(Note: Bamboo Retreat and is located in Rumtek not Gangtok as address above might imply)
Since other reviews have fully discussed the rooms and other amenities and the numerous photos give sufficient information, we thought we’d shed some light on the food here at Bamboo Resort. Our reservation included both breakfast and dinner.
Breakfast was made up of the usual suspects but with additional few nice touches - excellent muesli, Nutella and homemade peanut butter for the toast and very hot porridge, which we requested the night before. Our second breakfast included home baked muffins but no porridge because we forgot to order it in advance.
Dinner is served usually at 7:30, but the manager would have accommodated other timings if requested. Only one other couple was at the hotel during our two night stay, so there was no buffet as described on their website; rather we had a very nice sit-down set meal. Our first dinner included a stupendous amount of food. We were provided with a tasty soup of dried spinach, then a pork in gravy (this the manager, mysteriously identified as chicken), a “squash root” with peas that was virtually identical to aloo mattar, some sort of subzi concoction, and a thin dal, plus more rice than a human could contemplate and also chapati. We ordered beer which was not part of our included meal. For dessert we were given rice pudding, which we identified to the manager’s delight as kheer. We had already impressed him by asking the difference between aloo and squash root, and he said he’d try to show us a squash root the next day.
The manager had been most interested in our reaction to the food and was sad to hear we found it too mild. He explained, as usual, that they have to dumb down all their food for Westerners, and the next day he would try to have it be spicier. After dessert, we ordered a masala chai and a filter coffee (which was better than the powdered stuff but still pretty weak).
All during dinner the chief woman who had served as desk clerk and porter had been racing around getting bits and pieces for the room heater, which we had reminded them they had promised. After dinner we all traipsed up to the room for the installation. They tried to get it into one outlet, but there was not enough power there. They found a sufficient outlet, but there was some scary problem with the wiring that could only be solved when the male porter is called in to slide a thick coaster under the center of the machine. Finally the heater was alight. Problem was, we were left with one of those glow bar heaters that make a very bright light in the room, worse because this is shrieking white rather than the usual lurid red.
For breakfast the next day, the chef made an effort to spice up the masala omelet we ordered with green peppers taking heed of our comment that dinner was too mild. Our second dinner began with
with spicy tamater soup, then a very nice and zingy local chicken dish with no name, then rather bland bindi, interesting fern with fermented paneer, black dal, and rice. There was also quite a pleasant dish of fresh black mushrooms with cellophane noodles. We had a bottle of beer, but no coffee/tea afterwards. We finished the meal with some rather lame pieces of a frosted sheet cake – the cake was dry, the icing insipid, but it was pretty enough at the start.
Our room, by the way, was quite fine with a view towards Gangtok from our balcony. The only problem was that we were clouded in most of the time we were there and only had a clear view for a very brief moment in the early evening as the lights came on in the city across the way. There are only ten rooms in all, ours was Mandarin one flight up. The large hallway had several common rooms off of it including a TV room with DVDs, which we did not bother with, and a meditation room. We did take advantage of the filtered water and tea/coffee provided on a large table at the end of the hall. I recall there was a bowl of fresh fruit in the room - apples and oranges and a package or two of bikkies.
There were some electricity issues here besides finding an adequate outlet for the room heater: the lights flickered, enough to drive one mad, when the generator was running and the generator seemed to be running a lot, but thank heaven they did have a generator.
When we left the manager, and the entire staff from the chef and cook, to the woman who hauled our luggage, and the waiter, they all walked down the stairs with us and stayed in the parking area until we drove away, waving goodbye as we leave. It was a very sweet touch. Other reviewers mention the owners, who unfortunately were not in residence during our stay, but the manager and his staff were quite attentive to all our needs. It should be noted that because the weather was damp during much of our stay, the stone stairs from the hotel to parking area below were quite slippery to the point of being dangerous. The road from Gangtok to the hotel, however, has been upgraded and it was surprisingly short, mostly uphill through pretty country.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome! Set in three acres of paddy fields and bamboo groves with wonderful views of the Himalayan mountains bordering Tibet, Bamboo Retreat is a quiet and interesting place to base yourself on your Sikkim explorations. We offers special and quiet accommodations in the midst of nature. Facilities: 15 individually decorated rooms with attached western-style bathrooms, diverse international and ethnic cuisines, workshops, meditation, herbal soaks and, upon prior notice, Ayurvedic massages on offer. The star of the house is a wonderfully authentic top floor meditation room, complete with traditional Buddhist altar and glass windows looking out to mountains. A perfect place for your own yoga or meditation practice, or an introduction to meditation can be arranged. Herbal Soaks: There's also a special room for herbal baths - soak in one infused with lemongrass from the garden, lit by candle light and with a relaxing herbal tea. Day Trips can be arranged to visit nearby Lepcha-villages, monasteries, lakes or view-points. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Bamboo Retreat Hotel Gangtok, Sikkim