Mumbai served on a Platter

The Imperial Culinary Club is an initiative by The Imperial hotel, New Delhi to share the finer nuances filled with secrets of what makes ‘The Imperial’ cuisine so sought after the world over. A unique and interactive platform to capture the culinary interest of cooking enthusiasts. Each session is full of exciting cuisines made either by the in-house chefs and The Imperial Senior Executive VP & GM- Vijay Wanchoo or a celebrity chef. This time embracing some of his favourite restaurants and eateries and presenting an array of delicious offerings, Michelin Chef Vikas Khanna seized the afternoon at The Imperial Culinary Club with a live cook out of vibrant dishes from Mumbai while launching his book as a tribute to the city of dreams called “Savour Mumbai”.

Michelin star chef Vikas Khanna and Mr. Vijay Wanchoo- Sr. Executive VP and GM The Imperial, www.stylecity.in

Mumbai is a unique juxtaposition of modern and traditional Indian experiences that is captured ecstatically in Vikas Khanna’s book which has an array of delicious food options: Maharastrian, Parsi, Gujarati, Konkani, street food and so much more. In this particular culinary session, Chef Vikas Khanna had even me a self-declared non-cook mesmerised. He is a great orator, reliving stories of his childhood while showcasing how to create some restaurant quality dishes in a simple manner in the comfort of our homes. The carefully selected gourmet options handpicked from distinct cuisines which find their popularity in Mumbai chosen for the live cook out included Kaju Kothambir Vadi from Maharashtra, Khubani Ka Shahi Tukda from Lucknow, Guava and cottage Cheese salad from Allahabad, Kacche kele ki Asharfi from Hyderabad and Chicken Cafreal from Goa.

kacche kele ki asharfi, www.stylecity.in Kaju Kothimbir vadi, www.stylecity.in

So if you are intrigued and cant wait to attend the next Culinary club, whether you are a foodie, a chef or simply for a different experience do try to get on board with the culinary club.
Attendance fee: Rs.2,000
Contact: Ms. Anupama Kumari
The Imperial: Tel: +91 11 23341234 Mob: 9811633395

Shangri-la Dubai’s 10th anniversary celebrations

I know this is a little short notice but for all of my UAE readers it is a steal, to celebrate its 10th anniversary, Shangri-la Dubai is selling ten rooms for only Dhs 10, valid for bookings on 10th July only.The Dhs 10 rate is limited to the first ten bookings made for the night of 10th July 2013 via the website booking engine at www.shangri-la.com/dubai. Guests may start bookings on 8th July 2013 at 9 a.m. using the special rate code SLDB10ANN. Furthermore, children born on 8th July 2003, the hotel’s official opening date, and residing in Dubai may enjoy a complimentary birthday lunch or dinner for a maximum of ten guests at Dunes Café.

Shangri-La Dubai, www.stylecity.in

Shangri-La Dubai, www.stylecity.in

So spread the word and make it a special anniversary, birthday or general night out with friends for your loved ones. It is a perfect gift, so wish I was in Dubai to avail this offer.

Luxe and Stylish: ASMALLWORLD Relaunch

From a business model that was previously based on advertising, the new ASMALLWORLD is shifting to a subscription model. With a peer-recommended and verified user base capped at 250,000 and a bold new set of amenities for its members, ASMALLWORLD will transform into the world’s leading international travel and lifestyle community. From the moment you hit the ground in any city, you’ve got the best insider recommendations, discounts at dozens of stylish boutiques, a free spa treatment, an invitation to a party that night, automatic access to a club – and to top it off you’re staying at a great hotel, at a major discount. ASMALLWORLD will introduce an impressive set of new offerings for its members in India and the world over, transforming from a social network into an international travel and lifestyle club. To fete this special time in the company’s history, CEO Sabine Heller and Chairman Patrick Liotard-Vogt invited over 80 VIP guests from around the world to Taj Marrakech (one of the shoot locations for Sex and the City 2 ), in Morocco over the weekend of May 10 – 12, 2013, for a magical desert adventure.

Photograph:Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com
Photograph:Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com
Photograph: Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com
Photograph: Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com
Photograph:Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com
Photograph:Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com

