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Splendour on a coffee table

Nandhini Sundar
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Laying out on the table the country's rich cultural heritage and spectacular architecture is “ Hotels and Resorts in India,” a coffee table book published by White Flag. Showcasing in its pages some of the most exotic and stunning hotels and resorts in the country, the book is a virtual treat to any connoisseur of art, architecture, and hotels and any kind of grandeur.

The book journeys through the transformation of erstwhile palaces, resorts and wilderness where these places of stay have lent a totally different dimension to the travel experiences of tourists and business heads. The book features classic as well as contemporary architecture, with innovative themes and designs reflecting local culture and environment, adding a new meaning to luxury and creativity.

A story to tell

Each of the 20-odd hotels and resorts featured have a story to tell in terms of either their restoration or design tuned to meet specific elements. Devi Garh, Udaipur, is a classic example of a palace forgotten for over two centuries, now restored to its former glory and serving as a luxurious place to stay. Its sunbathed corridors nestling in the Aravalli hills, its splendid courtyards, Sheesh Mahal, royal interiors, all reflective of the luxurious lifestyle of a forgotten era, are a treat for the eye. The local culture and architecture is likewise captured in its authenticity in the Madhubhan Resort and Spa, Anand, Gujarat. The resort, reflective of the ethnic Gujarati architecture and lifestyle, also serves as a contemporary blend, incorporating the picturesque Gujarati village with its havelis and gullies while packing in the comfort of modern living.

Resorts built to resonate the local environment also feature in the book, depicting local styles and materials. The Spice Village, Thekkady, reflects this in entirety, with its thatched roof cottages outside the Periyar Tiger Reserve. The ambience of the resort is fabulous in its replication of a tribal village, surrounded by spice trees. Interiors of the cottages reflect luxury, yet packing in a rural aura. The Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, is yet another masterpiece, spectacular as its marble structure rises from lake Pichola. With its blend of Mughal and Rajput architecture elements, the hotel has stunning courtyards combined with lush greenery and water bodies. Its interiors incorporating marble, gold etchings, arched windows and doors, and exotic chandeliers, speak of the grandeur of a bygone era.

The architecture of a building essentially needs to be in conformity with the natural topography, the structure blending in and absorbing the natural gradient of the site. Hotels conforming to this natural terrain, fusing seamlessly into the scenery, also find their place in the book.

The Corinthians, Pune, is one such boutique hotel, its structure literally emerging from the hills, adapting to its contours.

Nandhini Sundar

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