24 hours at Rokeby Manor
Lead Image credit- Rokeby Manor
My sister who studies at Woodstock had a long weekend and wanted us to come up and spend time with her. We flew from Delhi to Dehradun and took a taxi up to Landour.Landour is a sleepy, small cantonment town about 35 kms from Dehradun. It is languid, peaceful, clean and even a few degrees cooler than Mussoorie. Home to Woodstock School, the famous language school and popularised by Ruskin Bond- this is my favourite place to run off to on a long weekend. It has a a few cafes, bookshops and lots of hiking trails to boot.
We spent our weekend at the Rokeby Manor- a hotel run by Mars Hospitality. The Rokeby Manor was built in 1840 and is one of the most popular landmarks of Landour. Very popular with students and parents of the Woodstock School but also among people looking for some peace and quiet; this property offers understated luxury with an old world charm. The hotel is warm, cozy and has recently introduced a new spa, a bar called the ‘stray dog’ and a restaurant called ‘Stubli’.
We reached Rokeby in the afternoon and popped into Emily’s for lunch as soon as we had checked in. The interiors are reminiscent of a ski chalet with fireplaces, cozy corners and a lot of literature. Emily’s is a gorgeous cafe and restaurant that is open from breakfast to dinner for meals, buffet arrangements and a cuppa tea in the sun. The staff is attentive and very perceptive and take extra care of your dietary preferences and allergies, which is very welcome in India. We ordered the ‘mustard chicken’, a portion of the ‘chargrilled chicken’ and the ‘tom yum soup’ with noodles. We had managed to work up a serious appetite after a long 15 km walk so we enjoyed a languid lunch. The tom yum soup was aromatic, flavourful and very satisfying particularly on a cold, nippy day when the temperature came down a few notches. It was the perfect antidote to the cold I felt coming on and the noodles really helped satiate my belly. Both the chicken dishes were remarkably succulent considering chicken isn’t my favourite meat in order of preference. The portions were adequate and they came with a side of grilled vegetables and a jus that was beautiful.
I napped for a little bit in our cottage that afternoon because thats what holidays are for. You seldom have the luxury to nap when you are in Delhi and a post lunch snooze seemed perfect after that lunch. The rooms were small, cozy but perfect for couples and it was fitted with all the amenities you could require in the hills.
The spa is a few hundred meters away. I walk into a well lit reception with two cheerful ladies who escort me to my room for my treatment. I am greeted by Leah, a gorgeous, ebullient massage therapist who performs a foot ritual and offers me some ginger tea before we begin. I opt for a 90 minute deep tissue massage because my body needs some manipulation after all that trekking, walking and countless hours spent in front of the computer screen. Leah is very friendly and attentive and knows her work very well. Half way through the massage, I can feel a marked improvement in the soreness in my neck and shoulders and decide to take a short nap. I wake up when the massage is over to another cup of herbal tea before I go in for a quick steam session. I walk out feeling lighter, noticeably less sore and more relaxed than I have been in a long time.
My sisters are waiting for me at the restaurant. The interiors are warm, cozy and beautifully lit for an intimate dinner or drinks with close friends. The menu at ‘Stubli’ is very impressive. My sister ordered the beetroot risotto which was impeccably plated and polished off within minutes. I ordered the almond crusted sea bass that was so beautifully presented, I didn’t want to destroy it by eating it. Cooked to perfection, I loved the almond crunch with the melt in your mouth fish and it gave the dish a whole deal more depth. We had pineapple carpaccio for dessert which was equal amounts of tart and sweet with that beautifully burnt caramel flavoured that lingered.
Mornings at Rokeby are beautiful because on a sunny day, you can sit out at Emily’s and enjoy a lazy breakfast with a book and a cup of freshly brewed coffee. It was time for us to pack our bags and leave but we decided to walk up to the Highlands where they organise outdoor lunches, parties and birthdays. The best part aside from the view of Doon Valley were the two ginormous outdoor jacuzzis. I wish it hadn’t rained the night before and we were able to book the jacuzzi for ourselves. If you do come in the summer, please book the jacuzzi a night before because it takes time to heat it up and enjoy breathtaking views of the valley or gasp at the stars.
For those of you who want to have a home in the mountains and still enjoy the hospitality provided by Rokeby, you can have a look at the newer residences located in close proximity to the property. They have a few properties that you can rent out for the summer or even look to lease on a long term basis. I think Landour has a charm of its own and because its cooler and less crowded than Mussoorie, Dehradun or other neighbouring hill stations- its the perfect place for a writers sojourn too. I found that I could write a lot better after long walks and copious amounts of lemon ginger tea. I left Landour with a spring in my step and inspired to come home to city life. If you haven’t been to Landour yet, pay a visit to these gorgeous sleepy town in the cooler months where you can catch a glimpse of the ‘winterline’.
P.S- go over to the Landour Bakeshop and grab some cinnamon rolls, the almond and apricot tart and bring home some peppermint candy for the rest of the family.
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Accessibility- Landour is 37.5 km from Dehradun by road (1 hr 30 min) and 7km from Mussoorie. The
nearest airport is Jolly Grant, Dehradun.
Note-I was invited to review the Rokeby Manor, Mussoorie but all my views are my own. Hope you enjoy the property as much as I did.
Photo Credits- Rokeby Manor