I’ll take the airy room (with a view on the side)!

There is just something about a hotel room that exudes a feeling relaxation – just entering it will make you think “mmmm ahhhhhh” and give you a few seconds of “Is this real life?!”…Admit it…you know what I’m talking about!

The rooms that have that effect on me are rooms with plenty of light! So here are a few rooms I stumbled upon (haven’t been to any of them…still working on it!) that have that light, airy, I’m-on-a-cloud quality!

Standard room at the Ace Hotel- Seattle, WA
Ocean Haven at the W Hotel North Ari Atoll- Fesdu Island, Maldives
Beach Cottage at Castle Hill- Newport, RI
Berber Tents at the Kasbah Tamadot- Asni, Morocco
Sky Suite at Jade Mountain- Soufriere, St. Lucia

And the one I visit in my dreams on a daily basis…

Suite at the Katikies - Oia, Santorini

Ahhhh…mmmmm….is this real life? Seriously?! 😀

(More swoon-worthy pics at Ace Hotel, W Hotel North Ari Atoll, Castle Hill, Kasbah Tamadot, Jade Mountain, & Katikies)

Homeland Travels….and Updates!

Traveling is such a powerful thing… No matter where you go, no one has the exact same experience.  Everything you see, everything you feel, everything that you encounter is so strongly altered by your own upbringing, and your own life experiences.  For those of you who bared with me and read my painfully long “About me” post, you’ll understand how this works into my ideas for this blogsite.

Typical Indian Street scene; India Ink sketch by Arundhati Mohankumar
Typical Indian Street scene; India Ink sketch by Arundhati Mohankumar

My travels to India have always been a weird experience for me. As a person who has spent most of her life in America, each time I visit, I see many sites as a tourist.  Before understanding a monument, I need someone to tell me the history…which to most Indians would probably be general knowledge. At the same time, I have a connection to India that’s not there for a person who is there purely as a tourist. My childhood (many of the memories more clear to me than what I had for lunch yesterday!), many of my friends, nearly my entire extended family, and also the sensation of standing on a street corner, and finally blending in.  Those are connections that I will always have in India, and will always keep me from seeing things just as a tourist. I will never go visit the Taj Mahal, or see the intricate carvings of the temples and think “wow, these people are talented”, rather I would think “yes we surely are, thank you” :D.

Most sites that I have seen with a feature on India are either from a very tourist outlook or sites organized by the Indian government or by people who have grown up and are established there. My experiences in life have allowed me to bridge the two, and hopefully I can put up a travel blog of India where I can share these trips. Do bare with me!! :

Also, all the ink drawings in this section are drawn by me. They are all a part of a book I’m working on titled “India: Beauty amongst the Chaos”, so please do not use the images unless you ask me.  Thanks!!

-Arundhati

My Travel Bucket List: Bora Bora

InterContinental Thalasso-Spa
InterContinental Thalasso-Spa

Oh Bora Bora…this is the trip that started it all! While watching a Discovery Channel show that briefly mentioned this island, I immediately worked my way through the internet, wikipedia-ing, google-ing and concierge-ing my way through all the photos, maps and guides. I just had to go there; the beautifully constructed bungalows that appear to almost hover over the ocean, the unbelievable views of the Island’s most unmistakable feature, Mount Otemanu, and just the shear thought of being on this teeny tiny island, so far from anywhere I had ever been or ever thought of going. It all seemed too perfect to be true. And as any reasonable traveler, I know that there’s usually never a “perfect” trip, and you always have to plan a trip expecting something may not go as plan, but aside from all that…I just had to go!

The Island of Bora Bora is rather small, so there are obviously not a million hotels vying for your attention. Despite this, there is a good range of hotels and resorts to fit all budget needs. From the InterContinental Thalasso-Spa Bora Bora and the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort, where the views will cost you

The Interior of a Deluxe Overwater Villa at the St. Regis
The Interior of a Deluxe Overwater Villa at the St. Regis

well over a $1000, to the Sofitel Bora Bora Motu Private Island where the average year-round price will only put you back $105 according to TripAdvisor (or the cost of that new Coach wallet you’ve probably been eyeing). So the big question then is…Wallet or pure unadulterated beauty?…Heck, i’ll take my K-mart wallet proudly to Bora Bora, thank you very much! Regardless of whether you’re in the $1000 range or in the $100 range, the best things really do come for free; gorgeous views all around you, fiery sunsets, access to the largest natural pool, a.k.a the Pacific Ocean, friendly people, and of course, walking and exploring the area)…All free people! Now if you want some really out-there, secret celebrity massage featured on E! news that promises to make you look 20 years younger, then yes…you just might have to go up to a hotel in the $1000 range 😀

As embarrassing as this is, I have been daydreaming about this trip for at least 6

