My fascination with the mountains began when I first visited Himachal Pradesh back in 2004. For someone who cannot bear warm temperatures, mountains seem to a be favourable preference. It’s almost remedying to visit a less crowded site with scenic beauty and pleasing weather!
This trip to Manali, Himachal Pradesh, has been uniquely significant since I came across an offbeat and rare luxury resort almost far away from the boisterousness of the city. Not only that, the hotel is built in the Victorian Gothic Revival style incorporating minute design details which add more character to the entire property.
The Himalayan is the fairytale mansion everyone dreams of – aristocratic aura, castles and cottages, vintage artefacts, and the earthy smell of teak wood!
In order to reach The Himalayan, I started my journey from New Delhi by road. The distance approximately was 600 Kms (372 Miles) which was covered in 14 hours. It is always a smart decision to take semi-sleeper Volvo buses as the drive is very tiring and challenging. I would suggest Himachal Tourism and Himachal Road Transport Corporation Volvo buses for such a journey.
Although, by air, it is a short flight from New Delhi to Kullu’s Bhuntar Airport followed by a 50 Km drive to Manali.
In general, minimum and maximum temperatures during early winters is 4 °C (39 °F) to 26 °C (79 °F) and during summers it ranges between 10 °C (50 °F) and 26 °C (79 °F).
In terms of location, the hotel is very strategically placed as it is near the main landmarks and yet away from the city noise, providing lots of privacy to the guests with a wondrous view of the Kullu Valley.
As I arrived at the hotel, I was completely amazed by it’s beautiful exterior and instantly fell in love with their gorgeous space. After talking with Mr. Nishat Mohi, the Director of the hotel, I learned that he along with his brother, built the entire castle themselves without any sort of assistance from architects!
According to Nishat, truly great hotels are not made overnight – the hotel has been operational since last 4 years and it has profoundly made a mark and surpassed the perception of a “new” hotel in the industry. It wowed me since the day I checked-in till the time I got back to Delhi!
The hotel consists of a total of 24 rooms – divided into 8 Guest Chambers and 8 Cottages (each with 2 bedrooms). Upon entering the hotel, you will find the help desk area, The Parlour, Refectory/Dining Room, Boardroom and the Outdoor Pool and Orchard Garden.
Mr. Mohi paid a ton of attention to the decor of the hotel to successfully recreate the Victorian aeon in today’s time. He handpicked all the antiques, outsourced artefacts and made sure nothing was selected out of a mainstream catalogue!
I was staying in one of the Guest Chambers where the room was equipped with a all four poster bed and a vintage armoire. There was a working fireplace, a study table and a small sitting area with a view of the pool. The highlight of my room was the breathtaking view of the Kullu Valley!
One could get a Guest Chamber for approximately Rs. 8,000 – Rs. 12,000/night depending on the High/Low Season and on Single/Double occupancy basis. The rooms are divided into 3 categories – The Premier, Grand and Classic.
For cottages (Accommodates 4 Adults), the tariffs fluctuate between Rs. 14,000 – Rs. 17,000/night depending on the High/Low Season.
(Note: The rates mentioned are exclusive of 19% taxes)
- The hotel has a very spacious dining room or so called The Refectory.
- The Parlour
- The Conservatory
- Orchard Garden
- Outdoor Swimming Pool
- The Boardroom/Conference Room
- The Bar/The Dungeon
There is always an option for pool side dining as well as dining in The Refectory. Their menu had a lot of interesting dishes to order from. The breakfast was absolutely fantastic. A few must have dishes from the breakfast menu are The Rösti, The Fitness Breakfast, Ham and Spinach Crêpes along with Waffles.
For lunch, I would recommend The Himalayan’s Signature Apple Salad with Walnuts & Cranberries and The Grilled Chicken Wrap.
I prefer light dinners and so I would recommend The House Salad.
I have a special liking for organic foods and freshly grown veggies and herbs. During my tour of the hotel, I was highly impressed to find out that the hotel has a lush Kitchen Garden where they grow Broccoli, Beetroot, Fresh Herbs – Parsley, Coriander, Basil, etc.
Activities Around the Hotel:
I was in Manali for 2 Nights and 3 Days which didn’t really give me time to explore the adventure activities as such. Though, The Himalayan has a wide range of activities for their guests such as White Water Rafting, Paragliding, Skiing, Rock Climbing, Day Hikes, Treks, Fishing, Mountain Biking and one could get motorcycles on rent easily!
I explored a part of Manali on foot – I wanted to visit Old Manali which is approximately 1.5 Kms away from the hotel. I would strongly suggest to walk till Old Manali since not only you could enjoy the splendid scenery, you could also visit a few major landmarks on the way.
My route to reach Old Manali was: The Himalayan – 200 Metre climb to Hidimba Temple (taking the footpath leading down to Log Huts road) – Old Manali.
Van Vihar National Park is one of the prime sites in Manali. Being densely populated with Deodar Trees, it is truly a nature’s marvel. Not only a tourist spot, it proves to be a perfect site for photography projects and experiments!
The Hidimba Temple is dedicated to Goddess Hadimba and was built in 1553. It is an old wooden temple with ornate carvings and designs located in the middle of Van Vihar itself.
Once we reached Old Manali, there was a boom of color everywhere! The streets and the walls had very modern and funky graffiti art done on them by locals or cafe owners themselves. There are plenty of hotels and homestays in Old Manali for very decent tariffs.
A flying visit to Old Manali is possible within a day. Once I was back at the hotel, I sat beside the pool to unwind and plan my departure to Delhi the next day.
The bottom line for me would definitely be that The Himalayan is one of the few properties that I adore and is undoubtedly on my list of Top 5 Hotels in India!
Get in touch with the hotel and plan a getaway as soon as possible!
Manali, Kullu Valley,
Himachal Pradesh – 175131, INDIA.
For Reservations: +91-8894005999
Telephone: +91-1902250999 / +91-1902250777
Post By: Sakshi Deswal / Appy Bistro
Picture Courtesy: Rahul Lal Photography & Rohit Lal Photography for Appy Bistro