Sabine Heller Credit to Frances Tulk-HartWe at StyleCity Love nothing more than travel, luxury and lifestyle. ASW promotes all that and more, hence we caught up with ASW CEO Sabine Heller and asked her a few questions on her Style Secrets, Luxury Lifestyle and plans for the newly re-launched ASMALLWORLD. So here goes:-
Define Style. What according to you makes a person stylish?
Style to me is very personal. Almost everything I wear is designed by a friend. I have a much more personal relationship with my clothing when I know the person who made it. Confidence is what makes a person stylish. What according to you is the ultimate luxury experience you have had?
That would have to be the time I spent at Ahilya Fort in Central India, my godfather Maharaja Richard Holkar’s ancestral palace which he recently converted into a heritage hotel. With exquisite temples, hidden gardens and ramparts overlooking the sacred Narmada River, you’re lost in time, and able to get a glimpse of what 18th century royal life must have been like.
Your list of ultimate luxury brands and holidays?
Some of my favourite brands include House of Waris, Bungalow 8, Mathew Williamson, Zero + Maria Corjejo, Giambattista Valli, and Saint Laurent. My idea of a luxurious holiday would involve a spa — if one is going to spend a lot of money to stay in a hotel, one might as well really enjoy it, and spend a lot of time there. I love Therme Vals in Switzerland.
What is your take on the future of luxury market in India?
We see immense potential for the luxury market of India. Even as we planned our global relaunch across 100 markets, India has been amongst our top priorities and we plan to grow significantly in numbers from the 10,000 members we used to have here. After all, Indians represent ideal members for ASW, as we are English speaking, international, sophisticated and avid travellers.
What, if any luxury buy do you plan for yourself on person/ your house this year?
I would like to build myself a cottage in my county house.
What was the idea behind forming ASW and what role does it aspire to achieve in its new avatar, especially in India?
ASMALLWORLD first started in 2004. It was founded by a Swedish Count named Erik Wachtmeister, and in many ways had a first mover advantage in social media. For most adults it was their first experience with social media – and for the initial members it was pretty intoxicating to discover a totally different form of communication. That level of excitement was added to by the fact that you had to be invited, and invitations were scarce.When in 2005 Harvey Weinstein became the majority shareholder, he made an assumption that seemed logical at that time. The assumption was predicated on the notion that ad buys are decided on a global level. However, this proved false.  Media buyers buy advertising locally not globally. Since ASW had limited penetration in most markets, the company had to bend over backwards to create complicated customer integrations for each partner. This led to an inefficient non-consumer facing business environment, as all resources were focused on maximizing revenue.Eventually, it became clear there had to be a shift approach. ASW had to build a long-term, long-lasting business strategy – one that was consumer-facing. With that as our core objective, ASW became committed to driving member value at all costs, in the form of experiences, upgrades and perks, which led to our reinvention as the definitive travel and lifestyle club in the spring of 2013, remaking one of the world’s oldest social networks as a subscription service, costing $105/year.By way of an evolving website and recommendation platform, members will ever more become mavens of what they love, sharing with the ASW community their personal city and travel favourites. Meeting members is also about to get a whole lot easier through an ultra smart website that will help connect members with things in common. Membership will also grant access to an expanded events program and exclusive global privileges.A core value that distinguishes ASW is trust, and by moving towards a paid structure, ASW will have a fully verified user base, capped at 250,000 members, which will ensure the integrity of the community in a way that no social network has ever done before. With an increased focus on India, we already have several exciting partners including Bungalow 8, Bombay Electric, Le Mill, Good Earth, TAJ Hotels & Resorts, Frette, Perniapopupshop.com, Shivan & Narresh, Bandit Queen, Design Temple and Pankaj & Nidhi, where members of our prestigious ASW community enjoy exclusive deals. Part Indian myself, having spent part of my childhood in Mumbai and New Delhi, I’m personally very excited to have more and more Indian fashion designers, retailers and hotels as part of ASW’s future as brand partner.

To gain membership to the club;1. You get invited by another member 2. Occasionally our events can be attended by non-members, who can speak to our local ambassadors on site and try and get a membership that way 3. There is an application for membership on our new site. These applications will be reviewed bi-annually. So who is sending me an invite? For more details log on to www.asmallworld.net

Luxe and Stylish: Chateau de Varennes, France

Chateau de Varennes is conveniently located in South Burgundy close to the famous vineyards of Beaune. The current buildings date back to the 18th century and the interior grounds boast a very impressive size of 2,000 sqm for the main building with an additional 600 sqm for the Orangery which is used as a function hall for private or professional events. When the current owners Aymeric and Sonia de Truchis de Varennes inherited the property in 2009, it was too big to keep as a holiday house for the smaller modern families. At that time, they were both working in London and their American friends working in the high-end travel industry encouraged them to refurbish the property entirely and create an ultra-luxury chateau resort. The 2-year ambitious renovation project was led by Fabrice Bejjani, a French-Lebanese interior designer known for refurbishing luxury villas in Paris and on the Mediterranean coast. Fabrice’s signature is the attention to details and the ability to mix beautifully the historic features of the Chateau with contemporary accessories. In 2012, just after its opening, the Chateau de Varennes was already named by CNN among the top ten best wedding holiday resorts worldwide. So here is an exquisite option for your that dream wedding you have dreamt about all your life.

