Strolling across Landour was like living the very stories by Enid Blyton & Ruskin Bond that I grew up reading. The enchanted forests and hills with towering cedar trees and mountain peaks are nothing short of storybook perfection. And my manor of choice was Rokeby. An hour’s drive from the Dehradun airport, Rokeby Manor is a mountain cabin with views that will truly take your breath away. Perfectly perched in the hills of Landour, you can view the entire cities of Mussoorie and Dehradun from the manor unless the clouds have decided to make a little bed underneath. When that happens, you are literally staring at an ocean of clouds as you find yourself nestled right amidst them.
As I checked in, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was in a little log inn somewhere in the suburbs of England. Done up in beautiful wood panelling, the space exudes a quaint British charm with its fireplaces and signage. The manor boasts of 12 rooms with a restaurant, a library and a tea garden.
Emily’s, the restaurant, has a lovely menu but my favourites had to be the Firecracker Fish, Mustard Chicken & absolutely anything with potatoes because the Pahadi Potatoes are unmatched in terms of flavour. They also have a special soup selection each day and their roasted pumpkin soup was an absolute winner for me, ideal for cold winter evenings as you gaze at the mountains. But if there’s just one thing you try there, I hope it’s the Sticky Toffee Pudding.
In the evening, I went for a little stroll along Landour and found myself at the Bakehouse, a Rokeby bakery just 500 metres from the property that is always smelling of fresh patisserie and coffee. It is the quintessential English bakery with the most scrumptious muffins, crunchy cookies and again, views of the cedar trees and the valley. We sampled all of their delicacies like Marie Antoinette and our top picks are: The gluten-free chocolate cranberry fudge, the coffee streusel and the Himalayan Nut Cookies.
You must spend a morning there with your favourite read and some fresh bakes. Another must-visit spot of Landour is Prakash’s Cheese. It was said that if you can’t find something at Prakash’s, you probably don’t need it. And once I got some Cheddar, Parmesan and Yak Cheese for home with their Orange-Ginger Marmalade and Peanut Butter, all I needed was some fresh bread that I picked right next door from the Bakehouse.
However, the best kept secret of Mussoorie are the Rokeby villas. With locations that make you feel as if you’re living right in the clouds, the mountain villas come with a personal chef & butler and not to mention, the stunning views reminiscent of a Swiss chalet. They are two & three-bedroom villas ideal for groups with 6-8 people.
Also, you cannot go to the mountains and not go on a hike. Rokeby also organised a lovely trail for us at the Jabarkhet Natural Reserve also previously known as the Flag Hill Top. The hike is great for beginners and you can view the Himalayas from the top. I set my intentions for the year as the Buddhist prayer flags waved in the air spreading positivity and spent the morning having a little picnic in the mountains. Rokeby has a lovely tour guide on call and if you’re anything like me with a penchant for plants and a keen eye for ornithology, you’d want him to be your guide too. Just tell them you’d like to book Deepak Joshi for a trail or a hike. You can also call him and book him for group tours by calling him on +91 99975 23659.
After the perfect meditative morning, we made our way to Mullingar where we met with a cobbler who would put any Italian shoe maker to shame. Name it, brogues, boots, loafers, sandals and he can make you a custom shoe in the leather of your choice with the most meticulous attention to detail. If you’re at Rokeby, just tell them you want to visit Kishan on Mullingar road, Landour, and they’ll take care of the rest.
On our final day, we visited Char Dukaan which is the snack lane of Landour and had some piping hot Onion Potato Pakoras at Anil’s with the Honey Ginger Lemon Tea you’ll find everyone sipping across Mussoorie. We ended our trip with a nice evening spent playing Croquet in the lawns of Rokeby and took a dip in the Jacuzzi at Rokeby Manor as the sun set over the horizon and made way for the winter line. The winter line is like a second horizon in the sky. A stark straight line across the sky between the months of November and February and is only visible in two places in the world: Landour & a village in Switzerland. And if there’s something so rare in the world, you must view it in proper style at the Rokeby Manor.
The villas & rooms are open for booking and you can do so by calling Ashish on +91 96398 24595. It could be a prefect Valentine’s getaway with your partner. Walks in the hill, sunsets, great food and a quaint English charm are things that define Rokeby and will be a trip unlike any other. Even with covid-19 looming, the hotel took every measure possible to ensure their safety and our own. The staff would always wear gloves + masks and sanitisation was aggressive even in terms of the cars that would come pick you up at the airport.
While we can’t travel far and wide, we can sure travel closer to home and Rokeby has felt like nothing but home away from home and its all because of their unparalleled staff servicing and hospitality.