Mention ‘Himachal Pradesh,’ and I’m sure it will bring images of a picturesque paradise to your mind – one with verdant hills covered in evergreens – sometimes swaying under clear blue skies, and at other times, peeking from behind a veil of mist.
As you probably know by now, my base during the 2 months I spent in Himachal Pradesh was in Naggar – 20 kms from Manali, bang in the middle of an apple orchard. Of course, I had to visit Manali every couple of days, when I wanted to trade my home-cooked rice-and-curry for something more exotic. And every time I did, I’d pass a board advertising Tall Trees Resort, as I drove beside the fierce Beas River and crossed over to into the touristy hub of a hill station. Towards the very end of my trip, I finally got the opportunity to check out this lush little resort.
ABOUT TALL TREES RESORT
We turned off the main road that led to Manali, onto a precariously shaky and narrow bridge; so narrow, that we had to turn in the side mirrors of the car in order to inch forward. I’m not afraid of heights, but something about this bridge got my heart thumping – perhaps it was the car behind us that was easing onto the bridge too – one car seemed passable, but could the bridge withstand the weight of two?
We got off the bridge and I let out the breath I didn’t know I was holding. A few minutes later, we realized that it was suddenly darker, similar to when the sunlight disappears just before a storm is about to hit. And right away, I knew the inspiration behind the name ‘Tall Trees.’ I found myself right in the middle of a huge patch of magnificent deodar trees, their crowns appearing as if they were lost in the heavens. I stepped out of of the car to cran my neck and look up and *plop* a raindrop slid off one of the leaves and landed on my forehead. A sort of welcome, perhaps?
The trail led me to a small parking area, with a tiny little reception that could perhaps seat 2-3 people. Don’t be fooled by first impressions, the compactness of this part of the property deceives how spacious it actually is inside.
On my walk to my room, I noticed how everything here blends in with its surroundings – the stone facade of the structures within, the smart use of wood to add a bit of warmth and oh-so-much greenery spouting out from pots, covering sections of the stairs and shooting up between the granite-stoned pathway.
The rooms are all built on the edge of a patch of lawn dotted with trees and flowering shrubs. Be still here for a moment and it won’t be long before you encounter a large butterfly or two hovering around you before making their way to the ruby-red carnations! A gurgling stream flows through the property too, and over it, a bridge that gives it such a fairy-tale charm. For those who love gardening, you’ll find some rare succulents and flowers grown in cute-looking animal-shaped pots. Doesn’t matter if you don’t, the resort will elevate your notion of relaxation even higher than it already is and you will be lulled by the sound of the rivulet throughout your stay.
Here I am, enjoying the zen that comes with traveling during the monsoons – fresh greens, flowing streams and nature at it’s beautiful best!
One of the aspects I loved most about Tall Trees Resort was how intimate and quiet the hotel felt. There are a dozen rooms, making it a great place to come to if you really want to relax and be serenaded by the rustling of trees and the gushing water that you can hear no matter where in the property you are.
My cottage-style room was like a simple, little sanctuary in the woods that offered the privacy to disconnect and truly appreciate the surroundings. Even the paths to each room are separate, ensuring that no other guests even pass by on the way to their own room! That’s a good thing, considering one does have a view into the bathrooms on walking outside!
Completely uncluttered, my room had minimal décor and was designed using earthy tones that made it blend in with the environment outside. The huge windows were perfect for taking in the surroundings whilst let in a flood of light and gaving the room a bright, airy appeal. Outside, the balcony stretched from one end of the room to the other, and not only offered a front view, but also a side view, as it stretched along two sides! A solitary single-seater reclining couch was placed outside, but it would have been ideal if there were two, and preferably, better upholstered. Apart from that, a TV, work desk, couch and cupboard made up the components of the room.
On opening the huge glass panelled doors, the sound of the river and birds seemed amplified and drowned out the sound of the TV! Who needs an idiot box when you’re in the midst of nature, anyway? It made such soothing background music to mediate to or read a book.
I didn’t plan any activities around the property because; well I had been living in the neighbourhood for a while and didn’t feel like exploring it any further. We truly just wanted to chill, and chill we did!
Tall Trees Resort also offers Swiss Tent style accommodation that’s at the end of a 10 minute nature walk.
I loved the restaurant more than I did the room! It was such a cheerful, sunny place to hang out during the day and as the night crept in, it gets even cosier with the whole ‘cabin in the woods’ appeal.
While my room had a copy of the menu, the restaurant did not and I just went with whatever the wait-staff suggested. Here’s what I ordered for lunch off the menu – doesn’t the presentation look fabulous?
I had my dinner in the restaurant on a cosy blue couch by the bookshelf while flipping through a Lonely Planet magazine that made me yearn for a holiday, ironically, while I was already on one. When you visit Tall Trees Resort in Manali, make sure you try out the butter chicken – it will have you licking the plate – it’s that good! By the time I finished eating, there was nothing I could do but drag myself up to my room and pull the soft quilt over my head – total food coma!
My breakfast the next morning comprised of eggs, sausages and toast along with poha – which was couldn’t have been any more perfect. I’d definitely recommend the poha here, too – it was true-blue home-style Maharashtrian cooking at its best!
All my meals at Tall Trees Resort had me full to the brim! Not only is the food rich and delicious, but the quantity was generous as well!
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When you’re there, you may want to partake in some of the experiences they offer – some of them are listed in the picture below. There wasn’t a copy of this in the room and hence it may be missed out on.
The lofty cedar and deodar trees make up much of the landscape in Manali, and Himachal Pradesh at large. Spend a couple of days living amidst them and breathing in their scent – it’s like nature’s own spa and it feels invigorating!