With the punishing summer pushing you hard to plan a getaway right now, we know you're on the lookout for the best this time.
Not just a sniff of the freshness of the hills or a silent room with a view, I've found the best resorts that will give you the vacation you deserve. From hiking trails to outdoor adventures such as angling, jungle safaris and birding, these stunning retreats will gift you the time of your life.
For the curious travellers looking to get a peek into the local culture, this could also be a chance to taste local cuisines prepared from locally-procured ingredients.
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What awaits you at this amazing resort six hours away from Delhi is four stylish cottages – Deodar, Taruwar, Pine and Woodsville – each named to evoke nature that unfolds itself at this destination. Bringing you closer to the local community, Sattal Lake Cottages also serve you flavours of the local Kumaon cuisines. The management at the cottages work closely with the local community to help them showcase the best of the region.
With a library and a leisure room for silent indoor evenings, this resort also gives opportunities to explore the outdoors by organising activities such as horse riding, cycling and kayaking around the resort. Guests can also spend time discovering delightful trails around the Sattal Lake, which is located close to the resort.
Do not miss: Locally-prepared jams and chutneys sold at the in-house resort store.
Location: 10, Surya Gaon, Sattal Lake, Bhimtal, Sattal Road, Suriyagaon, Nainital, Uttarakhand
Away from the strenuous routine of city life, this retreat places you amidst the groves of mango and sal trees and the rich flora and fauna of the Corbett National Park. If you're looking for a location to unwind with your girl gang, this is the place. The resort is managed by a woman who understands the nuances of solo traveling and ensures safety and a comfortable stay.
The resort proves to be a destination in itself with opportunities to know the local culture through various village tours around the Terai region. The involvement of the local community in giving guests a cherishing experience also sensitises the local community about the money-generating opportunities in the region through tourism.
Do not miss: A meal of Pahadi Maas, a red chilly based regional lamb preparation.
Location: Sonjala, Nayabad Kotabagh Road, Uttarakhand
Located in the Tikamgarh district of Madhya Pradesh, Orchha is a town with rich history and is surrounded by numerous forts, palaces and temples. This boutique resort is inspired by the architectural heritage of the town that is located on the banks of river Betwa.
Nestled amidst the forest area, which has now been converted into a bird sanctuary, this resort is the perfect nest for birdwatchers and photographers. Guests can spend time at the Betwa river while rafting and boating in the quiet waters, and later opt for a session at the in-house spa.
Do not miss: The art of pottery making at the Ram Raja Temple, which is 5 kms away from the resort.
Location: Near Chandra Shekhar Azad Park, Orchha Jhansi Road, Orchha, Madhya Pradesh
This chic camping destination provides eight luxurious tents and two pavilions at the fringe of the Sariska National Park. Get ready to experience a different side of nature as you spend your night stargazing, while relishing the traditional Rajasthani Thali.
The 1200 sq km widespread national park that surrounds this campsite can be your ticket to venture into the wild. Enjoy a forest safari in Sariska where you could easily spot grazing sambhars, antelopes and tigers, if you're lucky. Visit the historical Neelkantheswar temple and spend the night enjoying a special bush dinner amidst the wild and beautiful.
Do not miss: Authentic Gatte ki Sabzi and Ker Sangri prepared by the chefs at the campsite.
Location: Near Tehla Bypass Road, District Alwar, Tehra, Rajasthan
Pench Wildlife Cottages give you a taste of the rustic outdoors with a tiger safari, exquisite bush dinners and performances by the local Gond tribe during special occasions.
This resort puts you at the centre of the incredible local life and gives you a chance to witness it as an insider. Visits are organised to the local village school at Kokha where the resort authorities work closely with the students and teachers. Enhancing your experience further is the locally procured and organically-grown food that is prepared with expertise by the local chefs.
Do not miss: Macchi-Kadhi, a local fish curry cooked with local spices, served with steamed rice.
