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Be at peace in the lap of Oman’s luxury resorts (Travelogue)

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Oman

Muscat, Nov 20: Bored of the humdrum of life? The desire to visit a peaceful holiday destination? The pictorial landscapes, exotic beaches and superlative hospitality of the luxury resorts in Oman can be a perfect “check-in”.

With its tourist season currently on, the country — which sees visitors from across the world and is a little over three hours by air from India — has a lot to offer in terms of experiences through its delightful resorts. Lazy lads seeking a comfortable experience will also be enthused about trying out the adventures on offer.

One such resort is Dunes by Al Nahda, situated at Wadi Al Abiyad Sands in Barka. Surrounded by undulating dunes and mountains all around, this desert resort gives a nice soothing experience and has 50 tent-style rooms.Dunes by Al NahdaWith an open-air dining area and activities like bunker golf course, dune bashing, quad biking, sand surfing and camel riding, this place fits the idea of a perfect holiday destination with family or friends.

Interestingly, the resort’s head chef Mathivanan Lakshmanan, who hails from India, said a lot of foreigners residing at the property demand Indian cuisine, especially shahi paneer and pav bhaji.

Since the wedding season is on, if honeymooners are looking for a royal experience, try Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, located 2,000 metres above the sea level on the Green Mountain.

It has a once-in-a-lifetime experience to offer — Diana’s Point, which surprised me. The spot, named after the late Princess Diana, was full of European and American couples celebrating the romantic environs at the resort with light music and a 360-degree view of mountains.

With an average temperature of around 20 degrees — half of what I experienced at other places in Oman — this resort leaves you in awe not only with its outer scenic beauty but also with the hospitality, multinational cuisine and luxurious rooms. And don’t miss out on spending some leisure time on the balcony to soak in the straight-out-of-a-painting scene.

Another interesting destination is the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa. Situated in Muscat near the seashore, this grand property hosts a lot of Indian weddings. There are various activities like beach parties, dolphin watching and boat riding on offer. Sounds of Arabian music adds to the experience of dining here.

Whether it’s about residing on sand dunes, near the sea or on top of a mountain, the resorts in Oman make the stay special. But you do need to really loosen up your purse strings. To be honest, the only things offered for free are the dates and coffee.

Interestingly, all these resorts are located not too far away from one another. One can easily enjoy their hospitality to the fullest in a week’s time.

By Sandeep Sharma
(The writer’s trip was at the invitation of Oman Tourism. Sandeep Sharma can be contacted at [email protected])

IANS

Travel

Malaysia keen to operate direct flights to Kashmir Valley

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Malaysia Airlines

Srinagar, Nov 19 : Malaysian High Commissioner to India Dato Hidayat Abdul Hamid on Monday said that Malaysia is keen to start direct tourist flights to Kashmir.

The high commissioner told officials that Malaysian Airlines is eager to increase flights to India and also have direct flights to Kashmir to boost tourist flow from Malaysia to this place.

He visited the famous ski resort, Gulmarg, on Monday.

An official spokesman said the high commissioner was “highly impressed” with the beauty of Kashmir Valley.

“Malaysians who visit India are very keen to come to Kashmir and an improved connectivity would help a lot,” the spokesman quoted the high commissioner as saying.

The spokesman said in addition to Gulmarg, the high commissioner also visited the Mughal Gardens in Srinagar city.

Hamid said Malaysians are visiting Kashmir Valley in good numbers as they love the place.

The high commissioner on Monday concluded his three-day visit to the valley.

IANS

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Lifestyle

Holidaying at home more popular in India than foreign trips

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Travel Holiday vacation

New Delhi, Nov 19: More than 40 per cent Indians value “holidaying at home” the most than buying luxury items or going to wellness and spa trips abroad, a survey has revealed.

According to the survey from YouGov on behalf of Priority Pass, among the world’s leading and original airport experiences programmes, 30 per cent Indians enjoy domestic short breaks, while over 25 per cent enjoyed a cultural trip overseas.

Nearly 20 per cent say a holiday at home is the activity they enjoy the most and would spend an average of Rs 23,619 on this type of break.

