There is something exceptionally delightful about escaping to the mountains. Away from the hustle and bustle of a city, with its toxic dose of pollution and noise, you suddenly begin to breathe fresh air. The hills calm you. Then, of course, there are other advantages: long walks in the lap of nature, sumptuous food, and cooler climates—especially when the barometer is rising in most parts of the country. This kind of escape becomes even more important given the fact that all of us were compelled to stay inside our homes for a large part of last year. After experiencing the lockdown in 2020, a summer getaway this year becomes even more attractive. With the pandemic still looming large and international travel restricted, we bring you a list of newly-opened luxury hotels in India (some of which also feature the sea) which are taking all precautions and are perfect for a summer break.
Just half an hour away from Shimla lies the beautiful town of Mashobra. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, Mashobra was a favourite with the British during the Raj. In fact, the Mountbattens spent a few weeks there in the summer of 1948. Today it houses the official retreat of the President of India. In this historic town, Welcomhotel’s latest property offers great views and is designed to receive maximum natural light. The hotel has all the modern amenities, but maintains an old-world charm that is so rare these days. It has an all-day dining restaurant, with a bar, and is the perfect family getaway.
PRICE: Double rooms from ₹12,000 plus taxes.
Soak in the lush greenery of the tea estates along with your morning cuppa at Taj Chia Kutir Resort & Spa that sits on the Makaibari Tea Estate in Darjeeling. Spread over 22 acres, this 72-room property offers panoramic views of the Himalayas. Rooms come with large glass windows and balconies for you to soak in all the beauty. While you can relish delectable meals at the all-day dining restaurant or enjoy gourmet cuisine at the fine-dining restaurant, the highlight is the Makaibari Tea Lounge. Spend your evenings enjoying an elaborate high tea and partake in a tea-tasting session with the tea sommelier—after all you are in Darjeeling! You can also unwind at the pool or at Taj’s signature Jiva spa.
PRICE: Double rooms from ₹14,000 plus taxes
Who can deny the beauty of Kashmir which has been called heaven on earth by poets. The valley of Srinagar now offers a royal abode for guests. Karan Mahal, which was built in the 1920s, became the residence of Karan Singh, the son of Maharaja Hari Singh, in 1936. Later, when Singh became the governor, it served as the Governor’s Residence.
The charming European-style villa houses seven luxurious guest rooms, including three lavish suites, all with private balconies. Sprawling gardens surround the villa which overlooks the Dal Lake.
The kitchen specialises in age-old recipes of the royal family and offers varied cuisines. The villa is adorned with handcrafted wooden ceilings. Vintage Kashmiri carpets, art deco furniture, and exquisite artefacts add to the charm of the place.
PRICE: On request
Ever thought of spending a week in the lap of nature and doing absolutely nothing but breathing in fresh air, eating healthy organic food, and just relaxing? If this is your idea of a perfect holiday then the Mary Budden Estate in Binsar, Uttarakhand, some 400 km from Delhi, is the ideal getaway.
The 19th century estate is spread over five acres, and has six rooms— three in the cottage and three in the lodge. All rooms come with logwood fireplaces, stone patios, and several open sit-outs. Antique furniture and vast mountain views add to the beauty of the place. The estate offers some exciting dining options including a brunch in the forest with live grills.
PRICE: Double rooms from ₹27,500 plus taxes
The Andaman & Nicobar Islands provide our very own slice of paradise. Lush greenery, sandy beaches, aqua blue water, and mesmerising sunsets make Port Blair an ideal getaway. The Welcomhotel Bay Island, Port Blair overlooks the pristine blue waters of the Bay of Bengal. It is built on a hill using indigenous material, such as local wood called Padauk, and with large overhanging roofs and a series of decks that cascade down the hillside, the hotel reflects the native life of the islands. This is the perfect place to soak in the beauty as you enjoy scrumptious coastal cuisine.
PRICE: Double rooms from ₹7,000 plus taxes.
Goa is an all-season holiday destination and, therefore, the Hilton Goa Resort, Hilton’s first resort property in India, makes it to our list.
This resort is built like a fort and is located atop the scenic terraced slopes of Saipem Hills, overlooking the Nerul river. Each room comes with its own private balcony that can be used for everything, from private yoga sessions to exclusive barbecue evenings. Whether you are looking for a quiet time with the family, or a romantic getaway, this resort is ideal. Lounge in one of their four outdoor pools, hang out with your children in the kids’ club, or explore Goa with specially curated itineraries. And if you just want to hang around the resort, that’s alright too!
PRICE: Double rooms from ₹12,000, plus taxes.
(This story originally appeared in Fortune India's April 2021 issue).