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.