The Retreat in Bhimtal is one of those cosy British-era homestays that’s rustic on the edges, charming on the inside and, from what we hear, the host’s hospitality makes everything even better.
Run by the family of Frederick Smetacek, a man who fled the Nazis and came to India, this one's a British-era cottage situated on the foothills of the Kumaon Himalayas with only green hills around as far as the eyes can see. The property lets visitors experience a slice of the colonial life with its vintage paintings, a gramophone, rustic wooden furniture and their lovely piano. They also have three bedrooms with attached bathrooms that live and breathe an old-world charm. If not in these cosy rooms, you can always laze around in the garden and enjoy the perfect breakfast with Herb and Cheese Cutlets and fluffy Apple Pancakes. They've got organic and vegan meal options, too!
They also offer cooking classes for anyone who's interested to learn. How cool is that?
The rooms are priced at INR 4,000 for double occupancy and INR 3,500 for single occupancy. Know that the fare is slightly lower during the off-season.