We've just returned from our annual pilgrimage to India and thought it was high time we shared some of the best bits! For us, these trips are almost like an addiction - completely over-stimulated, we float around high on colour and bling and smells and sounds that carry us through the year and filter into everything we create back home. It's also an important opportunity for us to spend time with each of our suppliers, ensuring that we continue to maintain the best standards for our teams to create the most beautiful products we can. So here are a few of our tips for India - if your'e lucky enough to have the chance to go there, do it! DELHI STAY / EAT: The Imperial Hotel is out of this world – an absolute oasis of sprawling lush green gardens hidden in the centre of Delhi’s buzzing heart. Built in the 1930s, the property has a serious sense of occasion about it so get your glad rags on if you’re here for a gin and tonic served Great Gatsby-style on the lawn, staying the night in one of their stunning suites or chowing down at any of their five killer restaurants. Watch your pennies though, they’ll go fast here (dinner will set you back $100 a pop easy). PLAY: We love the inspiration we get from the trims markets in India – there’s no such thing as understated here and apparently the local style is only amping up the diamonte factor even more at the moment. So if you want to be du jour, hit up one of the trims market like Lajpat Nagar and start bedazzling. We also LOVE the local handicraft stores on the same street as the Imperial Hotel (splash out and stay here if you can) and Hauz Khas for a mix of local and international shopping hidden in a happening little rabbit warren. This time we were also lucky enough to be invited to an Indian wedding - an experience we fully embraced!
JODPHUR STAY: The RAAS Hotel blends modern and ancient effortlessly so that you can enjoy a roof top champagne (our favourite type) under the watchful eye of the Mehrangarh, an awe-inspiring 15th century fort that defines the Jodhpur skyline. Big points for the hotel embracing the town's building dress code of blue - swoon!
PLAY: Day trip out for a camel safari in the desert and chill out over a long lunch or dinner. Our camel's name was Moti, and we were very grateful for his gentle approach with us newcomers! The market around the clocktower has everything you could ever dream (and so much more) and there are BRILLIANT spice shops in there too (enough chai masala to get me to 2020). Our favourite finds though were the row of antique stalls just out of town, start at Rani Handicrafts and work your way along (bargain hard!)
JAIPUR STAY: Jai Mahal palace is a 270-year-old Indo-Saracenic heritage hotel that is suitably fancy you'll be singing Lorde's Royals as your waltz around the marbled corridors. Top tip is to go and see the amazing astrologer that works at the palace, we loved him!
PLAY: The Bapu bazaar is an absolute must and you’ll need to dedicate a few hours here to dip in and out of local handicrafts that line the pink street…you can get everything from huge embroidered umbrellas, clothes, bags, and shoes. But our main shopping tip is the Gem Palace. For eight generations, this amazing jewellery shop has been a destination for royalty (including as court jewellers to the mogul emperors), celebrities and the uber wealthy. Prices are hefty but if you’re looking for something super special to have as a keepsake for life, you can pick up a ring or some other small trinket for about $500…and then way on up to hundreds of thousands of smackos.
UDAIPUR STAY / PLAY / DREAM: Two words: Lake Palace. Do yourself a favour and put it on your bucket list. Enough said.