Grand salon (first floor)

021_grand salon pink lounge, Chateau de Varennes

This sumptuous reception room is dating back to the building of the property in the 18th century. Its original decor and furnishings were carefully maintained throughout the time. Lavish silk curtains and a white marble chimney are matching perfectly with the splendid Versailles parquet floor. Romantic paintings of the four seasons are displayed on each corner of the room, showing the then dominant influence of Marie-Antoinette’s taste for pastoral scenes. Silver tea set engraved with the family coat of arms : family collection, Tea cups : Hermes, Vase : Zoeppritz

Marie-Antoinette suite (first floor)

003_bedroom Marie-Antoinette_lounge corner,Marie-Antoinette suite (first floor) 001_bedroom Marie-Antoinette,Marie-Antoinette suite (first floor)

The Marie-Antoinette suite is adorned with a classical wallpaper featuring a very original silver pattern standing out of a soft purple background. This makes it look like a modern’s queen boudoir. The impressive high ceilings are balanced with more cosy fabrics used for the bed furnishings (velvet and tweed). The classic Louis XVI medallion chairs were upholstered with matching purple velvet and the silk curtains were also custom made. All the fabrics and soft furnishings used in this suite were sourced at Osborne & Little in London. Carpet : Zoeppirtz, Cashmere shawl : Jab, Cushions : apartment 9 India, Hand bag : Louis Vuitton, Notebook : Christian Lacroix, Tea cups : Fleux, Tray : Habitat, Vase : Coming B, Wall lamps : Stéphane Davidts, Wallpaper : Osborne & Little, Water jug : Fleux

Music lounge (first floor)

015_music lounge,Chateau de Varennes 016_music lounge, Chateau de Varennes

The music lounge is where all the guests gather for tea time or for drinks. Adorned with family portraites and painted in a classic pale grey similar to the iconic grey shade used in Dior stores, it has not changed much since the 18th century. The precious Italian ivory-inlaid ebony cabinet and the Louis XV chairs are precious family treasures as well as the authentic Murano glass chandelier which was brought back from Venice in the early 19th century. The contemporary accessories are bringing more joyful vibes to the otherwise very classical lounge. Clock : Joy de Rohan Chabot, Fur bedspread : Zoeppritz, Lamp 1 (left side of the sofa) Jeremy Cole, Lamp 2 (right) : Corep, Paint : La Seigneurie, Sofa and table : custom-made, Stool : Exsud, Turquoise jars : Fleux.

Princess suite (first floor)

005_Princess suite, Chateau de Varennes 006_Princess suite, Chateau de Varennes

008_Princess suite, Chateau de Varennes009_bathroom Princess suite, Chateau de Varennes

Offering a lot of space and painted in elegant neutral colors like vanilla cream and off- white, the spectacular Princess suite is often used as a honeymoon suite. The wooden stand tailor-mannequin and the velvet sofa dating back to the 18th century are both vintage treasures from the family collection. The ceiling medallions are displaying lion heads which are edged with a delicate gold line. This gold line is also repeated in the en- suite bathroom. Bed head board, curtains : Dedar fabrics and soft furnishings, Cushions and bed cover : Jab, Hand bag : Cartier, Hat box : Country Casa, Paint : La Seigneurie, Shawl : Zoeppritz, Sofa : family collection, Vases : SMJ, Wall lamps : Stéphane Davidts. The Princess bathroom was custom made with marbles from Italy. The strip made with gold coated mosaic tiles is a subtle reference to the gold edge of the master room’s ceilings. Bath towel : Pretty linge, Gold coated mosaic tiles : Bisazza, Marble basin : custom made by Cristal marble, Tap : Hansgrohe, Toiletries : Eden Park et Exvoto, Wall lamps : Stéphane Davidts.

Kitchen (ground floor)

029_kitchen, Chateau de Varennes

The kitchen was custom made by a local carpenter. Custom designed built-in include storage cabinets and a recessed display wall for storing small kitchen equipment. The vintage farm table and the modern pink chairs are conveying a joyful and relaxed atmosphere in contrast with the more neutral shades of the kitchen cabinets. With the attached pantry, the kitchen spans 100 square meters and the professional equipment allow the meal preparation for the 30 resident guests. Another large professional kitchen is available in the Orangery for big catered events. Cake stand : Habitat, Chairs : Habitat, Lamps : Hind Rabii, Paint : Farrow and Ball, Resident pastry chef : Muriel Arcos, Roller shades : Linum, Tea cups : Fleux, Tray : Habitat

Main dining room (ground floor)

024_dining room, Chateau de Varennes028_dining room side table,Chateau de Varennes

While the elegant lounges on the first floor are very similar to reception rooms of a Parisian “hotel particulier”, the main dining room reminds one of an English gentleman’s library. This was actually the purpose of this room until the previous dining room (which was located in the current Princess suite) was moved from the first floor to this more convenient location on the ground floor. The wood panels were custom built by a local carpenter with oak trees from the property woods. The huge table extends to seat up to 25 guests. Another smaller dining room is available next to the main dining room and is used for children’s meals. Black candleholders : Conran Shop, Chicken wire cloche (cloche en fil de fer grillagé) :Un esprit en plus Porcelain plates and silverware with coat of arms : family collection, Tablecloth : tailor made, White candleholders : Bougies la Française, White low flower vase (coupe blanche) : Coming B

Jeanne suite (second floor)

