Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Heavenly Hotel

High on a hill, deep in the Himalayas is the most gorgeous hotel I have stayed in - the Glenburn Tea Estate.  I stayed at Glenburn a few weeks ago when I was in India and while the clouds didn't lift enough for us to see the snow-capped mountains, the misty trees and hills were gorgeous.  Not only is Glenburn a working tea plantation and a boutique hotel, but I have also decided it  resembles what my ideal home would be like - a place that is beautifully decorated with amazing views, and has delicious food (that I don't have to prepare), and attentive staff!  

Glenburn was built in 1859 and was lovingly restored in 2002 to the style of a colonial planter's bungalow under the guidance of Bronwyn Latif (an interior designer based in Delhi).  Not only did she capture the feel of a historic home, but she also made it cheerful and welcoming.  In fact it seemed more like a home than a hotel.  I really felt like I could move right in and be very comfortable there.   As I sat on the long veranda that joined all the rooms I pondered what I liked so much about Glenburn and here is what I came up with.  

The colours used throughout were clear colours - colours that are found in nature, like the flowers surrounding the hotel.

The outside of the buildings were painted a lovely fresh apricot colour with white trim and the verandas had either white painted or black and white tiled flooring - very fresh and clean looking.

Some of the rooms had intense jolts of pinks, yellows, greens, or blues, but they were always softened with white trim and accents such as cushions or bedding.  The white was just what was needed to keep all those fresh happy colours peaceful and calm.

Other rooms were painted a clear, calm white and colour was added in the cushions, furniture, and textiles.  

I loved the classic furniture - mostly dark wood, but also some painted wicker and wood pieces.

The art on the walls was appropriate to the location and was interesting - everything from old maps, to botanicals, animal prints, china, and old photographs.

There were flowers in every room - some bouquets were made up of quieter colours,

and some were bolder (the one below was one of my favourites).

I loved the touches of India that had been incorporated in the decor.  Things like skylights, vents, and ceiling fans, 

old British colonial furniture with tropical wood and caned seats, 

deep verandas for relaxing when the days are hot or during the monsoon rains like when we were there,

elephants carved into the headboard,

 and woven into the linens.

and even rush covered water bottles and covers for the drinking glasses on the bedside table.

The bathrooms were all fresh and white with classic mirrors and thick white towels

and baskets of tea-scented bath products.  It is a working tea plantation after all!

It was a lovely serene place to stay - on the top of a hill surrounded by tea fields and looking out to the Himalayan jungle.  I just adored the little alcove I had with the white linens and a little sitting nook.  Isn't it divine - I could have stayed forever (especially if they gave me some of those chocolate brownies and glorious cups of tea every day)! 

Aren't you inspired to incorporate a bit of the Glenburn loveliness into your home? I know I am!  


  1. It would be difficult to leave such a beautiful place. Did you bring home some tea?

  2. This does look heavenly. Which town/city was it near to? I must stay here next time I am in India. It is a true plantation house with all the luxuries. How did you ever find it? And the beds, they don't look so comfortable but so Indian. I bet your back never felt better. I love those misty mornings/days. Too bad you couldn't see the Himalayas.

  3. I love architecture and I'm very intrigued by the beautiful details of the plantation. Loving all the ceiling details, tiled porches, pillars etc. but I'm totally taken with the view off the end of the black and white tiled porch.

  4. Hmm, I had to go through your lovely photos one more time. Is it British Colonial influences more than traditional Indian? You are right about the softer and clearer colours being pretty. I was expecting more of the saturated and 'spicy' colours.

  5. I should have specified a few details. Glenburn Tea Estate is about an hours drive out of Darjeeling which is in the northeast part of India (a small section that juts up into the Himalayas and borders with Nepal and Tibet).

    And yes Elizabeth, you are correct it is British Colonial style - a look I very much like.

  6. What a wonderful peaceful place. Very lovely in every detail.


  7. Glad you are back safe and sound. I have so enjoyed seeing all of your posts. What an incredible experience.

    Forget boutique hotels with their pristine minimalism, I'll take this place any day.

  8. I love these images! Certainly this place is magazine worthy or movie set worthy! What a treat!

  9. It is unbelievably beautiful. I'd go all the way to India just to stay there. It reminds me of the movie "Staying On" about an elderly British couple who stay on after the British left India - they were in this beautiful area with all the wonderful tea and mountains.