Darjeeling, Indian Himalayas, India

The lavishly appointed Mayfair, on the Mall opposite the Governor’s Residence, occupies the former summer palace of the Maharaja of Nazargunj. On a high natural balcony overlooking the valley, the location is plum – weather permitting, you can breakfast on the lawned terrace and look across miles of forested ridges.

The gaudy primrose-yellow colour scheme and Greek statues strike an incongruous note in this most ramshackle of towns, but the red-oxide corrugated roofs are quintessential Darjeeling, while the interiors are sumptuously furnished with lashings of carved wood and chintz.

There’s a restaurant with a serviced buffet; British-style library dedicated to Sherpa Tenzing; an air-con spa; and small fitness centre. Guests are also welcome to use the facilities of the nearby Gymkhana Club, which include a grass tennis court.

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