060_bedroom 25_Jeanne suite, Chateau de Varennes

The Jeanne suite is one of the 4 rooms on the second floor which were painted in 16 different shades of grey (4 different shades of grey were used for each room : walls, doors, door frames, ceiling, ). In order to contrast with this neutral background, a fifth color is used in each en-suite marble bathroom as well as for the soft furnishings (curtains, beddings and seat covers). All these bedrooms are equipped with ultra king size beds allowing them to be transformed into twins if necessary. The Jeanne suite is the only room to feature built-in shelves which replaced a former fireplace. The simplicity of the Louis XVI sofa is matching well with the authentic wood flooring, the exposed beams and the sober wall lamps. Bed head board, bed spread, upholstered sofa, cushions, curtains : tailor made with Dedar fabrics and soft furnishings. Hand bag : Thursday Friday, Lamps : Stéphane Davidts, Yellow bed cover : Zoeppritz

Louise suite (second floor)

031_bedroom 27_Louise suite

The designer Fabrice Bejjani used an autumnal colour palette to soften the bright natural light due to the double exposure of the Louise suite. With East-facing exposure, the master room is providing a superb sunrise view on the private Chapel of the chateau. The. An open walk in wardrobe was built behind the headboard and the study room is overlooking the pool and French gardens. Except for the Marie-Antoinette suite which is decorated with Osborne and Little fabrics, all the other bedrooms are appointed with exceptionally high quality fabrics and soft furnishings provided by Dedar, the famous Italian brand who just created a joint venture with Hermes. Bed head board, bed spread, upholstered chair, cushions, curtains : tailor made with Dedar fabrics and soft furnishings. Fur bed cover : Zoeppritz, Orange boxes : Sarah Lavoine, Wall lamps : Stéphane Davidts

Chapel outdoor by David Brenot chapel indoor_by DB Chapel

Chapel, Chateau de Varennes

After the destruction of the village church during the French Revolution, the owners of the Chateau de Varennes decided to rebuild a new church on their premises. Due to various hiccups including the first World War, the Chapel was only completed in 1920 but its timeless architecture took inspiration from the romanesque style of the Middle Ages. The capacity is 80 guests and it is frequently used for many celebrations. It is quite unique that a private chapel can host Catholic weddings and christenings.

Chateau de Varennes cocktail area LD Outdoors

Aerial view Chateau de Varennes

With 100 hectares of private land, the property is offering substantial space for big functions and for practicing various sports including clay-pigeon shooting. A big cocktail area is set in front of the main chateau with fields and woods on one side and French gardens on the other side.

Pool area

Pool area + weddings at Chateau de Varennes

The heated pool is quite large (16m) and is equipped with luxury outdoor furniture by the famous brand Kettal. The fully renovated pool house is featuring a kitchenette, a shower, a changing room and toilets.

www.chateaudevarennes.fr
Images- Alexandra Meurant

Beauty Ritual: The Imperial Spa, New Delhi

Spa Ritual: Sufi Massage,60 minutes, Rs.4,500
Location: The Imperial Spa, New Delhi

In todays day and age with the world getting smaller, luxury may or may not be exclusive, but exclusivity definitely spells luxury. That is the best way to define The Imperial Hotel in New Delhi. They have always maintained an air of exclusivity and understated luxury. Like they themselves state and truthfully so, “The Imperial is a destination in itself”and a visit to The Imperial Spa confirms this statement.

The Imperial Spa corridor, www.stylecity.in

Spread over 16,000 sq ft Imperial Spa immediately evokes a feeling of harmony. Intricate Moroccan architecture interweaves the influences of Moghul and Indian motifs,embedded beautifully in different spaces. It has nine treatment rooms and a luxury private spa for couples called Moghul suite, a perfect abode to indulge in the signature therapies. The signature line of skin care at The Imperial Spa called SUFI was launched in February 2012 and a more recent launch was that of moisturisers, body creams and cleansers. Off these I have tried and highly recommend their ‘Night Rose Moisturiser’. It is perfect for dehydrated skin, which is what most of us have thanks to the pollution. Like the name suggests, it is reminiscent of a Mughal era with hidden notes of rose, fig and Jojoba seed oil. You can buy this from the Imperial Salon and I promise you will not be disappointed.

With a strict media policy the Imperial is known to be very particular about their privacy and that of their guests, so much so that up until last month the Spa services were only restricted to hotel guests, but now from April 2013 the visitors can avail SUFI signature rituals at the all new SUFI massage room situated at The Imperial Salon. The Sufi Massage is what I went for during my visit to the newly opened Sufi room. SUFI signature oils are used to provide pure bliss through amazing treatments designed to deliver a deeply penetrating relaxation, restoring well-being and inner harmony. “Mahadeva” the oil that I selected, as the name suggests, transports one to an almost prayer like trance while the therapist weaves her magic with her fingers,the smell of the oil itself is enough to make you feel calm and relaxed, the treatment itself is a bonus! There are 6 oils you can choose from depending on what you are hoping to achieve from the massage, be it relaxation or pain relief. In essence, The Imperial Spa represents an insignia for absolute living and is a blissful sanctuary. Whether you are a dedicated spa seeker or you simply wish to enjoy maintaining a healthy body and mind, its extensive services, unique spa packages, spa cuisine, personalized well-being programs and treatments, promise to take you on an exquisite journey, rejuvenating the mind, body and soul.

