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Winter Is the Perfect Time to Plan Your Trip to North India

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As 2022 comes to a close, we can’t be more excited for the new year to begin. These destinations are known for traditionally known for the winter chills, and they’re bouncing back from the lull of the past two years during the Covid-19 pandemic. We have curated a list of destinations, as well as smaller towns with intimate experiences, nature, and wellness. Before you plan your trip, be sure to check opening dates, as these are always subject to change.

Here are the top 12 recommendations for getaways in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand by SaffronStays.

Ekam

A 4-bedroom, pet-friendly regal abode hidden in the midst of a forest with a verdant lawn, a gazebo, gorgeous sitouts, an indoor fireplace, and an envious library. Made of wood and stone, equipped with modern furnishings, every part of the home has a rhythm of its own. From the charming attic room (nicknamed ‘the man-made cave’) with a stargazing roof, to floor-to-ceiling windows, numerous verandahs and sit-outs on every floor offering stunning vistas of the snow-capped Himalayas, and the surrounding flora make for an almost-poetic, indoor-outdoor living experience. Indulge in delectable authentic spreads straight from the organic farms with an al-fresco setup in the gazebo, or a warm setup indoors.

Hakushu

An uber-luxe property in Sainj, near Shimla, Himachal Pradesh draws heavy influence from Japanese architecture and interiors, seen through its clean, minimalist look and soothing earthy hues. The home has employed an all-women staff, with many of them who have struggled to securely support themselves or their family. By hiring women from the local village to work at the property as caretakers, the homeowner is helping them stand on their own feet and leave behind their dependence. Women are provided with classes to upskill their abilities and groomed to be the wonderful, hospitable caretakers that they are today. Despite going through countless setbacks, they always welcome everyone with a smile on their face, are caring and work with love and dedication; something the property partner is happy to see.

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Monarch Manor, Manali

SaffronStays Monarch Manor, Manali was an estate that was built as a gorgeous home that would be fit for the royal family of Manali. The villa is located on old Manali Road, 20 minutes (6 km) from Manali Mall Road, 12 mins (5 km) from Sajla Waterfall, and 60 minutes (47 km) from Kullu’s Bhuntar Airport. It is a restored architectural masterpiece that is nestled of Family Rooms, Artha Suite and Glass Suite. The Glass Suite is the most romantic holiday destination for couples near Delhi. You can catch your first snowfall of the season from the clear ceiling above the bed, or spend hours in the hot-tub jacuzzi under the stars. The home-chefs will also offer you authentic, pahadi meals that you will not find anywhere in Himachal Pradesh. For your evenings, gather around over a lovely bonfire outdoors. If you are up for some adventure, head out to visit the breathtaking Sajla Waterfall (5 km) by the Beas River, or Hadimba Temple (7 km) for a more spiritual experience

Hillstation Over Tirthan Valley, Manali, Himachal Pradesh

Surrounded by dense forests, and opening to stunning vistas of the Tirthan Valley, SaffronStays Hillstation Over Tirthan Valley is a 2-bedroom pet-friendly luxurious homestay in Gushaini, a quaint village close to Kullu and regarded as Himachal’s best kept secret. This homestay in Tirthan Valley is located 55 kms from Bhuntar airport and 6 kms from the Great Himalayan National Park (a UNESCO heritage site). Gushaini is increasingly becoming popular for its offbeat, adventurous trails & rustic beauty; a haven to mountain-kissing clouds, hidden waterfalls, and stunning riverside treks! The USP of this homestay lies in its pristine location: away from the congested treks of Kullu-Manali valleys, find yourself indulging in Gushaini’s finest experiences with birdwatching, skiing, fishing and hiking to famous spots such as Jibhi, Serloskar lake & Jalori pass (offered at an additional cost) with your stay!

Hardy’s Hideaway, Shimla

Resting splendidly atop the hills of Shimla,  Hardy’s Hideaway is your typical pahadi home, nestling amidst beautiful orchards and a valley. This ancestral 4-bedroom abode, a mere 3-hour drive away from Shimla Airport, is a beacon that gravitates anyone looking for an escape from the urban sprawl towards itself. With 4-bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms that can be booked independently, this homestay in Shimla is the perfect getaway for couples, 2-3 families or a large group of friends. The USP of this cottage in Himachal Pradesh is that it is equipped with everything you need – complimentary wifi,  smart TV, music system, karaoke system, playstation, a gym, books, billiards or table tennis. If you fancy some food, the chefs will whip up some delicious mud oven pizzas for your evening party.

Casa Bellissimo, Dehradun

Adorned with the colourful hues and the charm of Dehradun, Casa Bellissimo is everything your dream vacation feels like. Literally meaning ‘the beautiful house,’ this 3-bedroom villa in the hills exudes leisure and comfort. Located 45 minutes from Jolly Grant International Airport, you will be instantly swept away by the villa’s incredible European architecture and rustic interiors. Wake up to the verdant valleys and lovely garden views from the cosy villa bedrooms. On the second floor, there is a vast terrace surrounded by stunning mountain views where you can enjoy your morning with a cup of tea. There is ample space for kids to play on the lawn. If you wish to head outside, a beautiful gushing waterfall is just a 2-minute walk from the property, where you can seek peace amidst nature.

