Only seven hours by road from Delhi, Mussoorie has always been a favourite summer holiday spot for family holidays in the north. For this reason, however, it has been rather done and dusted and perhaps just a bit overcrowded. With so many places to explore in the country, Mussoorie wasn’t in my priority list until recently, when I heard of the re-launch of an old estate, in a new avatar, all renovated and modernised. The historical Sylverton Estate is now Leisure Hotels’ newest property in Uttarakhand: The Sylverton, Mussoorie. Opening to public only last week, the charming boutique hotel has given travellers – looking to get away from the oppressive heat of June – a brand new reason to return to the Queen of the Hills.
Established in 1853, The Sylverton Estate in Kulari, next to Picture Palace, is a historical landmark in Mussoorie. It was first converted to a boutique hotel back in 1947, after India’s Independence, and ran as a heritage hotel for several decades before falling to dilapidation due to neglect. Over the years its name changed as ownership changed hands and the history was all but forgotten. Taken over by Leisure Hotels this February, the town’s old favourite has been restored near to its original glory, including the name. Sitting at its central dining room, looking up at the wooden façade and corridors, high ceiling, and elaborately decorated grills, it is not hard to imagine living here in the early 1900s.
With 45 finished rooms and 20 more along the way, The Sylverton will be among the largest hotels in Mussoorie. Make sure to pick a Valley View Room on the ground floor for beautiful views of the Doon Valley and easy access to the lawns of the hotel. The most spectacular views of the valley are from these wide open lawns, where you can spend pleasant summer days and chilly nights, eating grilled foods and drinking your preferred tonic from Jim’s Grill, the open air restaurant. In the early mornings and evenings, the lawns are full of birds so you may want to pack your binoculars along. Apart from Jim’s Grill, other dining options include The Glass House, perfect for rainy days when you want the view but not the weather, and L’Attitude, the all-day dining space. Food is a choice of Indian, Chinese, Continental and a few local dishes. A spa and gym are in the making and should be open by the middle of June. (The hotel is very new and some bits and bobs are still being knocked into place.)
The best part of the hotel is decidedly its envious location. The Sylverton now stands proudly back on its original estate, bang on the Mall Road. Like any hill station in India, the Mall is Mussoorie’s lifeline, with all the shops and popular locations within walking distance. Barely a few steps up from the hotel lead you to the centre of action in town. Here, centuries-old favourite stores selling kitschy stationery or hot chocolate share space with popular pizza chains, and you can spend a couple of hours exploring and buying knick-knacks. About 20 minutes away is the Ropeway, where a two-minute cable car ride can take you to the top of Gun Hill for a beautiful view of Mussoorie.
Around the hotel
A short drive will take you to Landour, the most beautiful part of the mountain town, where you can walk among tall pine trees and enjoy the stunning mountain scenery. I found it surprisingly peaceful and quiet for the summer – perhaps people think Mussoorie is do done that they don’t come here at all so ironically it is not so crowded anymore! All through the walk to Lal Tibba (highest point of Mussoorie), and onwards to Sisters Bazaar (a popular spot for locals), all I could hear was birdsong and the delicious sound of distant thunder. Dehradun is only an hour away, and the hotel’s friendly front office staff can suggest more walks in and around the town. Oh and don’t forget to stop for Maggi at Char Dukan on your way back from Lal Tibba.
Make reservations here.
All images: Courtesy www.leisurehotels.co.in/the-sylverton-mussoorie.