Indias numerous hill stations are dotted with unique mountain resorts that offer the city-based traveller an opportunity to escape the frenetic pace of daily life. Food & Hospitality World checks out some of them.
WELCOMEHERTITAGE DENZONG REGENCY
Situated at a height of 6000 ft, The Welcome Heritage Denzong Regency resort is the only five- star luxury mountain resort in Gangtok. The hotel is nestled on top of a hillock with the residences of the Governor (Raj Bhavan) and the Chief Justice of Sikkim as its most immediate neighbours. Spread across 10 acres of land, the property is less than a km away from the busy citycentre. The family owned resort offers absolute solitude within the environs. The towering Mt Kanchenjunga and the city of Gangtok are the views the guests get to enjoy from the room.
The property has six regency suites, 12 suites, six deluxe rooms and one dedicated room for differently abled guests with comfortable heating systems and individual private baloconies each facing the Mt Kanchenjunga. There is abundant car parking space with a private landscpaed road leading to the resort. There are two restaurants serving A la carte and Sikkimese haute cuisine. Mayal, is the multi cuisine food and beverage outlet cum coffee shop with its own bar. Situated right next to the lobby on the ground floor, the resturant can accomodate 54 guests. The oriental restaurant is called Gyakho, which serves authentic Sikkimese haute cuisine. It is on the first floor and can accomodate around 60 guests. Ara the lounge bar has over 30 seats and serves wide variety of beverages. The resort has a 300 seater conference hall that can be used for various activities. There is also a 250300 theatre style arena spread across 3278 sq ft.
There are various activities and adventure sports that are available to the guests including treks to Nathu La, water rafting and kayaking. Nathu La is a pass on the Indo Chinese boarder (La meaning Pass in Tibetan). The place is 55 km from Gangtok and passes through Tsongo Lake. The place is covered with snow for most part of the year. Another one of the the excursions offered at the resort is tour of the ancient monastries where the lamas chant prayers and perform rituals.
How to reach: The nearest domestic airport is Bagdogra about 114 km away from the resort. There are daily domestic flights from Delhi, Kolkata to Bagdogra and from Kathmandu to Bhadrapur near Siliguri. There is also helicopter service available between Gangtok and Bagdogra airport. There are also daily trains reaching to Silliguri at the Jalpaiguri station which is about 125 km away. It is also well connected by roads with Bhutan, Nepal, Siliguri, etc.
GLENBURN TEA ESTATE AND BOUTIQUE HOTEL
Located 3000 ft above the sea level, Glenburn Tea Estate and Boutique Hotel is one of the few destinations that is accessible all through the year. The Kanchenjunga range is visible from one of the bungalows and the views are clearest during the months of October, November and December. The temperature here does not drop below seven degrees at night and usually the days are bright and sunny. The colours of the mountains, tea fields, forests and rivers change every month due to change in seasons which offers a unique view for the guests.
There are two bungalows in the estate, each comprising of four suites, common areas, gardens, varandahs and a terrace accessible to all the guests. The Burra Bungalow has a main verandah with cozy living rooms decorated with rustic yet modern furniture. Each of the four bedrooms open up to the verandah with private entrances to the back gardens. The Water Lily Bungalow has four more suites and a large recreation room. There are also special rooms that can hold meetings where a projector screen can be installed for presentations. However, the number of participants in the meetings cannot exceed 16 people.
There are several activities available for the guests to choose from. The tea tour through the tea fields including a picnic lunch , factory tour and tea tasting tops the list. Then there is a day trip to Darjeeling, hike to Ramitay Daara, Bamboo Grove or river Rung Dung and half day walks to Glenburn villages. Some of the welfare activities at the resort is spending time with the local villagers or a trip to the local primary school. For the nature lovers, there is an overnight stay at the log cabin at the Glenburn camp where the resort organises barbeques and bonfires on special requests.
How to reach: There are daily flight flights from Kolkata (45 minutes), Guwahati (30 minutes) and New Delhi (two hours). Glenburn is a three hour drive from the airport.
THE VERANDAH IN THE FOREST, NEEMRANA HOTELS
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