GoaA small and beautiful state with almost 100kilometres of sandy shore washed by the ArabianSea, Goa is synonymous with beaches. Fordecades it has attracted visitors in search of sun,sand and a relaxed lifestyle and each beach hasdeveloped its own style. However, Goa has amuch longer relationship with the west. Colonisedby the Portuguese in 1510 to control the spicetrade and spread Christianity, Old Goa aboundsin handsome monuments and churches. Alongwith this diverse culture, Goa's cuisine, blendingfresh seafood with coconut and cashew nuts,produces sumptuous dishes. Northern Goa isrelatively lively, with more hotels, restaurants,beach shacks and markets, while southern Goa isquieter, with the hotels generally more spread out along the coast. SIOLIMHOUSE, SIOLIMThe former residence of the Governor of Macau,this 300-year-old colonial house has beencarefully restored and is now a striking boutiquehotel. The seven spacious rooms with their loftyceilings and four-poster beds are kept cool byfans. The villa has a small pool in the garden andan open kitchen where you can watch the chefsprepare local specialities. Located in a small villagea short rickshaw ride from the beach, this is anintimate hotel with a welcoming feel that offersgreat value for money. www.audleytravel.com/centralindia ?01993 838 330 ?Mumbai, Goa & the Deccan47Colourful beach houses, PanajiBeach at The Leela, MoborVivanta by Taj - Holiday Village, SinquerimMajorda Beach, GoaChurch of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, PanajiSiolim HouseVIVANTABYTAJ- HOLIDAYVILLAGE, SINQUERIMBEACHA collection of colour-washed cottages androoms comprise the accommodation at this well-established resort, surrounded by fragrantgardens and just minutes' walk away from shops and restaurants. Each room is comfortably furnished and equipped with modern facilities and has either a balcony orprivate garden. Meandering paths bring you to the swimming pool, with the Jiva spa close by. There is a choice of restaurants,including relaxed all-day dining on a shaded deck overlooking the sea. THELEELA, MOBORBEACHThis luxury hotel is a 45 minute drive south from the airport of Dabolim. The grand entrance,decorated with stone carvings, leads you tosprawling gardens and the 206 guest roomsoverlooking a lagoon. Each offers plenty of spaceand facilities while the Club Rooms also have anadditional swimming pool and lounge, shared byonly a few guests. These rooms also have theirown private butler. There are four dining options,including an Italian restaurant on the riverside.Whether you play a round of golf, enjoy arejuvenating spa treatment or relax by the pool, astay here will leave you rested and invigorated.
Luxury trainsIf everyday trains do not appeal but you aretaken by train travel, there are several,independently run luxury trains that operatethroughout India, inspired by the trains onceused by India's royal families. Perhaps the bestknown is the Palace on Wheels, which coversall of Rajasthan's key attractions. However, inrecent years new trains have emerged whichoffer greater comfort and new routes. The routes do vary and can change year onyear. However, there are several options forjourneys between Mumbai and Delhi, coveringclassic North Indian attractions, and SouthIndia, the Deccan and Karnataka can beexplored by luxury train departing fromMumbai. There are some limitations oftravelling by train, for instance the fact thatexcursions from the train are often in groupsand there is limited opportunity to tailor yourexperience. They do, however, enable you tocover huge distances without unpacking everyday. In general, these voyages last seven nightsand in our experience offer a luxurious insightinto India with the grandeur of an epic journey.However, they can be quite intensive, so arebest combined with a few days of relaxation.To find out more about train travel in Indiaplease call one of our specialists. THEINDIANMAHARAJAOperating between Mumbai and Delhi, thisweek-long train journey takes in the classicattractions of Rajasthan and visits the Elloraand Ajanta caves at Aurangabad. On board thetrain, you can enjoy spa treatments, takeafternoon tea in the library or relax in the bar.The Indian Maharaja offers good value andallows clients the option of choosing privateexcursions for a more individual experience.MAHARAJAS' EXPRESSThe Maharajas' Express offers the mostluxurious train experience in India and hasdifferent routes including the choice of twoweek-long journeys between Mumbai andDelhi, or a route that includes BandhavgarhNational Park and the fascinating city ofVaranasi. On board, traditional Indian designhas been combined with state of the arttechnology to provide sumptuous carriages,two restaurants and two bars, whilstexcursions add to this unforgettable journey.Taking a train in India is a rewarding way tocover some of the large distances betweenplaces of interest. India's railway platforms arefull of life, with 'chai' or tea vendors ready toquench your thirst and aromatic smells fromthe fresh samosas. They can also be chaoticand in order for you to enjoy this wonderfulatmosphere, our representatives will be onhand to assist you at either end of yourjourney. Train journeys can often beincorporated into your itinerary, whether theseare short journeys lasting a few hours or onovernight 'sleeper' trains, depending on yourpreferences and the logistics of your trip. Local trainsIndian trains are not generally as comfortableas those at home. They could be cleaner,delays are common and private cabins are notavailable. Despite this, the train is still often thebest way to travel and offers an authenticIndian experience. Some of our favourite trainjourneys include the short express trains thatrun between Delhi and Agra, and the overnighttrains from Delhi to Kalka for travel to Shimla.The narrow gauge 'toy' trains in the hillsaround Shimla, Darjeeling and Ooty offerstunning views and are a major attraction forrailway enthusiasts.Trains and rail journeys48The Indian MaharajaStation lifeMaharajas' ExpressThe Indian Maharaja restaurant car