Give a Delhiite any reason to escape the sepia-coloured city life, and they&rsquoll be ready with a neatly packed suitcase at their feet. I was no different. To add to that, I was deep into my Ruskin Bond novel, and as it goes, I had already begun dreaming of a getaway to the hills.
And so I started my journey towards Gethia, a small village just a few km ahead of the populated Nainital. Very soon, the dust-covered roads of the mainland gave way to the rolling hills of Uttarakhand. As we drove up, encircling the pine-forested slopes, the cool wind heralded a special experience. And there I was, staring in awe at a colonial-era bungalow framed by the arched gate with cobblestone paths leading up to it.
Photo Credit Blue Book
An expansive sitting space on the first floor of the old wing
The 130-Year-Old Bungalow
Belonging to the 1800s, the Bungalow exuded the kind of character that makes you never want to leave. Even its earliest resident, Madame Durell fell in love with the place so much that she refused to return to her homeland with her husband. Instead, she stayed back and married a local man. Even now, a wooden signboard engraved with her name hangs in the lobby.
The 25-year-old hotelier, Shrey Gupta, who devoted himself to restoring this bungalow from the 1800s, has ensured that the board remains in its place, in Durell&rsquos honour. However, the rest of the bungalow has been revamped with a keen eye for detail.
Photo Credit Blue Book
Chapter 8 of Blue Book
Spread over two floors and four acres, the Bungalow is divided between an old and a new wing. The old wing houses eight rooms, all done up perfectly with Victorianesque floral upholstery in pastel shades, antique accents, and vintage black-and-white prints adorning the walls. In contrast, the white and blue accents of the rooms in the new wing transport guests to the breezy Mediterranean shore. However, the gorgeous view of the hills, washed by the sun's warm glow, reigns as the showstopper in each room.
For a setting as beautiful as this, there&rsquos not much to be done to ensure guests leave with a memorable experience. But Gupta goes the extra mile, and his team at Blue Book follows suit without a fault.
During my two-day stay, I relished the most scrumptious four-course meals&mdasheach served at a different picturesque location around the property. Gupta tells me that his kitchen staff comprises chefs specialising in different cuisines&mdashKumaoni, Chinese, continental and North Indian.
But that&rsquos not all. At a place like this, the last thing one may want to do is venture out. But Gethia&rsquos charm is not to be missed. Gupta ensures you leave smitten. One evening, as the golden hour fell upon us, Gupta suggested we leave for a hike. I agreed, and we set on. As the hues of pink and orange danced together, I was convinced that I had experienced the most enchanting evening. Until Shrey pointed towards a table neatly laid out with Blue Book&rsquos signature blue and gold rimmed crockery and a plate of sandwiches. Gupta shares that this is one of the many experiences, including camping, he&rsquos curated to introduce guests to Gethia&rsquos undeniable beauty.
Leaving An Impact
However, there is more to Blue Book than what meets the eye. Gupta is proud to share that women make up 70 per cent of the team that runs the show daily. This incredible reality is matched by his efforts to empower the local community. To ease the water shortage problem in the village, Gupta has installed a tap right outside the gates, from which villagers can get an unhindered supply of fresh water throughout the day. In addition, he&rsquos particular about ensuring that no plastic is used and food waste is recycled as compost.
With Gupta&rsquos passion for creating a one-of-a-kind experience, Blue Book is a precious tale written with love and boundless beauty. To experience your fairytale at Blue Book, visit here.