Bright & Beautiful Birthday at Blo Bar

Can only begin by expressing gratitude to all those who made my birthday super special and beautiful. While the celebrations went on for days, sharing a little about the party I had hosted for my girlies at the newly opened Blo Bar in Defence Colony Market.

The minute I came across the fun concept of this place, I just knew it that I wanted to host a party here and what’s better is that the birthday was not very far off. Blobar is India’s first blow-dry bar only. They strongly believe in the transformative power of a simple blowout.

Here is taking you through the journey of planning and executing this very simple yet supremely fun party. As a birthday girl, I can talk for myself for sure with confidence that I had a ball of a time.

  1. Invitation- Being an event planner, I was certain to go into details. Hence, this invite for my close group of friends and sisters. The theme had to have an essence of celebrating “US”- so, I thought of Bright and Beautiful. And I love making invites on www.greetingsisland.com so the birthday invite too had to be from here!
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  2. Venue- Girls, believe me when I say this that I made the best decision to host my party at Blo Bar. It was something so different and unique that everyone thoroughly enjoyed and so many reached out to me to ask more about this entire concept. The package I opted for included shampoo/conditioning and hair styling with drinks from their side such as Champagne, Sangria and Vodka which translates to the fact that each guest got 2-3 glasses of alcohol. Yes, you read it right, the owner-Sargam is ever so sweet and did pop a Champagne as well. In addition, they provided some munchies such as Cheese Crackers, Nachos & Salsa and Puffs. What’s better is that they are ever so flexible and hence, let me add more food to the table. 
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  3. Food- Since the talk on the food just got started thought I’d enlighten you a bit on what all I added. There was Vegetarian Quiche from Defence Bakery, Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian Kathi Rolls and Yummy Sandwiches, courtesy mother.
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  4. Games- Yes, we had to play some fun games as the girls took turns to get their hair shampooed and conditioned and then styled. They have a lovely hair styling menu for one to pick and choose! And each one loved their hair styles and flashed a big smile! The games included- What’s on your phone- the girl with the maximum score won, then-Who knows the Birthday Girl the Best and lastly, I got everyone to write their most Special Memory with Me!
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  5. Cake- Well, this element too had to be different so I ditched cutting the usual cake and instead ordered Passion Fruit, Mixed Fruit, Lemon and Chocolate Tarts from The Bombakery! And believe you me, their tarts are absolutely divine!
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  6. Photos, please- The entire venue is so so pretty but there is one particular wall against which you gotta click enough pictures! And Blo Bar was kind enough to arrange some amazing photo props as well!
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  7. Decor- The place requires very little add-ons. They arranged for some beautiful hangings and I too added a few cut-outs of flowers, pink buntings, purple tissues, polka plates, pink glasses and the like! The place is very bright and beautiful!
  8. Music- I had shared my preferred list and they played them all! In the end, you gotta a shake a leg or two!
  9. Return Gifts- I just wanted to do this! As a very small gesture to express tremendous gratitude to each one of them for adding so much brightness to my life- I gave each one a Face Mask from The Face Shop with a Thank you Card!

    Hope you enjoyed going through my party in brief!!! And THANK YOU Blo Bar for making this Birthday truly memorable and extra special!

    Love,
    Sonali

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HIGH ON HOTELS: 137 Pillars House,Chiang Mai

Well, for all those who have been waiting for the latest post in our “High on Hotels” section- the wait is over!!! And we are certain that you would be quite pleased with what is coming your way… Thailand is a favourite with many of us, and this time around we have explored a beauty in Chiang Mai called 137 Pillars House. Towards, the close of this post- we are certain that you would agree that it is a beauty with a difference! Here is all that we found out…

Q: Why a stay here would prove to be the most memorable one?
A: In addition to the naturally gracious Thai hospitality, exquisite cuisine and sensational spa treatments, the boutique experience at 137 Pillars House is unique due to its rich colonial history as it is built around an original teak homestead that dates back to the late 1800’s which has been lovingly restored.  It evokes an experience that goes back to a bygone era which is still evident throughout the house.  As the winner of the coveted Travel + Leisure’s Best Resort in Asia Award which is voted by the readers, this perhaps is a testimony to its memorability; together with its high year round occupancy and a high percentage of return guests.

