From Switzerland with love
If producer-director Yash Chopra can almost single-handedly be held responsible for putting Switzerland on the map for the Indian tourist, his son Aditya Chopra’s Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge is believed to have spiked Swiss tourism by seven per cent. A Chopra Lake now exists in Switzerland, not to mention the branded ‘YRF Enchanted Journey’ tour — of locations in Switzerland used by Yash Raj Films. More recently, Zoya Akhtar’s 2011 road movie, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, which showcased the best of Spain — including the Tomatina festival, the running of the bulls and scuba diving — led to a 32 per cent rise in the tourist traffic from India to Spain. One wonders, will the Aditya Chopra-Rani Mukerji wedding now make Italy the hot spot for a desi-style destination wedding?
Star on wanderlust
Imran Khan had a fairly nomadic childhood: he lived in Bombay, Coonoor, Ooty, Bangalore and California, but is now very much a Mumbai boy. However, the wanderlust has remained with him and, till very recently — with his first child due to be born soon — he ensured he travelled to a foreign destination whenever he had a break from shooting. His favourite locales have always been those where he could explore the city or relax by the sea, undisturbed. Italy is one of his top choices. Among the countries he has enjoyed shooting in is New Zealand — for the scenery and the food. As for the best hotel Imran has been to: he highly recommends the Golden Well Hotel in Prague, for its location and service. “It’s like they are five steps ahead of what you might want and providing for it.” Travelling in India though, is fraught with trouble, as fans tend to jostle and mob stars. Imran experienced this at the Taj Mahal in Agra where, even at sunrise, he was “poked and prodded”.
Soaking in the sun
Soha Ali Khan is a beach baby. At least once a year, partner Kunal Khemu and she love to visit the island state of Maldives — with its clear blue waters and exquisite sea life. “After working hard for a few months, it’s nice to go to a place that is scenic, beautiful and relaxing,” said Khan, who finds the sun “very energising”, but never leaves home without sun block. Besides soaking in the rays and swimming, Khemu and Khan enjoy all the resort activities, like playing volleyball, fishing, snorkeling and kayaking. Their evenings are spent more quietly, watching DVDs or playing pool. For Soha, a holiday is also about eating well and catching up on reading. A great fan of room service, she enjoys relaxing in her villa and watching DVDs, reading or writing.
Her packing tip: pack light, wear light linen clothing and not too much make up. Closer to home, her favorite destinations are Ladakh and Kerala.
Thumbs down for USA
John Abraham is more of a functional traveller who enjoys luxuries. He usually has a pre-determined room in certain oft-visited hotels and ensures he books the suite every time. By now, many hotels know which room to set aside for the actor when he is scheduled for a visit. London has been a frequent stop on his agenda for a few years now — either for shoots or to visit his girlfriend (now wife) Priya. Many Bollywood actors gravitate towards 51 Buckingham Gate and John is no different, except that the half-Malayali actor looks forward to a meal at their specialty restaurant Quilon. In contrast, he laments about the hospitality industry in the United States. In his opinion, “Indian hospitality is the best in the world”.