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RanjitVilas - True showcase of Punjabiyat

Pushpa Nair

Tuesday, December 26, 2017, 14:40 Hrs  [IST]

Come and visit our new property RanjitVilas in Amritsar’; was the lure and I was hooked. I love the city, the Golden Temple, the food and energy of the people.

Amritsar Shatabdi here I come and what an awful experience. The train left in the evening instead of morning the announcer dutifully welcoming at each station but never an apology for the fact that we were late and it was going to get worse. Finally, early morning we reached Amritsar. Kudos to the Welcome Heritage team for gamely trying to keep our spirits up that was true Indian hospitality wonder if Indian Railways could learn to incorporate that.

Exhausted; but finally at Amritsar, the crisp morning breeze welcomed us banishing the smog that had been a constant companion. A warm bed was the only thought but one had reckoned without the fabled Punjabi hospitality. Tucked away from the main road amidst the arable fields RanjitVilas opens up through impressive ancient wooden gates. The place was aglow with light and a welcoming party with drums awaited us. The resort is designed like a Punjabi village. The Makhni family was waiting patiently for their guests who had just happened to turn up hours late. Not to be fazed they had a full spread laid out multiple choices in chicken, famous Amritsari fish, mutton and dals with bread and rice.

Tired! I retired to my room. The room size at RanjitVilas will spoil you to the core. Each room is an independent villa with a balcony, decorated with typical furniture from Punjab combined with all the amenities of modern life. The colours all combined to create warmth the blue doors a splash of colour against the browns. The rooms, windows and doors all named after some family member each unique and completely different. The sounds of silence and the fresh air were my companions as I slept the remaining night away.

Next morning feeling refreshed I stepped out onto my verandah feeling the warm sun streaming down and colouring the RanjitVilas in myriad colours. The remains of a dinner were being cleared the voices of the servers jarring but a good cup of cappuccino and cookies all was forgotten. I walked around the property enjoying the lovely touches throughout all the rooms and public areas blending beautiful handicrafts and quirky agricultural utilitarian features.

A property tour of the 20 executive rooms and two royal suites all incorporating quirky features were simple and unique. The bar used in winters with charming graffiti, a swimming pool, not a conventional one, heated by warm water from a desi style tubewell to give you a Punjab pind desi feel. The restaurant Chownta is done with some old and new artifacts, little quirks which catch the eye. Also a charmingly called library which has an old sitar, some books and a chess board for those inclined to play.

There is a mobile kitchen (four wheel rickshaw) used for food service in the balcony. A pool with fish, a resident turtle, who sadly didn’t feel inclined to make an experience, all add to the charm of the Vilas.

We set off to an obligatory visit to the Golden temple and Jallianwala Bagh via a stop at Kanha Sweets where we gorged on the delicious Poori and Chole. The way the Golden Temple area has been paved with easy access to the area is a lesson in being tourist friendly that other places in India could incorporate. Mere words don’t do justice to the Golden Temple, it commands attention and your devotion.

From the temple it was a visit to the Wagah Border thoughtfully arranged by the Makhni family. Here the display of testosterone displayed both sides of the border was obvious. Both sides seemed to put on a show for the audience which clapped madly. Patriotism never seemed so easy and natural.

Tired after a long day we headed back to the Vilas for a quick meal with the charming Makhni family before we caught our flight. The amazing variety of food along with drinks all underlined the fabulous personal touch to RanjitVilas. It is a proper family run business with great attention to detail to ensure a comfortable and happy stay for all its guests.

In a time where increasingly hospitality trends show that travellers are looking for experiences, not just inside the hotel but outside of it, lean luxuries or personalised service. Its craftsmanship, it’s having a story to tell. Welcome Heritage with its portfolio of properties each unique and distinct is clearly showing the way.

As we left Amritsar to return back to Delhi I realised some things never change. If it was the railways while going it was the airlines while returning. We were ninety minutes late.

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