It’s the run-up to your big day. Between planning out your nuptials, curating your trousseau and putting together last-minute details for that all-important honeymoon, you also want to squeeze in some much-needed downtime with your bridesmaids. After all, there is nothing quite like a getaway where you can let your hair down with your best friends. We’ve done most of the legwork for you, spotlighting unique, one-off experiences that you can indulge in with your tribe for that big hurrah before tying the knot.
1. Stay at a single-key royal mansion in Kerala
If you’re looking for an offbeat experience with a dose of culture, this heritage property near Kochi with over two centuries of history, tucked away on the edge of the backwaters, ticks all the boxes.
Once the royal residence of the erstwhile Rajah of Cochin, Chittoor Kottaram has been carefully restored with heritage accents and sumptuous decor by CGH Earth. What’s more? You have the entire manor to yourselves, as you can book it for a private villa experience. Unwind in the temple-style plunge pool and enjoy personalised meals whipped up by the chefs at any of the nooks in the property — be it under the gazebo, by the lake or in the open gardens. There is a dedicated spa for indulgent rituals and you can also partake in a blessing ceremony organised by the property.
You can also cruise the backwaters, explore Fort Kochi (the manor is just a short distance away from the city) or simply unwind in leisure. This expansive heritage mansion has lots to offer.
2. Explore wine country in Nashik
We can think of many reasons why an all-girls trip to wine country is a great idea. Starting with wine-tasting sessions, vineyard hopping, stomping grapes, vino-inspired spa rituals and much more.
A quick city break from Mumbai, Nashik’s many vineyards, rolling greens and crisp air make for an ideal getaway. Most vineyards have tasting rooms where you can savour a variety of wines. Boutique wineries like Vallone Vineyards or for that matter Sula Vineyards and Chandon India Winery are just a few options worth bookmarking.
The Source at Sula makes for a picturesque stay with its Tuscan-inspired interiors is perfect for a group of friends and houses a spa offering nourishing grapeseed oil rituals. Check into Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Nashik, for pampering spa treatments at its award-winning spa, Atman, featuring private therapy rooms, personalised treatments, a nail bar and other curated offerings.
3. Experience royal living in Rajasthan with champagne breakfasts
An escape to Rajasthan isn’t complete without soaking in some of its royal grandeur. How about checking into a luxe resort in Jaipur, with private pool villas and butler service? The Leela Palace Jaipur offers bespoke villas with private plunge pools, giving you the perfect opportunity to unwind in luxury and enjoy culinary experiences in your villa. Or go glamping in Jaisalmer’s Thar Desert where you can wake up to champagne breakfasts and toast to elegant sundowners amidst golden sand dunes.
Karwaan is a luxury boutique camp in the desert featuring grand tents, villas and cottages. Suryagarh Jaisalmer is located on the outskirts of the city with stunning hilltop views. Enjoy a sumptuous halwai breakfast with peacocks for company. The hotel can also put together a bespoke dinner experience in the desert, featuring a traditional nomadic menu and folk singers, all set in a magical ambience.
4. Food, feni and heritage walking tours in Goa
Goa is one of those evergreen destinations that you can’t go wrong with. But there is so much more that Goa offers than just nightlife. The destination’s hospitality scene is bursting with slick new restaurant openings, buzzy bars, bakeries and boutique hotels.
While you check out the hottest new places to eat and party, there are also other interesting things to do. Sign up for a heritage walking tour in Panjim as you explore the historic Fontainhas neighbourhood with its colourful homes and shops selling curios and knick-knacks. How about feni tasting with your tribe? Fazenda Cazulo, a family-owned brand, which runs a feni cellar, organises unique ‘floating’ tasting sessions with a table set up in the middle of a pond.
Stay at MansionHaus, a stately private residence with nine eclectic suites, making it perfect for a group of friends. The property can curate secret suppers featuring experimental menus and even live cooking demos for an immersive experience. For understated luxury, check into Ahilya By the Sea — a blissful escape if you’re looking for something more quiet and serene with your group. It features nine tastefully done-up rooms across three villas and two pools with the option of booking activities such as heritage walking tours and exploring Goa’s local architecture.
5. Soak in the culture of Puducherry
With its quaint charm, colonial-era architecture and seaside views, this former French colony makes for an easy weekend escape with the girls. The food, with a strong Indo-French influence, is top notch with a host of restaurants and cafes to choose from.
The accommodation is stylish, with plenty of boutique hotels. Palais De Mahe is a charming property in the picturesque French Quarter while Gratitude Heritage is an almost 200-year-old historic house with lots to offer. Visit beaches, explore cafes and bakeries and throw in some retail therapy for good measure. The city is home to several kitschy boutiques and stores selling local crafts.
6. Visit quaint coffee estates with a dash of adventure in Coorg
Coorg, with its lush coffee plantations, mist-covered hills and waterfalls, is a perennial favourite and for good reason. When you’re not out touring a coffee or pepper plantation, try trekking hills or even whitewater rafting for that rush of adrenaline.
After all the adventure, you can unwind in a cosy homestay or a boutique retreat. Ayatana Coorg a luxury property with scenic cottages for accommodation, has a private waterfall, a gorgeous infinity pool and a wilderness spa with rejuvenating treatments. Rare Earth Estate by amã Stays & Trails is a traditional Kodagu-style bungalow with colourful accents, perfect for a group stay.
7. Go snorkelling and scuba diving in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
The ultimate beach getaway calls for crystal clear waters, white sand beaches, sunshine and fewer people. That’s why the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a hot favourite for those looking for something off the grid.
Spend your days at the beach, try surfing, snorkelling and scuba diving or go swimming in natural lagoons. Book yourselves into Barefoot at Havelock, an idyllic tropical escape on Havelock Island. Jalakara is a dreamy hideaway and a private villa hotel surrounded by lush jungle and a stunning infinity pool. It’s the perfect way to unplug where you can opt for morning yoga on the beach or in the rainforest, private cooking classes and even try your hand at fishing.