You can hear the Bay of Bengal even before you can see it. Coconut trees sway to the symphony of the waves crashing along the stretch of Rushikonda beach as the sky grows ominously dark in the backdrop. The weather is balmy, but a gentle March breeze brings some respite every now and then. Occasionally, tourists are seen plunging into the pool, while some are seen lounging in a neatly manicured garden dotted with dim lights and dainty blooms. The setting of by-the-beach Radisson Blu Resort Visakhapatnam is perfectly in sync with its coastal environs. A weekend at the 10-acre property is enough to sample spicy fare, local highlights and a slice of port life.
The newly furbished property opened last August before an untimely, temporary closure in light of the Omicron wave. Of the seven types of 99 rooms and villas, each accommodation exudes minimalism and spaciousness. A kalamkari painting mounted on the walls is a clean break from the monotonous decor, and a private sit-out area affords views of the property’s surroundings.
Andhra Pradesh’s traditional cuisine is high on the spice quotient and the menu at Ethnic, the resort’s South Indian restaurant, does complete justice to the region’s flavour profile. Indupalli lamb chops is an ode to the eponymous village known for belting out some of the nation’s most cherished cooks. But it is the omelette-wrapped, prawn-stuffed potlum biryani that knocks it out of the park. To truly immerse in the regional relish, build up an appetite and dig into the grand Andhra thali consisting of more than 14 dishes: the crunchy kakaraya (bitter gourd) chips, mango-based avakaya pachadi, buttermilk-forward majjiga pulusu, palak and carrot puri, lentil-heavy aaku kura pappu, and the sweet, butter-brushed venna undalu, are only a few grubs to tantalise your taste buds.
365 is a one-stop destination for continental buffet, while Upper Deck—an open-air, rooftop restaurant, which overlooks the sea in the distance, is a great choice for a sundowner. The honey-fried noodle topped with ice cream is all the sugar rush you’re going to need for the course of your stay.
At an impressive 15,500-square foot, Radisson is touted to house one of the largest convention centres in India. “We’re hoping to put this place on the wedding destination map for Indians,” mentions GM Alex Koshy. The property also remains a popular choice for corporate conferences and retreats given its availability of nine meeting spaces.
Set aside a day or two to sample local highlights. The excavated ruins of Thotlakonda Buddhist monastery reveal a way of life that is believed to have been most active between 300 B.C. and 300 A.D. On the way to the town centre, watch out for panoramic views of Thotlakonda fishing village and seagulls that flank the roadsides. A tour of the VMRDA INS Kursura Submarine Museum, parked on the shores of Rama Krishna beach, is an insight into maritime history. The Russian-built vessel served as the Indian Navy’s fourth submarine and was operational for 31 years between 1969 and 2001.
A visit to Vizag is incomplete without sampling its street fare. Post dusk, food trucks and roadside stalls ubiquitously line the laneways of MVP Colony, where piping hot aviri kudumu, Mysore bonda and keema dosa sell like hot cakes. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself digging deeper in search of more flavours; on the plate and of the place.
Also Read | Top Street Eats of Vizag
Radisson Blu Resort Visakhapatnam is located 23 kms/45 mins from Visakhapatnam International Airport. August to February is believed to be the best time to visit the region. Doubles from Rs10,000 (not inclusive of taxes). Guided tours for sightseeing can be booked at the property at an additional cost. www.radissonhotels.com
Pooja Naik is Senior Sub-Editor at National Geographic Traveller India. She likes to take long leisurely walks with both hands in her pocket; channeling her inner Gil Pender at Marine Drive since Paris is a continent away.