Sunnymead Estate, Shimla India, Himachal Pradesh
This quaint heritage cottage is one of the older surviving residences in Shimla where the owners have maintained the traditional Dhajji architecture. Situated on the edge of an Oak and Rhododendron Reserve Forest, Sunnymead Estate is in a convenient location for exploring Shimla. Surrounded by floral gardens, with stunning views over the surrounding mountains and reserve, this property is very tranquil and charming.
Sunnymead is extremely eco-friendly as the owners are very passionate about the environment. Roof rainwater is harvested for the bathrooms and laundry, the gardens are chemical and fertilizer-free and, in the kitchen, local produce is used as far as possible in order to minimise their carbon footprint. The dining room has a small verandah looking out to the front garden, and guests can dine inside or al fresco. The food is known to be a highlight, with Indian and European food on offer for dinner, and a four course meal for breakfast. Lunch is not available at the property, however, afternoon tea, coffee and homemade cakes are served in the garden. Pet dogs and cats roam around the gardens and property as Sunnymead is, in essence, a family home.
There are 4 rooms which are homely and filled with character, and some offer lovely views over the forest reserve or the Tara Devi Mountain. Bathrooms are basic and, in keeping with the eco-friendly theme, they have organic amenities. There are no TVs in the rooms but you won’t feel you need one when your surroundings are so beautiful and calming.
While Sunnymead may not be overly luxurious, we find that guests fall for its charm, kind staff and stunning surroundings. Unless you prefer a modern style, we highly recommend this property for your next stay in Shimla.
Homestay - What we mean by 'Homestay' is generally a large family owned house, still occupied by at least some members of the family. Interaction with guests is encouraged and is in fact unlikely to be avoided! These places always have bags of character are usually highly charming and can provide a fascinating shortcut towards understanding local life a little better. Facilities can range from the luxurious, to pretty basic and meals are generally taken as a group and served in the local style rather than from a menu. The service is almost always fairly quirky and idiosyncratic. Great fun.
The train journey from Calcutta to Darjeeling was a wonderful experience of the real India whilst everyone we met was friendly and courteous.