Been wary of all the marketing gimmicks we see around us these days... Day before the journey, received a call from their Delhi office asking if everything is as planned! I was surprised. Follow ups before a journey?
Located on the Ranikhet Road a few kilometers down (or rather up) from Dhikuli, the resort is an amazing place to be. Beautifully and aesthetically designed, lush green and well maintained with manicured lawns and a very well maintained swimming pool with a fully operational restaurant besides it. Residences are a short walk down from the reception along cobbled stoned pathways.
We stayed in a villa which was right besides the pool. Beautiful villa with rooms on ground and first floors. The ground floor also had a living room complete with a fireplace and a well equipped kitchen. The villa had ample room for four adults and four children.
The first floor had a big balcony to chill out as well. Surrounded with greenery it gave a wonderful feel. Something we don't see in the metropolises. Downside: It could be the rains but the whole villa felt musty. The feeling of everything being wet was overwhelming and the musty smell didn't help.
I don't think you could find a better hospitality anywhere else. Everyone and anyone was eager to be of help. All you have to do was just ask. They'd go out of the way to fulfill your wishes. Very polite and always smiling faces are a sight very rare these days (unless you don't know how to distinguish the painted ones). No one expects or waits with expectant looks in their eyes for a tip. A huge change from the normal scenario.
The Gunnery! That's what they call their dining hall. Its a huge high ceiling hall with a massive spread of buffets. Breakfast, lunch or dinner, you have choices... so many that sometimes you may get confused what to eat. I usually watch what I eat but my family was surprised to see me gorging. That's how tasteful the food was. Never tried the vegetarian options but non-veg spread, although a little limited as per 5 star standards was good. Along with the spread, you have the option to request the chef to prepare "quickies" right there in front of you; Pastas, omelettes, dosa...
Pick up your plate and you could walk out to sit on the veranda and enjoy the view of the mountains and the sounds of the river while you dig yourself into the food. The restaurant waiting staff is available there as well to offer you refills or bring you the odd extra naan. All you do is sit and eat and enjoy what nature has to offer and the rest will be taken care of by the management.
Although we're on a holiday and gadgets should be a far flung thought, provision for free Internet service would add a valuable star to an already amazing hospitality service. We are already paying a high price albeit for a good reason but personally, paying through the nose for something as basic as Internet was a little disappointing for me.
Closure of the swimming pool after 7 p.m. should also be looked upon. Guests are there to enjoy. The pool already has lights. Switch them on and let the guests enjoy even more.
Also, sleep quality wasn't good enough. It must be the mattresses. Spent the first night trying to adjust. They're a tad hard then they should be.
All in all, it was a fun trip only to be ruined by the bad road conditions between Moradabad and Kashipur. A stretch of almost 20 kms with a non-existent road. The return was again a nightmare coz we changed routes in the hope of seeing a better road. Travelling back via Aliganj and Dalpatpur proved a nightmare as well. 2 kms of craters so big that even trucks were found stuck and blocking the roads. Seems these road conditions have been prevailing for a ling time. Anyone with a passenger car will be at a loss. Drive carefully!
In the end, given a chance, Yes, I will revisit Riverview Retreat!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A delightful haven innovatively designed with independently air-conditioned lodges with drawing room and sit outs allows guests complete privacy and the freedom to feel at home. The essence of Indian lifestyle is captured in understated luxurious interiors with sloping tiled roofs, cool stone floors with throw rugs and traditional block wood furniture. Private sit outs and garden, offers maximum comfort while continuing the illusion of being in the wilds. Exclusive private villas with air-conditioned rooms and suites. Tasteful decor of rooms with plenty of daylight, and the large bedrooms and a sitting area are the distinctive features of the Riverview Retreat . ... more less
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