A stone’s throw from Delhi, Corbett makes for the ideal weekend getaway- unless you’re traveling in summer. The journey to Corbett isn’t the smoothest strip of land- let me crush your road trip dreams right at the onset. But if you’re willing to forego the discomfort, Corbett is a great place to spend a weekend by the river or simply driving about the mountains even if a jungle safari isn’t really on your mind. It’s one of those places one can travel to, with friends as well as family.
The first week of June might not be the ideal time to take a trip to the jungle, but most resorts have promotional deals during this time. We ended up saving over 40% simply by choosing to travel off-season! Corbett is dominated mainly by resorts (those close to the river are heavenly), and most offer half board and full board packages with various meal inclusions on a buffet system. We booked one of these, and were set to go.
River Creek is located further away from the little clutter of resorts at the beginning of the forest. Though we kept wondering if we had lost our way, this came as a blessing in disguise. Given that there are no resorts in close proximity to River Creek, we had the entire valley to ourselves. The 8 extra kilometers are worth every additional minute spent in the car.
Every minute of the time I spent at this resort is etched in my memory. Though we only chanced upon this hotel, I doubt we could have found a better resort in all of Corbett. As a frequent visitor, I’ve stayed at a number of properties and from could tell you from personal experience- this one is second only to Namah.
Welcome by the tiny garden on one side and the cottages in front, we strolled to the reception area tired and sweating. The hotel is located at the bottom of the valley, right at the end of the river. On one side, a small bridge and on the other a free flowing river. The tiny peach cottages were nestled among greenery and flowers, surrounded by lush gardens and a thin tiled walking trail. The entire valley is visible as soon as one gets off the cottage steps.
A little gate leads directly to the river. We were warned by the hotel staff about the crocodile that frequents these waters. A bunch of youngsters, we naturally paid no heed to the warning, jumping right into the water. And boy, did we have a blast! We sat in the river for three hours straight, turning back only to fetch the rest of our group.
As night fell, the entire valley grew absolutely quiet. The crickets were heard loud and clear as we sat by the pool side at River Creek. It was just our luck that it happened to be a full moon night- the kind you spend around a bonfire telling ghost stories. Except in this part of the world, stories of Kumaon’s man-eaters are enough to bring some serious chills down one’s spine.
Hotel Grounds and Rooms
Most cottages are valley facing, and to our delight, we could see the river and the entire valley soon as we pulled the curtains open. The rooms are beautifully decorated, spacious and clean. One of the better furnished resorts around this area, the bedrooms could easily accommodate a group of ten people wanting to laze around together in the evening.
It was the bathroom that took me by surprise though. One usually expects lousy washrooms, especially in hill stations. This one was far better than anything I had expected. Lime grass scented, the washroom was spotlessly clean with modern fittings and a huge mirror. The designated bathing area also included brand new showers, mats, and other fittings.
The room has ample space to fit a third (even a fourth!) bed.
The hotel has a swimming pool with a view of the entire valley, and another one for kids to splash around. High tea is served in a little hut on one corner of the garden beside the pool.
The resort also includes a gym with some basic machines for those looking to burn some carbs on vacation!
Although the resort offers wifi, it doesn’t catch signal in the rooms or restaurant area. The only place to use wifi is the reception. Phone signal around the area is pretty weak too.
We opted for a full board package that included all our meals. While the buffet menu was rather limited, the quality of food wasn’t half bad. Given that resorts are considerably away from each other, the restaurant was our only bet. The food didn’t disappoint, but I wouldn’t write home about it either.
Breakfast has options for the health-conscious, with boiled eggs and cereal; and for those with taste buds preferring flavor closer to home, including Poha and Dosa and the what-nots of South Indian cuisine.
High tea and coffee is served with potato and onion fritters.
The staff was pleased to have us over, smiling faces greeting us from the moment we stepped in. From porters to restaurant staff and all the way to room service, we encountered staff that was only too happy to have us over.
Room service is limited and snacks are not available throughout the night. Take note!
Cleanliness and Hygiene: 8.5/10
Customer Service: 8/10