Caroline Phillips

Journalism

Caroline Phillips
“Caroline Phillips is a tenacious and skilful writer with a flair for high quality interviewing and a knack for making things work.”

Caroline Phillips

Journalism

All Travel: Asia/ Oceania articles

Hyderabad – The Weekender

Country & Town House | 4 Mar 2020

From high tech to a high fort. This is what you get in Hyderabad and Secunderabad the joint capital of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in India. It’s located between the Deccan Plateau and the Western Ghats. Hyderabad, the historic city, has Muslim monuments aplenty, thronging bazaars, and museums. Meanwhile, dear reader, Secunderabad – the modern admin city founded by the Brits – is of almost zilch interest.


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Escape to The Park in New Delhi

The Luxury Channel | 17 Jul 2019

‘Do not spit here’ and ‘Carrying tobacco products is prohibited,’ read the signs. This is the Gurdwara Bangla Sahib temple, New Delhi, India; a peaceful Sikh temple with acres of white marble and a gigantic holy bathing pool. Originally it was a bungalow for an important military leader of Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb. It’s as close to my hotel as, say, just 100 turbans rolled out end to end: call it half a mile. But let’s rewind. I’m staying in a hotel known for being Anything But Ordinary. There’s coconut juice, candies, comics and Wi-Fi in the hotel transfer car from Delhi airport. A welcome in the lobby by a sari-clad lady — with a dish of red powder on a rose-petal strewn copper tray — who places a marigold garland on me and a decorative Hindu bindi mark on my forehead. A lift with clouds on its walls and mirror on its ceiling: sort of Alice in New Delhi Wonderland.


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Escape to The Park Hotel Chennai

The Luxury Channel | 6 Jul 2019

Think of a place of dreams that transports the viewer. Imagine its being in the erstwhile location of Gemini Studios, a leading Indian movie studio. Then picture somewhere that has cinematic themes incorporated in its décor. This is the five-star art-concept THE PARK hotel, Chennai (Madras). Its grand atrium is like walking on set, with its ‘stage’ the seating area — as if guests are part of the performance — plus there’s a huge screen onto which movie images are projected silently as dusk falls.


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A Guide to 48 Hours in Delhi

Country & Town House | 18 Jun 2019

D for ‘daring’, E for ‘exciting’, L for ‘lovely’, H for ‘habit-forming’ and I for ‘immense.’ That’s D-E-L-H-I. Where else can you walk through history, visit one of 100-odd gardens, listen to performances by the greatest Indian classical musicians, go to museums, then bag some silk, bells, sequins and handmade lace in a market —after having your hands painted with mehendi (henna)? Delhi boasts the ruins of many cities: forts, majestic residences, churches, towers and ancient tombs. It’s where you’ll hear the sounds of the muezzin alongside temple and church bells and honking horns. And you’ll rub shoulders with Hindus and Buddhists to Islamists, Jains, Christians and Baha’i folk. It’s a city that’s buzzing with people, traffic and throngs doing politics, charity (lots of NGO’s), business and shopping.

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Somatheeram Ayurveda Village

Our Man on the Ground | 7 Apr 2019

Sometimes festivals are held at Somatheeram Ayurveda Village. These boast henna painting, palm reading, and guests’ futures also being revealed by a toothless, old soothsayer with a parrot that selects cards with his beak for his master to interpret. The bird picks a lucky card for me, emblazoned with the elephant god, Ganesha. “You shall be very happy lady when you go home,” the parrot tells me, via his master and an interpreter.  “Ganesha helps if you are starting a new job or new projects.”

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A passage to India

Country & Town House | 1 Oct 2018

Peeping out above a pine forest, Oberoi’s mountain retreat in the foothills of the Himalayas can’t help but sweep you off your feet. Built on the site of Lord Kitchener’s summer residence, it’s Alpine lodge meets colonial old-world charm. The 85 rooms with marble bathrooms are calm, neutral and cosy with Burmese teak panels, roaring fires and polished parquet floors. Best of all are the floor-to-ceiling windows which max out the spectacular snow-capped view.


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Can a chatterbox learn to shut up on a silent yoga retreat?

The Independent | 19 Jul 2018

I tried it with nuns in Kent once and managed just 24 hours – eight of which I spent sleeping. To be honest, I struggle with it when left to my own devices for the afternoon. Yet I’m determined to do it this time: achieve what folk undergo for years in Himalayan caves.

I’m talking about shutting up. Yes, I’m going on a silent retreat to “refresh my soul” and “cleanse my mind” – but it’s not going to be easy. Words are what I do: writing, talking, talking over people. Can I send texts? Does emailing count as remaining silent? And what about sleep talking? …


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Soukya: the Bangalore health retreat drawing a starry clientele — and interest from the NHS

FT Weekend | 29 Apr 2018

I am lying on a wooden massage bed as two women rub my naked body with hot pouches of cooked rice, milk and medicinal herbs. They massage in tandem my legs, hip joints and up to my neck. A little gloop escapes the poultice bags each time and soon my body is covered with a gluey white residue. This is navarakizhi, a treatment claimed to reduce joint stiffness and relieve depression.

I’m at Soukya, a health retreat outside Bangalore that offers traditional Indian cures for conditions from hay fever to diabetes and strives to “restore the natural balance of your mind, body and spirit”.


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Buy on the island of dreams

Country & Town House | 23 Apr 2018

Imagine a palm-fringed beachfront retreat. An 8,500 sq/ft tropical villa built in 2005. One boasting a massage temple – with sides open to the jungle foliage – and a colonnaded walkway. An outside sitting room with a chandelier and a 49ft dining room overlooking monkeys swinging in the Khomba tree and the courtyard swimming pool. Add to this six colonial bedrooms with soaring ceilings and inside/outside bathrooms open to the fireflies that sparkle in the inky sky.


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