In the words of Jacqualine Tara Herron, Director The Imperial Spa, Salon, Health and Racquet Club, “The Imperial spa is designed to purely de-stress and rejuvenate your senses, taking you on an exquisite journey, inspired by India’s rich spiritual wisdom and heritage. A visit to the spa is truly an experience of a world of regal luxury and ecstasy. Poetic verses engraved at select points peppered with significant phrases enlighten one’s soul and provides profound understanding of the philosophy. Our ambient and enchanting therapy suites and relaxation spaces are designed to give you a magical and unforgettable experience of belonging to a world full of peace, consciousness and benevolence”. So do take the time out to indulge in this fabulous journey the next time you are in the city. And if you already live in the city you have the option to go in for a massage in the Sufi Room now open to visitors.

Luxe and Stylish- Imperial Hotel, New Delhi

I love nothing more that pure luxury and nothing defines luxury better than the essence and aura of The Imperial, New Delhi. Stroll through the art laden corridors and you will feel history come alive. On arrival, another world opens up filled with Victorian charm and luxury;Intricate details, space and greenery over seven acres of manicured gardens fashion this royal destination-while you revel in the days of the Raj or seek pleasure on your plate at the award-winning restaurants.

The Imperial Facade

Conceptualized in 1934 by Blomfield The Imperial was inaugurated by Lord Willingdon in 1936. Situated on the prestigious Queensway, now Janpath, The Imperial is a fine confluence of a rich historical past with an awe-inspiring heritage and international appeal. It offers an unique experience embracing history delicately cradled in the comfort of modern conveniences. Indeed, it was in Lutyens’ scheme of things to build the most luxurious Hotel in New Delhi with a unique blend of Victorian, old colonial and a playful dosage of informal art deco.

lobby-entrance-hallway, Imperial, New Delhi

The style is decidedly eclectic. The gates and the massive, avuncular bronze lions at the entrance are Victorian. In the high-domed Atrium inside, art deco wall panels and wrought iron balconies recall the early 20th century. Lutyens’ design of the Universe, a masterpiece made with 800 pieces of marble, can be noticed all over the Hotel, including in its rich 24-carat gold leaf form that appears on the rotunda in the heart of the lobby.

Verandah Lounge, The Imperial

The pillared verandahs, dining rooms, tea lounges, Royal Ballroom and cool and spacious gardens have played host to some celebrated encounters between the British and Indian aristocracy and gentry. It was here at The Imperial, where you could click your glasses on the same table as Lord Harding or Gandhi, to the war efforts or to the Quit India Movement. Replete with tableware from London, Italian marble floors, Burma teak and rosewood furniture, fountains from Florence, original Daniells and Frasers on the walls and the best of Indian furniture, The Imperial  – a unique low-rise structure – creates the aura of an early 19th century English manor.

Live kitchen at Daniell's Tavern, The Imperial

Daniell’s Tavern
Daniell’s Tavern at The Imperial comes alive with a brand new look showcasing a Live Kitchen and a menu that revisits India from the eyes of Thomas and William Daniells. This uncle and nephew team came to experience and paint the rich culture and culinary tradition of India’s picturesque locations in 1786, in the midst of colonial era to assist the expanding British Empire. The new menu seeks to define their gastronomic expedition with unique old world specialties from all the cities they visited. With art spread across the restaurant revealing the beautiful journey of Thomas and William Daniell, white hues, dark blue glasses, intricate wood work on the ceiling, together lend an elegant feel.

San Gimignano, The Imperial

San Gimignano
Cradled in the bosom of Tuscany lies a hilltop town, one of the best – preserved medieval towns, called San Gimignano or ‘the city of beautiful towers’. The Imperial’s Italian specialty restaurant of the same name takes inspiration from this lovely city where vineyards and olive grooves flourish. San Gimignano offers a delectable fare blending the delicate flavours of ingredients that are both procured locally and imported from Italy. In an endeavour to present only the best, San Gimignano sources the finest of balsamic vinegar, cheeses, pasta, risotto and olive oils.

1911 Bar, The Imperial

1911
1911 is a landmark year in the history of New   Delhi. It was in this year; on December 12, 1911 that King Emperor George V had declared New Delhi as the Capital of India. Given the historical significance 1911 is a celebration of aesthetics with its rich, choicely done up interiors and cuisine that showcases the ‘melting pot’ culture of Delhi and service that is truly a reflection of Imperial India.The Imperial, has for long, had a ‘relationship’ with period art. In fact, 1911 is an ode to this tradition. It is replete with antiquities dating back to the 1911 Durbar and photographs from the colonial era.

