New Elgin (Darjeeling)
With over a century of history and the boast of being a former King’s residence, Darjeeling can be a truly regal experience. 6,000 feet above sea level in the Himalayas, your head is in the clouds, surrounded by colonial décor and a beautiful hillside garden.
Set in a former royal residence built in 1887, this high-end hotel, with an ornate, Colonial-era exterior, is a 4-minute walk from the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and 4 miles (6 km) from the colorful Buddhist Ghum Monastery.
Featuring Victorian-style decor, teak wood floors and fireplaces, the formal rooms and suites come with Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, DVD players, minibars, and tea and coffeemakers. Suites add living rooms. Room service is available, and kids 5 and under stay free.
A sophisticated restaurant serves international and Nepalese fare, and there’s a garden gazebo offering afternoon tea. Other amenities include a spa and bike rentals.
Exploring the mountains of the Himalayas can be a luxurious affair if you want it to be, especially is you use the city of Darjeeling as a base. Here you can relax in colonial splendor before heading out for a few days to discover the nearby foothill towns. Take a few days to acclimatize to the altitude before your hike or trek a cross the state of Sikkim.
Ladakh is to the west of the Himalayas, and is another world, with extraordinary landscapes and a strong Buddhist heritage, similar,but arguably even more dramatic than, Tibet. Best explored from June to September.