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Q: What all facilities would you find in the room?
A: 137 Pillars House has 30 suites all of which are white, contrasting with the rich wooden teak homestead and furnished with rich Jim Thompson silks and fabrics in a deep green, a vibrant red or a dark teal.  Suites have high polished wooden floors, black and white mosaic tiles in the bathroom, a deep soak standalone claw footed bathtub, outdoor showers, large verandahs complete with the signature 137 rocking chair and exquisite furnishings throughout, with stunning orchids and bespoke amenities. Modern comforts and a contemporary interpretation of colonial design that marries the old and new.

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Q: Elaborate on the facilities in the hotel for in-house guests?
A: The hotel houses the Jack Bain Bar, Wine Cellar and Dining Room among others.  Recreation facilities include the Spa, Gymnasium and Swimming Pool.  The hotel’s cooking classes are very popular and guests find it hard to stop at just one spa treatment! Although an intimate footprint guests can immerse themselves in the resort with in-suite dining, multiple dining areas and cuisine options, spa, wellness programs and classes.

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Q: A must try restaurant in the hotel and why?
A: The hotel has two restaurants and they both offer different experiences, one with Thai food which is hugely popular worldwide and which most guests want to experience and keep coming back for more (as well as doing the cooking class so they can recreate their favorite dishes when they get home for their family and friends).  Palette – a intimate dining experience for up to 20 people, also exhibits local artworks and offers exquisite western food options and daily specials, using organic ingredients.

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Q: Please throw some light on the USP of the hotel?
A: Rich Colonial History, gracious Thai hospitality, bespoke experiences such as- delicious cuisine, the spa –actually hard to name just one.  Also, a great location in an historic area of Chiang Mai and within literally 5 minutes walking distance of upmarket boutiques, galleries and restaurants along the river. Personalized guest experience with all guests assigned a butler who remains in touch with guests both on property and off property. Thoughtfully designed, spacious suites and balconies offering guests a “private residence feeling” instead of a guest room. It is an Oasis in the city or even, a Sanctuary in the city.

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Q: Could you share a little about the connectivity of the hotel?
A: Guests who stay in a hotel of this caliber prefer to use the hotel transportation, but the hotel is easily accessible by those who want to use the local tuk tuks and other local transport options.

Q: Further to the earlier question, what is the easiest way to get to the hotel from the airport?
A: By hotel limousine which even has free wifi and is a seamless, relaxing and elegant way of getting in and out.

 Q: For all the prospective guests and shopping lovers, please tell us about the closest shopping hub to the hotel?
A: Literally around the corner from the hotel is a renowned artisan store -Villa Cini showcasing the best of Thai silk products, ceramics and weaving (bespoke handbags, lifestyle items) then, vintage and traditional Thai sarongs at  Fai Sor Kam and Sop Moei Arts for handicraft items. The street offers wonderful colonial era architecture.

Q: Lastly, if one got back at 2 am to the hotel, what is it that one would get to eat?
A:
Currently the kitchen closes at 11.30pm and re-opens at 5.30am as there has been no demand in the last 4 years of operation – but this is also under review to consider some menu options to be made available at such hours.

Pictures Courtesy: 137 Pillars House

 

High on Hotels: El Palace Hotel, Barcelona

Friends, believe it or not but today Helipad on Heels celebrates its 5th Anniversary…Thank you so much for all the love and support!!! And since this is the Anniversary Special Post- we are bringing to you a hotel from the buzzing city of Barcelona. For this continues to be a hot-favourite holiday destination of recent times, we are sure that this post would prove to be rather fun and useful.

Also, for all those who thought that we shall only be talking about Asian Hotels, think again as High on Hotels endeavours to explore hotels from around the World.

Located in the center of Barcelona, we are told that the immaculate El Palace Hotel is a symbol of Barcelona’s hotel tradition. We have also heard that its guest diary includes names of stalwarts like Cary Grant, Sofia Loren, Whoopi Goldberg, Ken Follett and Ronnie Wood. Let us find out more about this beauty of a hotel…

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Q: Why a stay here would prove to be the most memorable one?
A: This hotel opened in 1919 as the Ritz Barcelona and has a long history. The staff will make the stay of our guests very comfortable and enjoyable. We have been ranked between 1st and 10th in the last 6 years.

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Q: What all facilities would you find in the room?
A: In the rooms, the clients would find a king-sized bed with our new linen collection, L’Occitane amenities, telephone in the room, bathroom, television, complimentary water and a kettle.

