park, Rio Quente at 7th and similarly Dubai’s another entry Aquaventure Waterpark at 8th. Florida had its third park in list at 9th- Aquatica in Orlando, while last one in top 10 was  Aquaventure Water Park at Atlantis Paradise Island, Paradise Island, Bahamas.

Atlantica_(Europa-Park_Germany)In world list of amusement parks behind Discovery Cove, Orlando, Florida at no 2 was Europa-Park, Rust, Germany. Florida had no 3, 4 and 5 in this list too- Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Orlando and  Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Orlando. Brazil has an entry in amusement parks as well with Beto Carrero World, Penha at no 6. California’s Disneyland Park, Anaheim is 7th, Universal Studios at Sentosa Island in Singapore at 8th and PortAventura Park, Salou, Spain is 9th. Florida has fifth entry in top 10 with  Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Orlando completing the list.