The Gateway Resort stands near Damdama Lake in Gurgaon, an hour or so from New Delhi (depending on traffic). Gurgaon, the financial and industrial city, is a perfect fit for the corporate-centric extension of the Taj group. This resort, however, allows for family and couple getaways too. Its proximity to Delhi encourages the growing trend of people opting to vacation in their cities by spending a weekend in the comfort of luxury hotels.
There’s an overarching sense of clear-cut geometry when you enter the resort, which is quickly balanced out by the abstract art on display. Life-sized sculptures of farm animals stand along cobbled pathways and huge patchwork applique hangings adorn the reception walls. Sourced from craftswomen in Banaskantha, Gujarat and Lambani tribal embroiderers in Karnataka, the designs use earthy hues to reflect natural elements which creates a back-to-basics concept, driving away any lingering memory of the city. The 78 rooms – four to each flat-roofed bungalow – on the property are also decorated in a similar fashion. My room had a beautiful gond painting of elephants, lions and trees over my bed, but elsewhere, there are kalamkari, phad and mata ni pachedi paintings.
Since the resort is situated at the foot of the northern end of the Aravalli range, treks are a good option for a quick morning warm-up. The resort arranges for treks of various levels; we opted for the basic, “soft core” one that took us via a not-so-steep path to the top, just in time to witness the sunrise. According to our guide, the region is a sanctuary for over 190 species of birds. We spotted a huge pandemonium of parrots that flew out of one of the trees on the trail. If you do happen to find yourself in this area of the Aravallis though, keep a keen eye out for the peacocks. At the top, we got our first view of Damdama Lake. On account of insufficient rainfall this year, however, it was unfortunately only about a quarter of its usual size.
When it comes to food, there’s plenty to choose from. Have a health-conscious meal with the “active foods” menu that comprises whole wheat croissants, wheat idlis and fresh juices, or sample the interesting, and particularly mouth-watering, local Haryanvi cuisine at the all-day diner. For south-east Asian fare, head to the contemporary Chinese restaurant.
While there is a fitness studio on the property and a yoga mat in each room, the point of getting away lies in the outdoors. The resort’s adventure zone is a good deal for families. Children and parents can manoeuvre rope bridges and commando nets, quad bikes and zorbing machinery (both not operational while I was there). I went wall climbing and tried my hand at archery. Nature lovers would appreciate the wooden signs that hang from the trees with scientific names.
For those intrigued by this trend of vacationing within the city– unfortunately now called “staycations” – this is a good option. It’s perfect for a last-minute getaway with activities to keep the kids happy, and good food – all without the strain of tickets or transit.
The Gateway Resort, Damdama Lake, Off Gurgaon-Sohna Road, Gurgaon 122102. Visit its website for further details.
Note: While booking your stay, ensure that amenities like heating and spa facilities which you may require are available.
Fabiola Monteiro was formerly a member of National Geographic Traveller India's digital team. Since then, her words have featured in The Hindu, Mint Lounge, Roads & Kingdoms, The Goya Journal, and Condé Nast Traveller India. She tweets as @thefabmonteiro and is on Instagram @fabiolamonteiro.