“People increasingly look for more ‘meaning’ in what they do, therefore possessions are proving less valuable than experiences, and the memories and learnings that we gain from them. In future, what we do will matter more — to us and our peer network — than what we buy,” said William Higham, consumer futurist and author of The Next Big Thing.

Indians were also found to overwhelmingly value shared experiences like catching a film at the cinema or going out for a meal (nearly 50 per cent each).

When it comes to sharing on social media, 42 per cent were most likely to post about trips to the cinema, and 39 per cent about showcasing food and drink they have prepared themselves.

On the other hand, more solitary activities like a fitness session at the gym (18 per cent) or buying a new luxury purchase (also 18 per cent) do not get shared as much on social media platforms.

These results suggest that a shared social experience is key to people’s enjoyment.

Conversely, buying luxury items and wellness holidays abroad came in much lower in India, with only 11 per cent of respondents likely to take this kind of trip in an average year and three per cent listing it as their most favoured activity.

The survey covers over 10,000 people from nine countries across all corners of the world, including 1,000 in India.

IANS

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Lakhs of towels, bedhseets missing from AC coaches – passengers are suspects

Besides, the Railways found 56,287 pillows and 46,515 blankets missing from the AC coaches in this period.

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Indian Railway Bed Rolls

New Delhi, Nov 15 : Affluent AC passengers are the prime suspects as over 21 lakh towels, bedsheets, blankets and other items went missing from air-conditioned coaches during 2017-18 an official said.

The passengers are suspected to have made off with precisely 21,72,246 “bedroll items” — including 12,83,415 hand towels, 4,71,077 bedsheets and 3,14,952 pillow covers — from trains across the country in the last fiscal.

Besides, the Railways found 56,287 pillows and 46,515 blankets missing from the AC coaches in this period.

“Together, the missing items are estimated to cost over Rs 14 crore,” a senior Railway Ministry official told IANS.

While the theft of toilet mugs, taps, flush pipes and mirrors are also reported on a regular basis, the missing bedroll items in substantial numbers has posed a challenge for the Railways, which is trying to provide better amenities to upper class passengers.

Currently, about 3.9 lakh sets of linen are provided daily — this comprises two bedsheets, a towel, a pillow and a blanket for each passenger in the AC classes.

“The maximum number of items stolen are towels, followed by bedsheets, as reported by coach attendants at the end of each journey,” the official said.

In the light of the thefts, especially of towels, the Railways has decided that the face towels given to passengers travelling in air-conditioned coaches will be replaced with cheaper, smaller, disposable, takeaway napkins, said the official.

The Railways has already started changing the cover of blankets in some sections while the frequency of washing is being increased from monthly to fortnightly and weekly.

There is also a move to increase the frequency of washing of blankets to begin with and replacing the existing ones with the newly designed lightweight blankets made of soft fabric in a phased manner.

The plan envisages improvement of linen management with the aim of providing clean, hygienic and good quality linen to passengers travelling in AC classes, the official said.

Among the 16 zones of Indian Railways, the Southern zone alone accounted for the theft of 2,04,113 hand towels, 29,573 bedsheets, 44,868 pillow covers, 3,713 pillows and 2,745 blankets.

In the missing list, South Central zone has registered 95,700 towels, 29,747 pillow covers, 22,323 bedsheets, 3,352 blankets and 2,463 pillows.

In the Northern zone, 85,327 towels, 38,916 bedsheets, 25,313 pillow covers, 3,224 pillows and 2,483 blankets were found missing.

In the East Central zone, 33,234 bedsheets, 22,769 pillow covers, 1,657 pillows, 76,852 towels, and 3,132 blankets were stolen last year.

In the Eastern zone, 1,31,313 towels, 20,258 bedsheets, 9,006 pillow covers, 1,517 pillows and 1,913 blankets were reported missing by attendants after the end of the train journey.

The East Coast railways has registered 43,318 towels, 23,197 bedsheets, 8,060 pillow covers, and 2,260 blankets as missing.

(Arun Kumar Das can be contacted at [email protected])

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