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Q: Elaborate on the facilities in the hotel for in-house guests?
A: Two fine dining restaurants- Winter Garden and Caelis (with 1-Michelin star), French-style Brasserie 19/Nineteen Restaurant, Bluesman Cocktail Bar, Mayan Luxury Spa, Diana Garden (a truly romantic garden).

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Q: A must try restaurant in the hotel and why?
A: Fine Dining Winter Garden Restaurant located at the new Diana Garden on the rooftop terrace. The restaurant offers luxury tapas with wine pairing and views of Barcelona.

Q: Please throw some light on the USP of the hotel?
A: We believe it has to be the Bluesman Cocktail Bar and Diana Garden.

Q: Could you share a little about the connectivity of the hotel?
A: The hotel is located at the city center so there are many transport options from the property including the train and the bus.

Q: Further to the earlier question, what is the easiest way to get to the hotel from the airport?
A: Taxi or private transfer organized by our Concierge Department.

This hotel steeped in history, sure is a visual delight.

Pictures Courtesy: El Palace Hotel, Barcelona

High on Hotels: Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives

Hello! So it is that time again when we further apprise you with an absolute stunning and top quality property from around the World. This time around, we shall be getting enlightened about a space that is nestled in a dream destination for many- Maldives.

Without much ado, here is all about Gili Lankanfushi… Whether you are planning for your honeymoon or that milestone anniversary, we are very sure- this property will truly prove to be breathtaking.  And what’s more is that a little birdie told us that this place been the preferred choice for global icons like Cristiano Ronaldo.

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Q: Why a stay here would prove to be the most memorable one?
A: Gili Lankanfushi is an intimate coral island that has a Palm Beach with an expanse of white sand beach below a blanket of stars and a horizon beach that is overlooking the quiet bay of the resort island. With many coral gardens around, we have a habitat of marine life living in the lagoons circled around the island and house reef on the borders of azure waters of the island of Lankanfushi.

Q: What all facilities would you find in the room?
A: Here are the details:

– Large open-air living room with day beds and dining area
– Roof-top terrace with day-bed and dining facilities
– Overwater sun deck with sun loungers
– Semi open-air private bathroom with separate glass-walled shower area
– King-sized bed

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Q: Elaborate on the facilities in the hotel for in-house guests?
A: The Services and facilities include:

-Friday Concept: Named after Robinson Crusoe’s loyal friend, Mr. Friday makes guests’ stay as pleasant as possible. Day or night, the Mr. Friday will swiftly answer any request in mind. Even keeping the little ones entertained with storytelling and activities while parents spend some romantic time reconnecting with each other.
-Meera Spa offering holistic treatments with facilities including yoga/meditation champa, steam and sauna rooms, as well as a relaxation area.

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-Ocean Paradise Dive Centre offering PADI course and diving sessions to several dive sites including the world famous Manta Point.
-Fitness Centre
-Organic Garden
-Wedding Pavilion for celebrations of memorable milestones.

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-Library offering an extensive selection of easy reading and reference books.
-Poolside offers the perfect location to soak up the sun, relax on loungers, stargazing into the night or to sit beside the traditional Maldivian fireside “Alifan Fenda”.
-Boutique shop selling authentic Maldivian items and handmade items form the resort
-Leisure activities include sunrise yoga, meditation sessions, variety of water sports, tennis court, volleyball, table-tennis, petanque, jogging, pool table, a large selection of board games, movie screenings at the Jungle Cinema.
-Other activities that can be organized upon request are guided snorkeling trips, water skiing, sunrise/sunset dhoni cruises, sandbank picnic, dolphin cruise, excursions to the capital city, private movie screenings at your location of choice and special entertainment programs for kids by our Mr. Friday.

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Q: A must try restaurant in the hotel and why?
A: Our destination dining experience at locations such as One Palm is a must try, as it provides you with a unique Gili Moment and an endless choice of romantic destinations to escape to. By the Sea presents a Japanese Culinary adventure combined with breathtaking views of the ocean. Our newly refurbished and air conditioned Sushi Counter and brand new Teppanyaki Counter has only added to our guests’ culinary experience.