Location: Khavasa, Post turia, Seoni, Madhya Pradesh
This exquisite retreat can be an interesting addition to your list of favourites this season. The only way to reach Queens Meadows Ranikhet is a 600-metre hike along the pine and deodar forests. The charming vintage British barracks now serve as a perfect hideout for the guests in Village Badhan where you can enjoy a 360 degree view of the snow-capped Himalayas during winter.
The resort with its quiet surroundings proves to be an absolute haven for yoga enthusiasts. Trekkers can follow the Bhalu Dam trail which starts 9 kms away from this resort or go river crossing at the nearby Kosi River. Guests can also go to Chaubatia and paraglide till Upradi.
Do not miss: A tour of the in-house dairy and shopping for hand-knitted woollens, Kumaoni sweets and local lentils sold by Umang NGO at the in-house shop
Location: Village Badhan, Chiliyanaula, Ranikhet, Uttarakhand
Attention wine lovers! Around a 180 km away from Mumbai, is this perfect holiday retreat that guarantees a pampered and comfortable stay to every guest with 13 elegantly designed studios and eight villas.
Located in the Trimbakeshwar Hills near Nashik, this resort gives you a chance to taste some fine wines on a vineyard tour and also some cycling and hiking opportunities on the green belt. You can also trek to the hill top facing the resort with a staff member, who will be happy to share local secrets from the history and flora and fauna of the region.
Do not miss: Chicken in grape gravy made by the in-house chefs
Location: Near Yogvidyadham, Talwade Village, Trimbakeshwar, Nashik, Maharashtra
Proving to be destination in itself, Mashobra Adventure Camp is 15km away from Shimla and is a perfect holiday spot for adventure seekers. The campsite is set up at 7,100 ft with exciting adventure activities carried out under the guidance of certified experts. From rock climbing on a 50ft rock to rappelling to 200 ft, guests can pick what suits them best. Travel safari from the campsite can take you to magical hill towns and nearby villages.
The campsite is a part of the Shimla Reserve Forest where you can stroll amidst apple orchards. The campsite also works in collaboration with the locals, who work as instructors and camp hands. Local women at the campsite kitchen bring to you the best of Himachali cuisines such as Chicken Anardana and Ranma Madra. Sleep under star-studded sky or go for a night trek to experience the enchanting views of the valley.
Do not miss: Chha Gosht, a dish from Mandi where the meat is cooked in a gravy flavoured with buttermilk.
Location: Shimla Reserve Forest Sanctuary, NH22, Charabra, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
There's something about days beautifully spent that isn't easily forgotten and the Alleppey House Boat promises many, many of those. A stay at one of the house boats will give you a glimpse into rural Kerala, where swaying palms trees and paddy fields offer an authentic backwater experience.
Maintaining a sustainable ecosystem amidst the growing tourism in the region, the boatsmen also maintain a bio tank on the boat. Stop at various spots for fishing, fish farm visits and a rejuvenating Ayurveda massage.
Do not miss: Kari Meen, prawn curry and other authentic Kerala dishes prepared by the locals on the boat.
Boarding Point: Matha Boat Jetty, next to KSRTC, Alleppey Bus Stand
The Sunderban delta is popularly known for the overwhelming biodiversity of the region and the resort authorities work in active partnership with the locals to secure livelihoods and resources in the region. The resort has previously collaborated with the locals in renovating schools and ferry ghats and built a 400m riverside embankment in Jamespore.
The deluxe rooms, cottages and huts in the resort are all elegantly designed keeping your comfort in mind. To get the best of your stay at the resort, you can also try angling at the four ponds within the resort.
Do not miss: Prawn malaikari, raw banana kofta curry, shukto and other seafood prepared by the local chefs.
Location: Dayapur Gosaba, West Bengal
The wildlife safari, which lasts an entire day, happens almost entirely on boat through the mysterious and interlinked waterways of the Sundarbans Delta. The double-decked boat picks you up from the resort and stops at strategically located towers a few times in the day for better views.
Which resorts will make it to your wishlist? Tell me in the comments section below.
Sponsored by V Resorts.