Micato India Expert Wins Coveted Spot on Travel+Leisure A-ListMarch 3, 2022
Micato’s India specialist extraordinaire, Marion Miller is also member of the ultra-select Travel+Leisure A-List, the magazine’s roster of the 140 best destination experts in the world.
As Micato’s long-time director of classic and tailor-made programs, Marion’s decades-rich knowledge of all-things-India is as comprehensive to old hands as it is reassuring to first-time visitors. Since joining Micato 20-odd years ago, she has seen the India and Africa experience through virtually every lens – as cruise advisor, incentive planner, and safari specialist for scheduled and custom departures. Marion’s proven ability to open secret doors delivers her clients the customized experiences that bring travel bucket lists alive.
“For the first-time visitor, India is so much more than its monuments and the boundaries of its geographical cities,” explains Marion. “Of course, you will want to see the Taj Mahal but you’ll want to do it the right way – and by this we mean the Micato way. We arrange for guests to experience its astounding beauty when at its best – in the earliest hours of dawn when hardly anyone is there, privately escorted by deeply knowledgeable guides. I take great pleasure in creating these ‘wow’ moments for my travellers.”
Designing the Trip of Dreams
“The experiences we’re able to arrange are completely led by our guests’ desires: from learning the arts of fragrant spice-led cookery with local chefs, to indulging in Ayurvedic therapies in the very country of its origin, to Champagne breakfast and flying by the one and only Mount Everest from a helicopter while on an exciting extension to Nepal, the choices are near-endless.”
Just a few tantalizing ways in which Marion has wowed her clients
For both first-time and veteran wellness travellers, nothing quite beats a trip to Ananda in Northern India. On several occasions Marion arranged for private meditation and detoxifying sessions with visiting masters and, for her more active clients, private outdoor personal training sessions. She recently surprised a couple with an Ayurvedic cooking experience that included shopping with a master chef at the local market followed by cooking lessons on the preparation of the Ayurvedic delicacies.
For clients planning a trip to India during Holi – the spring festival famous for its revelers throwing colourful dye at each other – Marion arranged for them to be hosted in the residential area of one of our Micato in-country staff, so they could experience the ritual with locals, complete with long white shirts so they could fully immerse themselves in the throwing of the colours. They then dined with a local family, ending the day with a private celebration of the Maharaja.
One client was understandably intrigued by India’s dabbawallahs, the thousands of hands who each day pick up prepared lunches in tiffins from workers’ homes and deliver them to their offices. Marion arranged a “from home to office” experience for these guests, where they shadowed the dabbawallah both on foot and by bike, from pick-up to delivery. Come dinnertime, she surprised the guests with luxury Indian delicacies neatly packed in steel tiffin boxes, a nod to the dabbawallahs they journeyed alongside that day.
Extraordinarily exotic experiences, tantalizing food, heady evenings passed at grand and gilded accommodations. What else could one possibly desire?
My tip-top favourite places to stay include Oberoi Amarvilas in Agra where our guests have deeply private, couldn’t-be-closer views of the magnificent Taj Mahal – a supremely magic panorama enhanced with Champagne on their balcony or indeed their bathtub. At glittering Rambagh Palace, the former ancestral home of the Princes of Jaipur, an opulent cocoon of regal rest and relaxation awaits. And the Umaid Bhawan Palace of Jodhpur, a palace in the truest sense of the word, unmissable indulgences are imbued with the patina of history. When you reach Udaipur, the city of lakes and romance, you’ll find yourself lost in the irresistible charm of bustling bazaars and its most opulent hotels, the Lake Palace and the Oberoi Udaivilas.
Does Marion have a golden rule for planning a successful India vacation or safari?
“Treat every booking like it’s meant for your own family,” she says, reminding us that “Travel+Leisure observed that the Pintos (Micato Africa’s founders) treat guests like well-loved, out-of-town relatives – and that philosophy has always mirrored my own. You can’t imagine the pleasure and joy it brings me to speak with our guests, past, present and future, and know that I’ve had a hand in creating a life-enriching experience they’ll never forget.”
P.S. her Micato colleague Liz Wheeler is now a member, too.