Star escapes: Shashi Tharoor, Writer and MP

Why: In a political life with very few opportunities for getaways, Kovalam, in Thiruvananthapuram, is my favourite spot. The golden sands, the blue waters of the Arabian Sea, the lush green of the tropical foliage, with coconut palms swaying idly in the breeze, and the pollution-free sea air, are all soothing to the senses. Five-star facilities and superb service don't hurt either!

Stay: Nestled above a cove, Kovalam beach spread out beneath, is the Leela hotel, whose Club Wing rooms offer the illusion that you are on shipboard--the waves of the Arabian Sea seem to be lapping below your windows.

Activity: Breakfasting in a gazebo on the terrace, sipping coconut water and watching fishing vessels heading out to sea, lunching by the infinity pool or taking a sunset cruise in a little boat out towards the fishing harbour of Vizhinjam... Kovalam offers a sybaritic escape from the daily pressures of life.

Art break: Catch a performance of Kalaripayattu, Kerala's martial art, so fluid and graceful you can mistake it for a dance recital. The training is done in a Kalari, or arena, dug into the earth and lit by oil lamps.


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