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“A jewel in Shimla's crown”
Review of Sunnymead Estate

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Sunnymead Estate
Ranked #3 of 149 Specialty Lodging in Shimla
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 25, 2014

We had an outrageously good stay at Madhavi's house in February 2014. This is a really tastefully and carefully restored family home, built by her great grandfather, full of antique furniture, hangings and carpets. It sits on the steep slope below Cart Road in its lovely garden - Moti Lal has been looking after it for 30 years or more. Madhavi provided us with a room with a balcony and a four poster bed, log fires, superb breakfasts with 5 or 6 different dishes, and equally lavish evening meals. The food draws on recipes from Kashmir, the Punjab and Dehli - unfailingly interesting., its quality was as good or better than anything we ate anywhere in India and Nepal in the 4 months we were travelling. The house library is extensive and comprehensive consisting of English and Indian books both literary and otherwise for most of the past century. Madhavi herself is a charming hostess whose conversation is never less than entertaining. We quickly came to think of her as a friend. Warmly recommended.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Ros B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ilovemiles171004, Owner at Sunnymead Estate, responded to this reviewResponded July 20, 2015

Dearest Ros and David,

Thank you both for writing this lovely review. I thought of you today since I've managed to source a magnolia campbellii (grin grin).. Devon and Totnes are on my definite wishlist esp Rosemoor. Do come again so I may feed you some more.

Big hug
Madhavi

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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44 - 50 of 64 reviews

Reviewed March 23, 2014

Madhavi and Radhika were the most wonderful hosts, welcoming us with a smile in their beautiful home. A cosy, wooden house, aesthetically done, it instantly made us feel at home. A beautiful garden is perfect to laze in the sun and food is quite incredible - especially the Lamb :)

In short, I fell in love with the place and will definitely stay here when I go back to Shimla…provided there are rooms available because more often than not, they aren't!

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
2  Thank chugh9994
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 3, 2014

Madhavi was an excellent hostess and Sunnymead is a beautiful property. I would highly recommend staying here. The house has so much character and is beautifully furnished and decorated. Our room had a very comfortable four poster bed and a fire burning in the fireplace. Chatting to Madhavi and her mum, Rita, before dinner was interesting and entertaining. The dinner we had was absolutely delicious. This was the best meal I have had this holiday and Madhavi's jackfruit biryani was sensational. I wish we had planned to stay more than one night because we didn't do Sunnymead justice. We'll have to return.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Kathy M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ilovemiles171004, Owner at Sunnymead Estate, responded to this reviewResponded July 25, 2015

Dear Kathy and Pete,
I'm so glad that you enjoyed your stay here and thank you so much for such a fabulous review. Both my mother and I enjoyed meeting you. I look forward to seeing the two of you soon.
Very many thanks
Madhavi

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Reviewed October 7, 2013

I've now gone up to Sunnymead twice, and will happily return year after year. As others have mentioned, the food is simply outstanding! Madhavi and her dogs (and cat) are great company; there's wonderful birding to be done sitting on the verandah, there's endless books on offer, and you're a good 3 km short of town, so you really do escape the madness of Shimla. There are a bunch of nice walks -- although some require a short drive. And the cottage has been wonderfully, lovingly renovated. Just a great place to catch your breath!

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
2  Thank Vasant S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 12, 2013

A quick look at the Bed & Breakfast options on TripAdvisor had me fixated on the quaint and beautiful Sunnymead. After reading every single review (and then once more), I knew this was the place I wanted to stay at while in Shimla. While making my booking for the first week of September I exchanged several emails with the owner of Sunnymead - Madhavi Bhatia, who patiently answered all of my queries, recommended a cab driver and inquired about our food preferences. (Naturally, I had a good feeling about this.)

I wasn't disappointed. It was evening when we arrived and though it wasn't as bright outside, I noticed the place was every bit like the pictures or better. Inside the house, our bedroom complete with a four poster bed, heavily-laden book rack, a vintage desk n' chair and a chest of drawers decked with the cutest electric kettle, cups and tea supplies.

The view from the room (and all the other rooms as well) is fabulous: mountains and mist! The garden below is unlike your typical manicured ones, with numerous varieties of flowers, herbs and fruit and all :)

The rest of the house has this European-style decor that makes you never want to leave. While there isn't room service, your beds are made and rooms cleaned everyday, sometimes twice.

The crockery from the early 1900s (I'm guessing) adds more charm to every meal; which brings me to the highlight of our trip: the food at Sunnymead. We found ourselves looking forward to the yummy delicacies from Madhavi's kitchen (read shepherd's pie, meatloaf, pumpkin and sage soup, salads and whatnot)! The breakfasts included eggs, freshly baked bread, a selection of jams and preserves, bacon/ sausages, mushrooms, grilled tomato and tea and coffee and smoothies (occasionally) to wash it all down. There was also something special included everyday like pancakes with strawberries, crepes or muffins... yumm!

Lastly, the owner is so fun and sweet, you'll find yourself at the dining table, chatting long after your meal is done.