Elysian, Dehradun

Elysian is a stunning 2-bedroom luxury villa in Dehradun. This pet-friendly villa is 20 minutes from Jolly Grant Airport, and offers the best valley views from the french windows in the bedrooms and living room. This homestay in Dehradun has a blend of earthy and modern vibes. The brick-and-stone structure of this boutique home houses modern amenities and furnishings – ideal for the best getaway for couples, small families and close friends. Foodies can dig into Indian and Chinese cuisine prepared by the in-house chef. Nearby tourist attractions include Ancient Buddha Temples (18 km), Robber’s Cave (24 km) or multiple paragliding tours in Dehradun (20km).

Cottage Glade, Dehradun

Cottage Glade is a 2-bedroom cottage homestay 60 minutes (34.5 km) from Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun, Uttarakhand. It is located near Sahastradhara Natural Spring (6 km), Robbers Cave (13 km) and Malsi Deer Park (9 km). Inspired by European wooden chalets, this cottage homestay near The Doon School was built as a home for families and friends who want to escape to the mountains for a detox getaway. When here, gorge on healthy home-cooked meals and barbecue bites prepared by the in-house chefs who will spoil you for choice with local delicacies and cuisines.

Willow Castle, Bhimtal

Willow Castle is a 4-bedroom pet-friendly homestay in Bhimtal surrounded by the magnificent mountains of Uttarakhand. It is an ideal vacation destination for a friend’s staycation or a family getaway near Delhi and Chandigarh. Its close proximity to Bhimtal Lake (4km) and other famous tourist spots (within 15km) is a massive plus for those who want to enjoy the essence of tourism in Uttarakhand. Enjoy uninterrupted views of the Himalayas from the homestay near Sattal as you sip your daily brew. This quaint home near Bhimtal Lake is dotted with trees like the golden juniper and pencil pine cypress on all sides.

Gardens On The Lake, Bhimtal

What’s better than waking up in the mountains, with stunning lake views for company? When you stay at Gardens On The Lake, a 2-bedroom pet-friendly private homestay in Bhimtal, Uttarakhand, you will wake up to breathtaking views of Bhimtal Lake in front of you and the mighty Himalayas around you. The tourist-favourite Bhimtal Lake is only a stone’s throw away. Soak in the views of its tranquil waters from the verdant green lawn of this humble abode as you enjoy a cup of chai. Your pet pals are welcome here with open arms! This pet-friendly staycation is ideal for small families and couples who want to unwind peacefully in the hills.

El Sueno, Mukteshwar

El Sueno is a boutique 2-bedroom, pet-friendly villa in Mukteshwar, ideal for pet-parents, couples, small families and close groups of friends. This eco-friendly villa is 3-hours from Pantnagar Airport (88km) and 2-hours from Katgodham Railway Station (54 km). The routes are scenic and one of the best road trips in the Himalayas. It has an incredible wood-and-stone structure, built along the Koti Banal style of architecture with an indoor fireplace, powder room and ensuite bathrooms.  Go on cycling rides around the property or feel the warmth of a bonfire under starry skies. For thrill seekers, there are various paragliding centers just a couple of hours’ drive away from this homestay in Mukteshwar.

 Fourest, Bhimtal

Tucked away in a dense forest with unending greenery all around, SaffronStays Fourest is an estate in Bhimtal, Uttarakhand that comprises 4 sets of 2 cottages each – 2 pinewood cottages, 2 bamboo cottages, 2 bamboo cottages and 2 pinewood cottages – a total collection of 8 chic and exclusive private cottages. These pet-friendly homestays in Nainital district of Uttarakhand are just 4 km away from Sattal Lake. There are heaters in the bedrooms of all cottages so you can stay crispy warm in the winter. Devour authentic delicacies that cater to your tastes by the in-house chef, freshly prepared on mud stoves (subject to availability). At these cottages, breakfast is included in the tariff.

The Amlyn, Manali

The Amlyn is a 6-bedroom homestay that is perched on a hilltop in Vashisht, Manali. It is located 15 minutes (3 km) from Manali Mall Road and 10 mins (2 km) from the Vashisht Temple and Geothermal Hot Springs. This homestay houses Duplex Suite and Couple Suites (2 individual suites) and Family Rooms. The USP of this homestay in Manali is the 180° unobstructed view with the Beas river flowing below and the majestic Himalayas out front. Guests can enjoy delicious oriental and mughlai cuisines prepared by the in-house cook. For evening tea time, head to the gazebo in the lush-green lawn. Thrill seekers can head out for a hike up the Jogni falls, book a helicopter ride for a one-of-a-kind experience or indulge in skiing, paragliding and cable cart rides at Solang Valley, just 30 minutes away.

Pinecone Cottages, Shimla

Located an hour away from Shimla, these are a set of pet-friendly cottages are surrounded by a pine and oak jungle with stunning views of the mountains and valleys. Just 20 km away from the Jubbarhatti Airport, every nook and corner of the private cottages are lovingly designed by the homeowner: the seamless amalgamation of the wooden architecture, soft pastels and contemporary designs welcome you with a feeling of warmth and tranquility. There is a caretaker on-site that’ll treat you to scrumptious, multi-cuisine meals. Not limited to this, let the staff arrange a hearty barbeque for you with a cozy outdoor bonfire.

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