Organise a four night trip to India for 160 guests as part of a company incentive. This trip is an annual customer reward scheme, which has seen guests criss-cross the globe over the last 20 years. With that in mind, this yearly event constantly needs to be new and exciting. Luckily the destination itself got a cheer when it was announced at the previous year’s gala dinner on a beach in Barbados.
After an overnight flight into Delhi the guests were welcomed with a beautiful scented flower garland before heading into the organised chaos that is Delhi. The senses overload hits you from the minute you leave the airport. The journey into Delhi is for many the first taste of this extraordinary country and the traffic, the car horns, the erratic driving and the wide range of transportation is all part of the fun. For two nights, the group will be staying at the fabulous Imperial Hotel which is a calming oasis amongst the hustle and bustle. It is a beautiful property which exudes luxury. As with all of India, there are smiles a plenty which just makes the guest experience that bit more wonderful. In the cool air of the fabulous 1911 restaurant, the guests enjoy a sumptuous buffet lunch before their appointment with a personal tailor – all will be revealed.
After some time to themselves to enjoy the pool, or venture out to the nearby markets the group head to Veda for dinner. An array of home cooked Indian dishes are enjoyed in this edgy Delhi restaurant and it must be said that the Naan bread is absolutely heavenly.
The group headed into Delhi for what can only be described as an experience. After a walking tour of India Gate with our guides, the guests boarded the famous green and yellow tuk-tuks for a whizz around the roads. With the all-consuming hot air around them, the car horns blaring out, the Bollywood music playing out of a mono speaker at full volume and coming within an inch of every car that flashes past you, this is (scary) fun! The group got to see and feel Delhi but the chaos wasn’t over yet as they moved from tuk-tuks to rickshaws and made their way into the narrow and intriguing alleyways of Old Delhi. The natural daylight is reduced by the extensive yet very homemade overhead cabling system and the families of wild monkeys that live on them. Thousands of wires and thousands of monkeys above unrefrigerated butchers, hairdressers, colourful fabric suppliers and jewellery outlets. The alley ways are alive and the guests were amazed by a world so fascinating. After the heat and the chaos of Old Delhi, lunch was enjoyed at Varq where a cold beer was so welcome.
The group dined in the hotel that night at the fabulous Spice Route, one of Delhi’s most famous and best Indian food experiences where the quality of the food is only matched by the walls of the restaurant are hand painted with vegetable and flower dyes by mural painters brought in especially from a temple in Kerala.
It is an early start for the group as they head to Delhi train station for a train journey to Agra. The station is alive and buzzing in the early morning with 1000s of people heading onto the World’s busiest rail network although our group had the luxury of air conditioned carriages – not a lot of other comforts to be honest but as least they weren’t on the roof! The journey takes a route from Delhi across the countryside and into Agra for the onward journey to the Taj Mahal. The electric carts wind along the dusty roads until the gates of the palace are in view. After meeting our guides, the guests head into the grounds of the Taj Mahal to see one of the seven wonders of the world with their own eyes and it never fails to impress. After time to take in the wonder, the group have lunch at The Oberoi hotel before heading off on the long but fascinating journey to Jaipur. With a couple of stops along the way the group arrive at the stunning Fairmont hotel for an eagerly awaited dinner, glass of wine and bed! This is a very long day, but a visit to the Taj Mahal is an extraordinary highlight.
Jaipur, the Pink City is a joy but before the group get there, they head to the stunning Amber Fort on private jeeps. At the top of the winding roads, the guests meet their guides and walk around the impressive fort, hearing the stories of times gone by whilst enjoying the expansive views over Jaipur itself. Lunch in the Pink City is enjoyed at the Raj Palace where the group are treated to an unusual and unique ceremony where the food is welcomed to the table and blessed before consumption. A traditional Thali is served in opulent surroundings before the guests head back to the hotel to prepare for the final night. You remember the tailors in Delhi? Well when the guests return to their rooms, their made to measure Bollywood costumes are hanging in their wardrobe ready for the gala evening upon the rooftop. Under the stars, the guests adorned in their vibrant outfits with turbans hand tied to order, an endless buffet of Indian treats followed by a Bollywood lesson proved to be a very special night to remember and a spectacular finish to this incentive to India.