Kalimpong, Indian Himalayas, India

David MacDonald was the interpreter on Francis Younghusband’s expedition to Tibet in 1904, and later became Britain’s principal representative in the region. Twenty years later, he retired to build a guest house on the verdant outskirts of Kalimpong, which over time became an obligatory waystage for Everset-bound mountaineers and travellers heading north to the Tibetan plateau: Mallory, Irving, Heinrich Harrer, Hilary and Tenzing and Alexandra David Néel all stayed here in their day.

Owned by MacDonald’s grandson, the house now stands as a homage to these adventurous times. Try for a room in the main building, where long, red Nepalese rugs lead over wood-floored corridors to verandahs draped in wisteria, and whose the bedrooms still retain original fire places and antique wardrobes. The food is fresh and delicious, the staff charming and gardens a wonderland of exotic plants, shrubs and trees.


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