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Luxury hotels
WELCOMHOTEL BELLA VISTA, PANCHKULA

Located in the heart of Panchkula — ten minutes from the station and two minutes from the highway to Simla — luxury boutique hotel WelcomHotel Bella Vista redefines modern opulence. Part of ITC Hotels, the property boasts European-style architecture including 49 rooms and suites — some with a semi-private plunge pool, others with balconies offering a panoramic view of Shivalik hills — spa, fitness center, outdoor pool, banquets, alfresco restaurant and bar.

 

I was thrilled when I got the opportunity to stay there. Taking Kalka Shatabdi from New Delhi, I made it to Chandigarh in 3 1/2 hours and was received by the hotel concierge at the platform. Within minutes, we arrived at the property. Following a warm welcome with a bouquet of exotic flowers and lemonade, I must add that the management could not be better; friendly, efficient and attentive are just a few words to describe what I observed on arrival.  The energy in the hotel is peaceful and welcoming; within moments, I was escorted to a suite that opens into a deck with a semi-private pool and lounge furniture, overlooking hills; which immediately made me want to head into the pool. Bliss! Everything about the suite was luxurious including the floral sofa, beautiful art, sunken tub [ideal for bubble baths!!], gym equipment so I could work off calories in complete privacy and wi-fi that ensured I gleefully shared photographs on social media! My personal favourite? An assortment of my all-time favourite ITC toiletries!!

 

After unpacking, I requested the chef for a light lunch and he thoughtfully crafted a grilled sandwich packed with exotic vegetables. General Manager Avinash Deshmukh joined me for lunch and the insightful conversation was invigorating, with brief pauses to admire the restaurant's view of Shivalik hills under overcast skies. Time flew and pretty soon it was 3 p.m. — time for my slot at spa! The spa's décor — with a beautiful Buddhist statue — made me feel I had transcended everyday life into an oasis where I indulged in a 60-minute treatment; the therapist ensured each inch of parched skin was lubricated with olive oil, followed by steam to soak itI So it's no wonder I emerged deeply relaxed, looking forward to walking around the hotel with its stunning water bodies and retail, and clicking photographs to photo-bomb my friends back home. What makes Bella Vista unique? The resort feel is right out a magical fable… Sigh! It's ideal for a weekend escape whether you want to relax in a pool suite, head out shopping and clubbing in Chandigarh within a 15-minute radius or embark on a one-hour drive to Kasauli and go for a walk, trek or picnic in the hills — the hotel would be happy to assist planning a memorable trip! Speaking of plans, my plan of action at 6 p.m. was to grab chilled beer, relax on the deck with my feet in the pool and enjoy the sunset as I waited for a friend to join for dinner. The temperature dropped at 8 which was a sign for me to leave the pool. Feeling relaxed, I made my way to the alfresco restaurant where a little surprise awaited me… the chef had booked a table in a raised corner of the terrace overlooking a beautiful vista! [click here for the review]. Hours later, due to the therapeutic treatment at the spa and sumptuous dinner, the insomniac in me didn't rear its head and I slept blissfully, promising myself to wake up early and take in sunrise over the hills. Sooooo good!!

 

In the morning, I opened my eyes and for a second had no clue where I was as sunlight streamed in — I had left curtains of the door leading to the pool deck wide open. I looked around and realised that there was no work, no phone calls and no tasks to tick off the list… turned around and dived back into bed with my head deep into the pillows. But before I knew it… it was time to check-out of Paradise so I sent bags out to a waiting car and wistfully left the pool suite. Observing the reception while checking out, I figured there's a reason it's so quietly compact. After all, guests don't want to be stared at while checking in or leaving. Thoughtful, well planned down to the minutest detail! (11.5.2016)

— JASMEEN DUGAL

 
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