During our stay in Shimla, we mostly chose budget accommodations. The first experience with OYO Rooms was horrible though in Manali we had a pleasant stay. When we returned back to Shimla for the last few days we thought of staying in a resort where there will be plenty of space to roam around and relax. Browsing through Trivago, I found one name that looked perfect – Shimla British Resorts. The name sounded royal and rich in history. They were also offering a massive 50% discount through Makemytrip – so we decided to stay there.
We went directly from Manali and reached in the evening. Entering Annadell Road from the Bidhansabha Junction, it was only about 100 meters when we saw a giant signage directing us to a road going down the hills. The steep slope down the hill was really frightening and to add to that, the road was so narrow that an SUV can just fit into it. It was about half a kilometre of downward drive that took us to the gate of the resorts. It was the dying daylight that gave us the first glimpse of the resort and it looked like a good old British building.
The surrounding of the resort is extremely unique. This place was away from the main city activities and is in the middle of a pine cedar forest. Wherever we could see, only sky-touching pines are seen. We were received with a welcoming gesture and the warmth of their hospitality was felt from the very beginning. We were taken to our cottage which was farther down. Getting fresh we decided to have something to eat and have a glance at the resort property – this was going to be an amazing evening.
Shimla British Resort was built in the year 1893. The first among the buildings was the Glen Cottage which now houses the reception, Kitchen and a Dining on the ground floor and two lavish cottage rooms on the first. Later on, in the year 1898, Scottish Cottage was added to this. While the Glen Cottage was at the uppermost level, the Scottish Cottage was at about a 100 meters below. We were staying at the Danish Cottage which was also built in the same year. We came to know about this history from the Manager of the resort who happened to be a very friendly person. Quickly finishing off our evening snacks, we set out for a tour of the Shimla British Resort and the manager was our guide.
We started with the Glen Cottage – a fascinating building which used to be the resident of a British Architect. The living room, which is now the reception, has a fabulous lawn in the back. The verandah in the front of the building also has a lovely lawn on the other side of which lies a redundant bar counter. I can imagine, it was a fabulous place for a gala evening party once. The amazing architecture in timber was fascinating to see and most importantly, the present owners have kept it almost in the same condition. The wooden stair took us to the first floor where two extremely royal and lavish suits are there. The manager told us that quite a few Bollywood movies were shot here and Ajay Devgan, a Bollywood superstar, also came here to stay with his family. They stayed in the first-floor suits of the Glen Cottage.
We then went down to the intermediate level where Danish Cottages are located. there we saw another cottage which was named – Finish Cottage. The Finnish Cottage, to our surprise, was basically a tree house. apart from the toilet, the living area and the bedroom of the Cottage were built on the trunk of a giant pine tree. from the balcony, a fascinating view of the forest along the slope of the hill can be seen. It was night but we could still feel the amazing surrounding. We skipped the Danish Cottages where we were staying and went to the lowest level and saw a standalone cottage building with the chimney of the fireplace protruding out.
It was the Scottish Villa or the Scottish Cottage – the most fascinating piece in the Shimla British Resort. It is two storied villa with 8 independent bedrooms, a lavish living room and kitchen. The entire villa can be booked and it can be the ideal place to stay for a large group of tourists. We were taken to the interior of the building and it was a richly decorated interior full of old artefacts, pictures, paintings. It was like stepping into a different era. Marvellous work on timber and brass made some of the finest pieces of art in it. The best part was surely their collection of books. Each of the rooms (living and bedrooms) in the villa has a bookshelf full of books of various genre and some of those are really old ones. This is one of a kind place for a book lover on vacation. This cottage also has a connection with a few Bollywood movies. We were taken to the first floor where most of the bedrooms are there. There we were taken to one of the bedrooms which have a secret chamber on top of it. It is basically an Attic under the pitched roof of the villa and can be accessed by a wooden stair which gets hidden when closed. Only the person who is aware of it can pull the stair down and get there. The Attic is being fabulously preserved and a great collection of the usable from the British period are displayed there.
It was an evening of amazement for us. The next morning there were more surprises waiting for us. We had seen the lovely collection of artefacts and books but were unaware of the plants inside the premises. They have an extremely good collection of plants which makes the area look splendid. I had a good opportunity for taking a few micro shots. They also have a few rabbits which run around the area and it was a great sight for my son. He was soon chasing the rabbits. Shimla British Resort is an elegant heritage resort which has maintained its past glory in style and offers a luxury stay. They also have a well-equipped kitchen which offers a great choice of foods.
We were little worried about climbing all the way to the Annadell Road and coming back but the person in reception assures us that they have a car service which picks and drops their guest from and to the Bidhansabha. This resort has a homeliness which is far from the corporate professionalism we see in most hotels. This homeliness has to be enjoyed. We found all the staffs and management of the resort to be extremely friendly and polite. We had a very pleasant stay there and my ratings will be as below;
- Location – 3/5
- Ambience – 5/5
- Cleanliness – 4.5/5
- Amenities – 4/5
- Rooms – 4/5
- Value for Money – 4/5
- Overall – 4/5