The wheels of the big Tucson SUV spin helplessly on the pile of red gravel. I get a sick feeling right to the pit of my stomach as the car settles deeper into the stone. We were well and truly stuck on this deserted narrow mountain road. Fortunately, help was close at hand and one phone call later, I saw a small army of staff from our hotel destination hurrying down the road to rescue us.
Minutes later we were pulling into the driveway of the Alcor Spa Resort in Kuthar, Himachal Pradesh, and were greeted by the cheerful young founder Tanya Natrajan and her dogs Frodo the dachshund and Duke the German shepherd. After a refreshing cup of organic green tea, she prescribed the perfect antidote to the stressful experience we have just been through—a soothing aromatherapy massage—which I gratefully accepted. The cool hands of the masseuse bathed my tired body in citrus-scented oil and knead away all my tensions and troubles.
In fact the spa experience is very much at the heart of Alcor which started out as a chain of spas in Delhi offering the full range of treatments from aromatherapy to cream scrubs to foot reflexology. One of the USPs of Alcor is that unlimited spa treatments come as a part of the overall package rate that you pay and not as a separate add-on. Tanya and her husband Siva, who runs operations, are an enterprising young couple who have chucked up their corporate careers to make a go of this back-to-nature resort experience.
In their quest to find the ideal location they came across and became friends with Arun Sen, a descendant of the Rajas of the small Himalayan state of Kuthar. He himself had been looking for a hospitality partner for his newly developed resort built on the site of the former royal stables. The resort itself has an attractive façade gaily decorated with elaborate murals in exactly the style of a princely Rajput haveli. A stone’s throw away is the charming but crumbling palace with a scenic view of the valley below and some faded murals which have inspired those adorning the new resort.
We were shown to our rooms in the Heritage wing—they were large and spacious with high wooden ceilings and old style furniture. Each room came with a lovely alcove where you can sit and enjoy a cup of tea in the mornings. The sight of the rays of the rising sun streaming through the lush greenery and a couple of red-billed blue magpies perched on the green railing outside peering curiously through the bay windows was truly mesmerising. I raised my cup in a silent salute but they were unimpressed, disappearing in a flash of their impossibly long tail feathers!
Next morning our guide Narender lead us up a narrow trail and we emerged high up on the ridge next to the Tagore International School. The trail widened into a flattened out dirt track, which lead us to a small temple dedicated to Krishna. The local pujari explains how the temple was built under the patronage of the rajas of Kuthar.
Back at the resort, we sat down for a delicious meal of chicken curry, makke ki roti, louki ki sabzi, dal and salad with all the vegetables sourced from Alcor’s own organic gardens. The food was cooked with a light amount of oil so it did not sit heavily in the stomach, thankfully! The resort staff were without exception, very friendly that hill people usually are, and they made us feel right at home.
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Less than an hour’s drive from Kasauli and yet a world away in terms of the isolation and silence of its natural forest environment, the Alcor Spa resort is an ideal relaxing getaway for those who want to escape the madding crowd. The words of Tanya Natrajan capture it perfectly, “The Alcor forest has its music for those who will listen.”
Book Your Stay at Alcor Spa Resort Here!Book Your Stay at Alcor Spa Resort Here!