Northeast Hill States, India

The young Maharaja of Tripura fell in love with Shillong when he studied here in the 1920s and built this sprawling colonial-style bungalow as a holiday bolthole. The driveway to it runs beneath a lucky horseshoe-shaped arch, then sweeps through stands of Himalayan pines, bamboo and cherry trees to a rambling terraced garden full of rare orchids and roses.

The rooms are mostly in a modern annexe, sensitively built using local materials, and all have lovely brass fireplaces. But if you can stretch to it, go for the cavernous, high-ceilinged Maharaja’s suite in the front portion, with its lustrous wood floors and mahogany bed that was once slept in by Tagore. Service can be a bit slow, but is conducted with old-fashioned courtesy.

People stay for the period architecture and gardens rather than mod cons, which are kept to a minimum – though there’s a pleasant mezzanine bar and billiards room. Light meals and fragrant brews from around India may be enjoyed in the Tea Lounge.

Our opinion

A comfortable base to visit Shillong and the pretty surrounding countryside.

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