WORDS: AMIT GAIKWAD
It’s where the British went to get away from it all, and after Independence, scores of Indians followed suit. Steeped in remnants of the Raj, right from the architecture to the service at hotels, Shimla has long held the title of the country’s premier hill station and it’s easy to see why. While it’s true that the erstwhile summer capital of the British Raj, has, over time, been overrun by tourists, it still guarantees the same slow, languid joys that are synonymous with life in the hills.
No trip to Shimla can possibly be deemed complete without dropping by its winding main street, Mall Road. Take your time strolling around the area or put on some traditional Himachali costume and indulge in a photo-op. Marvel at Gaiety Theatre, a charming Victorian building, which hosts various plays and concerts, the Gothic-style Shimla Town Hall, and the sprawling Viceregal Lodge, which was built in 1888 and was once the official residence of the British viceroys.
At the quiet end of Mall Road is where you’ll find The Oberoi Cecil, Shimla. The charming heritage hotel, with its gorgeous white façade, smart green railings, and colonial character, is representative of the colonial ethos of Shimla itself. Inside the grand lobby, you’ll be greeted by a huge lounge, dotted with several pristine marble fireplaces. A stunning feature of this lounge is that it’s lit from above by a skylight that spans the length and breadth of the hotel’s signature atrium. Besides the atmospheric design aesthetics, the property offers grand, ultra-luxe experiences, tailored to pamper you in every way possible. From English teas of the highest quality and a heated indoor swimming pool to impeccable, personalised service and sweeping views of the Himalayas, the property ensures that visitors will be making memories for a lifetime. Strategically located, the hotel is perfectly suited to visitors looking to step out to check out other attractions nearby including Christ Church and the Ridge.
The beautiful weather and stunning Colonial-era architecture attracts visitors to Shimla from all over the world and it’s imperative that you base yourself at a property that helps you maximise your time in the town. The beautiful Wildflower Hall, Shimla in the Himalayas – An Oberoi Resort fits that bill. Located at 2,500 metres above sea level, ensconced in a dense cedar forest, this luxurious property offers awe-inspiring views of the magnificent snow peaks. The 85-room resort has been built on the grounds where Lord Kitchener’s summer home once stood and combines the highest standards of luxury with contemporary facilities to offer guests a luxurious, enriching experience. You can also choose from several activity options such as nature walks, cycling and various yoga and spa sessions.
Whether you’re looking to escape the monotony city life by unwinding in the lap of luxury or just choose to be one with nature, Shimla has it all. So, the next time you’re planning an escape to the mountains, drive up to the Queen of the Hills to find out for yourself why that moniker is truly deserved.