Do you share Rick Stein’s passion for the perfect curry? Do you want to relax on your very own houseboat in the Kerala Backwaters as an aromatic meal is prepared by the cook? Or sip a Kingfisher beer gazing out over your patch of paradise in rural Rajasthan? Tribes can help!
We’ve been arranging holidays to India for decades and know a thing or two about this fascinating country, as well as some very special places we’d be delighted to share with you. Here are a few to tempt you.
Delhi features on most people’s trips to India and food may not be the first thing that comes to mind when contemplating the capital, but if you dine at The Claridges that may all change. There are several restaurants but, as far we we’re concerned, the pick of the bunch is Dhaba. The cuisine is described as ‘North Indian highway’ and the place is set up as a rustic highway diner. It’s certainly different to most Delhi restaurants! They’ve gone out of their way to make it feel authentic, with roughly plastered, whitewashed walls, wooden tables and chairs upholstered in traditional, bright textiles, natural flooring and a thatched ceiling. Food is served to the soundtrack of golden oldies from the antique radio. But don’t be fooled. This is no normal truck stop food. The a la carte menu is bursting with the flavours of North India. Try the tandoori kebabs, balti meat or perhaps the chef’s special thali. The combination of food and ambience here is a real winner.
Live like royalty at Bhainsrorgarh Fort. You can’t fail to be impressed by this huge, rambling building atop a 200 foot cliff overlooking the Chambal River in deepest Rajasthan. Despite its size it has just 10 guest rooms and service is personal and charming. This heritage hotel is family run and you may well find yourself chatting to a member of the royal family! The food lives up to this magnificent setting, too. You’ll sample signature dishes of the family that have been handed down through the generations. Enjoy gourmet meals in the chandelier-lit dining room or on one the terraces as you admire views of the river below.
Malabar – the name alone evokes a sense of the exotic. It’s a place to indulge the senses and that includes taste. If you’re fortunate enough to be staying at Marari Beach Resort, this will prove no problem. The hotel has its own organic farm and the freshness of the vegetables and herbs is matched by that of the seafood. You’ll be dining on the catch of the day, discreetly enhanced by coconut milk and aromatic spices. Traditional Malabar food is not as spicy as that of the north, allowing the subtle flavours of the seafood to shine through. And dinner is served on a banana leaf! Foodies will love a trip around the farm and the chance to pick their own veggies then prepare and cook them. You may even pick up a few new skills along the way.
Fancy a stay in the former summer retreat of Lord Kitchener? Wildflower Hall is your place! Now a luxury resort and spa, this fabulous hotel is set in 23 acres of forest in the Himalayan foothills a short drive from Shimla. It’s an opulent place with polished teak floors, colonial décor and 24 hour butler service. You can go for long walks through the fragrant pine forest, taking a picnic hamper containing a scrummy lunch. At the hotel you can sample Pan-Asian and Indian fare and, for a really special treat, enjoy a romantic dinner at the gazebo, where personal coal fires warm you as you enjoy a 5-course gourmet meal beneath the stars.