Presidential Preferences: Where Should Obama Go in India?

By  November 01, 2010

Recent reports detail President Obama’s busy schedule preparing for his upcoming trip to India. Outside of delegation meetings and state dinners (will there be any crashers this go-round?), we have compiled a few things the President shouldn’t miss!

Need a quick pick-me-up between appearances?

President Obama will be in Mumbai November 6 and 7.  May we recommend, Mr. President, visiting the ESPA Spa at The Leela Kempinski Mumbai as a spot for an instant pick-me-up after a day of demanding meetings.  For the United States’ top executive, the Executive Stress Tonic treatment is suggested.  An hour and a half of back, neck, shoulder, hand, arm, and scalp massage will relieve tension caused by hours hunched over a desk and long periods of time spend on a plane.

Looking to unwind after a jam-packed schedule (diplomatic, or otherwise)?

Park Hyatt Goa will instantly relieve stress and offers the perfect place to get a Presidential tan. A true escape, the resort was designed to replicate ancient Indian villages and is set amid 45 acres of lush beachfront gardens. The property is divided into five courtyards, each distinctive in theme, architecture, and landscape, creating a series of individual guestroom clusters within the resort, set apart from one another by lagoons, tropical gardens, bridges, and interconnected with cobbled village streets.  The Sereno Spa offers daily yoga and meditation classes designed to reconnect the body and mind – something every leader and fellow traveler can appreciate. Sessions are designed to improve energy and creativity, steadiness of mind, improve breathing and lung capacity, and relieve fatigue in the eyes.  As a final addendum, Park Hyatt Goa is also home to India’s largest swimming pool with water slides!

Escape the election fever…

After recent mid-term elections, the President might be feeling the urge to truly disconnect for a few days. Shakti’s Kumaon village experience in Uttarakhand provides the chance to take in the stunning mountain scenery and rich culture of the remote, unspoiled, and undiscovered North Indian state. Take in staggering views that include the snow-tipped twin peaks of Nanda Devi, India’s second highest mountain.  Guests take daily walks through the forests of grey pine, cedar, and rhododendron, and overnight in village homes that have been gently retouched to include Western creature comforts. The nearby four-room retreat, 360˚Leti, is a true escape perched at an impressive 8,000 feet.  It lives up to its name, with 360° panoramic views and floor-to-ceiling glass windows. There is no Internet, no cell coverage, and only solar power — a real opportunity to unplug.  A 90-minute trek along a narrow trail to the hotel takes guests past waterfalls, brooks, and terraced hills lined with rice paddies and rows of wheat.

Appeal to the activists…

To in crease those ever-important approval ratings, it’s crucial to reach out to a cross-section of interests. A trip to Sikkim with Shakti offers a sure-fire boost. This tiny, Northeastern India state finds itself sandwiched between friendly neighbors Bhutan, Nepal, and Tibet, and is the least populous and second smallest in all of India. Sikkim is culturally and topographically not unlike its neighbors and the only state in India to share an open border with China (very global). Sikkim also offers a dose of natural beauty sure to perk up environmentalist curiosity. With over 4,000 plant species and 450 exotic orchids, virgin rhododendron forests, indigenous birds, 650 kinds of butterflies and endangered species like red pandas, snow leopards, and blue yaks, it’s as far from Pennsylvania Avenue as you can get. Catch views of Mt. Kanchenjunga, the world’s third highest mountain, while passing fluttering Buddhist prayer flags on the trail to Rinchenpong Monastery.  Explore this remote but enchanted land, learning about the region’s religious history and present day Buddhist and Hindu cultures as you go.

To experience a Presidential quick-trip…

As a traveling world leader, schedules rarely allow time for extended stays anywhere outside the Oval Office.  Crystal Cruises’ 2011 World Cruise line up features two itineraries next March overnighting in India, with the option for shore excursions full of adventure and sightseeing. The Ajanta & Ellora Caves excursion explores the wonders of ancient India, following part of the Silk Road with stops at the famous Buddhist caves at Ajanta and the magnificent carved rock temples of Ellora, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. For the classicist, the Journey to the Fabled Taj Mahal excursion offers an overview tour of Delhi’s highlights, sunrise and sunset visits to the Taj Mahal, and a visit to Agra Fort.  Both help you get in the must-sees without a huge time commitment!