A luxury tea estate stay in Darjeeling, West Bengal
Glenburn is an estate-sized time machine, transporting guests to the days of the British planters and the luxurious way of life of that bygone era.
This plantation retreat is set in 1,600 acres of tea gardens, forests, rolling hills, river valleys and tea picker villages and is spread across a hill high above the River Rungeet with glorious views of the mighty Kanchenjunga mountain range. Glenburn was established by a Scottish tea company in 1859 and eventually passed into the hands of one of India’s pioneering tea planting families, the Prakashes, who are not surprisingly known as the “Chaiwala family“.
The accommodation is in two bungalows, each comprising of four suites and common areas, gardens, verandahs and terraces accessible to all guests. The Burra Bungalow is the quintessential planter’s bungalow that seems straight out of a storybook with its sweeping verandah, cozy living room complete with fireplace and library and a grand dining room, which is where guests enjoy their sit-down dinners. It offers great views of the mountain range and the tea gardens. The Water Lily Bungalow, located on the edge of the Glenburn spur, also has quaint common areas like living room and a smaller dining room apart from verandahs and gardens.
The eight rooms are unique in layout and design, but all are beautifully furnished and most have such interesting features like fireplaces, bay window sitting areas or free standing bathtubs.
The food is an intrinsic part of the Glenburn experience. The extensive grounds mean that the property grows its own herbs, spices and many of the fruits and vegetables that find their way to the dining table. The menus cover a wide range from local Bengali fare to international South East Asian and European cuisine. Expect to be treated to family recipes like Tea-Leaf Pakoras, Chocolate Brownies, Tibetan Momos and Burmese Khow Suey.
The food on the table isn’t the only star of meal times. The large property offers many lovely nooks for great dining experiences. So Breakfast or Lunch could be served in the bright and sunny Morning Room at one end of The Front Verandah or under the Pomello Tree outside the Water Lily Bungalow or even on a terrace overlooking the mountains. Or these could be multi-course picnic meals served at pre-planned venues on the grounds lthat offer spectacular views. Barbeques are also organised down by the river or at The Simbong Garden Terrace of the Burra Bungalow. Dinner is typically a sit-down meal in the candle-lit intimacy of The Dining Room.
The Tea Experience offered here is a great introduction to the business of tea, with walks in the tea gardens, guided tour of the tea factory and a tea tasting session included. A hike through forest tracks to the Glenburn Campsite, on the banks of the River Rungeet, is another interesting experience. The guides will point out the many bird and butterfly species that are found here. At the campsite guests can try their hand at fishing or enjoy a pictic-style lunch on the river banks. Guests can also opt to stay at the log cabin located here.
With so much to do, the hosts suggest a minimum stay of three nights to enjoy the bounties of Glenburn.
Price: Rs 25,850 per night for single occupancy and Rs 43,710 per night for double/twin occupancy. Tariff includes meals.
Read more: http://www.glenburnteaestate.com/
Glenburn employs locals at the hotel. Along with a welfare trust set-up for children's' education, Glenburn has also focused on environment conservation, especially in the area of saving fish species.