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Safarnama II ~ Blissful Nainital & Himalaya Hotel
I love everything about a vacation : the mad planning and packing, the anticipation, the travel, the waking up at leisure, the absence of routine … You can enjoy a lazy day and for once forget about home chores to be done or job blues to be fought. Kick back in the recliner or bean bag… with your bag of nail files and polish. Or have a soak in the tub … and take care of your brow-shaping while you’re there. Then the vacation outing day’s travel plan, the wonderful ‘experimental’ eating, and above all, the feeling of the soul lightning and lighting up … what I dislike is the overly formal, sometimes even intimidating ambience of hotels. Don’t get me wrong ~ I love luxury, but not dressed up in pretentious efforts of stiffness.
Lodging in Nainital was an awesome experience, like staying in your own fully equipped farmhouse with pretty balcony views, delicious meals, good service, happy smiley staff, a friendly manager and relaxed environs (except for the climb-way I’ll tell soon U how.). It was a treat for the eyes and the mind. Something that would completely help unwind. Enjoy nature at its glorious, pristine and peaceful best, and soak in some ‘random’ history.
The Hotel peeping from behind the school
But before that, a small little story about an adventure of sorts, right bang on arrival ! The high point of our trip, quite literally so, came quite unexpectedly for us and much too soon. After a six-hour journey by road from NCR, we reached Himayala hotel. We had reached there at about 11 AM after a minor hike uphill as the hotel is located near the Tallital bus stand but a little high up on a hill. While the hotel itself was situated right next to the bus-stand, it had a steep climb to it.
The Busy Bus-Stand
After confirming the entry road to it via phone, bhaiya began taking the car up. We had never expected what would happen next. The climb was tricky, narrow, steep and slippery. The car slipped and straight ran down, finally ramming into a parked taxi standing below. Several locals & passing pedestrians rushed to our aid and helped the car halt from further sliding. That was really upsetting, and more than that, very shaky. They then asked us to drive up with speed. Mustering courage, Bhaiya drove up again, and none of us considered in that worried moment to instead call the valet from the front office of the hotel. Another visitor came to our rescue when we got stuck at the sharp swerve in the ride up, the car barely managing to hold itself from slipping. He was driving his car down and his companion and himself rushed to our rescue, put several small boulders and large rocks to stop the tyres from skidding or slipping and told us to use the hand break frequently to control the car while driving up with speed. Finally, We took our car through the steep pathway common to many more cars of residences around. No asking questions if it was frightful climbing up. Phew! By the time we reached up there, we were not merely breathless, we were scared to death!
An uphill climb plus the scary accident had made us quite weary but I guess the turn-around view from the hotel stairs quite made up for our discomfort. The hotel lobby was welcoming. It had two “baithaks” in the lounge area where the arriving guests could relax for as long as they wanted to, soaking in the ambience or the serene view of the Naini lake. From that height the lake view was quite awesome. We sat there for a while till we were served lime juice and thereafter, we moved to our suite. Only thing was that the balcony was not a personal one, but shared with other three suite residents on that floor. We were lucky that day to have the entire floor for ourselves since the next suites’ arrivals were slated for the next day. It felt all the more good as it meant more peace and more space to unwind.
The Beautiful Full View Hotel Lobby
We had booked our suite through the internet booking facility. As the hotel site claims ~
Built in the year 1918, in an era when Indians were not allowed to enter the famous Mall road of Nainital, Himalaya Hotel was host to Indian princes and kings in this erstwhile summer capital of the United Provinces.
Situated on a hill near the lower tip of the Naini Lake, this hotel is quite ideal for relaxing on a short holiday. Its splendid view of the Naini Lake guarantees the calming of frayed urban nerves.
Constantly reinventing itself, the hotel now offers a choice of 60 rooms, which are divided between the old and the new wings. Himalaya Mini Golf, an attractive golf course within the hotel premises, provides the ideal place to click pics about Nainital’s relaxed ambience., as I did!
The panoramic view visible from Hotel Lounge
As I mounted up the wooden steps, its tap sound brought in an element of quirkiness & a heritage feel this place so much reeked of. Creepers trained in various shapes added to the balcony; were also used as an arch at the entrance of another set of rooms led to by the mini-golf’s mini-bridge, as a cover for walls and for the look beyond the passages, to top up the compound wall.
The hotel had cut-rock walls with climbers to dress their rugged surface as also add colour to the bland fences, dull walls or ornamental trellis. the mesmerizing façade merged perfectly with the beautiful greenery around.
The Captivating Cave Steps : Mini-Golf Entrance
There was an aesthetically designed mini-golf course, a small happy carrom-room, a cards deck dais, a newspaper podium and so on of all other additional tit-bits that make you feel all the more at home.
Amidst Ace and Green(s)
The soothing colonial setup of our suite was refreshing. Each room was simple and plain white, lined with rich wooden textures. I kept moving from room to room to enjoy the look first of all. The rooms were built on deck like structures, wooden platforms on slats built such that you feel you are living right in the olden times. :) However, as the floor shook with every movement we made, the quivering made me believe for a second that an earthquake was on! Lol!
I messaged my friend: July 2 at 12:04pm
Finally reachd the hotel that directly overlooks the Naini jheel. ’nd this heritage suite is just awesome ! Just my style! Am lovin it. Just that the hotel is on a steep climb so our new Ritz got hit & damaged
Next message to my friend: July 2 at 1:18pm
This place, esp this hotel with pre-independence British architectural construction, furniture & feel iz jussst awesomme. ) Balcony is a great place to chill and watch the sun set…
My friend replied: July 2 at 2:13pm
Pls take pics,loads of them ok, I love old style architecture and colonial buildings and furniture this is so cool, you are really livin it up huh
Pat came My reply : July 2 at 2:22pm
Aye aye, doin so myslf Taking video shots too, though dunno how they’ll turn out to be!
The entire hotel was full of potted plants and the view inside was as awesome as out side. The pictures taken by me cover a lot of the inside. :) Have a look for yourself!
So the final conclusions are as follows:
First things first, the hotel has an unparalleled view, because I guess very few hotels can capture almost entire Mall Road with full lights and its captivating reflection in the Taal.
Its simply seen to be believed. Whats more, if you are lucky, you can have a room with windows actually framing the VIEW.
The staff is polite and always ready to help. However they are extremely under-staffed and that needs to be improved urgently.
Secondly though the hotel is quite maintained but it has to greatly improve its infrastructure by several notches to be really able to exploit its plus-es. The wait to enter the hotel that has a public toilet right at the entry as the biggest turn-off, must be sorted out. Next, getting to the hotel is very difficult. The hotel is situated on top and there are no stairs or lift available. Its one steep mini hill that we have to climb. It’s too exhausting especially after you finish a long day of touring. It should have a manned post at the gate connected via intercom to the hotel reception to ensure that the incoming or outgoing vehicles do not collide and any possible mishaps can be averted. And finally, Cleaning the carpets should be a priority!
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