Travels with Lois and Jason

India and Maldives

December 16, 2008 - January 3, 2009

Hotels and Special Events

Introduction and recurring themes
City highlights
The Maldives

Most of the hotels we stayed in were like palaces.  Our tour also arranged several special events to help us appreciate the varied and exciting culture of India.

New Delhi

While our New Delhi hotel wasn’t anything special in terms of ambiance, the buffet was some of the best food ever. There were several tables, each with different cuisines:  soups, Indian (chicken & lamb kabobs), Japanese, sushi, shrimp dishes, lox, pate, Chinese, cheeses, and desserts.  The staff was incredible, always at our side, very nice and couldn’t do enough for us. One night our group had a tasting menu of 14 Indian dishes, GREAT!


dance 1

Following our sunset boat ride on the Ganges, we went to a Hindu monastery where we had a delicious vegetarian dinner followed by a dance demonstration where they explained what the various hand movements and then a dance performance.
dance 2


Our hotel in this ancient city, The Oberoi Amarvilas Hotel, is like a palace.  We were told it was rated as one of the top ten in the world, and we could understand why.  We arrived at midnight and the driveway was lit up with fire torches.  We had a midnight supper which included cappuccino mushroom soup with the cream frothed on top – fabulous!  The entrance was all fountains and bridges and at the far end were arches with couches and gold and blue mosaics. Every room had a view of the Taj Mahal.  The grounds were like botanical gardens and the swimming pool was outdoors, going indoors under gorgeous arches.   What an experience.




We stayed at the Oberoi Rajvilas, whose main building was once a fort and we had to cross a “moat” to get to the grounds and our room.  The grounds were a huge park, complete with ponds and fountains.  All the rooms are bungalows, spacious and with the most gorgeous bathroom with a marble sunken tub and a floor to ceiling glass wall with a beautiful private garden.


patty pile

jaipur entertainment
For dinner our first night in Jaipur we went to the Rambagh Palace Hotel.  When we arrived our group was greeted by two elephants, four camels, and a marching band.  Before dinner we had a fabulous dance show. Dinner was served outside beginning with hors-d’oeuvres which could have been the meal in itself, followed by a fabulous dinner. 

The next day we went to the Raj Palace Hotel for a Rajasthan style meal and puppet show. The restaurant was exquisite! A glass gold and silver table.  A procession of buglers played, then a proclamation was read welcoming us, then we were all served on a silver platter at the same time.  Before lunch we went to the gardens for the puppet show.  The costumes were beautiful and the show cute.  The puppets were for sale and we bought two as souvenirs.

patty pile


Oberoi Udaivilas Hotel is built in a Moorish style and the grounds are very large and gorgeous with many fountains.  The property runs along Lake Pichola, includes a deer park and eagle reserve, and we saw lots of peacocks on the grounds.  From our hotel there is a view of the Palace Hotel which is located in the middle of the lake.  The James Bond film Octopussy was filmed in Udaipur and the local are very proud of this fact.  We felt that our hotel was very cold and austere. 

entrance inner grounds1 grounds2

Our first morning at breakfast the pastry chef came around and asked if everything was okay.  We told her we enjoy almond croissants and she said "ok, I'll make some for you for tomorrow."  So, the next morning she asked if we wanted our almond croissants.  What she brought were croissants with one almond sliver on top.  At least it was a good try.   After breakfast we went to a lesson on how to put on a saree and turban; it was great fun!

Kerala (Cochin and Kottayam)

We stayed at two different locations in southern India.  Our first stay was at a hotel with functional rooms with a nice view of the pool and a river that ran behind the hotel.   Our second hotel was a tropical resort.

traffic 1
For dinner our first night in the south, we went to a chef's (Nimmy) home.  She prepared and demonstrated a 4 course dinner and passed around the spices for us to smell as she cooked.  She was invited twice by the CIA(Culinary Institute of Amer.) to make presentations in CA and she demonstrated her cooking skills (which don't match those of Kevin, Uri, Donna or Stacy), but it made for a fun and different evening.  It was nice to be able to see how a middle class Indian family live.  We had a very fascinating discussion about the marriage of her son (studying in Boston), whether it would be an arranged or a "love marriage." traffic 2

elephant bathOn our way to our second hotel in the south we saw a mahout washing his elephant in the lake.  The elephant was lying on his side and appeared to be having the time of his life.

Our hotel was the Kumarakom Lake Resort and designed as a tropical paradise.  The back steps of our room led into the swimming pool which was fun to swim in as it weaved its way between rooms.  The bathroom was outside.  The toilet and sink had a cover, but the shower was out in the open.  It was weird standing outside to shower!  We had privacy to shower but had to close the curtains to get dressed.

lake 1
traffic 2

We had the best New Years Eve meal outdoors with BBQ and about 20 food stations with food from every region of India. There was dancing & music entertainment.  As the hour got later the music got louder so we went to our room about 11 P.M., but couldn’t fall asleep until the music stopped!
ny 1

The next day we went on a houseboat for lunch and curise of the lake.  There was a cook, butler and driver.  That afternoon we saw rope being made from coconut fibers and that night had a special martial arts demonstration that was just unreal.   The next morning we walked to the local village.  The locals all came out to greet us and we saw turkeys and a chicken painted red so that they would not be attacked by the local birds.


Last stop before leaving for the Maldives.  We were supposed to stay at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel but the hotel was still closed since the November 26, 2008 terrorist attack.  The alternative hotel was nothing special.  We did visit the Palace Hotel and there is a memorial to the victims in a garden off the lobby.

Transportation-wise, we had several modes on this trip:  we rode in bicycle rickshaws, motorized rickshaws (tuktuks), jeeps, open row boats, house boats, coconut boats, our big orange tour bus and several airplanes, and our legs got a really good workout!

Introduction and recurring themes
City highlights
The Maldives
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Writer:  Jason Frand
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February 12, 2009