As we made our way along the nausea-inducing road from Dehradun to Mussoorie, my driver was trying to out-race the mist that was creeping up the valley and I was trying to imagine what Mussoorie would have been like when it was founded in 1823. I was going to stay at a refurbished Raj-era property, so I was trying to get into the mood. 

Mussoorie turned out to be dirty, congested and overrun by tourists. Sarovar’s Park Plaza Sylverton is located off the Picture Palace end of the Mall. The lane leading to the hotel has many unremarkable lodges, one of which sits right in front of the hotel’s main building. I was disappointed. 

But all that changed when I walked in. The Sylverton Estate was built in 1853 and was not converted into a hotel until India’s independence in 1947. Since then the property has changed hands many times and the grounds were partitioned and sold to different owners, who built the other ugly lodges. But thankfully the main building, though ruined, was not tampered with until the Sarovar Group got management rights and rebuilt it. While the building was mostly built from scratch, the management retained the original plan of the building and most of the woodwork inside.

The hotel is not very large; instead, it feels cosy and intimate. The central hall, with its spectacular spiral staircase, is the showpiece. On one side of the staircase is the lobby and on the other end is the restaurant Ambrosia, where I had many ambrosial meals. But the most beautiful part of the hall is the high arched wood ceiling with its many chandeliers. The rooms are comfortable and modern. But most breathtaking was the view from my balcony of the English garden (at the back of the hotel) and of the valley beyond.  

The information
Where: The Mall, Picture Palace, Kulri, Mussoorie
Accommodation: 23 deluxe rooms, 20 executive rooms, 2 suites (valley-facing rooms best)
Tariff: 2N/3D for Rs 6,999 (executive room)/Rs 7,999 (deluxe room), inclusive of breakfast and taxes