What is better than hospitality that knows how to serve up a great spa session (that begins with calming, ginger detox tea, by the way) and understands your need for adventure, all at the same time? Not much, friends, not much. The newest Taj property that has been launched, Taj Theog Resort & Spa, is all of this and maybe more.
As I entered their lobby I was awestruck by its ceiling to floor windows and intense elements of Himachali architecture. I was welcomed with a hot kulhad of apple tea (I may be addicted, help me) and a cosy Himachali, woolen cap. Those of you who love grand views, will be glad to know that you get rooms over here with balconies overlooking a breath-taking mountain view.
Weirdly, any hotel I've ever checked into, I've always compulsively checked the bathrooms first. Taj Theog's rooms come with bathrooms with blow-dryers, and a suave shower room with glass doors, and marble flooring (the interior and architecture nerd in me was thrilled to see this).
For lunch, I ate at their restaurant Tragopan and had the pleasure of meeting their Chef Santosh Kumar who suggested that I try two things, an orange and Jalepeno salad, with loads of greens, followed by a Himachali cuisine thali. The Himachali cuisine was to die for - I had paranthas with Chha ghosht (a mutton delicacy), and lentil dimsums cooked in spinach saag (mouth watering yet?). I've never had Himachali food ever before, but from whatever I've read, I'd like to vouch for the quality Taj Theog serves.
For dinner you can head to their restaurant and bar - Theog Junction. Here, you can chill with the dim lights, a drink, live music and great food. Fun fact; Theog Junction is built to resemble the famous train to Shimla. Right across this restaurant is their indoor, heated pool. So, in-case you feel like taking a swim, go on, the water's always warm. They've also got an in-house handicrafts shop, where you can find scarves, shawls etc to take back as souvenirs.
I also recommend a session at Taj's Jiva spa (a luxury spa experience available at a select Taj properties). There are two massages I think you must try. First is their champi, which is a forty-five minute long head massage that put me straight to sleep. And second, the retreat's signature massage - Deva-Daru. A two hour long massage that starts with their sea salt, sesame oil and Devadaru/Deodar Cedar tree powder scrub, and ends with a fragrant and relaxing Pine oil massage.
If you choose to take a trip to Hatu Temple from here, the kind people at Taj will arrange for a picnic meal (at a very pretty location) for you either on the way to the temple or on your way back. You can choose to go on a similar experience; a camp out or a picnic during a nature trail (this is for INR 6,500 and above).