Day: First day of the Christmas holidays 2016
Venue: Aloha On The Ganges, Rishikesh
Time: around 6:30pm (just after checking into our room at the hotel)
Hubby: You made a mistake, you shouldn’t have booked this for three nights.
Me (worried): Why? What happened?
Hubby: For a hotel such as this, we need to stay at least a week. Three nights is simply not enough!
I have to say, I absolutely agree with my husband. Neither of us – hubby, sons nor me – wanted to check out of this beautiful, serene hotel right on the banks of River Ganga in the holy city of Rishikesh. If you have seen my Instagram stories, then you would have seen just how lovely this property is.
Holiday planning and organising is my department in our house – be it for ourselves or my parents or my in-laws. And I love planning holidays, thinking of destinations to give different experiences to the boys, checking hotels and deciding on the best ones for us…. For Rishikesh too, I had shortlisted three properties but what made me finally book Aloha On The Ganges was this….
Breathtaking views of the mountains and the River Ganga, lots of open space for the boys to run around in, very close to Rishikesh town with a gorgeous infinity-edge pool (though this isn’t the right weather for swimming) made Aloha On The Ganges a clear winner. Not to mention the fact that one of the other shortlisted hotels was 30km away from Rishikesh and the other one had no TV. And while I am not a TV person, it’s nice to have TV and Wi-Fi for the kids at the end of a long day so that you get some couple-time with better half.
Aloha On The Ganges is a part of Leisure Hotels, a major player in the hospitality industry in Uttarakhand and which also has resorts and villas in other parts of India. Once I finalised this hotel, I also decided to go with Leisure Hotels for my stay in Corbett too. And what a greayt stay and experience we had at both the places!
The decor at Aloha On The Ganges is simple and elegant, featuring earthy tones with splashes of blue thrown in – perhaps in representation of the Ganga as she flows through the earthy terrain. The whole effect is a very soothing, calming one that instantly relaxes and de-stresses you.
Not just a hotel, Aloha also has one and two bedroom apartments for those seeking a longer stay option in Rishikesh. We had booked a Superior Room (with an extra bed, of course) since these rooms are on the ground floor and open out to the vast lawns overlooking the Ganga. The boys enjoyed going for strolls on the lawn in the morning and my elder son practised his new-found interest in photography, having such beautiful landscapes to photograph.
The room itself is very spacious with an equally spacious bathroom and didn’t feel cramped even with an extra bed on one side and a sofa on the other.
Aloha On The Ganges, in keeping with the spiritual vibes and ambience of the holy town of Rishikesh, is a pure vegetarian, alcohol-free hotel. It has two restaurants – Latitude, a multi-cuisine restaurant where all the buffet meals are served with live flute and tabla performances during dinner, and Patio, an al-fresco diner / cafe overlooking the Ganga serving fast food and where the evening tea/coffee is served. I hold the chefs here responsible for my weight gain during the stay. The earthy, flavourful and nutritious food was really hard to resist! While everything was delicious, two dishes deserve special mention – the Tiki Chaat and the Walnut Pie – simply outstanding!
We wanted to have dinner at Patio one evening (something most people avoid because of the chilly winds this time of the year) since it was our engagement anniversary and the wonderful people at Aloha On The Ganges set up a beautiful table for us with flower petals and candles! We were really touched by this sweet gesture.
Not just this, all the staff at Aloha On The Ganges – from the housekeeping to the restaurant to the front office – every single person is so friendly and helpful! The chef personally asks all the guests for feedback, the front office staff is happy to help out with recommended activities or places to visit, the housekeeping staff gives prompt service with a smile. These small gestures are what add to make a normal holiday a wonderful one.
There are several activities at Aloha to keep all the age groups occupied. From yoga sessions and nature walk/hike in the morning (both too early for my liking – holidays are when I try and compensate for my usual sleep deprivation) to indoor games and outdoor play area for kids to adventure sports, the resort has it all and helps organise everything. So if you think that Rishikesh is only about Ashram and temple tours, think again.
But the best of all, is the stunning infinity-edge pool that overlooks the Ganga….
How I wish that the pool was temperature controlled so that I could take a dip. Hubby and the boys did though, despite the chilly winds and the cold water…
The Aloha On The Ganges also has a lovely spa – the Vilasa Spa by Tattva that offers a range of spa therapies and wellness rituals. While I love getting massages, on this trip, there simply wasn’t enough time for that. I did go to spa to check it out and loved the mural of the Buddha on the wall outside.
Though we had booked a three night stay, we had no idea that it would take us so long to reach Rishikesh from Delhi. Because of road work happening on the highways, there were traffic jams in several places while elsewhere, we had to re-route via small towns where the roads were often barely more than dirt tracks and slowed our speed down considerably. In fact, just getting from Haridwar to Rishikesh – only a 20km distance – took us 2 hours! So if you are planning a trip, do keep this in mind. For this same reason, we set off early for Corbett leaving me with no time for the spa.
As you can make out from the pictures I have posted on Instagram and from this post, we had a marvellous experience at the Aloha On The Ganges and I feel so tempted to go back there! This was not a FAM trip nor is this a sponsored post but I felt that a hotel as lovely as this with staff so friendly and helpful deserves some attention which is why I decided to share this with you. This was my first stay at a Leisure Hotels property and I look forward to staying with them in the future too. You can check out the winter package rates at Aloha on their website here.
Have you been to Rishikesh? Have you stayed at any Leisure Hotels property? Do let me know in the comments below.