Travel + Leisure India & South Asia brings #TLFinds, a weekly series that gives you a sneak peek into new and interesting places and experiences across the country and overseas. The latest in this series of reviews is Summer House, Kasauli, a boutique villa ideal for large groups looking for a quiet retreat in the hills. Text and Photographs by Bayar Jain
What is it?
A four-bedroom homestay offering complete nature immersion, in-house chefs, and abundant privacy.
Nature lovers, friends or families with up to 11 people.
Review of Summer House, Kasauli
Perched on a hilltop in Himachal Pradesh’s Kasauli, the elegant Summer House pays home to the town’s colonial history and fuses it with abundant nature and greens. The floor-to-ceiling windows here usher in abundant sunlight, casting a surreal glow. frames of freedom fights that jostle for space on the white-washed walls. The floors, however, assure spaciousness doused in privacy.
On the first floor of Summer House is a large hall split into the living room and dining area. Beyond it lies a covered deck, ideal to catch sun melting into the valley’s horizons. A bedroom and a common powder room also find a spot on this floor. A quick climb up the wooden staircase leads to two more bedrooms and another common seating space. In a corner sits a small room, reminiscent of vintage cyber cafes. Another short climb leads to the fourth room, a personal favourite, the attic. While the three rooms on the lower floors are designed with soaring ceilings and nature-inspired designs (think small hand-painted butterflies, dried floral wreaths, and windows opening to verdant green vistas), the attic is furnished with a wooden floor, a low bed, and a slanted ceiling.
The covered deck is ideal to soak in the abundant nature surrounding the home.The outdoor areas of the House are just as spacious. For kids, a mini trampoline and slide dot the lawns, along with an inviting hammock that is fit for adults too. Slipping into slumber is inevitable—should the monkeys allow! What promises to be a calm space in the day transforms into a playground for the many monkeys that swing from tree to tree in the wee hours of the day. The strewn leaves, ambushed shrubs, and broken twigs scattered all over remind one to exercise caution when exploring the greens.
Unlike the animals, we—my folks and I—wished for a lazy vacation. We spent the day at Summer House devouring wholesome home-cooked meals by the in-house chefs at a nominal price. Chef Mohan Negi and his team pamper us to a delectable serving for each course of the day—including snacks to accompany the apple ciders, a signature drink of Himachal Pradesh. Think spring rolls, stuffed parathas, gahat ki dal (horse gram staple to Garhwal and Kumaon), fluffy omelettes, and more. Paired with these is a finger-licking delicious chutney that we swept clean within seconds!
As the day ends, the open-air deck is the place to be. Devoid of any of the playful creatures, this space comes complete with wrought-iron garden chairs and tables, a bonfire setup, and a microphone and stereo system. To make the star-studded night merrier, we opted for a live performance by a local trio—Skand Kaushal Sharma, Tarun Attri, and Udhav Attri—who swooned us with Himachali folk songs, Hindi independent music pop numbers, and melodic Bollywood beats.
Music aside, the hosts of Summer House also organise paid guided treks and trails. Our lazy souls—and fatigued bodies from exploring Gilbert’s Trail, Manki Point, and Christ Church, on the second day—compelled us to opt for hour-long massages. Available at extra charge, masseuse Usha Rawat did a splendid job in soothing our sore muscles and filling us with renewed zeal—an art Summer House excels at with ease.
WX33+CPX, The Summer House, Village Mashobra, Nahri, Mandir Road, Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh — 173204
Starts from INR 14,500 per night for two rooms; INR 29,000 per night for the entire property.
Book through StayVista.
Related: TL Finds: Atman Dharamshala, A Quaint Experiential Boutique Resort In The Hills