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Q: Please throw some light on the USP of the hotel?
A: Here is an insight into the USP-

-Private Reserve: The largest standalone over water villa in the world standing at 1,700sqm featuring a private spa facility with sauna, indoor and outdoor treatment pavilion, gymnasium, private cinema on the 2nd floor of the central living area, an infinity pool, resident Mr. and/or Ms. Friday on call 24hours, fully equipped gourmet kitchen, a waterslide installed from the top deck into the coral pool. Additionally, there are also sea level sundecks with sun loungers with clear views of coral gardens and amazing marine life. Dining spaces include roof-top terraces with daybed and two outdoor dining pavilions.
-Luxury of reconnecting with nature in a natural environment with our “No Shoes, No News” philosophy, and doing as much or as little as you want at the resort.
-Mr. Friday Concept about which we shared above.
-Eco-friendly concept focusing on sustainability in all activities that we do with/for guests and internally with staff. Activities include organic garden farming, producing our own water, an in-house eco-center to recycle and reuse materials – turning them into new items, more significantly our coral line project, where our marine biologist grow these corals.
-Exquisite dining experience which includes:

  • Main Restaurant offering a great buffet and a la carte breakfast. Daily changing gourmet experience for dinner as well as theme nights such as Mediterranean Spice Souk, Asian Street Market and Passage to India evenings.
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    Gili Lankanfushi Resort Maldives
  • By the Sea presents a Japanese Culinary adventure combined with breathtaking views of the ocean.
  • Over Water Bar offering a casual menu that features a wide selection of fresh salad leaves from the garden, sushi. Mediterranean delicacies, daily catch of fish, imported meats as well as local spices and herbs.
  • The Underground Wine Cellar and Chocolate Cave.
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  • The in-villa dining experience.
  • Destination dining offering a slice of paradise with an endless choice of romantic destinations to escape to.

Q: Could you share a little about the connectivity of the hotel?
A: Our Island is located 20 minutes away from Male International Airport.

Just seeing this place in pictures has been such a delight, imagine what the up-close experience would be like!

 

Pictures Courtesy: Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives

Holiday with BFF in Europe.Check!

Well, this one is certainly going to be a treasured blog post as it is going to take both of us down memory lane of a summer so special with two weeks packed with laughter and fun. For few already know, that we got lucky enough to do a proper holiday together for the very first time just sometime back. Needless to say that we made the most of it in the true “bestie spirit”…

So, it all started with me taking the Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul. Since I was entering Europe via Istanbul, I thought of just staying back for a couple of days and exploring what I have seen in pictures is pure beauty. Travelling solo abroad does give one a kick for sure. However, I did exercise wisdom and did some good amount of homework. On stepping out of the Istanbul Atatürk Airport, I hopped into a yellow taxi and had my driver take me to my hotel in the Taksim area.  Well, I stayed at the Metropolitan Hotels and must share that I found my room to be very comfortable. All three dishes which I ordered at the hotel were quite well done including the Turkish style Ravioli in yogurt and tomato sauce. The first day, I decided to explore the Taksim street which is rather happening, I didn’t go big on shopping right away as I had much of the trip left and had very happily come with a mind of not going overboard with retail therapy. I landed up at this cosmetic store-Flormar and was lucky enough to get a make-over of sorts. Post which I did explore many stores and eventually, tried what I had heard so much about, the very famous Turkish ice-cream. Well, just the way it is put onto the cone is overwhelming. Next day, I was waiting in great anticipation for the pre-booked tour of mine. First up, we saw the Topkapı Palace which was one of the major residences of the Ottoman sultans for almost 400 years, it was truly opulent and the most amazing area of the palace was the one from where you get a splendid view of the Bosphorus. The first time I witnessed it, I just wanted the time to freeze. Up next, we headed to the beautiful Rustem Pasha Mosque post which I got off to the Grand Bazaar. It was bright, colourful and had almost never ending shops. It is here that I tried a very interesting pomegranate flavoured tea and also got myself a Turkish scent. Talking about the local stuff, since I had heard so much about it, I did try the Turkish bagelSimit as well. So, this was about some of the stuff I did in Istanbul during my short stay of 2 days.

