Need to know
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm. With advance notice, there’s free use of property and services, including the restaurant, luggage storage and even excursions, outside of those times.
Double rooms from $163.46 (INR11,649), excluding tax at 28 per cent.
Rates include breakfast, with a buffet of locally baked breads, farm-fresh eggs, seasonal jams, fresh fruits and juices, cereal and organic muesli, as well as a daily changing menu of Indian delicacies.
Investor Raghav Priyadarshi employed Sri Lanka’s Zowa Architects to craft his beach villa Kadju House in Tangalle – and they did such a good job, he got them back for the Kumaon, too. Disciplines of the late, great Geoffrey Bawa – Sri Lanka’s preeminent architect – their goal was to transport the tenants of Tropical Modernism out to the Himalayas: using materials that were directly from, and suited to, the environment; opening up walls to bring the outside in; and creating wide, open spaces to increase ventilation. The Zowa team lived on site for two years and the result is a minimalist masterpiece that lets the landscape do the talking.
At the hotel
Book-stocked library with board games and a fire; other games such as badminton, cricket and (soon) table tennis; an outdoor terrace; free WiFi. In rooms: kettle; log-burner; free bottled water; tea- and coffee-making kit; black-out curtain; Ayca bath products.
Our favourite rooms
The 10 rooms are split between five separate stone-and-bamboo buildings, spread out over the ridge and a short distance from the main house with its restaurant, library and terrace. They’re all the same in size and style: a mixture of neutral linens, wooden floors, large windows and kettle-topped log burners, blending to a bamboo wall at the back, behind which you’ll find an enveloping ensuite. Go for the top-floor bedroom if you really want to claim king of the mountain.
In-room spa treatments such as Swedish, deep-tissue and aromatherapy massages are available using SOS Organics products made from local apricot-oil extract. Yoga classes can also be organised on request: imagine saluting the sun in the birthplace of yoga against that backdrop…
The switchback roads of the Himalayas don’t make easy work for sufferers of travel sickness: come prepared if you want to focus on the views.
Its location at the end of a ridge in a relatively remote mountainous area makes the Kumaon a challenge for wheelchairs users or anyone with mobility concerns.
Dogs are welcome, for INR1,500 a night. Bowls and simple cooked meals are available. See more pet-friendly hotels in Himalayas.
All welcome, but the mountainous landscape lends itself best to teenagers and older children who are willing to take on the trails. Back at base, there are books, crayons, paints and paper, toys and board games to keep them entertained.
This remote region forces the hotel to be self sufficient and resourceful. Much of the food is grown organically on site or sourced from the surrounding villages. There’s extensive rainwater harvesting, too, and all food waste is composted.