Monday, April 25, 2011

The Staycation

When you can't get away for a short vacation, why not bring the short vacation to you? This was the theory behind our activity on Saturday. After a quick trip to the gym and a brief visit to the jeweler at Connaught Place (Mom, it's a good news/bad news kind of thing, your ring was ready but the earrings may or may not have been sold), we headed back to Gurgaon for a night "away".

Lindsay had wanted to get out of town for a couple nights to relax prior to our annual home leave in May, but for a number of reasons, we just couldn't find a weekend that worked. We could, however, find one night that worked. Thankfully, we have an addiction to Sunday brunch. This addiction lead us to join a "club" at one of the local hotels for discounts which in turn earned us a complimentary night's stay. Thus, the "staycation" was born. Even though it's primarily "just" a business hotel, there are certainly far worse places to spend a night than The Leela in Gurgaon.

What does one do on a staycation? Pretty much act like you're on vacation. A couple mindless hours by the pool where I switched my reading from "Escape From the Land of Snows" (an excellent read about the Dalai Lama's escape to India) to Tina Fey's "Bossypants" because, you know, it's vacation. The pool was followed by a pre-dinner drink and the best Italian food I've had in India. Sunday morning consisted of room service, a massage, and a late check-out. Not a bad way to spend twenty four hours.

The Leela is the first prominent landmark you see when passing through the tollbooth from Delhi. It's not located in what you would think is a very "vacation-y" location. I mean, it's adjacent to Gurgaon's largest mall. Strangely they did an amazing job of designing the hotel around the location.

The Italian restaurant Zanotta is a prime example. It's perched on the six floor overlooking none other than the same allegedly corrupt toll booth I complained about on the way to the hotel. But here's the thing, overlooking a toll booth that is 30 lanes wide at night is actually quite interesting. On the left side, a series of red brake lights; on the right side, a series of headlights emerging from the toll booth. On both side, cars and motorcycles swerving to select the best lane. Mesmerizing and oddly relaxing.

With a trip home in nine short days and what will be a long and hectic day trip to Amritsar this coming Saturday, the staycation achieved its primary objective. And while I'm sure our drivers found it a little odd and ridiculous (probably even more ridiculous than those reading this post), the staycation proved you don't need a flight and multiple days to get away.

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