I want to thank you for all the thoughtfulness that went into our amazing South Indian adventure. We have a friend who knows a photographer and writer, Stephen Huyler, who seems to be the only person , in our circle, that has been to Chetinad, and is a
regular guest at Chidambara Vilas. It was a thrill to be a guest in this magnificent home.
Our guide and out driver made our visit the first 6 days of our trip all the more special. While professional to a fault, (guide) made us feel like family as we travel the lonely roads of Chettinad looking for the perfect Chettinar mansion to visit. She is so well informed and discussed the local customs, history, cuisine, religion, architecture and arts with great enthusiasm. She was a real pleasure to spend our time with.
(Driver) was the only man behind the wheel that we would have trusted to navigate the mountain road coming down from Periyar in a monsoon storm! On that, we could not have been more charmed by the accommodation at Spice Village. Upon arrival, I asked if it was possible to stay in Sir Paul McCartney’s cottage. The manager, surprised and with a knowing smile, wanted to know how we knew about it, only to book us into the secluded cottage. It was the perfect place to read and listen to the rain as it came down during our stay there. (Being from So.Cal. where it never rains, it was a real treat for us.)
Upon check-out we told the manager that there could be some changes to their web site as it doesn’t begin to explain the property or the delicious meals that they served us while there.
Our drive down to Kerala was ambitious and we arrived in heavy rains as we boarded our houseboat for our backwaters tour. Because of the weather, we were not able to go into the small channels, but went straight out on to the lake. The crew fixed us a beautiful lunch, and we took a nap in the comfortable cabin. The captain was a very personable man, and when we told him at dinner not to give us too much food, he smiled and said that whatever we did not eat, his crew would finish! A great experience!
I don’t think we have to tell you what an amazing experience the Falaknuma was. I have clients who had been “In Residence” some years back, and told me about the carriage ride up to the Palace. (We) are completely into granting ones fantasies, so when we got off the houseboat in Kerala, we emerged in linen suites, ready to be received by the palace Livery.
I guess it pays to play the part, because we were certainly treated like royalty. The general manager greeted us after the first day asking us how we were enjoying our stay and seeing that we were utilizing spa, asked if the hotel could pick up our next spa treatments. We were also treated to dinner, compliments of the Palace in the Nizam’s dining room, 101, for a very special meal served by our butler.
We also had a very informative day in the Palace Library with the Librarian who selected books for us as we had requested knowing more about the Nizam and his environs. (On our walk with the Historian, champagne included, we told him that we had looked on the internet for information about what the Palace had looked like when the Princess opened the doors after 40 years and who was with her. Of course it was him, and they encountered wild dogs and poisonous snakes! (We hung on every word!)
After a rose-petal departure, we returned to Kochi and the delightful guide! Having arrived later that we thought, (guide) had his work cut out for him as we commenced on a walking tour of the Fort. He was very well informed about the politics and the culture of the region and we gleaned a tremendous amount of information from him in the short time we were in Kochi. It was all the more challenging by the fact that while in India, we were on a shopping trip for our business, and stopped to look at some earrings for a client. Not finding what we needed, (guide) took us to a place that not only had what we were looking for, but we spent another hour with the merchant as well. Needless to say, this made out sunset walk on the promenade into a adventure in the night market, complete with (guide)’s iPhone flashlight app to light the way. Entering Broyntan Boatyards room for the first time around 8:30 p.m. we changed our clothes and enjoyed a very creative meal in the Historic Restaurant. After we finished a whirlwind day and it was off to bed, a very comfortable bed indeed, for a 3 a.m. departure. Our driver, I am sorry his name escapes us, was terrific and got us to the airport on time for our flight to Hong Kong.
In conclusion, we were so happy to be working with (agency) and Big Five, the two completely got the theme of our South Indian Dream and we will never forget both of your thoughtfulness in the planning. 10,000 Thanks