As most of the other reviewers have pointed out - Holumba Haven is true to its name - a quiet, green, lush, peaceful retreat from the noisy and hectic traffic of Kalimpong. My husband and I spent 3 nights in the half of Magnolia (the oldest cottage) with the queen size bed, and then 1 night in Tree Top cottage - the cottage at the highest location on the terraced grounds. (Got moved because Magnolia was already booked by a prior reservation.) Both were very comfortable and charming. Everything was clean and worked well.
As important as the unique lushness and beauty of the setting of the cottages, is the remarkable Tibetan family who have owned this estate for at least 80 years. Norden Pempahishey, his wife Thinlay, and his sister Kesang, extended themselves to us far beyond what one would expect of a hotel host, and made us feel like their home guests. I had amazing conversations with Norden and Kesang, who both were generous in sharing their familial, cultural and political history - as well as their library - with us. They made reservations in Darjeeling for us for a hotel they referred us to, and then with a trekking outfitter/guide service. In both cases, the owners were Tibetan friends of theirs, and outstanding choices - for which we are very grateful to them.
Great place to de-compress from the unattractive aspects of India. Next time we're there, we'll plan it so that we can stay there longer.
Magnolia is older and quainter, and closer to the entrance (and therefore, lowest location on the gr...
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