Monsoon Special: 5 great glasshouse getaways
Make the most of the season with these rooms with a view
What better way to enjoy the monsoon than to stay in with some piping hot chai? Now imagine a glass-enclosed suite where you can completely immerse yourself in the rains—while staying dry. We pick some of the best all-glass suites across India—from the Western Ghats to India’s wine country to the Kumaon Himalayas.
Beyond by Sula
The tasting room at Sula Vineyards near Nashik (3 hours from Mumbai) has been a popular getaway for Mumbaikars for a while now. The Source at Sula, the recently opened Tuscan-style resort, is a great stay option. But if you want to get away from the often crowded winery, head to Beyond by Sula, a 15- to 20-minute drive from the winery, mostly over an unpaved road. The Sky Villa is worth every bit of that effort. The cuboid, all-glass, three-bedroom villa stands by the Gangapur lake and looks quite futuristic in all its minimalist glory. It is perfect for a family holiday or a couples’ getaway, or even a bachelor or hen party. The villa comes with a common sitting room, a kitchenette and a private pool. Each room has a walkout deck, the perfect place for a sundowner with a glass of red, white or bubbly from Sula’s extensive repertoire. From ₹ 29,999 for six guests, inclusive of breakfast and a wine-tasting session. www.sulawines.com
Tucked away in a sprawling coffee estate near Chikmagalur (4 hours from Bengaluru), Primrose Villas takes “room with a view" to another level. With three sides of floor-to-ceiling glass, these 1,000 sq. ft villas exude a feeling of space. The rooms, done up with Victorian furniture, have a cosy ambience; there’s even a working fireplace. Outside, it’s green as far as the eye can see. There are the lush valleys and mountains of the Western Ghats with the Mullayanagiri peak rising on the horizon. Enjoy the views from your private patio or soak in the elegant bathtub as the rain drenches the hillside (the villas are spread about the hillside so you have complete privacy). From ₹ 23,000, inclusive of meals. www.primrosevillas.com
Shakti 360º Leti
Fancy waking up to a view of the Himalayas? Fly in from Delhi to Pantnagar (1 hour) or take a train to Kathgodam (6 hours) and then drive to Shakti 360º Leti. It’s more than an 8-hour drive, so you can break the journey at Almora or at any of the Kumaoni villages en route.
When you get there, Shakti 360º Leti is a mountain experience like no other. There are just four stone cabins, all of which sport a glass-and-wood frontage that gives splendid views of the snow-clad peaks of the Lower Himalayas. Spend your days lounging about the property and have leisurely meals (made from organic, locally grown produce) under the shamiana overlooking the Ramganga Valley. Alternatively, pack a picnic and drive to the nearby villages or go on guided hikes or gentle walks in the mountains. From ₹ 2.21 lakh per person (for double occupancy) for a three-night stay, inclusive of meals, guides, driver, and activities. www.shaktihima laya.com/kumaon.php
If you have always wanted a tree house of your own, book a stay at one of the Jungle Machans at The Machan resort in Lonavala (two and a half hours from Mumbai). The resort is spread over 25 acres in the dense forest of Jambulne in the Western Ghats. Nestled within the trees, the Jungle Machans are arboreal villas that stand 30-45ft above the ground. The glass walls and the outdoor bath with a free-standing bathtub offer the feel of “jungle living". Have your evening tea on your private teakwood deck as you listen to birdsong and try to spot the native Malabar flying squirrel. The resort runs primarily on solar and wind power, so it’s eco-living at its best. From ₹ 13,000 for double occupancy, inclusive of breakfast. www.themachan.com
Spread over a hillside in Tala (three and a half hours from Mumbai) is Forest Hills, a sprawling eco-resort with eight wildly different accommodation categories, from mud huts to tree houses to container villas (the latter are designed by luxury decor designer Krsna Mehta). As unique as each of them are, we recommend the Glasshouse, a glass-and-wood enclosed villa perched on the eastern face of the hillside. The glass walls offer incredible views of the surroundings—a verdant jungle on your patio, a tiny village nestled in the valley below, and beyond it a river stream from the nearby Wave Dam (pronounced waa-way). Inquisitive simians might drop in unexpectedly on the patio, as may the resort’s friendly cat.
The 2,000 sq. ft Glasshouse has two double beds, one on each level. The top level also has a bunk bed that can be accessed by a ladder, perfect if you are taking the children along. Both levels have separate bathrooms—the one on the top is a spectacular open-to-air bath with a free-standing bathtub next to a tree branch that juts through the bathroom. From ₹ 38,000 for four guests, inclusive of all meals. www.foresthills tala.com