If you’ve got a craving for off-the-beaten-path luxury journeys, here are a few of the very best in India.
Perched at the southern tip of Kutch, the town of Mandvi has one of the nicest beaches you’ll find anywhere in the country – and a whole lot else besides. The town’s principal attraction, the regal Vijay Vilas Palace, sits right next to the sea and has a private beach to boot, with luxury tented accommodation. Completed in 1929, it’s a fine example of stately Rajput-style architecture, with its intricate carving work, and is well worth a visit; parts of the films Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Lagaan were shot here.
Denmark once established a colony in India, and that former colony is Tranquebar, a tiny settlement by the sea in Nagapattinam district in Tamil Nadu. Based around the Dansborg Fort, Tranquebar is an utterly charming place, transporting you back in time instantly. Damaged by the tsunami of 2004, it has been extensively restored, and you can spend a pleasant couple of days soaking in its atmosphere. The fort has a small museum, and the New Jerusalem Church is also worth a visit. Bungalow On The Beach, a luxury Neemrana property, is a fine (and the only) place to stay here.
There are few better places to see a Royal Bengal tiger than Bandhavgarh National Park, in Madhya Pradesh. It has one of the highest tiger population densities in India, and the chances of a sighting are quite high here – in fact, it is said that you would be unlucky not to spot one. You will also see a variety of other wildlife, apart from hundreds of species of birds. Mahua Kothi is the most luxurious accommodation option in Bandhavgarh, consisting of private cottages with their own courtyards.
The capital of the legendary Maratha queen Ahilyabai Holkar, the riverside town of Maheshwar, in Madhya Pradesh, is a fascinating place. You should go there mainly to experience the many charms of the Ahilya Fort Hotel, set in the old fort – you will be hard pressed to find a more picturesque luxury hotel anywhere. Sitting atop the Narmada River, the hotel is a wonderful place to relax, unwind and sample delicious gourmet cuisine, with the daily menu designed by Prince Richard Holkar, Ahilyabai Holkar’s descendant.
Situated in the upper reaches of Himachal Pradesh, this is a truly spectacular place, with breathtaking scenery and natural beauty. Its location in the Greater Himalayan Range means that you get great mountain views, and wake up to burbling rivers and forested slopes. The Banjara Camp is a superb place to stay, offering luxury tents right alongside the river.
The GLC is up to any task, be it a crosscountry drive or a quick road-trip over the weekend. Its offroad exterior package gives you off-road suspension with higher ground clearance; combined with 4matic permanent all-wheel drive, adaptive brake with hold function, hill-start assist, priming and dry braking in the wet, this means it’ll tackle rough terrain with absolute ease.
The powerful engines, in tune with the advanced 9g-tronic 9-speed automatic transmission, ensure a smooth and exciting drive, while its cruise control and direct-steer steering system offer superb convenience and driving ease. The GLC’s ride quality is plush enough to keep rough roads at bay, yet firm enough to offer total grip and control.
The GLC’s high quality cabin offers excellent comfort, luxury and space, along with a comprehensive feature set, such as a 20 cd audio system, 2-zone climate control, a panoramic sliding sunroof, a reversing camera, parktronic parking assist, leather seats, an ambient lighting package with three colour shades and a 550- litre luggage compartment behind the rear seat.
No matter which of these destinations you choose to drive to, the Mercedes-Benz GLC is a luxurious and capable choice of SUV.