City slicker Sushmita Gupta drives to Jim Corbett National Park for respite from the chaos of the capital. The Riverview Retreat delivers the detox she needs. By Sushmita Gupta

A passion for wildlife is something that runs in my family. We have been to various sanctuaries across India in pursuit of the tiger. This time, my fervour took us to Jim Corbett National Park. Ignoring the advice of many a peer, who said that you can’t spot tigers in the dense woods of Corbett, I clung on to hope. But deep down, it was the tranquillity of the forest that made my choice for me. Even if I could not spot a big cat, I could at least be close to nature in the most beautiful forest of the country, I told myself.

The Riverview Retreat
The Grill House Restaurant and Bar sits by the resort’s pool.

With a spring in my step, I embarked on my journey to The Riverview Retreat, Corbett—a Leisure Group property. It was a six-hour drive from the capital, but the cosy retreat tucked into the arms of Jim Corbett National Park almost immediately made the effort feel worthwhile. With River Kosi flowing quietly by and abundant wildlife rustling the forest floor, the retreat spells out the perfect weekend getaway for urban folk.

The Riverview Retreat
Sloping tiled roofs lend a humble look to the rooms and cottages.

The resort has air-conditioned rooms and cottages with living rooms and kitchenettes. Sloping tiled roofs, cool stone floors with throw rugs, and comfortable furniture extend the fantasy of living in a cabin in the woods. Spread over eight acres, the property offers an intimate personalised experience to each of its guests with private sit-out areas and gardens.

The Riverview Retreat
The Tiger Lodge flaunts the shades of the big cat.

The Riverview Retreat also houses two dining areas—Gurney House and Grill House Restaurant and Bar. The former is a multi-cuisine restaurant overlooking the river; it serves a variety of Indian, Mughlai, Chinese, and Continental dishes, but local specialties of the Kumaon region turned out to be my favourites. The Grill House is an open machan-like structure located by a pool.

The Riverview Retreat
Manicured gardens make for a pleasant al fresco dining area.

During my short stay, we took two jungle safaris. The resort packed a sumptuous meal for us to have during our break on the drive. The thrill of having breakfast in the forest is unrivalled. After all the adventure, I decided to pamper myself with a spa at Tattva, and experienced the efficacy of a deep tissue massage in purging fatigue out of the body.

For now, I have the memories of Corbett’s sparkling canopy, but I know I will go back soon for an elusive glimpse of the stripes.

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