With temperature crossing 40 degrees and 9o percent humidity all I can think of is escaping to mountains. Also because growing up and waking up to Mt. Kanchenjunga has been an everyday ritual when there is an invitation to visit home, you do not deny. You grab the opportunity. And this time to unwind it was an escape to majestic snow clad mountains, blossoming nursery, colonial-era architecture and to the bustling bazaar of Kalimpong. Like a child, looking at roaring Teesta river I couldn’t stop smiling and imagining going to Kalimpong and experiencing the newly opened Mayfair Himalaya Spa Resort. It is the nostalgic and reinvention of “The Himalayan” the celebrated hotel from the 1900’s by David MacDonald and a piece of history.
David MacDonald (son of a British man and Sikkimese woman) with his family settled in Kalimpong who gave birth to The Himalayan. David MacDonald was a learned man and with his years of service offered, the British government handed over a plot to him as an appreciation to his work. That plot was constructed into The Himalayan. The celebrated hotel that hosted many celebrities, including Nicholas Roerich, Shirley MacLaine, the 13th Dalai Lama, Edmund Hillary, Tenzing Norgay, Sunil Dutt, Nargis, Dominique Lapierre, and Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru.
After the downfall of The Himalayan, the property is now acquired by the Mayfair chain of hotels. The Mayfair very thoughtfully and tastefully bringing in the modern architecture yet keeping the history intact with the essence of celebrated past has taken over, as Mayfair Himalayan Spa Resort.
Soaked in history in the lap of nature, 76 km away from Bagdogra airport Mayfair Himalayan Spa Resort is a getaway to a luxurious blissful experience. I must admit as I checked in, I couldn’t help but fall in love with what I saw. The approach path towards the main entrance leads to the mini nursery which had an exclusive and diverse variety of plants and flowers showcasing a variety of flora and fauna of Kalimpong. And at that moment I couldn’t wait, but to explore more of Mayfair Himalayan. From the reception that stocks DVDs of old classics (Bollywood & Hollywood), to the brilliantly done terrace garden where you could sip your tea overlooking the mountain range, the theme restaurant Mama Mia, black & white kodak moments of Kalimpong city and MacDonald’s family from the past in the corridors, the pink and blue cottages depicting the colour of the buildings in city, even the name of the cottages are named after the daughters and other family members of MacDonald league.
Mayfair Himalayan Spa Resort is a fine amalgamation of history, culture and modern luxury.
The well designed Mayfair Himalayan Spa Resort offers 63 beautiful accommodation options including heritage rooms, executive rooms, deluxe rooms, and suites.
I stayed in the Annie Perry Heritage Block also know as the Barbie Dream House. Heritage block in 1900 was the main building of the celebrated hotel “The Himalayan” and is the block that saw many statesmen, diplomats and royals, leaders, actors and, mountaineers. I stayed at Nicholas room and it would be unfair to say I loved every corner of it because it was more than that. I was living the dream of my childhood. With a queen size, high rise poster bed (falling asleep was as easy as someone singing a lullaby) and a bathroom with a bathtub and everything that a perfect hot bubble bath requires, little fireplace and tea space for two (only if I had a company) and a window that opened to the majestic mountain range and a beautiful sunset. It was only serene.
The Heritage rooms also included a well-stocked minibar that took care of my table for one-morning tea, my evening chasers and midnight snacks that included Packets of chips, biscuits, and lozenges. The cottage was very tastefully done with a colonial touch of brass wear, polished wood, and chandeliers.
Food & Beverage:
There are 2 dining options in the property. “Tiffany” which is a multi-cuisine restaurant that serves flavorful for every palate as the hotel witnesses travelers from all across the globe. From the mix of Indian & Western dishes, the restaurant also caters to south Indian cuisine and local delicacies. Oh Boy, their chicken momo was out of the world. The restaurant is beautifully designed and well lit with structured furniture and table wear with an opening to the terrace. It’s an all-day dining restaurant that serves a lavish spread of buffet. A la carte menu is also available along with a dedicated vegetarian section.
The other option is a quaint cafe called “Mamma Mia” which serves Himalayan style street food, desserts, bakes and has a well-stocked bar. Mama mia is a themed cafe and inspired from movie Mama Mia with posters from the scenes of the musical saga with cute decor, that would want you to throw a tea party right away. It was a delight to eat at Mama Mia as the chef prepared some great Himalayan food for us. There was thukpa, thentuk, momos and more. Trust me when I say, even though I belong to mountains, this is by far one of the most amazing Himalayan meal I have had. It was beautiful.
Any getaway is absolutely incomplete without a good pampering session. After the property tour that I did and figured out how lovely the spa looks, I couldn’t wait but to get an appointment. A full body massage, relaxing the muscles and tissues by the experienced masseuse and experts just adds to the benefit of staying in a resort. The spa offers great body massages and couple packages. I indeed had a great session, only by end of it the therapist had to wake me up. And it’s then when you know you had a much relaxing time.
The resort also includes facilities like a fitness center (for the fitness freaks), swimming pool (perfect for hosting pool parties in case you are traveling with family) a children’s play area, a doctor on call, a recreational room, a well-stocked library and even a travel desk. The hotel also boasts of 3 modern banquet hall named “Camelia, The Drawing Room, and Kanchenjunga, catering to small corporate meetings to weddings.
As mentioned above the reception stocks a great selection of Hollywood & Bollywood classics, don’t forget to pick up your favorite movie that you grew up laughing at and watch it recreating the memories.
I had a great time watching Padosan over dinner picked up from a local restaurant and laughing my heart out.
Kalimpong along with its beauty is known for its history, hence sightseeing is worth. Deolo Hill, the Lepcha Museum, Durpin hill and the Zang Dhok Palri Phodang monastery are a few tourist attractions known for its serenity. Other than that Dr. Grahm’s house, the Catholic church, Gauripur house (Home of Rabindranath Tagore once) are must-visit places and is a delight to look at. Unfortunately, my sightseeing plan was absolutely flop due to bad weather (thick fog) and the visit of the Chief Minister (tight security). However, there is always the next time.
Kalimpong is also known for its rich and wide flora and fauna. There is an intriguingly vast selection of cactus and succulents to be found here. Visiting a nursery must be on your to-do list.
The Mayfair Himalayan Spa Resort, Kalimpong, is a perfect destination for weekend getaways for leisure travelers, visiting the city for relaxation amidst nature. It is equally good for business conferences.
Thank You The Mayfair Himalayan Spa Resort for an incredible hospitality and a memorable stay. To know more about the property and updates and, booking kindly visit the hotel website: www.mayfairhotels.com/mayfair-kalimpong/
You could also check the following blogs by Presented by P and Double Dolphin to know about their experiences and bookings.