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Over 125 years old and once the summer residence of the Maharaja (King) of Cooch Behar, the Elgin Darjeeling is now a luxury heritage hotel. The hotel is situated in the heart of Darjeeling town, 6000 feet up in the Himalayas. A celebration of the elegance and grace of the Colonial era in the Queen of Hill Stations, located in the majestic Himalayan ranges, the Elgin is very much a part of Darjeeling’s colonial history. As you enter, the Elgin warmth hugs you and makes you feel at home with a glass of sparkling cherry liquor and a silken Khada (scarf) draped around your neck.
The Elgin has been restored to its original grandeur, snug and cozy in an interior decked with etchings of G.Douglas, lithographs of Daniell, period Burma teak furniture, oak floor boards and paneling, crackling fireplaces, candle-lit tables and strains of music from the grand piano. You realize the meaning of palpable ‘old world charm’ which has played host to dignitaries like the US Ambassador and the Crown Prince of Sikkim to Dominique Lapierre and Mark Tully. The hotel has stories to tell from the time of its first owner the Maharaja of Cooch Behar to Nancy Oakley in the 1950s.
Built in 1887 around a beautiful garden, the hotel has been extensively refurbished to restore it to its former grandeur and its history has been kept intact. The rooms offer splendid views of the mountains and valleys. The Elgin Darjeeling is a perfect base from which to explore the spectacular mountain scenery, pine forests and ancient monasteries of this world famous destination. The Elgin is within walking distance of the famous Darjeeling mall (High street), cafes, restaurants, bars and the Raj Bhavan (Governors House). A well stocked library, games room and children’s activity centre and many opportunities for nature walks, make this luxury hotel and resort an all season destination.
The twenty five luxury rooms of this mansion are seeped in nostalgia with stories to be heard from a bygone era of the elite, to days of mellow sunshine at the park or cheerful evenings at the Timber Bar. With a glowing fireplace and hot water bags in your bed, you will find all the amenities of comfort coupled with the charming Victorian décor. Our Attic Rooms on the top of the mansion with sloping roofs and wooden walls is an excellent place to unwind after a particularly tiring day at the mountains.
The Elgin's classically elegant interiors with panelling, pillars and chandeliers recall the days of the Raj. Many rooms at The Elgin have views across the valley and the Himalayas. The bathrooms include a vanity counter, a bathtub and come with deluxe Elgin designer toiletries. The Hotel is heated in winter, horses and ponies can be hired for trekking in the valley.
Most of the 25 Deluxe rooms offer a view of the garden and Darjeeling town. These rooms are elegantly appointed with Burma teak flooring and have king beds.
The suites have an exquisitely appointed bedroom and an adjoining living room. These rooms are also laid with Burma teak flooring and king beds.
The Elgin has extended its hospitality for over 100 years to the kind of people who know the real style of living, like the Maharaja (King) of Cooch Behar who held most of his parties in this mansion entertaining his royal guests. With cozy interiors and classical tunes from the grand piano to discreet waiters in uniforms to serve you at all hours, the ambience is perfect. The Elgin chefs can win you over with a selection of delicious local, Indian or Continental cuisine with fresh bread, cakes and pastries prepared in-house for breakfast. The Elgin also serves special high tea from the world famous tea gardens of Darjeeling at the lounge.
The Orchid Dining Room at the Elgin offers a selection of European and Asian set menus. There is a variety of Indian, Continental, Italian and Regional cuisines and is open for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. The wood panelling, chandeliers and lithographs add to its old-world elegance and charm.
In-room dining is available throughout the day in all rooms.
The outdoor gazebo at the Elgin offers a light menu with a range of snack and drinks. Enjoy a light meal here from 11 am to 6 pm.
The Lounge is located in the Lobby level and also has a Bar. Guests can also enjoy tea or a quiet drink in front of a roaring fire. The Tea Lounge and Bar offers service from 11 am - 11 pm.
The traditional Nepalese dance is celebrated with great enthusiasm and mirth in the hills of Darjeeling. Darjeeling is credited with its tea gardens and many lip smacking and mouth watering local Nepalese dishes. The Elgin offers one with an opportunity to be acquainted with the various delicacies of the Darjeeling Hills. Experience the grandeur of Darjeeling at The Elgin. Guests are welcomed during evening by ladies and men dressed in traditional attire. The artists take you through a musical journey of Darjeeling with a commentary describing the importance of each rendering. Guests are encouraged to participate in the dances with the artists helping the guests with the dance rituals. The service team is also dressed in traditional colonial attire of the British Raj. Cuisine of Darjeeling is rich and unique as many other Indian cuisines. Influence of the colonial British Raj, Nepal and Tibet can be clearly seen in the cuisine. Moreover, the geographical and climatic conditions of Darjeeling have also had an impact on the way and kind of dishes prepared in the Darjeeling.
A rejuvenating experience to revitalize after a hectic day's schedule, try our Spa and feel the difference. The Spa offers a 'menu' of relaxing and reviving massages and beauty treatments. Aromatherapy and Swedish, all feature, along with Indian Head and Shoulder Massage and Facials. The spa therapy room, is the perfect place to relax and unwind after a long day in the mountains.
Enriched by a serene and tranquil setting, here is how you can ease away a tiresome day with our Spa treatment by expert therapists. Take your body and mind to new heights of relaxation and rejuvenation. At our beautifully appointed spa, the bracing mountain air conspires with the healing hands of our trained therapists to restore the natural balance of the body.
Holistic Ayurvedic-inspired as well as internationally influenced therapies, soothe the senses and promote a feeling of complete well-being. Pamper yourself and relax your senses as you embrace spectacular mountain views. A session at the Elgin Spa promises to be a journey of transformation.
