Our accomodations in Darjeeling were provided by the Glenburn Tea Estate, founded in 1859. (See the current edition of TEA, A Magazine, for a profile of Glenburn.) The late 1850's saw the beginning of the British Raj period, when Britain ruled over India (stretching through 1947). The architecture of the buildings reflected this British Colonial style.
We arrived in the evening, prior to dinner. My room friend and I were shown to the Rose Suite. We giggled like school girls with our good fortune and the serendipity, as roses are especially significant to my friend. Throughout China, we were by no means roughing it, yet we were often staying in remote locales where even the best accommodations had limited amenities. What a contrast to be here in luxury. There could have been no better place to close out this adventure.
Vanity in the Rose Suite
The suite was spacious with a sun porch, vanity, writing desk, two sleeping areas, a large bath, and spectacular views that revealed themselves the next morning.
Fruit grown on the estate; other items grown onsite included avocados, oranges, pomellos and many herbs.
Poster bed, soft and fluffy, a welcome change from the hard mattresses in China.
The dining room, complete with candlelight, place cards, and flowers. Each evening we dined on a different pattern of china.
Dinners were several-course affairs, with appetizers and drinks in the sitting room, followed by a gourmet meal in the dining room. We enjoyed sharing dinner with Husna-Tara Prakash, the visionary behind this quaint inn and member of the family that owns the plantation, Sanjay Sharma, the plantation manager, and his wife Neilu, Najma Ahmed, our onsite hostess, and the other guests.
This scene inspired me to light candles more often at home.
Our suite was just off the dining room, in the Burra Bungalow, the original. The facility was restored in 2002. In 2008, the Prakash family added a second bungalow. It is hard to fathom how the building materials were transported here, even with modern-day equipment. I cannot begin to envision how it was done in the 1800s!
The classy bath, with claw-footed tub and walk-in slate shower.
After dinner, many of my traveling companions enjoyed a good soak in claw-footed tubs. When I indulged, I soaked until the water turned cold!
Glenburn has its own line of bath products that include green tea extracts from tea picked on the plantation.
I resolved many things on this trip, but two things stand out for me related to Glenburn 1 - I want to come back here someday and 2 - I want to bring this kind of luxury into my everyday life. It don't require spending money, just creativity and a bit of effort. I can take a bath and add a scented oil. I can add candles to the table at dinner and have a long conversation with the DH. I can use the china and linens that I love, and so forth. Glenburn has been an inspiration.
But wait, there's more! Next I will talk about Bed Tea and breakfast, and then we'll go into the tea fields, see the pickers, learn about the processing, have a picnic and more.