Further, my excitement held no bounds as I was going to be at my dream destination-Amsterdam and was going to reunite with my definite better half- Shagun. Outside the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, I waited for the shuttle to our hotel- Ramada Apollo Centre. The hotel enjoys a decent location and I found our room to be comfortable and clean as well. In Amsterdam, we walked and explored quite a bit…

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Here are few experiences which gave us a high in the purest sense:

  1. Visit to Café Winkel for one of the best apple pies we have ever had!!!2016-05-29-PHOTO-00002070
  2. For we were missing Indian food, we headed to Ashoka-an Indian and Nepalese Restaurant and everything we ordered was rather authentic…
  3. For what provided the perfect pump to our day was the delicious brunch at Roasters & Bakers. As they correctly say, “B&R is a New Zealand style café served with a heavy dose of Brazil.”
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  4. An experience of liqueur tasting at Amsterdam’s historic distillery-Wynand Fockink 🙂2016-05-29-PHOTO-00002072
  5. For pure pizza lovers like us, a meal at De Pizzabakkers was so worth it!
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  6.  The Canal Cruise proved to be such a beautiful way of exploring the city…
  7. Hopping on to a quick ferry ride to get on the opposite side of the Central Station and post lots and lots of walking, we landed up at a super exciting flea market and then, at a lovely little space by the name of Fashion & Tea where a quick refreshing drink was truly enjoyable!
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  8. For those who love to indulge in retail therapy, Nine Streets has much to offer 😛
  9. Relaxing at the urban Vondelpark…
  10. Fries, fries and more fries 🙂
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Post falling in absolute love with Amsterdam, we boarded our train to the love city of Paris for many fall in love in this city…Here are few experiences, mentioning about them is bringing a smile on my face yet again…

  1. Watching the French Open live… This one would sure be on the bucket list of tennis lovers…
  2. Chilling at the Little Red Door- An awesome cocktail bar…
  3. For the luxury shopping experience, a visit to Galeries Lafayette!
  4. Gorge on Macaroons and try as many flavours… And don’t forget to go big on desserts when in Paris!
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  5. Love and the urge to further explore the Vietnamese cuisine took us to Maison Sen.
  6. Checking out the Eiffel Tower at night had its own charm!
  7. A cozy space with amazing wine and a worthwhile cheese platter was on offer by Chez George’s.
  8. Indulged in some lip-smacking Italian food at Salento!
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  9. Checking out stores after stores at Le Marais…
  10. Louvre and Musee d’Orsay proved to be best museums pick for my first visit to Paris…
  11. Besides at the above, quick pictures at the Luxembourg Gardens and outside Notre Dame shall be with me as keeps.

    And finally, we headed to the city where my bestie resides- Berlin, a place I was truly able to explore and love like a local- thanks to these guys! Visits to the Berlin Wall, The Wall Museum, Brandenburg Gate, Museum Island, Berliner Dom, Hackescher Markt and Friedrich Strasse were truly memorable and worthwhile…And don’t forget to relax enough at their lovely parks. And I must add that I had some amazing food in Berlin whether it was the eggs at Napoljonska, trying out pretty much World cuisine including Indonesian and Austrian at a Kids Carnival or Italian at Trattoria Toscana or Californian-style burrito at Dolores-all of it was awesome.
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    All I can say is that I am filled with gratitude for this dream holiday and have come back feeling richer packed with experiences of a lifetime and the assurance of having a solid relationship called friendship…

    Happiness to all,
    Sonali

For the love of wines…

We love our wine. This drink is our most preferred especially in moments of celebrations and merry-making. And one is constantly trying to develop a nose for good wines. Lately, we came across a bottle of joy worth mentioning. Beringer Founders’ Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, a carefully crafted wine made with deep berry, toasted oak and vanilla spice flavours. Time to thank, Aspri Spirits, one of the leading importers and distributors of premium wines and spirits in India who have also got in the Beringer wines.  One was supremely thrilled to treat oneself these winters with this wine comprising of one of the world’s most widely recognized red wine grape varieties.

It undoubtedly made for a smooth drink and worked well to sooth one’s taste buds.

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Few other wines of theirs which deserve a mention here:

  • Beringer White Zinfandel Sparkling-

Lovely floral notes that are reminiscent of the wonderfully refreshing Spumante of Italy, with citrus and strawberry fruit nuances. Mexican and Thai food have the perfect amount of spice to be paired with the wine.

  • Beringer Pinot Grigio-

Aromas of lime and apple with just a hint of honeysuckle are complemented by the nectarine and apricot components on the palate.It works well on hot days and warm summer nights as a pre-dinner sipper or how about pairing it with some fresh salads and grilled chicken.

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 P.S. Not to forget mentioning that none of these quality wines are going to pinch your pockets since they are priced rather well.