If the thought of windswept beaches, sun-kissed hammocks and calamari frying on an open fire on a summer night lure you into packing your bags and catching the first flight out for a vacation, think again.
There is another side to this scenario - long waits at crowded airports, grumpy co-travellers, cancelled bookings and endless stress. Why not, then, stay in your own home town, play arcade games in a mall, explore vintage treasures in an emporium, find an old and forgotten bookshop, visit a farmer’s market and above all, stay in the comfort of your home or a hotel within the city limits?
The concept of the ‘staycation’ – which perhaps came from the question ‘Why didn’t I just stay at home!’ – grew out of memories of holidays gone awry. This increasingly popular vacation can be enjoyed over a long weekend, or if you get a short break from work.
Staycation, which literally means, a period in which an individual or family stays home, or close to home, and participates in leisure activities in their own city, is a holiday idea that has caught on like fire. What’s more, many hotels and resorts in cities are offering staycation packages so you need not cook, can enjoy some special pampering, and try your hand at social causes or new hobbies or sports. You get to move away from your regular life and indulge in something new for a short period of time, which makes it the best kind of holiday of all.
What is the best way to enjoy a staycation? Staycation lovers say the first thing to remember is to plan carefully. Choose a place where you can enjoy your special likes and where your family can have fun too. Once you reach your destination, makes sure your phone and laptop have been left behind so that you are in the holiday spirit.
Don’t overschedule, because the idea is to also have time to sit back and do nothing, have late breakfasts, sleep in and eat leisurely meals. Always make the time to explore your own city and see the sights you’ve never appreciated before and visit museums, parks and monuments you have never had time to check out.
The biggest downside of a staycation is that since you are on home territory, you may not want to move out of your comfort zone. You may not feel like visiting the local tourist spots. You may not want to do anything other than curl up on a recliner and watch Netflix, just like you do at home. Here is where you need to remind yourself that you are on holiday and need to challenge yourself to have fun.
You may even be tempted to peek at your work phone and rush back to office in case there is a crisis at hand. The only way to deal with this to switch off from all business, and put your need for a holiday first.
And to get you started, here are some staycation spaces close to Bengaluru.
Our Native Village
The quaint and beautiful eco-resort Our Native Village is located beside Karnataka’s protected grasslands and is just 40 km from M G Road. It is among the few eco-friendly resorts in India, full of lush lawns and green farms.
“The inspiration of the resort was to offer a unique perspective of living in harmony in nature and to relive the glorious days of the past,” says Nilanjan Mishra, manager, Our Native Village. “The resort is catered to by the village residents of Hesaraghatta which surround the resort. We work together with the community through employment and ownership.”
The resort gives you a complete respite from the bustling chaos of the city. You can enjoy bullock cart rides, fly kites and try out your skill at games like 'Chinni-Dandu' and 'Lagori'. You can also participate in pottery sessions, rangoli and flower design classes.
Most of the activities and facilities offered are planned so as to enrich the guest’s stay, while staying true to the theme and philosophy of the resort. One can ‘giddy up’ on a bullock cart across the open grasslands, play village games, learn to spin a top, get creative with pottery, listen to drum beats around the bonfire, dance under the stars and even swim in the outdoor swimming pool.
A number of other outdoor games are also offered like trampoline, basketball, volleyball, nature treks, energizer games, archery, slingshots, zumba and wall climbing.
As for food, there is a variety of local and popular choices to indulge in. “We believe that eco-tourism and community development works together and that eco-vigilance is the path forward for the future. We picked on the revivalist route to deliver experiential luxury,” explains Nilanjan.
DoubleTree Suites by Hilton
Tucked in a corner of Sarjapur Road, facing the Iblur Greens, and within minutes to the entertainment hotspots of HSR Layout and Koramangala, DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Bangalore is an ideal getaway within the city. The hotel offers large 36-93 sq. m. purpose-built studios and suites ideal for a short vacation. The hotel is approximately 12 km from the main city centre. Not so near yet not too far.
The resort is a perfect staycation hot spot for locals looking to take a break from the main city centre but preferring to avoid the long drive and maddening traffic out of the city.
“Our Weekend Staycation offer provides discounts on rooms, food and beverage and including WiFi, late checkout and more,” says Ruban Das, General Manager, DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Bangalore.
While the rooms offer a kitchenette, if you don’t want to cook you can head to their restaurant or enjoy a drink or two at the lounge bar. Guests can watch the chefs in the interactive kitchens and at the live counters. The menu includes Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Burmese, Malay, Indian and Western dishes and the resort holds food festivals every month.
You can also stop by to swim in the temperature controlled swimming pool at the rooftop with a panoramic view of the city or relax in the spa.
“People in a bustling metropolitan city like Bengaluru lead very busy lifestyles and it is extremely important to take some time off to refresh, rejuvenate and escape the mundane chores of daily life,” says Ruban. “Taking a holiday is no longer just an option, it has become a requirement so as to not burn out.”
Clarks Exotica Convention Resort & Spa
Clarks Exotica is spread across 70 acres of lush green space. “At Clarks Exotica, there’s always a lot to do,” says Balaji M, CEO, Clarks Exotica Convention Resort & Spa.
“You can take a dip in the pool, enjoy the brunch, and go cycling or play tennis, basketball and squash. We also have a spa which offers various special therapies, Ayurvedic treatments and much more.”
“All of us spend so much time to ensure we meet our day-to-day responsibilities that we tend to forget our responsibility towards ourselves,” adds Balaji. “Taking a breaking from the routine helps us relax and connect with ourselves”
So, the next time you are planning a bit of time away from work, stay in your own city, enjoy a staycation and make memories for a lifetime.