As winter slowly creeps in, the time to relax and rejuvenate away from the hustle and bustle of city life is nigh. And for those who seek respite in the lush forests and snow-capped mountains, these stunning mountain retreats offer ideal solitude.
There is no doubt that the time to be mindful of the fragility of the mountains is now. And a newly-opened sustainable sanctuary does just that. Amaya was envisioned as a sanctuary where travellers could seek respite from the fast-paced city life and breathe in the crisp mountain air. A 7-year journey by its founder Deepak Gupta culminated in this structure that effortlessly blends in traditional know-how of the region with modern design and amenities. The sustainably curated villas are all inspired by the villages of Kasauli. While sustainability and minimalism are at the core of this quiet retreat, Amaya also offers luxurious experiences like a heated outdoor pool and saunas to those that seek a luxe getaway.
The Kumaon, Binsar
Away from the din of Almora, higher up in the mountains is a transformative retreat that beckons discerning travellers to its biodiverse environment. In the shadow of Kasar Devi lies The Kumaon, which does justice to its name and serves the best of the region to you in the form of organic experiences. Bring the outdoors into their structure, The Kumaon sits on a slope that is replete with local flora and offers unrivalled views of Nanda Devi and Panchchuli ranges. Partake in one of the many curated nature walks and trails that take you to temples, sanctuaries and a hidden waterfall. Seasonal produce and healthy local ingredients are the driving force behind the culinary experience at The Kumaon and find resonance with visitors.
Stok Palace Hotel, Ladakh
Once home to the Namgyal dynasty, the Stok Palace was opened to the public in 1980 and is now a boutique retreat and heritage hotel in Ladakh. An idyllic place that imbues the best that the hilly state has to offer, Stok Palace allows travellers to revel in exquisite and curated elements that tell the tale of Ladakh’s culture. This 200-year-old structure, which overlooks the Indus River, often reverberates with chants that rise within the walls of its private monastery and its traditional culinary delights are an experience on their own. When here, make sure to head to the Lhakchung Temple on the premises and understand more about Tibetan culture through one of the many books adorning the walls of the hotel’s library.
The Lodge At Wah, Palampur
Deepak Prakash built the Wah Tea Estate Plantation as a place for his family and guests to stay close to the tea factory. The Lodge was built as a homage to the local architectural skills and drew inspiration from the mud houses in the region. Overlooked by the snowbound Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas, the cottages at the lodge are made of local materials and worked on by skilled local craftsmen; the slate roofs take inspiration from the ‘gaddi’ tribe homes. Much of the wood used here is recycled cedar and pine wood that was taken from an old courthouse that was demolished. When here, make sure to partake in the tea manufacturing experiential tour. You can also head to Andretta, the beautiful pottery village or head out for a day of parasailing at Bir, a 45-minute drive from the lodge.
Larisa Manali, Manali
Situated amidst apple orchards with wispy clouds framing the mountains, Larisa Manali blends nature and luxury with its signature style of hospitality. The hotel offers curated experiences that range from indulgent cuisines inspired by local organic produce to a relaxing jacuzzi experience as you bathe in sunlight that peers in through the glass walls. From private balconies to rustic stone fireplaces, Larisa helps your foray into the rustic side of Manali with ease.