By Aditi Datta

Water water everywhere, and there’s a bar to drink!

Our curiosity was piqued when we saw the elegant sign en route to the airport. But as is often the case with highway heroes, it took us a little while to cast skepticism aside.

Take the slip road off NH8 when driving from Gurgaon to Delhi, before you get close to the exit for T3. There begins Xanadu. From the moment you drive through the foliage down to the main entrance level, you’ve entered a serene and green space, one where everybody is all too happy to be of service.

1450187_655789611119612_1771704745_n Luxury on the Highway | Dusit Devrana

1982061_720577351307504_1365012656_n Luxury on the Highway | Dusit Devrana

Not surprising, given that this is Thai hospitality superstar Dusit’s first foray into India. The brand of hotels that won them fame is actually Dusit Thani; Devrana is a whole other concept, combining the spa spirit seamlessly into the hotel experience.

Laid out over 8 acres, most of what you see is water bodies, sometimes in places you wouldn’t suspect. {For those who’ve been enjoying other forms of liquid, you may want to dip a toe to check if you’re stepping on to stone or water in the hotel interior.}

Hotel rooms are constructed neatly to one side; the rest of the property is dedicated to open green gardens, water bodies, tall wooden temple-tile pillars transported from Thailand, an actual temple, dedicated outdoor yoga areas, and the extensive outdoor pool. The property was once a farmhouse with its share of towering trees; because the hotel is built around the natural landscape without chopping down any of the mighty trunks, the structure is unpredictable and took a while to build. If you’re in the central building, you’re unlikely to come up against a wall – the architecture is based on the principle of circularity. Owing to some smart engineering, the walls at the entrance block out sounds from the outside world.

We checked out one of the pool-facing rooms – there’s nothing we didn’t love. From the Asprey toiletries to the private pool access, and the ultra swish interiors, everything was perfect {although the absolute best feature was the two separate sinks! Yay, no sharing!}

Without a doubt, the spa has to be one of the best we’ve ever seen. With plenty of natural light and still enough privacy, they get space just right yet again. And luckily for us, the spa is open to non-hotel guests too.

Kiyan, the multi-cuisine restaurant, sees drifting traffic all day. We’ll take it as an ode to excellence that the breakfast is served a la carte; no soggy tomatoes or cold eggs buffet style here. We can hardly wait for the Michelin-starred Chinese chef to land and get the wok rolling in the beautiful tent-covered outdoor restaurant.

Going back to the beginning {circularity and all}, IAH Bar is a regular watering hole. With garden access, of course. Hey, like our old friend Coldplay says, we’re always thrilled to go back to the start.

Notes in our Little Black Book |

An absolute beauty of a property, stop by Dusit Devrana for a drink, meal, or the spa, if you only have a brief window of time. Also a brilliant option for a staycation, for those who’d like to get away but can’t actually go too far.

Where: Samalkha, NH8. If you’re going from Gurgaon towards the airport, it’s on the left before the Indian Oil petrol pump. If you reach the Shiv statue, you’ve gone too far.

For more information: Read more about them here 

Price: Rooms start at INR 12,500 and go up to INR 24,500


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