Going to the mountains requires you to be mentally ready to embrace contradictions. So while you gaze dreamily at the peaks on your right, there are plunging valleys to your left. The sunlight dapples through the trees, creating patterns on the road, even as the clouds roll in, hiding the the very road. Our car hunkers on, hugging the winding roads, our sense of adventure, renewed. The air outside is calm, occasionally punctured by a chirping bird. The air inside is that of impending nausea, my stomach threatening to embark on its very own adventure. So, yes, the contrast is very real and I couldn’t embrace it. I arrive at the The Westin Resort and Spa Himalayas in a state of visible discomfort. It’s a mere 45 minute drive from the Jolly Grant airport of Dehradun to Rishikesh but I felt every minute of it. I clearly do not do very well in the circuitous routes of the mountains. But everything is better once I enter the warm confines of the Westin Resort and Spa, Himalayas.
The team here welcomes us with a Himalayan cap and then quickly arranges for me to get sparkling water to calm my churning stomach. Once I am better (it happens quite quickly), I sit there taken by the grandeur of this resort. The reception area is stunning, a spiral chandelier sits proudly at the centre. There’s the subtle smell of wood sits sweetly in the air, reminiscent of a holiday in your grandparent’s home. The seating curves around, allowing for intimate conversations with loved ones as you wait to be checked in. After a warm welcome, we are ushered to our room.
The View From The Top
We’re on the top floor of the resort and the views are expansive. From the balcony, you can see the Ganga as it snakes its way around the place and the mountains sit pretty in the distance. We got to the hotel just in time for the sunset, so we head to the Sky Deck to experience Westin Saga. Here, steaming hot cups of masala chai are offered to us and we chase that with bowls of delicious maggi while taking in the sunset. The Sky Deck also has activities for adults and children. I tried my hand at archery and came to the forgone conclusion that I simply wasn’t cut out for it. Families will find plenty of options to keep everyone entertained- there’s ludo, snakes and ladders, chess and so much more.
Every meal at The Westin Resort and Spa Himalayas was big on flavour. At Pebbles, the chef arranged for us to have meats and vegetables fresh off a barbecue and it was arguably one of the best meals I have had in a long time. The set up was that of an elevated food truck but this one came fitted with a state-of-the-art grill. The chicken, lamb and veggies were succulent and well-seasoned and despite being very full, we couldn’t stop eating – something that you will realise became a recurring motif.
We had breakfast at Akasa, the property’s all-day dining restaurant. The spread here is generous and while every single thing was delicious, I would strongly recommend tucking into the Garhwali options including a paratha stuffed with dal and a puri that comes with a potato filling inside it called swale. I ended breakfast with a large glass of frothy, cold coffee – there’s no better way to fully imbibe the spirit of being on a short vacay.
For lunch, we tried the Garhwali thali and my friend and I shared one because there’s no way we could have had a whole thali after that heavy breakfast. The mutton cooked in local spices, the tempered raita and the roti made from local millets quickly climbed on our favourites list and I would go back simply to try these again. Dinner for that evening was at Toya, their progressive Asian restaurant. Here, food was Teppanyaki style but what made this meal absolutely unforgettable was the chef who served up delicious bites with his signature garnish of bad jokes. The jokes were so bad, he had us laughing throughout while he also showcased his nimble Teppanyaki skills. You will want a seat at this table at The Westin Resort and Spa, Himalayas.
Before we left, we also tried out the Hot Chocolate Experience at Haven Lounge. Here, a chocolate ball bobs around in a cup while various eclairs in fruit and chocolate flavours sit prettily on a plate behind. Then hot chocolate is poured into the cup, the ball melts away revealing tiny bits of marshmallow and despite being very full from breakfast, we take huge gulps of this delicious concoction.
Renew And Relax
One of the things I love about the Westin brand is their attention to detail, neatly tied up into their Heavenly program. So they have a turn down service where they give you a lavender balm- a part of their Heavenly sleep program. The spa at the The Westin Resort and Spa Himalayas is also called, you guessed it, The Heavenly Spa and the 60 minute deep tissue massage here had my knots undone and I was so relaxed, I fell into a deep slumber immediately after. The spa has natural features that really stood out- the moss vertical wall had me intrigued. A special mention to the very soft and luxurious bathrobe at the hotel – it goes around all bodies (a win for inclusivity) and the very fragrant and delicious smelling body lotion. The pool at the hotel is temperature-controlled but it was pretty cold when we went over and the temperature was far from controlled so our experience was akin to that of an ice bath. Still, once we stepped out, it was super refreshing and something I would recommend, running the risk that you will question my sanity.
I left the The Westin Resort and Spa Himalayas with plans to return already in place. This is the kind of place you want to escape to if you are content to spend your time at the hotel, nary a plan in sight and it was just the thing my weary soul needed. In fact, that’s what I would suggest you do. Book a stay at the Westin and plan to vegetate here.
I am quite the traveller and here’s what I wrote about the Hyatt Regency Dehradun.
Looking to book? Here’s a link to their website.