World through my eyes
Wildflower Hall at Mashobra near Shimla has been rated as India’s numero uno hill station hotel by TripAdvisor’s Traveller’s Choice Awards. With bags already packed for the coming summer vacations in India, this list provides ample options to choose from for the prospective travellers as suggested by no other than fellow travellers themselves. That’s what makes these TripAdvisor lists always interesting. What more is interesting about this particular list is that though we consider good Hill Stations as normally located in Himalayan region, here second, third and fourth in the list are all located in southern part of India.
Owned by Oberoi group and situated 8,250 feet above in the magnificent Himalayas, Wildflower Hall is a fairy tale luxury resort set in 22 acres of virgin woods of pine and cedar. The former residence of Lord Kitchener, Wildflower Hall recreates the grand style of the colonial era. Second in the list is The Regent Hill Side Resort at Yeracud. This one too is a British era resort and retains some of the old charm. It was the first hotel in Yercaud, this colonial building was built in 1860. Very small in comaparison to Wildflower Hall, has just four suites and a villa.
Niraamaya Retreats Cardamom Club Thekkady in the spice land of India is third. From a villa perched amidst acres of cardamom plantations, here room window serves as a gateway to the exotic wildlife of Thekkady. Birds of all colours, creeds and calls dwell in the majestic trees that surround the resort. Orange Country Resorts, Kabini located in Nagarhole National Park is fourth. Listed in National Geographic’s 25 best ecolodges in world this resort gives you a wildlife experience like no other. Inspired in design by the Hadis or tribal villages, this picturesque resort of sweeping panoramic vistas, is bordered on two sides by the Kabini River.
Next two places again go to Shimla region. Fifth is Mahasu House at Mashobra considered to be haven for those wishing to get away from the hustle bustle of daily life and experience nature on a grand scale. Mahasu House offers an opportunity to escape into the Himalayan wilderness, bask in personalized hospitality and completely rejuvenate the soul. Located at an altitude of 2400 metres (8000 feet) above sea level, Mahasu House is a 45 minute drive from Shimla. Sixth is another of Oberoi property in Shimla The Oberoi Cecil. Oberoi Cecil is a Grand Heritage hotel, a part of Shimla’s rich colonial history. Built in 1884 as a Himalayan hill station, the hotel has been extensively renovated and reopened in 1997.
Next one is also from Himachal Pradesh- Grand View in Dalhousie. At number eight is Atali in Rishikesh. Number 9 and 10 are two hotels from Manali- Park Residency Hotel and Snow Peak Retreat. List again moves to South as number 11 is The Fern Creek at Kodaikanal and then Vivanta by Taj at Madikeri. The Fern Creek is at the heart of picturesque Kodaikanal on the Palani hills in South India. Miles away from the dust, grime and noise of urban living. Again, this one too is a British era summer retreat. A magical, romantic getaway tucked away in an oasis of lush greenery. One of the most exotic resorts in Leh Ladakh Sarai is number 13. Perched above the raging Indus River and resting quietly below the massive Ladakh Range exists a peaceful green oasis – the serene grounds of the Ladakh Sarai. The Sarai is Ladakh’s premier eco resort, a tribe of 14 yurt-style bungalows nestled in a beautiful grove of willow, poplar, apricot and apple trees. Shimla gets another entry in the list through Chapslee Palace. Evocative of a bygone era, Chapslee, formerly the summer residence of the late Raja Charanjit Singh of Kapurthala, is now a small, exclusive Hotel. Built in 1835, Chapslee was acquired by Lord Auckland, then Governor General of the East India Company.
Increasingly getting popular Ganga Kinare- A riverside Boutique Hotel at Rishikesh completes the list. The 38 splendid river facing rooms here are a sheer bliss for those looking for peace, tranquility and splendor. Beyond the wildlife safari, the hotel also has in store an array of adventure activities like mountain biking, trekking and river rafting in the Ganges. Owing to the hotel’s strategic location, the lush and bountiful Rajaji National Park is just a boat ride away from its private bank.