Walking past a board marked “Private Property” we found ourselves in the midst of a clearing between shrubs, trees and saplings, where a teal-and-white cottage stood. It was a little removed from the main Club Mahindra property, in the vicinity of which this cottage sits. Leisure Hotels- the company that owns the property- has leased it out to Club Mahindra, which now manages operations for The Bungalows. This cottage is a homestay experience and a luxury experience- rolled into one. It’s removed from the crowds and yet separated from them by nothing more than a pathway connecting to the hotel. Settling into the cottage, I was drawn to its charm- with fresh mountain air breezing through, the mild scent of pine trees and loveable lit-up corners, I realised it was truly a comfy “hideaway” in the hills.
These cottages lie in a silent corner of Naukuchiatal; a stone’s throw from the lake and in a spot where silence reigns throughout the day. In the evening, the only sound that is heard is of the crickets and the birds chirping in the distance. The Bungalows are located inside the Club Mahindra property in Naukuchiatal, a few minutes away from the lake. It is within walking distance of most cafes and restaurants in the area as well. While you could opt to drive down, I prefer taking the train to Kathgodam and then taking a cab for the hour’s drive to Naukuchiatal. It would cost you approximately INR 1,000 per way in a comfortable car (mine was an Ertiga).
About the villa:
As I stepped into the villa, I was taken by its wooden stairs, cozy corners and luxurious interiors. Aside from its aesthetically pleasing design, it also makes for a comfortable stay with modern bathrooms, clean linen and spacious rooms. We stayed in the tw0-bedroom villa, which is also divided into two floors by a set of wooden steps spiralling down into the second room. On the top floor is a walk-in lobby, a small seating deck and the first bedroom, accompanied by a dressing room. On the lower floor is the second bedroom- the master bedroom in my view, with a small lounge area and the kitchen and dining area. Each room has an attached bathroom. As you step outside, you will find another seating area amidst the trees. This cottage is as endearing on the first look as it is on the last.
Tasteful interiors with a consistent colour scheme and a laid-back vibe make this the ideal cottage for a silent getaway or a family vacation, specially since it is connected to the main Club Mahindra property and all those facilities (including the play area) are available to customers staying at The Bungalow. This is also a great villa for a group of friends looking to rent a cottage, given the spacious rooms and its proximity to the lake. One could call it enchanting, for it is enveloped by foliage on all sides. Tiny lamps line the stone pathway to the house, and white lace curtains peep out from the other side of the windows.
There are two cottages at this property- a villa with 2 rooms, and another with 3 rooms. It comes with a personal chef and a property manager who will gladly help out with anything you need.
Food and service:
Both people- the property manager and the chef, work exclusively for The Bungalows. They coordinate with guests for meal timings, food preferences and any other snacks or meals required. They offer home-cooked meals, but each dish prepared left me wanting for more. The food here is delicious and fresh, flavourful and hygienically prepared. After my first two meals at this property, I began looking forward to meal timings and began saving my appetite so I could truly appreciate the culmination of flavours that came together in each dish served.
You could also request for snacks- Maggi or potato cutlets- or anything else you fancy, and they will be happy to cook those for you. The service is prompt and they are always around throughout the day, at a lodge adjacent to the cottage and can be beckoned through a phone call. Both- the chef and their property manager Prakash, are warm and helpful, and made all the difference to an already fantastic stay. They make for great conversationists too, with many a story to tell, and their hospitality will be remembered for a long time to come.
Why you should visit:
Aside from the ease with which you can reach this place, it’s the ideal location to disconnect from the world around you. You won’t face signal issues, nor will you be forced to spend time alone in solitude- but you will want to. You will want to sit and gaze at the stars so clearly visible in the night sky. You will want to cozy up in the silence and hear the crickets talk. One look at the house, and you will want to disconnect from the world around you.