Abhishek Sharma is General Manager of Oberoi‘s Wildflower Hall in the Himalayas, but the gal suggesting getting there quickly if you want to see him in that luxury hotel as he is moving to Rajviläs in Jaipur in March. He donned the local Himalayan hat, a felt patchwork call himachali, to show off the full-sized billiards table in one of Wildflower Hall’s games room – another has half a dozen card tables, elegant and baize covered, just in case 24 bridge enthusiasts happen to call in (highly unlikely as this is remote, reached after three-and-a-half twisting, hairpin hours up from Chandigarh).
It is honestly a crime to make a quick visit to Wildflower Hall. I simply could not do justice to everything, especially to the amazing historic books in the several libraries around the 87-room hotel. I wanted to study the old photos, etchings and military medals. Next time. I did enjoy the spa, the gym, and swimming in the 65-foot indoor pool, with chandeliers overhead. Look across the pool and to the terrace, with its ten-by-ten foot really hot infinity jacuzzi. Sit in there, as many did, for ages and ages, soaking in the Himalayan views.
And I loved the choice of food, from local – Tandoori of Kullu Valley trout, marinated with yoghurt and Kashmiri chillies, Spring lamb cooked with yoghurt, and spinach tossed with garlic and gram flour – through to design your own pasta, pizza and burger. The main restaurant has two indoor rooms, high-ceilinged like all the main floor rooms, and a glassed-in conservatory and terrace. In summer some choose to dine in the gazebo (perilously near the archery range!) or in a picnic venue.
This luxury hotel sets the stage for experienced and aspirational travellers to create their own memories. How can one ever forget breakfasting under an embroidered umbrella and looking out at the Himalayas that you have your choice of yoghurts, perhaps with fresh wild strawberries, from the copious buffet within?