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AMRITSAR: The tag of TajHotels — "Our meticulously curated experiences, deeply rooted in authenticity, perfected for you" — is bang on! I'm a fan of Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces and make it a point to stay there in the city I'm visiting because the team pampers guests with personalised attention, luxe accommodation, sumptuous food—and the most hospitable management. So when I was visiting Amritsar to seek blessings at the Golden Temple, I called Taj Swarna and within a few minutes, the booking was confirmed. Its location—in the heart of Amritsar adjacent to the largest mall in the city—makes it ideal for leisure and business travellers and pilgrims which is why I chose to stay here.


The location allows for space with a chic reception | All Hours restaurant Grand Trunk | The Chinese Room | The Peg I gym, spa and pool! Coming to my stay, after a airport pick-up in a BMW and quick check-in, I was escorted to a deluxe room on the fourth floor where a bouquet of flowers and fruit platter awaited. Yayy!! What impressed me — as always — was the spacious bathroom, bright lighting, ergonomic work space — and hi-speed wi-fi throughout the property! It was a balmy noon and I freshened up and hired their car to seek blessings at the Golden Temple. Whenever I enter the gurudwara complex, it's a powerful experience, and as I descended the steps I felt I was once again in an oasis of peace far from the dissonance of the surroundings. Though it took an hour doing the parikrama and seeking blessings in the gurudwara, I had moments of quiet connection where I felt blessed; I felt that my prayer had been heard. Somehow, I just knew.  The rest of the evening was spent indulging in a sumptuous dinner of Amritsari fish and Chhole Kulche back at the hotel… after all when in Amritsar…!!


The following morning, I visited The Partition Museum with friends, visited the mall for a spot of retail therapy and then headed back to the hotel to sleep deeply for a few hours — I was woken pleasantly when the team came in with a birthday cake and we all took photographs which they later presented to me… the stuff of memories. It made my day... and my birthday! Later that evening, I indulged in a late 30-min shoulder and back massage at Jiva Spa! Deeply relaxed, I headed to The Chinese Room for dinner — pan-fried noodles with the most sumptuous steamed chicken and oriental vegetables in Mongolian sauce. The chef is just too good!! And then I dropped in to The Peg for cocktails. The DJ rocked, the ambience was luxe but the expresso martini was deeply disappointing. I say this, with ten years experience in luxury journalism: who hastily mixes coffee liqueur and vodka in under a minute?! Particularly when it was so well made the night before? Moody mixologist?!


The following morning I jumped out of bed with an eye on the wristwatch, packed a grilled sandwich and rushed into a waiting hotel car to catch my flight! This review would be deficient if I failed to mention that the service was amazing throughout the stay. The management goes out of its way to make guests feel relaxed and service is polite and efficient…. which brings me to last thoughts: warm hospitality, discreet luxury and personalised service [everyone remembered me by name and wished me happy birthday!]. I will surely be back in January! [20-21 September 2017].


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Taj Swarna, Amritsar

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