Uttarakhand, known also as Devbhoomi or the Land of the Gods, is the gateway to the mighty Himalayas and a land with unparalleled beauty. From national forests, hill stations, glaciers and treks that demand your undivided attention, Uttarakhand is a perennial gateway to the beauty of the Himalayas. While there are endless incredible ways to experience the diverse beauty of this belt, a crop of quaint yet luxurious resorts offer some of the most peaceful ways to see Uttarakhand. Many of them work closely with the local settlements indigenous to this region, bringing not just diversity, but a new lens to see the state through.
Here are the peak of our recommendations, if you’re planning a luxury getaway to the hills to beat the summer heat.
1. The Kumaon, Kasar Devi
Located in Kasar Devi in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, The Kumaon is situated at the ridge above the historical Almora town — which has attracted scholars, saints, artists and seekers since centuries. The property offers a magnificent view of the valley all the way down to Almora. The resort also offers three types of excursions to explore the area — a short one lasting about two to three hours, a half-day one of about six hours, and a full, 9-hour one as well.
The resort You can take a trip to Kasar Devi and explore the local area at your leisure. If you’re feeling more adventurous, opt for the challenging waterfall hike to the adjacent valley, crossing the glorious local terrain at a pace of your reckoning.
If you have time in hand and are up for some scenic adventure, you can even go for a walk from Binsar to Jageshwar. This is a majestic walk that encompasses four different arboreal zones, covering myriad changes in altitude.
The walk begins in the oak and rhododendron forests of Binsar, descends through pine forests, rises back to a ridge, and finally descends through a magical cedar grove emerging into the sacred temple complex of Jageshwar, an ancient and highly venerated space dedicated to Lord Shiva.
2. Ananda Kashi by the Ganges, Rishikesh
The newly launched Ananda Kashi by The Ganges is an IHCL SeleQtions property, which once was the summer residence of the erstwhile Maharaja of Tehri, Garhwal. Nestled between the majestic Himalayas and the pristine river Ganga, it is just about 20km from the holy city of Rishikesh.
If you love a luxe experience, you must try the one-of-a-kind spa here, curated by Forest Essentials Ayurveda. Soak in the beauty as you indulge in a variety of activities here that include birdwatching, nature walks and a variety of treks.
In the evenings, you may unwind at the beautiful Ganga aarti on the river bank. This is an ideal getaway for those looking for a tranquil and soulful experience, with a touch of luxury.
3. Amrit Bhawan, Haridwar
One of Amrit Bhawan’s most beautiful features is a private ghat and garden by the River Ganga in Haridwar, Uttarakhand. Built as a modest, art deco-style family home in the 1970s, Amrit Bhawan today offers eight plush rooms with modern amenities at hand.
The property offers you ample time to spend with yourself and reflect, giving you an uncharacteristic experience in an otherwise crowded pilgrim town. A key focus here is the food offering, which draws a lot on local, Garhwali ingredients and recipes. As a small boutique hotel, Amrit Bhawan offers bespoke experiences for those in pursuit of simpler pleasures.
Once here, you can take a guided walk through the less explored areas of Kankhal, with its stunning architecture and quaint riverside temples.
4. Cliff Top Club, Auli
A 30-minute drive from Joshimath, Cliff Top Club is an adrenaline junkie’s dream come true! Accessible through a cable car or a 4x4 vehicle cutting across the rough and rocky terrain from Joshimath, Cliff Top Club sits at 10,000ft with the Gorson Reserve Forest in Upper Garhwal settling in as the perfect backdrop.
The resort provides a beautiful and expansive view of the Nanda Devi range (the highest in India and the third highest in the world). This resort is a paradise for those who’re interested in skiing and sledding in the winter snow, whereas in the summers, it is ideal for hikers and trekkers who will find numerous marked walks and mountain bike trails difficult to resist.
The Gorson Forest, which is part of the Nanda Devi range, is rich in rare Himalayan wildlife including the snow leopard, musk deer, wild boar, wild cats, rabbits, jackals, foxes, hyena and black bear. Fancy some exciting wildlife safari at the peak of the Himalayas? This is where you should be headed!
5. Aspen Camp, Rishikesh
One of the only luxury camps in the region, this is where the concept of ‘glamping’ originated in Rishikesh. Aspen Camps have 17 tents and 12 cottages that come equipped with all modern-day amenities, meaning that you’d no longer need to frown upon the camping experience and yet savour its charm.
Managed by a team of professionals who come with a background in the armed forces, mountaineering and behavioral sciences, AspenCamp offers activities such as white water rafting, rock climbing, bungee jumping, treks, and cycling through forests, and jungle safari.
What makes it even better is that it is pet-friendly, so you can holiday and take part in the activities with your fur babies, too!
6. JW Marriott Mussoorie Walnut Grove Resort & Spa
JW Marriott Mussoorie Walnut Grove Resort & Spa is one of the leading luxury properties in Mussoorie, known for unique yet full-scale luxury experiences.
From dining under the stars, where the chefs curate a set menu for you, to the sustainable dining experiences where the team offers you a handcrafted, customised meal at the JW Farms, there are endless reasons to fall in love with this place.
The Marriott chain is also known for its sumptuous breakfasts, and JW Mussoorie does one better by offering one at the stream. You feel down to a valley which is surrounded by the jungle and the Kempty Falls, savouring one of the greatest breakfasts in the hills ever.
7. WelcomHotel By ITC Hotels, The Savoy, Mussoorie
The legendary hotel, with its English Gothic architecture, is a landmark in Mussoorie. With a history spanning over a century, WelcomHotel The Savoy first opened its gates in 1902—when the first ever motor cars were allowed in Mussoorie for the first time.
For a detective book nerd, this hotel holds great value as it formed the basis of Agatha Christie’s first murder mystery. It is believed that the victim of the murder mystery still haunts the hotel, which isn’t something that you could say for any other luxury hill resort! Well, what’s a historic mountain hotel without a spirit of its own?
The Savoy, along with its regal history, offers a splendid view of the Garhwal mountains and tranquility that is only heightened with its spa experiences. After all, you’d also need to relax beyond wondering about the mystique of this place.
Located inside the Binsar Forest Reserve, Mary Budden Estate is a two-centuries-old property that was originally owned by Mary Budden, a missionary. It is remote, and ideal for anyone who wishes to disconnect from the cityscapes and connect with themselves for a short period of time.
Mary Budden has a lot to offer, starting with its impeccable warmth, and the feeling of bespoke, hand-picked yet responsible luxury. From specially curated dining experiences at the property by a talented team of chefs, to the walks and hikes that they’ve curated in association with the locals, there are hardly a few other ways that would let you explore Binsar better.
One of their most unique experiences is called Sacred Spaces. According to the property, only a few places in the world are exposed to a unique radiation belt —Machu Picchu in Peru, the ancient Stonehenge in England, and Kasar Devi in Almora. Known as the Van Allen belt, this energy contour is especially conducive to meditation and its strong cosmic vibrations heighten your mental well-being.
This, therefore, is truly a place like no other.