The Spice route, The Imperial

Spice Route
Heralded as one of the top ten restaurants in the world and proclaimed to be the only-one-of-its-kind, The Spice Route is poetry in design.The Spice Route has been designed to reflect the journey of spices from the Malabar Coast in Kerala through Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Malaysia, and Indonesia to Thailand and Vietnam.The restaurant is an overwhelming visual depiction of the art and culture that also travelled with the spices through these regions, presented in a folk, religious and cultural fantasy of the Orient. Designed by Rajeev Sethi, the celebrated cultural czar of India, The Spice Route is an architectural marvel that offers a unique dining experience in a distinctively beautiful setting.  The Restaurant is completely hand painted with vegetable and flower dyes by mural painters brought in especially from a temple in Guruvayur in Kerala with a tradition dating back to 3000 years. Food is sacred in Asia. A manuscript of Ramayana in ancient Thai displayed with pride in the Restaurant echoes the sentiment.Besides the stunning décor, The Spice Route boasts a menu that ensnares the taste buds of a seasoned food connoisseur. Do try out their new summer menu you will be satiated with the unique and interesting use of mango blended into Asian cuisine.

Royal Imperial Suite

The Imperial has undergone a major renovation and restoration work in early 2000s under the aegis of Hong Kong based architect Chandu Chhada – an exercise that re-established the splendour of the Hotel as the grandest colonial hotel in Asia. With high ceilings, impeccable décor and equipped with all the facilities and modern conveniences, the 235 rooms and suites, overlooking lush, verdant gardens, bespeak discreet luxury and offer total privacy and serenity. Choicely designed and thoughtfully decorated for the discerning business and leisure guests alike, the distinctive character and charm of the rooms has been achieved by attention to the smallest detail heightened by a warm and personal service by an efficient staff geared to proffer an unparalleled Imperial experience.

Lutyen Suite, The Imperial

A veritable museum with a rare and original collection, The Imperial showcases different forms of art in its rooms, corridors and public areas. Finest 18th and 19th century paintings, lithographs, sculptures and intricately painted murals – all offer a memorable experience to an art aficionado.

Eliza Room- Grand Heritage, The Imperial

Eliza
The Imperial has a special program ELIZA”, for single lady travellers. The lady guest under the program gets enrolled for the uniquely designed privileges coupled with the unmatched Imperial experience, the moment she checks in.The Imperial has taken this value added initiative for our esteemed single lady travellers to provide a distinct “stay experience” associated with comfort, convenience and care, prioritizing their safety.The lady guests are allocated rooms in a “Single Lady Corridor” equipped with CCTV cameras and are provided with special In-room check-in facility. Single Lady Corridor consists of 12 Eliza rooms on the third floor and each room has a separate room door camera installed as an additional security feature.

The Royal Ballroom, The Imperial

Probably the only authentic ballroom remaining in India with a spring floor that reduces noise levels, the Royal Ballroom evokes the splendour of Lords and Ladies bowing and curtseying, before they swirled across the floor to the strains of the waltz. This is where the distinguished guests amused themselves when the Hotel was opened in 1936 and this is the room where the first grand Ball was held. The vast ballroom today, also, serves as a venue for conferences and events of repute, seating up to 400 guests, auditorium style. Conference facilities also include two mid-size conference halls, namely Emily Eden and Hodges, with a seating capacity, theatre style, for 60 and 30 guests respectively and a Boardroom which can accommodate up to six guests.

The Sufi Spa, Imperial

You can rejuvenate at their well-equipped Fitness Centre or use the facilities of the amazing The Imperial Spa An oasis of calmness in the hectic rush of modern living. The Imperial, with a fabled antecedent, is an institution of class: quiet, dignified, serene and elegant. It has played host to business barons, royalty, sports stars and eminent people in the limelight.

Swimming-Pool, The imperial

Called the ‘only’ Garden Hotel of Delhi, The Imperial rests resplendent in beautifully manicured gardens nestled amidst royal palms. The private swimming pool, deep in the shaded grounds of the Hotel, offers a tranquil, rejuvenating experience.The indelible Imperial Experience is geared towards making your visit simply perfect in every possible way. The Imperial is, in itself, a Destination!
For more details check out www.theimperialindia.com

Travel Diaries; Paris, France

I don’t think there is anything I can say which can describe Paris. Nor do the pictures I have actually do justice to some parts of the city. I feel some things I won’t be able to express and others I you might not agree with, so instead decided to leave you with a few images and few quotes which maybe describe Paris. Here is a Photo essay,part one of my Week dedicated to Paris

Travel Paris, www.stylecity.in
A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of Life-Thomas Jefferson

Travel Paris, www.stylecity.in

Paris… is a world meant for the walker alone, for only the pace of strolling can take in all the rich (if muted) detail. -Edmund White

Travel Paris, www.stylecity.in

Paris is a heaven for all woman’s obssesions: hot men, great chocolates, scrumptuous pastries, sexy lingerie, cool clothes but, as any shoe-o-phile knows, this city is a hotbed of fabulous shoes- Kirsten Lobe, Paris Hangover

Travel Paris, www.stylecity.in

You can’t escape the past in Paris, and yet what’s so wonderful about it is that the past and present intermingle so intangibly that it doesn’t seem to burden- Allen Ginsberg

