Summer is already here and soon we will be rushing to the hills to cool off. Yesterday, we brought to you a hand-picked list of some of the best retreats in the Himalayas. Here are a few more options.
Located around 15 kilometres from the madding crowds of Shimla, this charming cottage offers three bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, a living room, a dining room, a TV room and even a separate reading room for a complete family vacation. The mud, stone and wood cottage, built around 12 years ago at an altitude of 7,900 ft, is perched on its own hill and surrounded by a thick cedar forest. There’s enough waitstaff to cater to your group’s needs and a chef from Uttarakhand whips up local, continental and Indian dishes. There are many nature trails nearby, and Mashobra is just three kilometres away. Or you could spend your afternoons basking in the sun in the delightful sit-out, picking and savouring apples, cherries and pears from the surrounding orchards. Call me by your name, Violet Hill!
Tariff: The full cottage from â‚¹ 18,000 per night, meals extra; accommodates eight
HOTEL EAGLE’S NEST
McLeod Ganj is usually chock-a-block with tourists. Away from its busy streets is Hotel Eagles Nest, set in two square kilometres of cedar, oak and rhododendron forest. Its pristine location means that getting here isn’t a walk in the park. From McLeod Ganj, a 20-minute drive on a forest track leads to Gallu, from where the hotel is a 15-minute stroll away. Guides and porters are provided by the hotel. There are eight types of rooms, each with a unique ambience and identity. For instance, the Tibet Suite has been decorated by Tibetan artists from the Nurbulingka Institute.
Tariff: From â‚¹ 12,000 doubles, including all meals and taxes
Contact: +91-8219478331; hoteleaglesnest.com
THE NAINI RETREAT
Formerly the residence of the Maharaja of Pilibhit, The Naini Retreat is a heritage hotel with a view. Located on the Ayarpatta Slopes at an altitude of 6,500 ft in Nainital, it has stunning views of Naini Lake. A palatial building with regally furnished bedrooms, the hotel is draped in old-world charm. The Maharaja Wing, the erstwhile royal residence, comes with five extravagant rooms, a private concierge and a library. Indian, Mughlai, Chinese and continental dishes are served in the dining rooms. Kumaoni food and traditional performances light up the evenings. Ayurvedic therapies can be combined here with meditation and yoga for holistic healing. The hotel provides guided nature walks and exclusive boat tours of Naini. You could also tee off at the century-old Raj Bhawan Golf Course, or take a yacht ride at the highest sailing club in the world.
Tariff: From â‚¹ 12,250 (superior room) in April, taxes and meals extra
Contact: +91-9555088000 (reservation); leisurehotels.co.in
If you’ve ever dreamt of a peaceful retreat on the banks of a babbling brook, where you can read, meditate, take a walk in the woods, and simply wind down for a weekend, look no further than Rainforest House in Brahmpuri, near Rishikesh. True to its name, this homely guesthouse is located in the middle of a forested area, and a stream passes right through it to join the Ganga below. The riverbank is a 10-minute walk downhill from Rainforest House. There’s also a cliff-diving spot here, if you’re so inclined. To get here, one must alight from the cab on Badrinath Road and hike over 400 ft downhill through the forest. Located just three kilometres north of Laxman Jhula, it isn’t far from the spiritual lanes and hip cafÃ©s of Rishikesh. Abig mango tree in the courtyard faces all nine rooms, five on the first floor and four on the ground floor. The rooms are simple and do not include TVs or phones.
Tariff: From â‚¹ 3,900 per night doubles (including tax), meals extra
Contact: +91-8006779298, firstname.lastname@example.org; rainforest-house.com
This Himalayan retreat list would have been incomplete without a hotel named after the mountain range. But that’s not why The Himalayan warrants a place here. Perched at an altitude of over 6,500 ft, this luxury hotel is practically a castle built in the Victorian Gothic Revival style. The urn-topped gateposts and medieval arches are supplemented by antique furnishings, cast-iron fireplaces, hand-carved chimney pieces and Pompeii-inspired marble flooring inside the common spaces. Climb up into Crow’s Nest, atop the turret, and you get a 360-degree view of the landscape. Besides the eight guest chambers in the castle, each with a four-poster bed, a fireplace, an armoire and a lavish en-suite bathroom, there are eight independent cottages surrounded by apple and cherry orchards. Depending on the weather conditions, you can undertake a variety of outdoor activities in Manali, including camping, mountain biking, angling, paragliding, rock climbing and rafting.
Tariff: Castle rooms from â‚¹ 7,200, taxes and meals extra; cottages from â‚¹ 14, 800
Contact: +91-8894005999; thehimalayan.com