All that advice about waking up as early as one could to start his journey from Delhi to neighboring hill stations to avoid unruly highway traffic is bunkum. Even though I was totally sapped after having travelled 9 hours at a stretch, what lied in store for me after the jejune road journey was all-out eventful and breath-taking. The next two days we spent at the Hotel Royal Tulip Kufri were more than mere hospitable.
A good star property plays an important role in putting smaller destinations on tourist map. While the uber-luxe Wildflower Hall, Oberoi’s coveted property, made Mashobra famous among glittrati and twitterati, The Chalets in Naldehra attracted the well travelled to its Scandivian log cottages and neighborhood golf course. The swanky new property, Royal Tulip will hopefully have a trailblaizing effect on Kufri.
At a height of 8,250 feet, Kufri is a perfect weekend getaway this summer, away from Delhi’s sweltering heat and hustle-bustle.
I checked into a presidential suite at Royal Tulip. The expansive suite not just came with all modern amenities but offered unobtrusive panoramic view of the mountains. Hotel rooms that are adorned with books are my favorite kind- this one came with a copy of ‘P.S I love You’ and ‘The Notebook’.
While the temperature was sub 10 outside, Royal Tulip’s heated pool was a real treat. Neck-deep in the aquatic excellence, I could see the green mountains staring at me from all across. The feeling was blissful.
The hotel also had a kid’s play area, billiards and play room where I spent some quality time with my toddler. The 24-hour multi-cuisine restaurant offers delish food, though to be honest the only meal I had at the restaurant was breakfast. For lunch and dinner, we were mostly ordering in-room dining. Don’t you think in-room dining is the most underrated luxury?
Though our balcony offered a perfect setting to enjoy wine in the evening, soaking in the crisp mountain air, the bar at our hotel - Cedar Lounge- too was charming where we spent time sipping cocktails, enjoying conversations and listening to old Hindi songs while the friendly staff was on our beck and call.
What truly impressed me at the Royal Tulip hotel was its spa- Samayaa. I opted for the Healing English Rose massage. This light-pressure massage done with fragrant oil not just rejuvenated me but left my skin feeling smooth. The hospitality scene at hill stations is changing fast. Who would have thought five years back that sparsely populated hamlets like these would house hotels with modern amenities and space that could host destination weddings and corporate events amid the Himalayas.
While most of my time was spent lazing around at the resort, taking walks on its terrace soaking in the view of the mountains or heading to nearby trails for hiking. There is also an adventure park close by, not an exciting one but you could explore if like me you are travelling with kids.
What I really liked about the hotel is how smartly they are using their property for monetization. Their open air banquet overlooking mountains is claimed to be the largest in Himachal Pradesh. They are booked to the T during wedding season.
By Vishakha Talreja, Founder, Hotel Explorer