Just a few pointers:
1) If you are the kind who needs to be surrounded by activity or if you're the noisy kind, Sunnymead may not be your perfect pick. It's quietly nestled in the hills below Cart Rd and makes for the perfect getaway from city life.
2) It's quite a walk to Mall Rd from here so you'd better be fit and carry your walking shoes, or you can always hire a car for Rs.200 per way (like we did a few times :P). P.S. If you choose to walk, Madhavi draws a mean map to show you how to get there by the scenic route :)
3) You might return a few pounds heavier, thanks to Madhavi's food. But it's all worth it :)

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Lisabelle_G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 22, 2013

We had the most fantastic stay in Sunnymead - Madhavi is a perfect host but also we think we left after our three night visit here as friends and who can ask for more than that ! The house is beautifully restored, packed with antiques and books - a real joy - with all that you need and a very comfortable bed as well. Madhu cooked awesome meals - we chose to eat our evening meal here as well because the food was simply delicious and the atmosphere so welcoming - each night we sampled divine puri,s roti,s dals, biryanis fabulous home made chutneys and for breakfast - well we just couldn't eat it all....This was our first trip to India and staying with Madhavi helped to orient us to the culture, the psyche and the politics in a way that you would never have if you stayed in a hotel. We laughed and chatted and then dragged ourselves away from the beautiful garden and house to go and do a bit of sightseeing in Shimla which we alsoloved. All in all a pretty perfect, relaxing start to our India trip and the one we talk about the most now we are home.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank ArianaF2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 20, 2013

PROS and CONS

PROs
1. BEAUTIFUL place; heritage is something to be experienced.
2. INSANE food; Madhavi could easily be a chef at a leading restaurant. Trust me;
3. FRESH food; all organic- everything grows there. She also has the best of stuff to serve from the choicest locations;
4. The place has character and history- it will talk to you if you allow it to.
5. Attention to detail is excellent
6. The Dogs are the cutest- if you dont like dogs- i wouldn't advise staying here.
7. No Alcohol so you need to carry your own

CONs

1. NONE
My review is more meant for fellow travelers than for the outstanding owner; this is just to be fair to them
2. Hmm. Well- if you're very loud, butter chicken, daru sharu and loud music types- please avoid Sunnymead. Itll honestly not suit you well.
3. No Room Service- we had a 3 year old and we didn't feel the need for it honestly. If you need something-just ask Madhavi.
4. Since i don't have a yardstick for fellow travelers- in terms of price- i felt it could have been about 10-15% lesser; its a very individualistic opinion- you cant put a price on heritage and service of the kind you'll get at Sunnymead. However a slight drop in price can make it affordable in terms of not having to compare it to a starred hotels rates, which can in some cases, be lesser than Sunny Mead, including lodging and meals. Then again; its not a place i wont be returning to. I think that's the only 'opinion' that could help retain and attract more people of the profile they'd like at the place. Mind it- its an opinion and not a criticism.
5. Please dont come here if -
a. you have very frilly and irritable kids who love breaking things. The cost of the cutlery Madhavi uses would be roughly equal to twice your daily room charges.
b. prefer louder places with TVs and room service (neither of those 2 in the 4 rooms)
c. have a problem with dogs- (I Loved the dogs there- theyre my favs now)
6. No Pool- just adding this but have rated it 5 ; shouldn't affect the rating. But who goes to Shimla to swim anyway?

All in all- its a wonderful place with a wonderful host. Its a new concept; homestays. Rooms are all great. The mall is a short walk away though itll be a bit tough if you have a problem with the knees. The food is madness; honestly- madhavi is one of the best chefs i have come across in a long time. Clean air, heritage Shimla and if you come here when flowers are in bloom- you may not want to leave this place..And thats for real.

Room Tip: 4 rooms on the first floor. The room in the center has a double bed. Rest are twin beds. Very comfor...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank Ashishpainoli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sunnymead Estate

Address: | Below the Cart Rd, Near the Old MLA Headquarters and Hotel Blossom, Shimla 171004, India
Location: India > Himachal Pradesh > Shimla District > Shimla
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 149 Specialty Lodging in Shimla
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sunnymead, Shimla is an exquisitely restored home with a spectacular garden. Located on the edge of the Reserve Forest. It is conveniently situated both to explore Shimla and its surrounds, as well as just relax and do nothing...Located just off the Cart Road, Sunnymead is the first private house as you drive up from the plains. Parking is available at the level of the road, either in our private parking bay or else in one of our garages. A short walk down a mountain path leads to the house. The road is not motorable till the front door. We are not a hotel, but offer short term rentals for like-minded people who would like to live in an old family home. Short stays may be customised on request. The food offered is both Indian and European, served in exquisite collectible china with old, beautifully maintained silverware. Distances from Sunnymead: Sunnymead to Railway Station - 1.2 km, Sunnymead to Victory Tunnel - 1.8 km, Sunnymead to local bus stand on Cart Road - 2.2 km, Sunnymead to lift (for the Mall) - 3.1 km,Sunnymead to Boileauganj (local market) - 1.2 km. ... more   less 

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