Travelling to a beautiful resort in a picturesque location isn't the only way to vacation. Plan a 'staycation' and unwind within (or just outside) your own four walls.
Staycation - what is it?
Instead of searching for cheap airfares, the best hotel deals and spending time, energy and money on a vacation to a faraway place, try staying home, or close to home, and give yourself a much-needed staycation.
Entertain yourself at recreation spots that your city has to offer. You get to explore your own city and have some fun along the way. The concept achieved popularity in the US during the recession, and in the UK due to a weak pound sterling, which made overseas holidays more expensive. It finds resonance even today with those short on time and reeling under an ever-increasing cost of living. Unwinding, minus the stress, is the central theory behind a staycation.
Why take one?
Luxurious trips and adventure-fuelled holidays can be great fun, but they aren't exactly free from stress. Hotel and airline bookings, endless hours of travel, the stress of fi nding someone to take care of the pet and plants can be exhausting. Apart from affordability and ease, a staycation has other benefi ts like the opportunity to spend time together and connect as a family and explore the city. We're often so entrenched in our daily routines and rigours of life that we fail to notice the beauty around us. Chances are, you know a Mumbaikar who rarely gets to the beach, a Bangalorean who's never seen the ISKCON temple or a Delhiite who is yet to tour the Humayun's Tomb. A staycation is the perfect time to be a tourist in your own city and absorb the history and folklore of the place you call home.
Home to hotel
You could even check into a hotel for the weekend. Most hotels have attractive staycation packages. 'Staycation guests prefer to stay in their rooms and take it easy. Room service options are aplenty, including a choice of movies with popcorn and nachos, foot massages, board games, PS3 for kids, a swim on the rooftop pool, along with all meals,' says Dharmesh Karmokar, serial restaurateur and owner of Hotel Aureole in Mumbai.
Larger groups are serenaded with a guitar and can enjoy a rooftop barbeque dinner under the stars. Golden Tulip, a four-star luxury resort in Chandigarh, provides a staycation package, which includes among other things a trip to the picturesque Morni Hills nearby. If you opt to vacation at Courtyard by Marriott Pune, the hotel facilitates tours to exhilarating places like Pavana Dam, Japalouppe stud farm, and also take you to an auto plant to see how the four-wheeled beauties are made.
Apart from the usual complimentary breakfast and discounts on food, beverages and spa treatments, Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai, offers heritage walks. Bangaloreans can enjoy complimentary wine along with personalised yoga sessions, tour of the unseen back areas of the hotel like laundry, kitchen, bakery and learn towel art at the Marriott Hotel, Whitefield. At Ranbanka Palace, a heritage hotel in Jodhpur, you could dance with the Kalbelia dancers, sing along with the Langa singers, enjoy puppet shows and take home customised joothis made in the hotel courtyard. Long vacations to a far-off destination can sometimes leave you more exhausted than refreshed. Try a staycation instead.
How to plan a great staycation at home
Do not get sucked into business. Turn off the phone and set an 'out of office' message for e-mails. This will help you to feel like you're getting a break, even if you're not packing a suitcase.
Step out and explore the city. Check the newspaper for local events, exhibitions or film festivals.
We all have a stack of our favourite takeout menus next to the phone. Now is the time to call and eat your heart out.
Read the book you always wanted to, but never found the time. Movie time! bring in your favourite movie snacks, however, trans-fatty and gluttonous! (Reminder: it's your vacation). Pick from travelogues, thrillers, romcoms or tearjerkers.
Indulge in a luxurious and relaxing massage at home.
Best Staycation deals
Enjoy one night stay with unlimited house brands followed by buffet breakfast in the morning.
Golden Tulip Hotels & Resorts, Chandigarh Package includes breakfast and meals and spa voucher worth 0500 each and 15 per cent discount on liquor. Price: 09, 999 for 2 nights and 3 days
Marriott Hotel Whitefield, Bengaluru Apart from stay, brunch and complimentary spa the hotel offers yoga sessions, towel art classes, wine, tour of the unseen back areas of the hotel. Price: 07,350 per night.
Sofi tel, BKC Mumbai
Buffet breakfast, wellness facilities like the pool and gym with complimentary 30-minute spa. Price: 08,500 for a night.
Hyatt Hotel Pune, Kalyani Nagar
Stay with buffet breakfast and 15 per cent discount on F&B and spa with special cocktail hours. Price: 08,999 for one night two days.
Nivedita Jayaram Pawar