Six ways to stay in Darjeeling

Planning to visit the Queen of the Hills? Here’s a list of luxury and budget hotels in Darjeeling to choose from

Royal heritage: The Elgin
The erstwhile maharajas sure knew style. And the Elgin Darjeeling proves it. Once the summer residence of the former Maharaja of Cooch Behar, the Elgin is a throwback to an earlier era with the etchings of G. Douglas, period Burma-teak furniture, oak floorboards and paneling, crackling fireplaces and even its welcome drink, a sparkling cherry liquor. The refurbished luxury heritage hotel offers wireless and wired internet access, a well-stocked library of both books and movies, 24-hour laundry and concierge services and mountain bikes on rent. It has a spa whose services those with young children too can enjoy with babysitting on hand. A multicuisine dining room, an afternoon tea lounge, bar and 24-hour room service ensure that all the walking in the mountains will be suitably rewarded. Tariff: Doubles from Rs10,300 (AP: breakfast, lunch and dinner; other plans also available) plus taxes Contact: 0354-2257226, www.elginhotels.com

Rural retreat: Tathagata Farm
Want a taste of the rustic life in the hills? Head over to Tathagata Farm in a village known as Mineral Spring (Dabai Paani in Nepali), just a 45-minute drive from Darjeeling town. The huts and tents offer fuss-free accommodation with all the basic amenities, read attached baths and toilets. The meals served are drawn from the local cuisine that includes seasonal vegetables, fermented and dehydrated greens called gundruk and simal tarul (tapioca). You can opt for guided village walks and even a day trek to Majitar on the Sikkim border or choose to interact with the farming community on your own, fish and swim in the stream or go bird watching. Or you can just laze around with a book! Tathagata Farm aims to support the sustainable economic growth of the village it is located in. Tariff: Cottages (called Independent Huts) Rs 4,800 (doubles), luxury tents from Rs 4,000 (singles, doubles or triples) inclusive of meals Contact: 9932021569

Home-style stay: Revolver
With just five rooms in this cozy hotel, you can rest assured that personalised service is the name of the game at Revolver—it’s all in a day’s work for the owners to carry your suitcases to your room. You can choose your room, named after the Beatles and their manager, depending on whether you want to see the mountains or you want to replace your alarm clock with the chirping of birds. A comfortable stay that will not burn a hole in your pocket is what’s on offer. With inverter backup, free wi-fi, spring mattresses and running hot water to TVs with DTH—Revolver provides them all in an affordable package. And when the rumble you hear is not thunder in the mountain but from your own tummy, you can dig in to wholesome local and Naga cuisine. You need to order all the food in advance though. Tariff: Doubles from Rs1,100, triples Rs1,500, taxes extra Contact: 9800005455

Cultural cocoon: Dekeling Resort
If you believe that cultures are meant to assimilate, go no further than the Dekeling Resort at Hawk’s Nest which marries British and Tibetan aesthetics in its unique way. Constructed in the late 19th century, the hotel is equipped with modern amenities and free wi-fi. From the comfortable lounge with its beautiful French windows, you can marvel at the breathtaking view of the sun setting into mountains. Each of the four luxury suites include two large rooms, cable television plus a large private bath with hot and cold water. The wood-panelled rooms are complemented by fireplaces with the original tiles which have been carefully restored. Telephone, laundry service and transportation are available on request. The food reflects Indian, Chinese and Tibetan cuisine. Breakfast is not included in the tariff and costs Rs 250. Tariff: Doubles from Rs3,800, suites from Rs4,200 plus taxes Contact: 0354-2254159, www.dekeling.com

Budget & friendly: Hotel Pradhan
Set away from the main town yet not too far from it is the underappreciated Hotel Pradhan. It started out as a much smaller outfit, though its current three-storied avatar makes you regard that notion with disbelief. Each floor has a spacious lobby, so guests need not stay in their rooms the whole while nor trek downstairs to put up with the bustle of comings and goings. These lobbies and the terrace garden are good vantage points from where to gaze at the surrounding hills. The rooms differ in size and layout, though each has wall-to-wall carpeting, an attached bath, TV and telephone. Laundry and dry-cleaning options are available, as is a car park. Wi-fi too is an option for guests who want it. A doctor is on call and the hotel has an in-house restaurant. Tariff: Doubles from Rs 2,000 Contact: 0354-2252103, www.hotelpradhan.tripod.com

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Disclaimer : The views and information expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the authors and references. Elgin Hotels & Resorts do not take liability or any responsibility for the same.

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