Hidden Gem in the Wilderness

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Hidden Gem in the Wilderness

Sunday, 26 November 2023 | Advaita Kala

Hidden Gem in the Wilderness

Embark on an unforgettable journey at Aalia Jungle Retreat, where rustic splendour intertwines with bespoke luxury, offering an unparalleled escape into nature's embrace, writes Advaita Kala

Tucked away in a serene corner of the plains, with the majestic Shivalik range as its backdrop, Aalia Jungle Retreat is part of the bespoke Claridges Collection. It emerges as a hidden gem in the wilderness, combining the thrill of a jungle adventure and rural respite with the comforts of luxury living. The result is an experience that is both unique and unforgettable.

As one steps into the resort, the first thing that strikes you is its location. Nestled in a tranquil environment, it offers a respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The tranquility is palpable, with the whisper of rustling trees and the intimate ambiance of a natural setting enveloping you in a peaceful embrace.

The accommodation at Aalia is nothing short of spectacular. With 11 tastefully appointed tents, each equipped with the latest luxuries, the resort offers a perfect blend of the rustic and the refined. These tents provide an immersive experience without compromising on comfort, ensuring a restful stay amidst nature.

One of the highlights of my stay was the exquisite culinary experience at the resort's restaurant. The food was a delightful exploration of flavours, perfectly cooked and presented, enhancing the overall stay. Each meal was a treat, a testament to the skill and dedication of the culinary team. In a nod to the provenance of the chefs and the region, the Devbhoomi thali — a presentation of Uttarakhandi cuisine — is a memorable experience for the curious gastronome.

The resort also excels in offering bespoke activities. From engaging games to tranquil reading spots and even archery, there is something for everyone. These activities are thoughtfully designed to cater to diverse interests, ensuring guests have a memorable and enjoyable stay.

A unique feature of the resort is the beautiful sundowner by the riverbed. This experience, complete with a quaint picnic and tea time setup, offers a moment of pristine beauty and tranquility. It is a chance to unwind and soak in the timeless beauty of nature, creating a memory that stays with you long after the trip is over.

The jungle safari in Rajaji National Park was another highlight of my visit. Guided by Basheer, a well-informed and compassionate naturalist, we were lucky to spot a leopard basking in the sun, alongside other wildlife such as spotted deer, wild boars, and elephants. His knowledge and respect for the animals made the safari not just an adventure but also an educational experience.

For those seeking relaxation, the resort’s spa experience is a must try. Set in a tent, it offers a range of treatments designed to rejuvenate the body and mind. The ambiance, combined with skilled therapists, ensures a spa experience that is both luxurious and soothing.

Lastly, the personal touch provided by Kuldeep, the General Manager, truly sets Aalia Jungle Resort apart. His dedication to guest comfort and willingness to go above and beyond, whether hopping into his jeep to run an errand or sharing insights about the area, adds a homely yet luxurious feel to the stay.

In conclusion, Aalia Jungle Resort is a perfect fusion of nature, luxury, and personalised service. It is a retreat that promises not just a stay but an experience — one that leaves you refreshed, enchanted, and longing to return. I shall be back!

(Advaita Kala is a screenwriter by choice and a trained hotelier by trade)

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