Ancient Indian therapy where pressure points on the scalp, neck and shoulder are stimulated to improve circulation, relieve tightness and tension and promote relaxation as if you've been transported to a tropical oasis in the midst of The Himalayas.
The reflex points on the sole of the feet are worked on, to stimulate energy flow so as to restore harmony to the body's function. A leg massage is included to promote relaxation to produce a sense of completeness.
Drawing upon the best of Eastern and Western techniques, this oil massage combines soothing strokes to loosen muscular tension, encourage lymphatic flow to balance the internal system and coax your body to respond positively to the caring language of touch.
Just to give you a head start about the place, Darjeeling hill town is located at an altitude of 6,710ft in north east India and is part of the state of West Bengal. The nearest airport is Bagdogra and the nearest major railway junction is New Jalpaiguri (NJP).
Although the area of Darjeeling hill town itself is small (about 10 square kilometers), Darjeeling is also a district and spans over a large area of about 2,100 square kilometers. The district has subdivisions like Kurseong, Siliguri etc as well as the hill resort town of Mirik. So there are many lovely places to visit within Darjeeling hills itself. Kalimpong which was earlier a subdivision of Darjeeling district has become a separate district of West Bengal effective 14th Feb 2017 with an area of 1,056 square kilometers of its own. It is no longer a subdivision of Darjeeling district. But that makes no difference to the tourists. In fact, Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseon and a large part of Sikkim including Gangtok remains as the loved tourist destinations since over a century and several of them can be combined on a single trip.
Within Darjeeling town area, you can walk to visit several tourist attractions. Plenty of taxis (which are private commercial vehicles of various types – small & large) are available at the stands. They offer both local sightseeing tours as well as point-to-point transfers. You can also get shared taxis (mainly Jeep type vehicles) at the stands, but they are mostly available for transfers and seldom for tours.
Gangtok (the Capital of Sikkim) which is only 4-hour drive from Darjeeling along with several other parts of Sikkim offer great destinations to easily combine with Darjeeling. And many even plan for combined visits to places like nearby Bhutan to make the diversity of experience even richer.
Darjeeling hill town was originally set up as a sanitarium or health resort by the British in mid 1800s. But over the years, it earned its name for its world famous aromatic tea and then with opening up of roads and Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, for tourism.
Over the past few decades Darjeeling lacked proper developmental support and had seen random and thoughtless constructions & overcrowding which it hardly deserved. Despite that the charming, sincere and friendly people of the place have continued to strive hard and successfully preserved pride of ‘Queen of the Hills’ as one of the best places for tourism even today.
The town center of Darjeeling is known as Mall or Chowrasta, which is a flat open public square, a pedestrian only zone free of vehicular traffic and surrounded by colorful stores with backdrop of mountains and valleys. Mall or Chowrasta is the main town center.
Most tourists try to stay near the Mall area to be close to hub of all activities, restaurants and shops. So due to high demand, numerous hotels of all types have mushroomed near the Mall area. Alternatively you can stay a bit away, enjoy nature & views, and a location relatively free of crowd.
During spring, summer and autumn, the weather in Darjeeling is pleasantly cool and perfect for city dwellers who flock in volumes during such time. Many come to enjoy the rains in monsoon and chill in the winter as well. And when such visits are combined with wonderful views of snow peaks and valleys, tea gardens, forests & flowering plantations, amazing sightseeing tours & activities, great food & stays, and all at affordable prices …. won’t you love a vacation like that?
The foaming waters of the mountain rivers Teesta and Rangeet attract large number of enthusiasts for white water rafting every year. Sandakphu and Phalut treks are already well established trekking routes in the region and very popular to trekkers from all over the world.
Rafting and Camping Packages are offered by operators that combine white water rafting with river bank camping. You will camp in natural surrounding of forests and hear the sounds of the river flowing at night just next to you, and wake up to the chirping of the birds. Cliff Jumping and Body Surfing are also offered along with Camping and Rafting activities. Get Operator Info...
Mountain biking in Darjeeling
Although it depends on the destination and the tour, a typical group size in a guided cycling tour can be between 2 to 12 and the tour duration about 7-8 hours. You get excellent quality mountain bikes in Darjeeling like the Trek, Conandale etc.
Motor Bike Tours and Rentals If you want to see Darjeeling and surrounding areas on a motor bike, there are two options. Either you can take a guided organized tour or take a motor bike on rent. You will get motorbikes like Royal Enfield in good condition. There are plenty of amazing terrain to explore in and around Darjeeling including tea gardens, villages, mountain landscapes and sanctuaries.
Take a leisure ride at your own pace, have a map (given by the operator) to chalk out your route through the mountain landscape or just get lost, stop at any place you want and have a cup of tea while chatting with a local ... the opportunities are plenty.
This old hill town with its old colonial charm has adapted itself over time and offers nighttime entertainment in its own unique way.
But that doesn't mean you too need to shut your day off for the night. Whenever I feel like extending my evening in Darjeeling to remain immersed in its magic, I pick up one of the following nightlife choices:
There are several tables with comfortable cushioned seats, and you can even enjoy watching a sports channel on LCD TV. As the night trickles through and if Puran is in great mood, you can request him to play his favorite guitar - he is a master. But he may not if there are many other guests around.
The culture of Darjeeling, India, is quite diverse and unique. The two predominant religions are Hinduism and Vajrayana Buddhism. Dashain, Tihar, Buddha Jayanti, Christmas, Holi, Ram Navami, etc. are the main festivals. Besides, the diverse ethnic populace of the town also celebrates several local festivals.
The History of Darjeeling covers the history of Darjeeling town and its adjoining hill areas belonging to Sikkim, but eventually part of British India so now in the Indian state of West Bengal, which is intertwined with the history of Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, Bengal and Great Britain, i.e. the East India Company.
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