I have been searching for a perfect hilltop during my journeys. I do find many such tiny luring corners in the hills, though a sense of belongingness is missing in those corners. I often wonder why the best creative souls consider this place as their oasis. Leaving behind an overcrowded Mussorrie, the moment I entered the English hamlet called Landour, encircled by the thick forest, hazy layers of hills and an aura of silence, I felt as if my thoughts had got their wings and I had landed at the much desired quintessential hilltop.
The stillness in the air and quietly standing colonial architectures, transport you to the British Era once again. Among them, Rokeby Manor –An English Retreat becomes a prominent landmark. I was there to indulge in the royal hospitality at Rokeby Manor, which is a true symbol of the vintage Colonial Bungalow and still holds the glory of the bygone era profoundly in every corner of it.
Built in 1840 by Captain G.N. Cauthy, this bungalow changed many hands before it was eventually taken over by the Mars Group and converted into a boutique hotel. The brick walls, wooden staircase, the fireplace and the colourful lanterns simply make it one of the most desirable places to live. From bookshelves to the tiniest artefacts, everything is aesthetically designed.
The name “Rokeby” also has its share of history. The inspiration for the name came from the writings of Sir Walter Scott, whose poems describe the heroic battles near the original Rokeby Castle in England.
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I was overwhelmed on being offered the Rhododendron Suite for my stay. Designed in Victorian style, the luxurious suite is one of the most beautiful suits, having a private balcony with sun loungers.
Equipped with all the modern amenities, the old British look of the room simply floored me. The astonishing pink colour of the walls added a vibrancy to the old charm. I don’t mind being arrested inside a suite like this, from where you can enjoy the unparalleled views of the misty hills and the sound of wind. The joy of finding that space of yours was a delightful moment for me.
The wooden stairs take you to one of the most celebrated restaurants of Rokeby Manor called Emily’s. I had my first meal at this in-house restaurant which is famous for its delicious and authentic continental and Indian food. Even non-resident guests also come here for its signature dishes like Mustard Chicken.
I have almost tried all the noted dishes during my stay and I can vouch for its authenticity. The best part of the restaurant is that you not only enjoy the scrumptious cuisines, but the luring landscapes surely give you company while dinning at Emily’s.
Adjoining to this rustic looking restaurant,the favourite corner for any book lover will certainly be Wilson’s Chamber. One can spend hours reading books in this library where every shelf is filled with a variety of books from all the genres. How about having black coffee with a book in hand?
As the day ended with orange hue in the sky, I decided to step up to the highlands to get a sense of the surroundings from top of the hills. The Highland is basically used for Barbecues, parties, cocktail dinners or wedding functions at the hotel. They also have a heated Jacuzzi where you can have a spectacular view of the valley with a luxurious treat. This is certainly the best place to watch the falling sun down the valley.
Apart from Rokeby Manor, there are four luxury cottages under its residency categories. Restored to the original 19th century décor, these cottages with their breathtaking views, will surely give you a serious wanderlust.
Bothwell Bank House
With the distinct aristocracy, this English cottage is my favourite in Landour. The Bothwell Bank House is a spacious mountain home with your own private butler.
The most spacious cottage, designed tastefully to provide an unforgettable experience in the lap of nature.
With the fireplace, open sky Jacuzzi, private lawn, well equipped kitchen, and modern amenities, you will be pampered like anything during your vacation.
Bothwell Bank Cottage
Just above the Bothwell Bank House on an elevated hilltop, this log cabin cottage gives you an unparalleled view of the misty mountains.
Well equipped with a study, sitting areas, verandah and air-conditioning to keep the room cosy, it is a perfect holiday residence for a small family or a couple.
Pine Tree Lodge
A few meters away from these residences, you will find this perfectly secluded yet stylish two storied lodge with bountiful landscape and tranquillity all around. The interior of the residence is inspired from Scandinavia. This is undoubtedly the most sought residence for creative minds as it celebrates silence all around.
Apart from these British holiday residences, the latest addition to Rokeby Manor is the authentic Swiss Restaurant, The Stray Dog – Stübli & Ale House. I was smitten by the look of this English Pub where I literally had the best time of having a drink with old country songs.
It simply transports you to those country side English bars where you enjoy everything from the Vintage era. I had an absolutely great time at the Ale House.
Adjourning to the restaurant cum Pub, another addition to the property is the newly opened, The Little Salon & Spa Shed. Like its name, this little Salon and Spa can pamper you with its relaxing treatments – full body massages, facials, scrubs, pedicures and more.
If you like reading with a cup of coffee and a plate full of fine baked muffins and cakes, you must spend a couple of hours at Landour Bakehouse.
One of my favourite corners in Landour is certainly the Bakehouse. The fresh smell of the goods simply hold you for hours at this place. Don’t forget to turn a few pages of the books written by the authors of Mussorrie here.
The life seems to be perfect in this tiny English hamlet. With boundless scenic nature, the shimmering sun rays, narrow lanes and a handful of houses, you are surely in the best company. Taking that leisurely walk down the valley, having a candid conversation with the locals at Char Dukan, sharing a laugh with Mr. Anil at his famous cafe with Honey Lemon tea and pancake or just sitting on the edge of the hills and doing nothing, you never get to know the exact moment when this charming town has seduced you.
I was invited by Rokybe Manor on a press trip.
How To Reach
By Air : Land at Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun and then hit the road to Rokeby Manor, which is 2½ hours from the airport. Total distance is 65.4 Kms.
By Train : Arrive at Dehradun Railway Station. The drive from the railway station to Rokeby Manor will take 1½ hours . Total distance is 36.9 Kms.
By Road : Take NH 58 from Delhi to Dehradun via Meerut. Mussoorie is just 35 Kms from Dehradun. Take right for Picture Palace from Kincraig (base point of Mussoorie), turn right towards Landour from Picture Palace, cross the Grurudwara, Mulingar and proceed towards Chardukan. Rokeby Manor is 100 meters from Chardukan.
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