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Beat the heat with a hilly retreat

chandigarh Updated: Jun 12, 2014 12:54 IST
Nikita Sharma
Nikita Sharma
Hindustan Times
hilly retreat

Go and experience the quaint, fun, striking, educational and adventurous sides of Shimla; explore it in a new way this summer and come back with a feeling that will stay with you for years

With summer vacation already here, you might be mulling which place to visit this year. One of the options that first come to mind is queen of hills Shimla.

Then you might think it would be no different from your several weekend trips. But, the town, the pre-independence summer capital of the British, a part of which has been declared as heritage zone by the government, is not just scenic views and walking down the Mall Road after a three-hour drive, as I discovered in my latest sojourn to the city.

During my stay at Oberoi Cecil I also experienced the quaint, fun, striking, educational and adventurous sides of the city, which interestingly happens to be my birthplace.

The British-era hotel, with its wooden fireplaces, music, lounge, vintage furniture and the 130-year-old building, itself takes you back in time.

Located in the midst of the city, the hotel offers umpteen options for those absorbed with wanderlust. Closest is the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, the baronial-style building, which was built in 1888, a tour of the building offers you great insight into the country’s history in the few decades before independence. Those looking for solace more than a historical tour can take a ten-minute drive to the Glen, located amid cheel trees and looking over scenic mountain ranges and the Annandale.

Sports enthusiasts can try out golf, archery and mountain biking made available by the hotel. Foodies need not fret for a variety of Himachali cuisine is theirs for taking. That’s not all. Even children can have a gala time here. As Oberoi Cecil general manager Arpit Pant says, “This year we are focussing on activities for children as well, so that not only their parents, even kids can have a memorable time. From bar tending, towel art, cookery, video games to billiards, options galore for children at our hotel. There is a different activity for each day of the week, in which we award children with certificates. A fun ride in the toy train is also a good option for children as well as their parents. Babysitting facility is also provided to guests.”

“Not just children, couples also have numerous choices to have a relaxing trip. The hotel offers to organise candlelight and culinary romance dinners. Along with this, the spa facility and all-weather swimming pool are here to release out your stress,” shares the general manager.

It doesn’t end with your trip, as Cecil remains in touch with you on their facebook page: The Oberoi Cecil, Shimla.

Pant says, “Various quiz contests are held for kids on this page, and in the form of prize, toy snow leopard, which is state animal of Himachal and the hotel’s little mascot Ceecu (Cecil and U) is sent to the winners at their home. Other contests are also organised time to time on the page.”

So, explore the city in a new way this summer, and come back with a feeling that will last for days, months and years somewhere within you.