Toyota Corolla Altis travelogue
When Babur decided it was time to lay the foundations for the mughal empire, he marched his armies across the Khyber Pass and into Delhi. Once he had claimed Delhi for himself he figured out that a little southeast of Delhi was a sprawling city known as Agra where much of Ibrahim Lodi's wealth was concentrated. Now that Babur had established himself in Hindustan, there appeared a new threat â" the Rajputs from Rajasthan. So off he went to conquer the regions to the far west, among them, Jaipur. Why all this reference to history? Well, we're in our own way paying homage to the founder of the mughal empire by travelling from Gurgaon to Agra and then to Jaipur, along the way visiting some very exclusive luxury hotels.
Our drive begins at the Delhi International airport where our trusty Toyota Corolla Altis meets us. The Corolla is no stranger to us. Having driven across various parts of the country in this luxurious automobile, we have never had even one complaint, be it about performance or comfort. So off we went on our short commute to Gurgaon. First stop, the Trident, Gurgaon.
The Trident Gurgaon is a sprawling property spread across seven acres of land just 15km away from the Delhi airport. The entire hotel is dominated by water bodies right from the entrance. This has been done not only for its visual appeal, but also so that the noise from the nearby expressway and its traffic is cut out. If you ask us the best time to check into the hotel is after dark. Why? Because at night when you walk to the lobby from the entrance to the hotel you can see three fire torches burning amidst the large pool of blue water. And it's not just at the entrance. These fire torches can be seen all over the hotel from the courtyard to the pool area.
Now Gurgaon is only 35km from the centre of Delhi. This means that everything from the Red Fort, Jantar Mantar, Humayun's tomb, Connaught Place, India Gate and Rashtrapati Bhavan are within a short drive away. And once you've spent your day sightseeing and shopping you can come back to your hotel and relax at the Trident's spa or just kick back in your room. Talking of rooms, the Trident offers 129 rooms and seven suites for you to choose from. And each of them will envelop you in a warm cocoon of luxury that makes you want to never get off your bed.
The Trident Gurgaon has three restaurants and two bars. The Cilantro serves world cuisine and has a wood oven they use to make the most delicious thin crust pizzas. Saffron is their Indian themed restaurant and makes a selection of Indian dishes. The highlight however was Konomi. Konomi serves traditional Japanese cuisine and is especially known for their sushi. The chef Ramone can whip up mouth watering sushi made to your order. And served with warm sake this restaurant will take your taste buds right to the land of the rising sun.
From Delhi, we made our way to Agra, the Corolla eating up the distance between the two cities in a matter of few hours. Finding the Trident in Agra is not the most difficult thing to do. Just head in the general direction of the Taj Mahal and you will be sure to find it. And that is the beauty of this hotel. The Trident Agra is located just five minutes (by car of course) away from the Taj Mahal. And not just the Taj Mahal; the Agra Fort, Akbar's tomb and Fatehpur Sikri are all within an hour's drive away. So location wise this hotel has got a lot going for it.
The hotel is dominated by a large central courtyard around which it has been built. This courtyard also houses the pool area and a fairly large fountain. The entire hotel is built with red stone in keeping with mughal architecture. The entire hotel with its lush green central courtyard is very much like an oasis.
The Trident Agra has 135 rooms and two suites from which you can choose for a garden facing or pool facing room. The hotel also has a Kids Club complete with an indoor and outdoor games, books, toys and various other activities. The great thing about the Trident Agra is that they have a large garden where they grow their own organic vegetables. So in the evenings you can take a walk through these gardens on the pathways and sit on one of the benches under the many trees, watching ducks and geese swimming around in a man made pond.
The hotel's restaurant serves continental, South-east Asian and Indian food. The buffet especially is something that every culinary enthusiast must sample. And like the Trident Gurgaon, the Trident Agra too has a wood fire oven from which some very delicious pizzas emerge.
Now we were on the final leg of both our journey and the Golden Triangle. Jaipur is roughly 230km from Agra and the roads are pretty good. The journey takes somewhere around four hours. The Trident Jaipur is not hard to locate as it is located bang opposite the Mansagar lake. And since Jaipur is known as the Pink City, the entire hotel is the colour of pink sandstone. Now being right next to the Mansagar Lake, the hotel has the advantage of being just a stone's throw away from the Amber Fort (Four km to be exact). And it's not just the Amber Fort; the hotel is four km away from Hawa Mahal, City Palace and Jaigarh Fort and seven km away from Nahargarh fort. This makes the ideal place to stay if you're in the mood for some sightseeing.
The hotel has 132 rooms and two suites which can be garden facing or lake facing. Best part is that each of these rooms comes with its own viewing gallery, which is a small balcony which offers you some splendid views of Jaipur. And just like the Trident Agra, this hotel too has a Kids Club where the little ones can have some fun while their parents relax.
Trident Jaipur has two restaurants â" the Jal Mahal and the Verandah. The Jal Mahal serves a variety of Indian and international cuisine. But the highlight, since you're in Rajasthan, is the Lal Maas â" the typical Rajasthani dish made by marinating lamb in red chilli and other spices. The Verandah is a poolside restaurant and serves Italian food and has a delicious barbecue section as well.
These three hotels give a traveller the best of both worlds - a luxurious stay while being in proximity to all the interesting spots in the city. So for anyone travelling to these parts of the country, we would suggest you take a look at these hotels for your stay. I'm sure the next time I drive the Corolla to these parts; I will want to stop by these places and refresh my memories and taste buds.
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