As someone who grew up in a typical Indian family that religiously gathered at 5 pm every evening to slowly, and sometimes even silently, sip on a scalding cup of chai and occasionally discuss the politics of routine life, my fondness for tea has become an integral part of my identity. Whether it’s a beach holiday or a cosy guest house covered in snow, it’s something I carry with me everywhere. So, when I stumbled across Glenburn Tea Estate And Boutique Hotel, I was instantly convinced of its quaint, almost-magical charm. Solitude, tea, and a lovely view - what else does one even need?
Nestled high up in the serenity of the mighty Himalayas, overlooking the grandeur of the Kanchenjunga mountain range, the Glenburn Tea Estate is small plantation retreat in Darjeeling. Run by one of India’s pioneering tea plantation families, or ‘chaiwallas’ as they’re lovingly called, The Prakashes have managed to retain the colonial charm of the bungalow without compromising on modern comforts. Modelled on the traditional concept of vineyards, staying at the Glenburn Tea Estate is not just a luxurious experience, but an educational one as well. Where guests can dive into the journey of a single leaf and how it makes its way to the warm cup in our hands.
On a typical day at Glenburn, expect to wake up to the sound of river Rungeet and the whiff of Glenburn special delicacies, like tea-leaf pakoras, Tibetan momos, and Burmese khow suey, emanating from the kitchen. A newspaper brought from the Darjeeling town will be delivered at your doorstep before you begin your exciting day.
With a range of European, South East Asian, and local delicacies to offer, every meal here can be customised according to the wishes of the guest. Moreover, all the food is freshly prepared from ingredients that are in season and most probably, picked from Glenburn’s own garden. In the evenings, you can leisurely feast on a variety of signature cakes, cookies and other baked goods.
Glenburn comprises two main bungalows - The Burra Bungalow and The Water Lily Bungalow. Both of which consist of four suites, common areas, gardens, verandas and terraces. The latter is also connected to the Burra Bungalow through a very aesthetically pleasing stone staircase. With antique furniture, Venetian mirrors, old-fashioned washstands, and a view that directly opens up to the picturesque mountains and a serene blue sky - Glenburn feels almost too magical, almost like time travel. However, modern comforts find their own space within the old-world interiors as the bungalows are well-equipped with massage rooms, steam rooms, free-standing bathtubs, music system, and WiFi.
For those who’d rather get a more rustic experience, the Glenburn Lodge situated in the wilderness is perfect. With two spacious rooms, an attached bathroom, and Kerosene lanterns for when the sun sets, visitors can also indulge in a small barbecue and bonfire before retiring for the day. While staying-in is a popular option at Glenburn, visitors can also opt for the ultimate “Tea Experience”, day trips to Kalimpong and Darjeeling, cookery classes, fishing by the river Rangeet, hiking excursions, massage treatments and more.
As one of the few places that are open all through the year, Glenburn Tea Estate and Boutique Hotel is a traveller’s paradise. The weather is always just perfect - never too hot or too cold. And just like an artist’s perpetually transforming canvas, the colours of Glenburn tend to keep changing every month. A reminder of how timeless, yet transient, nature’s beauty is.
For more information, you can visit Glenburn Tea Estate and Boutique Hotel’s website.
Feature image credit: Staydazzled.com
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