Do not lock yourself up if you are planning to avoid Holi this year! Make use of the long weekend to discover these charming boutique properties away from the city.
What We Like: The beautiful antique Kumaoni Likhai woodwork, the handpainted walls and the comfy country style decor.
Old properties exude authenticity that is hard to find in made-to-look vintage. This century old resort once run by a Scottish lady is now a lovely B&B set amidst eight acres. The Cottage at Jeolikot, with its undisturbed ivy-covered exterior, is a petite homestay in the hills of Kumaon. Enjoy nature walks in the gentle Himalayan foothills, sail on the Naini Lake, or make for an impromptu picnic near the tiny river that flows right below the cottage.
What We Like: Pinewood ceilings, artefacts from their travels, the fireplaces, exposed brick walls and the bukhari furnishings.
Tucked deep inside Binsar Wildlife sanctuary, Mary Budden Estate dates back to a century and half, initially home to Mary Budden, a missionary who ran a girls school in Almora. They have lovely nooks and corners to read or do nothing. Walk to the Zero Point for a panoramic view of the snow-capped Himalayas, or take a day trip to the Jageshwar temple. Be pampered by the chef who prepares delicious Indian and Continental meals.
What We Like: Grand antique beds (one that features glass paintings), the sunken bath in the Master Suite, and a collection of rare Afghan ‘kilims’.
Shaheen Bagh is a 7-acre estate set amidst fruit orchards. The colonial bungalow with sloping roofs and wide verandas looks out to pristine hills and features a spiral staircase that winds up to the ‘My Fair Lady’-styled library. Here, you can go angling in the morning and sit by a bonfire late at night. Robber’s Cave, Tapovan, and Ram Rai Darbar are some local attractions.
What We Like:The bright yellow-edged doorways, antique beds, chequered polished floor, and lovely little wall nooks painted in bright colours.
The 19th century Arco Iris in Goa, a Neemrana Hotels’ Noble Homes property, is on a lush 1.5 acre land overlooking a seasonal lake, paddy fields and is stone’s throw from the Zuari river. This part of Goa is picturesque andtranquil, not loud and bright. At the time of renovation, wastage of existing materials was kept to a bare minimum.
What We Like: The modern clean approach to creating a ‘plantation’home.
Ensconced within seven acres of cardamom and pepper plantation is the Aanavilasam Plantation House. Owner Salim Pushpanath welcomes guests to stay in any of its six rooms and experience farming of spices as wellas spot over 30 varieties of birds. In a move towards self sufficiency, all rooms have solar water heating. Additionally, the cow farm brings guests milk, cream and butter.
What We Like: The traditional layout of rooms; the beautiful red cement flooring that one hardly sees anymore; and heritage accents like the swing.
This eco-friendly heritage homestay was built in the early 1900s. Owners Dr KK Nair and Shyamala Nair bring a personal touch to almost everything—from preparing authentic Malabari meals to organising cooking classes and to sharing local knowledge. It is a unique experience to take a dip in the traditional bath, Kolam,which is home to various fish varieties and a turtle.
What We Like: Originally constructed in the 18th century, this palace is a great example of traditional Kerala architecture that involves an intricate structure of wooden parts.
You can see thousands of interlocking beams, panels and screens, sheltered by a roof canopy that appears to float above this boutique 18th-century homestay. Walk through the surrounding coffee estates and take in the grandeur of the Palani Hills. And if you want to know more about Rajjakkad’s Pallam Palace, turn to hosts Robesh George or Francis Fry.