Overwater Bungalow at Le Meridien
Overwater Bungalow at Le Meridien

years now..I know, it’s sad! So where is the place I go when I imagine myself getting off of the helicopter from Papeete, dressed to impress, hair blowing in the wind, and looking a good 30 pounds lighter (Hey, if I’m going to dream, it’s going to really be a dream :D)? The place I go is, drum-roll please…..Le Meridian Bora Bora. Honestly, I don’t know if it’s the best place to stay on the island, but it’s the first place I saw and

Dining at Le Meridien
Dining at Le Meridien

fell in love with, and the one that I’ve held onto for a good number of years (so if there’s anyone out there that’s been here, and can give a good review, that would be wonderful!). The hotel, which falls about midrange in terms of price (Average year-round price: about $600) offers the same views and seclusion promised by pretty much all the hotels on the island. The Over-the-water bungalows are quaint, with all the necessities, and

The Glass Bottom
The Glass Bottom

more. There is even a glass-bottom floor in the main suite that is a constant reminder to you that you really are over the water!

Ok, so now you’re here…Welcome to Bora Bora, you’ve been garlanded by a welcome party, and now you’re waiting for your room service to come rowing over to your private over-the-water bungalow. All the while you’re sitting out on the balcony and trying to remember how long it’s been since you have been anywhere as relaxing (Meetings? Projects? Bills? What? No no…Do yourself (and you’re travel companions) a big favor and keep those thoughts packed away in a tiny box (then put that in a bigger box, then the largest safe known to man-kind) in the back of your head, and only think about it when you get back to work Monday morning :).

Now really sit back, relax, pinch yourself, you really are in paradise (and people like me are completely jealous, by the way!) Now you can start thinking about how you want your vacation to go. Do you want a week or pampering and spas? Do you want a week filled with adventure? Do you want to shop until you drop? The list of

Kainalu Club at Le Meridien
Kainalu Club at Le Meridien

activities are truly endless. If relaxation and shopping is the route, you could possibly spend an afternoon getting a thorough rub down in one of the many spa’s on the island or maybe you could hire your own Private cruise to take you on a tour of the lagoon. For the Food-loving-shopping-fiend, nothing says vacation then exploring some nice local shops and resting your feet while inhaling the local cuisine (Diet? What’s that?!). For those who need to be out and about to have fun, being on the ocean offers the usual menu of activities: Snorkeling, Scuba Diving, Water-skiing, Windsurfing, Deep Sea Fishing, to name a few.

For those who want something that is unique to Bora Bora, why not try a lagoon excursion? Or maybe go horseback riding along the beach, or take a helicopter tour of the island, or make a trip to the Lagoonarium?

Although the Island of Bora Bora might be mighty small covering just over 40 km2, it still draws a large share of the travelers on a yearly basis. Always popular with

A South Pacific Sunset
A South Pacific Sunset

honeymooners (When do you think I was planning on making this trip?? :D) and a good percentage of celebrities looking for a private getaway, Bora Bora has something for everyone. Although the trip might not be a great budget trip or ideal for the penny pinchers out there (Come on, you are traveling all the way around the world!), It is definitely a place to go at least once in your life! That’s why it is on my Travel Bucket list!

Bora Bora
Bora Bora

Knock knock…is this thing on?

Hello to all who have stumbled upon what will one day be a thriving blog site, complete with all ever-so-wise travel advice and ideas, interspersed with amazing photography as I slowly check each destination off my ever-growing list.  Hopefully the first tidbit that has been revealed about me, well aside from my obvious inability to keep any sentence short and my love for rambling (that you’ll have to see it to believe it :D) is that I’m a dreamer!

I could sit for hours and plan a trip to an exotic country, with such eager concentration that people would think I was going there tomorrow, when in actuality I probably won’t go there anytime soon (certainly not until I hit the lottery, which I’m banking on happening any day now!)

I do it for the “just-in-case” scenario…You know that one…I keep full itineraries stored in the back of my head for that chance conversation where someone says the words “vacation”, “trip”, “destination” or any synonym with my name somewhere in the mix…I usually don’t catch the whole sentence since I’m generally a good 10 minutes into my retrieving mode and my body is in the packing mode 😀

That brings me to this Blog…until now, my insane planning of future trips, or what I will refer to from now on as my Travel Bucket List, was just a crazy quirk of mine. When friends would take trips, I would research it more than they would, and report back with my findings! So I figure a blog would be a wonderful way to share these ideas…who knows, maybe you’ll discover a new place through this blog or if there’s a place you’ve visited and think I should add to my list, please let me know!

My other love, of course, is Art. I love making art, looking at art, and sharing art (or something like that :P) and love learning all the new techniques that I don’t know already! So I hope to create art lovers out of all of you…eventually!!

PS-If it isn’t obvious, I LOVE to travel 🙂