What heights do you need to scale to experience luxury at it’s pinnacle??
The answer is 8250 ft.
A short 30 min drive from Shimla on the Shimla-Kufri highway lead me into the fairy tale world of the Oberoi’s Wildflower hall. I was actually able to feel the sudden change in the air the moment I made an entry into their compound through the main gate. The impact was sudden, yet surreal, making me understand why the hotel has been constantly making its presence felt amongst the top ranked in the world.
The Oberoi hospitality is legendary. And I didn’t have to wait for too long to experience it firsthand. The fantasy started the moment they opened the car door. And the rest, as they say, is history. The feeling of ‘I am the most special person on the planet’ would linger on with you for the rest of your stay.
My casual talks with the property manager gave me an insight into the great history the hotel possesses, stretching back to more than 100 years.
What actually came into existence as the private property of Mr GH Batten, was passed on to Lord and Lady Dufferin. Lord Ripon, the erstwhile Viceroy of India, was said to have made Wildflower Hall his favorite retreat!!!!!(The property radiated royalty since the beginning you see!!!)
It is however best remembered as the residence of Lord Kitchener, the commander in chief of the British army in India. After he left India, the property was sold to Mrs Hotz, who converted it into a hotel for the first time. In 1972, Himanchal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) took over the property. Unfortunately, the building was gutted in a devastating fire in 1993.
A new chapter unfolded in the year 1995, when the Oberoi group took over and started the construction of something that would set benchmarks as the epitome of luxury in the times to come.
The first and the foremost thing that struck me was the perfect blend of grandeur and elegance. The colonial architecture dipped in a shade of cream and grey, add a sense of old world charm to the property. The manicured lawns are the perfect place to laze your days off, watching the sunlight playing hide n seek with the lush cedar that cocoon the premise.
I could spend an entire day here. It oozes the romance of a charming English country villa. The antique furniture, the glass chandeliers and the wooden flooring blend together in harmony, and create an aura that is colonial to the core.
The best place to soak in the ambiance, is the corner sofa. Grab your favorite book, immerse yourself into the tunes of the classical symphonies that constantly play in the background, and marvel at the scenic vistas through the beautiful French window to soothen up your inner self. There’s even a big portrait of the man himself, Lord Kitchener, who constantly keeps a close eye on his beloved property.
Rooms & Suites
You can take your pick from a variety of options, keeping in mind your likes and of course, your budget..
• Lord Kitchener Suite
• Deluxe Suite
• Mountain View Rooms
• Valley View Rooms
• Garden View Rooms
I went for the Mountain view room, that offered me, as the name suggests, a beautiful view, together with a more than decent space and all the basic amenities.
Pools & Spa
This, I feel, has gradually become one of the most important parameter to judge a resort as far as luxury standards are concerned. And rest assured, Wildflower Hall scores a perfect 10/10 in this department.
Wildflower Hall’s legendary outdoor Jacuzzi is probably it’s topmost attractions, and certainly, a lifetime experience. I had been fantasizing about it since long, and frankly speaking, this was probably what I was looking forward to the most.
Getting down into the warm waters and gazing at the beautiful valley and the snow capped peaks..it just can’t get any better than this..Sip your favorite champagne or a shaken Martini, and the portrait gets complete. The experience is even more magical once the sun sets. Dark outside and warm within..
There’s even an indoor heated pool on the way to the Jacuzzi. The chandeliers and the mosaic floors take royalty to a whole new level (Backstroke is a must!!!!!). The French windows offer another set of panoramic views..
To say that Wildflower’s Hall spa is great would be an understatement. The signature treatment had a rejuvenating effect and made my experience a more complete one..
There’s an option of both an indoor dining area and an outdoor terrace, offering some breathtaking views. I would suggest trying both the places as they offer different range of experiences. The indoor area provides a more regal ambiance, while the terrace is a more rustic and adventurous setting.
Non veg : Oriental crispy fried Kullu valley trout
Veg : Thai stir fried vegetables with chilli, basil and garlic
The Cavalary Bar provides the perfect setting to unwind sipping your favorite single malt and witnessing the bartender create his signature cocktail.
Don’t expect strawberries en route, but the walk was beautiful indeed. It’s an hour long stroll, starting from the hotel premise, and cuts through lush green cedar forest. I was looking for a place to capture a shot of the hotel. Found it on this walk.
The chefs would make you a sumptuous buffet breakfast that can be enjoyed at the hotel’s private picnic area amidst the beautiful cedar forest.
River rafting on Sutlej
The drive down to river (2.5 hrs) is picturesque. It’s a 3 hrs rafting process, combined with a lunch on the banks of the Sutlej river.
Oberoi’s Wildflower Hall is not just a hotel. It’s an experience in itself..Ditch the common man in you and live the life of a monarch….