What the British called a ‘refuge from the burning plains of Hindustan’ still acts as a refuge for many. Shimla, situated in the foot hills of Himalayas, is one of the most visited hill stations in India and has a charm that attracts people from around the world. In addition to the natural beauty, tourists also come to withhold the magnificence of the gothic architecture and the heritage which the British left behind.
Most of the palaces, lodges, villas, cottages have now become heritage hotels. The best five heritage hotels you ought to visit are:
The Wildflower Hall (Chharabra, Shimla)
With the majestic Himalayas in the background, the Wildflower Hall has inherited calmness and serenity which it offers to all of its guests. Along with that it also provides the latest luxuries like a spa, a heated swimming pool and other adventurous sports.
Now under the Oberoi group, this fascinating resort was once the residence of Lord Kitchener, then Commander in Chief of the British Army. The hotel covers only five per cent of the total twenty two acres of land, giving the visitors ample opportunities to partake in the beauty of sublime nature.
The Oberoi Cecil (Chaura Maidan, Shimla)
Rudyard Kipling inhabited this place back in 1883 when it was Tendril Cottage and while this is enough for most visitors to be enchanted with, there is more to it. Acquired by Mohan Singh Oberoi in 1944 as a part of the acquisition of Associated Hotels of India, the legacy still continues. The building echoes of the colonial past and what adds to this majestic mood is the accessibility and the facilities like billiards rooms, children’s activity centre, indoor swimming pool and others present here. It is not an exaggeration when we call it one of the best examples of excellence.
The Palace Hotel (Chail, Shimla)
Like most of the palaces this one too has an amazing history. Built by Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala, when his relationship with the British government turned sour in 1891, he turned the Chail hilltop into a summer capital and constructed this grand palace. An ideal location for recreation, the palace is a Himachal Tourism property who have turned it into a favourite destination for tourists. The premises is set amidst beautiful lawns, has tennis and badminton courts, a children park and much more. One is so enchanted with a prevailing peace here that it has all visitors seek more of it.
The Woodville Palace (Shimla)
A glorious past that takes you intp the British era and then among the Indian Kings, marks just the starting point when we talk about the fabulous Woodville Palace. In 1866, it was the residence of Sir William Mansfield, the Commander-in-chief of the Imperial Army and later it was acquired by His Highness Maharaja Bhagat Singh.
Before one explores more about the beauty that Woodville Palace
holds, it is interesting to know that among its famous visitors the palace turned into a hotel counts Clark Gable, Laurel and Hardy, Katherine Hepburn, Amitabh Bacchan and many more. It is the perfect place for experiencing the old world charm that Shimla still holds.
The Clarkes (Shimla)
Among one of the oldest hotels, The Clarkes has a very interesting history. The hotel belonged to one Mr Ernest Clarke and was then called Hotel Carlton. He was impressed by the hard work and honesty of his employee Mohan Singh Oberoi to such an extent that while leaving India he offered the hotel to him. In 1934, Mohan Singh Oberoi became the sole owner of the hotel and changed its name to The Clarkes. The magnificence of M.S Oberoi still continues and the hotel represents the best of the best.
If you are visiting Shimla, a stay in these extraordinary resorts will definitely add to your experience of exploring the living relics present in the town.