Visiting Manali, Re-visiting Gothic
Manali, perched on the banks of the River Beas in Himachal Pradesh, has never felt the need to nurse a colonial hangover to draw visitors to its naturally bestowed verdant bounty. So when I suddenly hear a lot of chatter about a certain Gothic castle near the Hadimba Temple, curiosity bites me hard.
Replete with chimneys, a Juliet’s balcony, and a turret crowned with a crow’s nest, turns out this property is of a recent vintage, and many years in the making, because the owners are simply living their dream: flagstone by paved flagstone, arch by medieval arch.
Evidenced, in the stoney facade offset by gracious interiors, is that The Himalayan Resort & Spa is a labour of love of luxurious details. Dark wood floors, leather furniture, hand-crafted chimney pieces and cast iron fireplaces are de rigeur.
The entry hallway, its marble floor inspired by ones in Pompeii, opens onto yet another remarkable feature: a swimming pool sunk into an informal garden, with stone pathways leading off to well-appointed guest cottages, snuggling amidst apple and cherry orchards. And the views? Matchless! For one who is always itching to explore, I must confess I spent much of my time here soaking in the surrounding verdure.
Truth be had, I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if guests choose not to leave the premises at all. Would you, if your complete wellness was in the capable hands of the in-house Tattva Spa? I didn’t think so either. Combine that with leisurely constitutionals through the family-owned orchards, and this place has the makings of a destination resort par excellence.
In-step with their obvious stance on quality of experience, the friendly owners are always at hand to trouble-shoot, as also to lend your stay a more personal touch. In deed, one of them found time to keep us company whenever possible. Chatty and knowledgeable, he also kept us informed, in style and in splits!