24 October 2013
Wexas Managing Director Steve Allen and his family decided to travel to India and immerse themselves in the sights and experiences they encountered there.
Having flown into Delhi and enjoyed the sensory overload of this vibrant city, they travelled to Rajasthan to marvel at the Taj Mahal, continued south, in search of tigers, got measured for suits in Jaipur and then flew south to Goa in search of sun, sand and a change of pace...
Going to Goa
Following our hectic timetable, we were heading south, tired and fulfilled, looking forward to a spot of rest and relaxation in Goa. Our Jet Airways flight passed though Mumbai. Although we had no time to explore the city, we were able to observe the aces of slums surrounding the airport that stood in marked contrast to the glittering lights and high-rise buildings of the centre as we landed and took off.
A little drained by the hurly burly of India, we needed the chance to relax and reflect on our time in India. The Leela Hotel, located on a superb stretch of beach and in most attractive grounds, seemed to know this as the slower pace of life and the quality of our surroundings were spot on. The rooms were good, and we dug out our beachwear and settled into a completely different routine and experience.
The spa was tempting, and we made good use of the tennis courts and the swimming pool. The nine-hole golf course was a delight, with just the one ball left in the small lake, as we pitched and putted our way around. Bicycles were a useful way of seeing the resort and for our youngest son to link up with other youngsters enjoying their holiday; the Leela is a popular family hotel.
Strolling down the beach and swimming or boarding in the Indian Ocean waves, we could scarcely believe that we were in India. This ex-Portuguese region is very much like other beach-based havens around the world, although we were glad that we were staying in this part of Goa as some of the 'old hands' reported that the more developed tourist part is pretty busy and congested with all of the tourist paraphernalia that goes with such established destinations.
The food was excellent. We enjoyed a wide choice from the buffet for breakfast that almost became a brunch, some sensational king prawns and fish that we ate by the beach one evening, in the Susegado Restaurant, and for a change some Italian food from the Riverside Restaurant on the opposite side of the resort. Interestingly, whilst we all enjoyed the local cuisine, we also enjoyed some less spicy food, which was definitely appreciated by our digestive systems! The G&T tradition was maintained, right up to check out, when we left in the early evening for a flight to Mumbai, to join our Etihad flights home, via Abu Dhabi.
Our family experience was terrific: a holiday that every one of us thoroughly enjoyed and will always remember. The GoPro editing means that we now have a film with a selection from our trip that we are sure to watch time and again. The pictures we took have formed quite a gallery, with the majority of them showing the places we visited rather than just being of us.
India is an amazing country: a kaleidoscope of colour, noises and smells. It is both a young outward-looking country, with over half of the population under 25, and an old country with its rich and vibrant history. It's a special place where different religions coincide and coexist; where 1.2billion people manage to live in harmony; a place undergoing great change and with huge challenges.
It's definitely a place to return to, and we all agreed that the best way to do this would be to travel well, ideally staying in good quality hotels and accompanied by expert guides. We will surely return, as there's so much to see and do. If you haven't been to India, please do. It's a travel experience like no other and by consulting with the team at Wexas and working closely with our partners on the ground, Creative travel, we can make the most of your time in this extraordinary country.