The first halt in our 15-day Uttarakhand road-trip was Jeolikote, a little hamlet about 17 kms before Nainital. When confronted with the question, “Where to stay in Jeolikote?”, we chose The Cottage Jeolikote.
Located just as one enters Jeolikote, the Cottage is not difficult to find. Ask anybody, they will nod a knowing nod and point to a narrow lane in the slope on the side of the river. Clearly, guests at the Cottage aren’t a rarity. The lane they showed us was so narrow and steep that we wondered if our car could make it. But no sooner do we doubt this, we saw a man midway through the lane, waving at us. Ah! This means the car can meander down, we thought. And as our driver slowly maneuvered the car and took us to a small clearing that looked like parking space, we were greeted by four dogs, barking, wagging their tails, running helter-skelter in utter excitement. Yes, Bhuvan Kumari’s mail had mentioned them. And then my eyes popped out – there was a sea of Tiger Lillies growing on the slope right next to us. Why! They refuse to bloom in Mumbai, and look how bountiful they are here in this slope even in the absence of care, I accused. And then accepted, The weather does the trick. Sigh! And then I cooed and sighed some more at the awning made by my favourite red rose climber. The Cottage, where we were headed, was covered with some more rose climbers, ivy and bougainvillea’s. We couldn’t wait to get in…
Sure enough, the insides were just as charming – a large living room done up with carved wooden panes, traditional teak furniture, eclectic artifacts and fresh flowers from the garden. Our room was just as beautiful. It was a Deluxe room that has a separate sitting room besides the tastefully done bedroom and most amusing bathroom, we also had a little verandah to ourselves that looked straight into the hills and from where you could catch the rising sun first thing in the morning.
How is the food and service at The Cottage Jeolikote? Homemade. Simple and very tasty. The owner, Ms Bhuvan Kumari, takes personal interest in every guests’ food preferences, and gets her chef to prepare the meals accordingly. We hogged the Paranthas during breakfast and loved the array of veggies and chicken/mutton during lunch and dinner.
Service is always with a smile, and the staff try their best to meet every request – that included frequent hot water for our daughter for her cough, milk with Bournvita for her every morning and evening, my lemon tea etc.
Does The Cottage Jeolikote have Internet? Yes! A wifi password is shared with you while you check-in. But since the cottage is sprawling, connectivity is best at the dining area. However, network is not bad at Jeolikote. Which means, the 3G on your phone will work. So will the data card for your laptop.
Why should you stay The Cottage Jeolikote? Because it is charming yet simple, and because it is away from the madding crowd. The place exudes warmth, giving that perfect ‘home-away-from-home’ feeling.
For the complete Uttarakhand itinerary, where to stay, what to see and what to buy, read — An Uttarakhand Roadtrip This Summer