Aarti Sharma is a restauranter based in NCR on a quest to be dynamic, discover more every day about the self and this magnificent world around us. She co-founded Indian Luxe Travellers (ILT) with an aim to built a community for the Indian audience and an exclusive platform for the best of luxury, travel and lifestyle from around the globe.
One of your most memorable journeys so far and why?
Every holiday is memorable in its own way. So, I’ll just put across my Top 4 recent favorites.
- Singapore: Staying at the architectural wonder Marina Bay Sands and enjoying evenings at the infinity pool overlooking the skyline of the city is an experience of a lifetime. The city is so inviting and perfectly entertaining for a traveler.
- Udaipur: “City Of lakes” is one of my top favorite places in India and combined with the stay at the iconic Oberoi Udaivilas is an experience etched in my memory forever.
- Bali: The dreamy exotic Indonesian Island is a multi-dimensional experience on its own. From resort towns, boutique hotels, coral reefs, ancient temples, stunning beaches to a glittering nightlife, everything to look forward to! Our stay at the W Hotels in Seminyak was a cherry on the cake with their impeccable hospitality & ocean facing rooms.
- Varanasi: There is a latent charm in ‘Kashi’ that is indescribable and can only be felt. The place is full of spiritual energy if you are receptive enough, the colors of this city will leave a mark on you! More than a thousand temples, ghats, ganga aarti, ‘Banarasi’ silk and local markets, so much to explore! Luxury palace hotel, Taj Nadesar Palace was the perfect abode to come back and unwind at.
As the community grew stronger, I started writing blogs on our website and connected to my audience personally through my Instagram handle ‘The World Sojourn’.
I believe there is ample space on the internet for part-time bloggers to channel their creativity & that’s why I’m creating a space by sharing bits of my lifestyle for people who love to travel & share the opulence of luxury experiences.
Why do people prefer luxury travel and how do you manage it?
Luxury in today’s world has an ever-expanding definition that is not limited to just goods, hotel properties or mere show of wealth. It now wholly includes providing impeccable services, constant use of creativity and innovation along with curated experiences like no other in the travel space. I have a distinct memory to cherish from each and every luxury experience that I have had in the past. Let me give you an example here, as we touched down Udaipur, there was an Audi car waiting right outside with a sharply dressed chauffer (when I say sharply, I mean gloves on and all) who welcomed us at the airport. As we sat in the car, he handed us hot towels to clean our hands and get rid of the travel tiredness, later offered to play music of our choice and some snacks right in the car. You see, the luxury experience began even before we entered the premises of the hotel. The ride was truly comfortable & luxurious. Be it the gift souvenirs of a silk scarf for her & tie for him, private boating & motor boat pick up at the middle of the night, customized Indian food in Singapore, ocean facing rooms with surround sound speakers installed in the room or a personal concierge, they are all indeed luxurious moments that are worth it. Apart from their magnificent architectural and in-flight spaces, luxury groups are more accommodating of your travel needs, provide a much more relaxing environment, varied activities & amenities to choose from and are located at better/prime locations.
Luxury travel was quite exclusive before but increasingly for said reasons more & more travelers tend to include luxury in their holidays. As the global-minded youth goes out to do research on the most well rated & distinct experiences through the internet and social media, they come across the opulence of luxury travel which is hard to give a miss. Here’s my tips & tricks on how I manage luxury travel:
- Try to make the trip a combination of luxury stay & budget places such that you can go out and explore off beat places and the culture of the destination. In Varanasi I stayed for two days in an INR 1000/day hotel, while for the rest of the days we chose to stay in Taj Nadersar Palace. Basically, don’t limit yourself mentally & enjoy the best of both worlds.
- Great deals are available in off seasons and also you can avoid the touristy rush.
- Plan and book way in advance to get the best deals.
- Compare deals online on various websites, with the hotel and with travel agents. Choose the best one!
- Save, save, save! Cut down on everyday petty expenses and save a sum to splurge. There’s always an opportunity cost associated with choosing anything.
- Look out for available last-minute discounted upgrades.
- For the beginning, choose locations where your own currency is valued higher than the destination’s currency.
What are the various things you keep in mind, when you decide for a trip?
First things first, the ones that I look at primarily are the budget, conveyance, duration of trip, visa requirements (if any), arranging currency for international trips & company for the trip. Followed by planning the itinerary which is a balanced mix of touristy places and off beat destinations, best of both worlds!
What kind of food/snacks you have during your trip and music on your travel playlist?
I am a snack hoarder for some reason so you will find cookies, sweet wafers, chips, ‘mathis’, ‘namkeen’, ‘makhanas’ in my backpack at any time. I do recommend people to carry a pocket full of dry mixed nuts which come in very handy as a source of instant energy & are so easy to carry. For meals, one must definitely stick to lighter meals while travelling and I do honestly avoid consuming a lot of street food. Explore local cuisines and new dishes but mostly don’t try to push your palette way too much.
My playlists aren’t always precisely put together and mostly I just listen to whatever is available at the moment. Don’t get me wrong, I love music but I like to be more present in my surroundings while I am traveling.
How has your lockdown been?
A lot has happened in 2020 and it wouldn’t be fair if I say I enjoyed the lockdown. I’m glad though I had the tendency to find a silver lining in the entire situation. With work being completely shut I did cook, clean, read, write, click and so much more like any of us did but the whole pandemic did take a slight toll on our being. But it’s great that we all collectively could spread positivity & impart strength to one another. I did realize that the little things, the little moments, they aren’t little. I am filled with much gratitude for the wonderful blessings we have and create in everyday life. To sum it up, In Paramhansa Yogananda Ji’s profound words, “Your trials did not come to punish you, but to awaken you.
Your first trip post COVID 19?
Whenever I’m asked this, I always end up laughing and remembering the popular dialogue from a Bollywood movie that says, “You are a good question, but your question hurt me.” Covid has left us travelers bewildered and as of now up till October beginning, I haven’t mustered the strength to plan a holiday and head out. Having said that, I do see the states opening doors, various measures that are being taken by authorities and hotels so, a holiday is coming real soon. Definitely will travel to some place in India before the year ends and it’s going to involve beaches. No points for guessing where I’ll be heading.
5 tips for travel enthusiasts?
- Have flexibility & an open mind. As you push your own boundaries you will find that newer things are observed and appreciated only out of your comfort zones.
- It’s great to be spontaneous but don’t forget to do a little homework. Creativity that sprouts at the spot is special but sometimes to achieve the desired results, planning is a must.
- Choose your company wisely. Who you travel with is going to set the mood of your entire holiday to a big extent.
- Traveling responsibly will give you a greater sense of self worth and make you feel accomplished as a good citizen.
- Most of all, have a lot of fun but travel safely because it is of prime importance that you and your belongings come back more enriched after the holiday you take.