Tuesday, 31 October 2023 18:25

Have A Calming Weekend At Aalia Jungle Retreat & Spa - Claridges Collection

 

Tucked deep within the heart of the Rajaji National Park in Haridwar, Aalia Jungle Retreat & Spa stands as a testament to the harmonious coexistence of luxury amidst verdant nature. If anything, the constant chirping of birds seated on the lush trees that surround this brilliant oasis of a resort set the expectations for a wonderful weekend getaway.

Here, guests are greeted by the sight of lively butterflies, vibrant flowers in every color and the occasional visit from a curious deer. If you’re lucky, you just might spot an elephant that could lose its way and then get gently guided out by the ever-vigilant, trained staff stationed all around. Contrary to the common notion of ‘roughing it out’ in the wild, this resort has all the features of a luxury 5 star hotel.

 

There’s Glamping, which is a portmanteau of the terms ‘glamorous’ and ‘camping’ that takes ordinary camping to an entirely different level. Here, there’s no roughing out. Instead, Claridges takes inspiration from the grandeur of African safari lodges and equips the luxury tents with plush furnishings, royal carpets, and giant 4-poster beds with sheer curtains for that added glam, private en-suite bathrooms and a study nook. Not to mention a coffee machine for that hot cuppa as one sits outside on the porch savoring the serenity. There’s a lavish swimming pool (should you want to take a dip) or relax with a book on the comfy lounge chairs that surround the pool. Fancy a game of golf? Then there’s a mini-golf course too. How about soothing your nerves and indulging in a relaxing massage at the resort’s spa complete with the best therapists at your service and various treatments to choose from.

 

Want something more adventurous? Well then Aalia Retreat has you covered. There’s Horse riding for those who enjoy the sport and then finally, the one reason why one would go to a jungle resort in the first place, the wildlife safari. Guided adventures into the National Park where one can witness the raw beauty of nature, exotic bird watching, various animals grazing nearby, perhaps the sight of pugmarks hinting at the sign of a big cat close by.

Team LuxepointIndia got to experience all of the above, and more. We drove in safari jeeps to the riverside to experience a scintillating sunset in the wild. The river runs through the jungle and serves as a watering hole for many an animal. The staff who accompanied us set up a delectable picnic table with snacks including fritters and sandwiches for us to indulge on which we washed down with hot cups of ginger tea. The river glistened as it mirrored the waning sun’s golden hues. There was silence as we took in the breathtaking sunset and tall grasses swayed gently in the cool evening breeze. Every photographer’s delight, a riverside sunset is an irresistible topic. The interplay of the landscape with water and light create a canvas worthy of being immortalized on camera.

 

 

The culinary experience at this resort deserves a page of its own, because one cannot stop praising the absolutely delightful dishes we were treated to from Chef Ritesh Negi’s kitchen. Every meal was an ambrosial delight consisting of the most delicious cuisines, Indian, Chinese and continental dishes prepared from the freshest produce obtained from Aalia’s own farm, making it a true gastronomic adventure that celebrates the sheer harmony between cuisine and nature. One of the most noteworthy highlights was when they served us the ‘Devbhoomi Thali’. Haridwar is also known as Devbhoomi – Land of the Gods, and this thali was truly fit for a God. Pure vegetarian, and rich with delicious preparations of farm-fresh vegetables and lentils using clarified butter that we ate with millet rotis and unpolished red rice. A scrumptious, creamy millet pudding was the fitting end to the perfect meal, light and tasty as it wasn’t too sweet.

 

We returned laden with several unforgettable experiences and a wish to go back each time we need a break from the manic routines of the city-life. Let the jungle beckon you with its sights and sounds as you get pampered in this beautiful resort nestled safely within. Meanwhile, we will close our eyes and remember the bountiful symphony of the birds waking us up each morning with the promise of a gorgeous day.

 

By Vaishali Sabherwal

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