Travel Paris, www.stylecity.in

Travel Paris, www.stylecity.in

When spring comes to Paris the humblest mortal alive must feel that he dwells in paradise. -Henry Miller

Travel Paris, www.stylecity.in

I like The Eiffel Tower because it looks like steel and lace-Natalie Lloyd

Travel Paris, www.stylecity.in

Even the majestic trees that graced and sheltered her streets were attuned to her–and the waters of the Seine, contained and beautiful as they wound through her heart; so that the earth on that spot, so shaped by blood and consciousness, had ceased to be the earth and had become Paris- Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire

Travel Paris, www.stylecity.in

For a painter, the Mecca of the world, for study, for inspiration and for living is here on this star called Paris. Just look at it, no wonder so many artists have come here and called it home. Brother, if you can’t paint in Paris, you’d better give up and marry the boss’s daughter―Alan Jay Lerner

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An artist has no home in Europe except in Paris. -Friedrich Nietzsche

Travel Paris,, www.stylecity.in

Paris is always a good idea. -Audrey Hepburn as Sabrina Fairchild in Sabrina

Travel Diaries: Lisbon, Portugal

Walking through the streets of Portugal is like being transferred back into an old historical town straight out of a classic novel. Some of the world’s greatest explorers originated from Portugal and as you walk through this picturesque town of Lisbon, time stands still; you are met with vintage trams, medieval village like areas and really old restaurants and buildings. Here is a photo-essay of my recent trip to this charming European capital.

Travel Diaries: Lisbon Portugal. www.stylecity.in Travel Diaries: Lisbon Portugal. www.stylecity.inTravel Diaries: Lisbon Portugal. www.stylecity.in

A view of the city from the City centre, along with street art (the couple is painted as bronze statues) and cyclists riding through the city.

3Travel Diaries: Lisbon Portugal. www.stylecity.in

3Travel Diaries: Lisbon Portugal. www.stylecity.in

Cafe ‘A Brasileira’  terrace in Lisbon (Rua Garrett 120) with statue of Poet Fernando Pessoa who was once regular customer. His table in bronze was created by Lagoa Henriques. Also the cobbled streets at Rossio Square look like waves, even though they are straight.

3Travel Diaries: Lisbon Portugal. www.stylecity.in

One of the nicest shops I have seen in the longest time is A Vida Portuguesa. I loved this charming store where they have searched through the country for products created and fabricated in Portugal. Products that have been handed down through generations and retain the same original, beautiful and naïve packaging. This is exactly how I imagine StyleCity store to be like, so my definite Style Pick.

Travel Diaries: Lisbon Portugal. www.stylecity.in

Another store which I really liked was the Porcelain store Vista Alegre Atlantis which besides some Portuguese products also had the Christian Lacroix porcelain collection.

3Travel Diaries: Lisbon Portugal. www.stylecity.in

Ajuda palace which was never completed as planned due to exile of the royal family but is yet filled with extravagant decorative art, furniture, statues and chandeliers. It also hosts various exhibits and I managed to get visit the exhibition by Lisbon-based artist Joana Vasconcelos, which was held at Versailles before this and I had mentioned earlier. Then of course Jerónimos Monastery, final resting place of Vasco Da Gama and the wide variety of museums.

Travel Diaries: Lisbon Portugal. www.stylecity.in

Finally A taste of Portuguese Sweet Tradition “Pasteis de Belem” which started in n1837 as a secret recipe from the monastery and continues unchanged till present day.

NDTV Good Time Lifestyle awards

NDTV Good Times held the first ever Lifestyle Awards at Jaypee Greens Golf and Spa resort, Greater Noida to recognize and celebrate icons from the fields of food, travel, technology, fashion and luxury that have left a lasting impression on the Indian lifestyle. Even though Greater Noida is a real distance from anywhere, the drive is amazing- the venue, Jaypee Greens is gorgeous, and the weather was perfect to host an amazing Champagne brunch.

NDTV Good Times Lifestyle awards, www.stylecity.in

NDTV Good Times Lifestyle awards, www.stylecity.in

I loved the decor wall which showcased various coloured yarns and threads. They also had a girl who painted the stage backdrop as the awards were going on, I thought it was very cool! Though the wall with stacked furniture and fake clouds could have been way more interesting and colourful!

NDTV Good Times Lifestyle awards, www.stylecity.in DSCN5438

My Style Picks were the floral centerpieces, which, from what I could gather were representative of the various lifestyle categories, like fashion and travel; very innovative and totally gorgeous. Second favourites were the colourful chairs, some of which looked like they were from Moroso and Vitra two of my favourite brands. And I loved these shoes I spotted on a lady.
P.S- I think my blue dress goes well with the backdrop

NDTV Good Times Lifestyle awards, www.stylecity.in

NDTV Good Times Lifestyle awards, www.stylecity.in NDTV Good Times Lifestyle awards, www.stylecity.in

NDTV Good Times Lifestyle awards, www.stylecity.in
I thought Vir Sanghvi looked very dapper and Maria Goretti looked very fresh and pretty in her yellow dress.
They also had massage services by Sixth Sense Spa one of the premier Spas- one which I promise I will review soon and a fashion show by design genius Sabyasachi Mukherjee, showcasing his Bridal collections.

