High up in the Eastern Himalayas, this resort promises the ultimate in luxury while letting you enjoy the cool mountain air. The first thing you notice is the beautifully done up entrance, which is an exact replica of the Pashupatinath Temple in Nepal. The spacious rooms, the impeccably maintained grounds that include a Nag Mandir and children’s play area, the themed restaurants that also serve local Sikkimese and Nepali cuisine, and the luxurious spa, all make you feel truly pampered. The special attraction, of course, is the Casino with 15 gaming tables and live performances every day. The first five star hotel in the Northeast, it doesn’t disappoint you with its quality of service.
How to Get There – The resort is in Ranipool, which is around 10 kms from Gangtok town. The nearest airport is Bagdogra, which is around 125 kms from Gangtok town; the drive would take around 5 hours. Hiring a local taxi would cost anywhere between Rs 2,500-3,000. The nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri, and there are regular trains between Guwahati and NJP.
Room Tariff – For a ‘family room’ or ‘suite’ (two bedrooms plus a private balcony and a spacious sitting area), the cost would be around Rs 20,000. An ‘oriental villa’ would cost you around Rs 30,000 (perks include a private pool/Jacuzzi, sun deck, study room, home theatre, etc).
Things to Do – If you are in Gangtok, you can’t possibly leave without visiting a monastery. The Rumtek Monastery built in the 16th century by the 9th Karmapa Wangchuk is the popular choice. Don’t forget to sample a plate of chicken noodles at one of the small hotels clustered around the entrance. The Namgyal Institute of Tibetology is highly recommended; from Buddhist manuscripts to Tibetan cloth paintings called thangkas, the museum is a traveller’s delight. Sikkim is well-known for its orchids and butterflies; the Saramsa Garden located at a distance of 14 kms from Gangtok is a must-visit.
Places to Shop/Eat – MG road is a shopper’s haven; once there, don’t forget to pick up Tibetan curios and jackets. It remains closed on Tuesdays.
You can grab a bite at the Orchid, an international restaurant or have a quick snack outdoors at Jungle Café. The pool bar offers cocktails and barbeque on the pool deck, while Tongba Bar features a selection of cigars and champagnes.