Once the residence of Kashmir's Prime Minister, the Grace Hotel offers centuries of history and welcoming hospitality
History & culture | Mountains | Natural world
Gazing over a remote region of towering mountains, glittering lakes and mysterious temples, Grace Hotel commands a prominent position in a region that is bursting with natural and spiritual delights. Close by is the suburb of McLeod Ganj, a hillside township known as ‘little Lhasa’ due to a large Tibetan population, an abundance of colourful prayer flags, and, most importantly, its status as the home of the exiled Dalai Lama.
The hotel has fourteen deluxe rooms, each with an ambience and view slightly different from the next, furnished with antique furniture from the building’s past as a family home. Expect to walk on decorative locally woven rugs, sit on polished wooden chairs with intricate floral upholstery, and lie on a low bed with elaborately patterned quilts and cushions. Some rooms have a small balcony from which to further sample the fabulous views.
In keeping with the intimate ambience of a family-run hotel, dining at the Grace Hotel is a low-key affair involving rustic, local Indian food. The menu keeps things simple, but this does mean that guests can enjoy more flexibility with their meal than in larger establishments. In a country that makes the best vegetarian food in the world, the meat-free choices are highly recommended.
A purpose-built health-and-fitness centre would be an anomaly in this traditionally built manor house, but the Grace Hotel has its own spiritual set-up, reflecting the important Buddhist sites in the vicinity. Nature Cure therapies and a Meditation Hall are available for those wishing to use the mountain setting to clear their minds of impurities. There is also a travel desk that is happy to arrange excursions to attractions further afield, such as Tsuglagkhang, the largest Tibetan temple outside of Tibet, and the ancient temple and waterfalls of Bhagsunag.
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