NDTV Good Times Lifestyle awards, www.stylecity.in

So as you can see, it was an amazing afternoon and the food was really delicious, my only disappointment was that the actual lunch was held indoors. They should have maintained the theme and had proper round-table seating with a proper 5-7 course meal or the buffet should have been laid outdoors. But that was a small hiccup for an otherwise fine event.
And now for the awards:

NDTV Good Times Lifestyle awards, www.stylecity.in

The jury members were Alex Kuruvilla-MD of Conde Nast India, Gautam Singhania-Chairman & MD of Raymond Group, Raseel Gujral-Creative Director of Casa Paradox, Sabyasachi Mukherjee-celebrated Fashion Designer, Sanjay Kapoor-MD of Genesis Luxury, Smeeta Chakrabarti-CEO, NDTV Lifestyle, Suhel Seth-Managing Partner of Counselage India and founder of Equus and Vir Sanghvi-Advisor at HT Media. And the Winners

Kumarakom Lake Resort , KeralaI agree
Lifestyle Destination of the Year (International)
SOUTH AFRICA
Lifestyle Destination of the Year (India)
KERALA
Lifestyle Hotel/Resort of the Year
TAJ FALAKNUMA PALACE, HYDERABAD
Lifestyle Home and Accessories Brand of the Year
GOOD EARTH
Luxury Brand of the Year (Indian/International)
HERMES
Wellness Icon Of The Year
SHILPA SHETTY KUNDRA
(She just had a child, yet she is back to her hour-glass figure 5/5)
Lifestyle Achievement AwardShilpa Shetty at NDTV Lifestyle Awards
YVES CARCELLE

Umm, OK
Designer of the Year (Indian)

ABRAHAM AND THAKORE
Label of the Year (International)
CHANEL and HERMES
Jaypee Greens Lifestyle Icon Of The Year
NITA AMBANI

Disagree
Restaurant of the Year
BUKHARA, ITC MAURYA SHERATON, DELHI
taj-falaknuma-palace-2Let’s be honest, a few years ago I would have completely agreed, but now over Wasabi and Indian Accent and other nominees- no way.
Spa of the Year
ANANDA IN THE HIMALAYAS, RISHIKESH
Again, yes it is gorgeous and one of our first and most celebrated Spas, but it is the only nominated Spa destinations,rest were in city hotels. So either there are two categories, else I think its unfair for the rest!
NDTV Lifestyle Award Of The Year
VIDYA BALAN
This was a viewers choice award, so it was based on popularity I asuume. I think she is a fabulous actress, but I don’t consider her a Style or lifestyle icon. Then that is my opinion and who am I to argue with viewer votes.

Travel Diaries- Jodhpur, Rajasthan

Last weekend two of my close friend Gayatri and Jigar went to Jodhpur to attend the Sufi music fest. Anyway, when I saw the pictures and heard their stories I was very keen to share them with you. So here is a Picture essay for you to enjoy the beauty and colours of this gorgeous city.
Images Courtesy Gayatri Ojha and Jigar Mehta

Travel Jodhpur, www.stylecity.in

A view of Jodhpur also called the blue city as alot of its houses have been painted blue.

Travel Jodhpur, www.stylecity.in

They stayed at the lovely Jhalamand Garh Heritage hotel which is about 10 kms from Jodhpur city. It is a Palace that has been converted into a hotel. The courtyard also houses a swimming pool while the entry hall has beautifully painted wall art.

Travel Jodhpur, Heritage hotel, www.stylecity.in

Travel Jodhpur, Heritage hotel, www.stylecity.in

The restaurant in the hotel which apparently has amazing Marwari food. Style Picks- The Pendant lights

Travel Jodhpur, Heritage hotel, www.stylecity.in

The old city circles the Mehrangarh fort which hosted the Sufi music festival.

Mehrangarh fort, Jodhpur, www.stylevcity.in

The fort came alive with Sufi musicians from Turkey, Egypt, Kutch, Afghanisthan

Sufi performers at Mehrangarh fort, Jodhpur. www.stylecity.in

Umaid Bhawan Palace half of which has been turned into a hotel, one of the best in the country

Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur. www.stylecity.in

Puppets and Block printing in the Silvassa village

Puppets at Silvassa village, Jodhpur www.stylecity.in

Block Printing at Silvassa village, Jodhpur www.stylecity.in

My friend Gayatri tried her hand at pottery, and seems she achieved quite a lot in a day (LOL!)

Gayatri tries Pottery at Silvassa village, Jodhpur. www.stylecity.in Pottery at Silvassa village, Jodhpur. www.stylecity.in

Pottery at Silvassa village, Jodhpur. www.stylecity.in

And finally the Opium ceremony- first I heard of this too. So apparently when there is a dispute in a village both parties have opium water followed by tea with the village head and sort the issue.

Opium ceremony   16