On our way back from Shimla, after a cool and wonderful holiday of 10 days, we were already depressed about coming to the baking heat of Delhi when we discovered a resort that lifted our sagging spirits. Suryavilas luxury resort and spa is about 8 kms from Kumarhatti that is on the Chandigarh-Shimla highway. A five km drive towards Nahan from this place and then a juddering 3 km ride brought us to the resort that is in Village Gandhigram.
Our plan was just to stay for lunch on a Friday afternoon and head back to Delhi as my in-laws had been anxiously waiting for my about to be two-year-old son. That plan though got deferred and we started our journey back only on Monday morning, after probably having the holiday of our lives.
The resort is not one big hulk of a hotel, but small villas on the ledges of the hills, flowing down to the bottom. The ledges have not been destroyed and the unplanned beauty of the graded steps has been preserved. The resort uses golf carts to ferry guests from one part to the other and asking for a cart is mostly just a phone call away.
“The entire staff is trained to maintain eye contact with the guests, they are also always around but never disturb the guests unless the guests need them,” Gayatri Bajaj, the owner of the property said.
This was something that our family felt throughout our stay in the resort, our luxury suite had a private swimming pool which the bathroom door led to, and on most occasions we preferred to play with our son, who loves water, in privacy and we never felt that there was anyone who was either looking for us or was snooping.
The spa and the restaurant are at the top of the hill and unlike most places the highest point of the property is not a roof but an open air common swimming pool. There is a theatre where one can enjoy movies with other guests, though one can also watch them in the privacy of their room. The list of movies to choose from though leaves a bit more to be desired.
“The idea behind this design was to not destroy the mountain scape, and once the rains come and the creepers that have been planted grow, it would just look like a mountain with a few houses. No structure is more than two stories and so it looks like its hugging the ground rather than overbearing,” Piyush Prakash, the Delhi-based architect of the property said.
The place is built over an area of 15 acres and there are about 50 odd luxurious rooms in various categories. The spa has a tie up with the French company Thalgo, and is a must go for whoever reaches here.
My child usually does not feel at home instantly, but here he was walking around in confidence from the beginning and was many a times venturing far away from us in the company of two people in the kitchen staff that he took an instant liking to.
My husband loved the ideal blend of simplicity and opulence. He has spent his childhood in Kullu and Manali and was very sceptical if they would have the full Kullu trout, which was one of the delicacies in the a la carte menu. Kullu would roughly be at least 10 hours from this resort and not only was the trout available it was fresh and wonderfully done.
For the luxury that Suryavilas gives, the pricing is very fair and for us it exceeded our expectations of rejuvenation. We drove back on Monday feeling on top of the world.