If ‘peace’, ‘tranquillity’ needed another word, Elgin Hall would be justified there. Amidst mesmerizing greenery of Himachal, this vintage luxury retreat is a gift to break the monotony of our mundane lives. Embracing a new reality, we take a peep into this heavenly abode. But, what to expect when you enter a homegrown luxury stay post the pandemic?
Imagine lush beautiful greenery, quiet strolling streets, sweet rain droplets, the vast stretch of paradisaical mountains all around – isn’t it a perfect picturesque view and long-lasting relaxation? Especially at uncertain times like these, visions of sublime natural beauty and serene spirituality is a boon to the eyes and mind. What’s better than sipping some hot chocolate in an opulent boutique retreat that tells some aesthetic tales of bygone British era? Nestled amongst deodar trees, Elgin Hall – a classic magnificent bungalow in Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh is a serene escapade in luxury style, along with being just a drivable distance from Delhi!
Owned by Mr.Kavish Khurana, the charming, historic property echoes the reminiscent scent of past lavishness but only with some revamped contemporary touches. Although reimagined by Rohit Kapoor – Head designer of Nivasa, Mr.Khurana has paid a very close eye and thoughtfully put together every inch to achieve a flawless look and pristine experience. He adds, “We wanted to maintain that old-world British charm along with converting the space into a family-friendly luxury retreat. The goal was to retain the historical significance of the space, while seamlessly adding modern signature touches. Hence, every room was ornamented with custom-designed pieces, all inspired by the Victorian era.”
Stepping Into Modern Galore
An old-world charm, Elgin Hall was originally constructed in 1857. Retaining the perfect balance between ‘past glory’ and ‘modern living’, each space speaks of a warm, cosy and intimate emotion that one gets it at one’s homes only. Well, in Elgin Hall, these come with picturesque corners and worth capturing visuals, too.
This abode is a sprawling seven-bedroom villa in lush colour palettes and impeccable finishes. Each of the rooms is elegantly decorated in light-pastel hues and furnished in a way that hits a sweet nostalgia. The European inspired elements take you through 125 years of preserved heritage. Following a rustic design language, you can spot a fine selection of royal furniture placed against some serene colours that take you back to an evergreen chic English style that can hardly ever wither with time. Each of the seven rooms is doused in soft pastel colour and ornamented with pristine white furniture that exudes refinement. With a warm, environment wafting around, there are additives that work up to its charm – chesterfields, tufted chaises, exquisitely crafted light fixtures and other accents, all that appeals a ‘homely’ experience, but an elegant one.
Their posh crockery is a statement in itself. The touch of Victorian heritage through floral upholstery, classic English teacups, and fine chinaware heightened the look of their Tea Room. In the space of dining too, this vintage private stay doesn’t fail to leave a mark-making sure that their patrons get to satiate their palates with a mix of both exotic plus homely food experience. Mr Khurana adds, “The traditional Indian cuisine and Amritsari specialists are the USP of the guests’ stay. Our chefs specialise in North Indian Punjabi and Amritsari cuisine with live barbeque and tandoori snacks served always being a super hit.” Although signifying a revamped authenticity, the villa also has a stone-brick fireplace right by the patio, as well as a barbeque counter around the dining area, which makes the experience more attractive.
Getaways have always been about hitting the nature pills – connecting to inner selves, surrounded by serene flora and to be tucked away from the hustles of the main city. Blessed in bestowing this experience, the entire property is amidst private lawns and offers panoramic views of the hills. The exteriors make it a perfect spot for private gatherings, lazy brunches, enjoying tete-a-tete barbeques and high tea, playing Indian-bred games of cricket or badminton. These fields make it one of the most loved and favourite part of Elgin Hall. How beautiful will it be to unwind and relax with a warm cup of tea amid a green locale!
Elgin Hall makes it a quick escape to ‘holiday mood’ amidst this current situation. Paving way for a new adaption, the team has taken all the precautionary measures, keeping in mind the norms of social distancing. Mr Khurana enlightens, “Being from the travel and tourism industry, running a boutique private property of my own; I too have had my share of doubts and looming questions about things going back to normal. Eventually what I’ve personally inferred is, rather than focusing on going back to normal, we should be focusing on getting some new standards and a new normal for the coming times. And with this, the changes might begin with preferences for domestic destinations accessible by car and stays at private rental properties instead of crowded hotels and resorts. The change will come slowly but we will get there.”
They have made sure that a guest’s travel history before arrival is closely looked into with recording of body temperature of all people a mandatory deed. Safety kits are provided in all rooms containing disposable gloves, N95 masks and hand sanitizers with thorough and repeated cleaning of high contact surfaces. In the space of cooking delicacies too, the culinary teams are equipped with masks, gloves and chef hats/hairnets and the highest levels of HACCP certified hygiene and sanitation measures. All materials coming into the hotel is sanitized immediately; kitchen utensils and equipment are thoroughly cleaned with chlorine tablets after every use. He adds, “At Elgin Hall, our energies are focused towards new adaption and preparing for a new normal in the travel industry as a whole. Hence, we have introduced a health and safety initiative as of now at our property, ‘we.care’ which is essentially a programme designed to address the wellbeing of all Elgin Hall associates and the guests alike, serving as a sign of comfort and confidence to our modern travellers.”
An Experience in Itself
‘Home is where the heart is’ – the feeling of familiarity the word ‘home’ carries with it is inexplicable. Setting out on a voyage, we all crave for a ‘home’ in unknown lands too. While luxury hotels are on the rise, homegrown luxury homestays and private accommodation have quite created a buzz amongst the audience.Mr.Khurana explains, “With a new generation of sagacious travellers opting for this style of accommodation over luxury hotels, the luxury holiday home sector has experienced significant growth in popularity. And the reason broadly lies in privacy, flexibility and value for money. People opt for exclusive amenities in their own private retreat, travellers find total flexibility in a holiday home. Most importantly, luxury homes are mostly all-inclusive at price front whereas, when it comes to hotel stays for families they have to end up booking two or more rooms to accommodate everyone, plus more expenses of other amenities that can add up to an extra expensive holiday.”
Spending time with oneself in the lap of nature can be the best experience in tiring times like these. Travellers, nowadays, want authentic connections and experiences – a space that is much more than just physical charms. Elgin Hall, being a boutique homestay in a perfect location with its history and contemporary charm doesn’t fall short of providing the luxe amenities and experiences. With its classic interiors, gourmet dining options and in-house recreational areas such as a library, tea lounge, and game room, you’re living like a local than a tourist with star-rated hospitality that maybe is a little hard to find in regular homestays. He also adds, “We are, here, to sell an experience as a whole. We offer the whole of the close-knit community of Himachal. We ask our guests to try to pause each day while they’re here and take a walk to view and feel nature; a break from the city drama to recalibrate their lives.”
Living in such unprecedented times, all of us are aware of the hardships and grave standstill the travel and tourism industry faces. With precautions and safety measures, the face of the future is rapidly changing but does that mean our recreational purposes need to have a pause? Well, I would say ‘pause in style’ – it can start with a road trip in the safety of your cars, falling in love with the domestic hills and beaches all over again. It might be a short-term vacation rental but definitely a healing treat to the mind that can help local property owners with their inspiring spaces just like how Elgin Hall is!