The Big Six: Himalayan Retreats

Lucy Gillmore@lucygillmore
Saturday 12 February 2011 01:00

Shakti 360 Leti, India

These four solar-powered, stone-and-glass cottages have sweeping views over the Himalayas and come with wood-burning stoves and pashmina-draped beds. The exclusive retreat is the perfect place to recharge your batteries. There's no internet or mobile-phone reception: just gourmet food and wine, long hikes through rhododendrons (from March until the end of May) – and space.

Shakti 360 Leti, Kumaon, India (020-3151 5177; Three-night packages start at US$1,825 (£1,216) per person full-board with activities,the services of a guide and transfers from Almora.

Dwarika's Himalayan Shangri-La Village Resort, Nepal

Just 45 minutes' drive from Kathmandu, among the apple trees, rhododendrons and pines of the Himalayan foothills, this cluster of buildings reflects the local ethnic Newari and Gurung architecture. There are no TVs – just panoramic picture windows. Rooms have wooden floors, simple stylish furnishings and each comes with its own patch of garden with a hammock.

The Dwarika's Himalayan Shangri-La Village Resort, Dhulikhel, Nepal (00 977 11 490612; Doubles start at US$165 (£110), including breakfast.

Amankora, Bhutan

Amankora comprises five sleek lodges in Buddhist Bhutan, which together form a trekking loop. You can complete a circular Aman-style pilgrimage, starting in either Paro or the capital, Thimphu. One of the most isolated lodges is Amankora Gangtey, in the remote Phobjikha Valley where 300 endangered black cranes winter every year. Inside, the lodge features Aman's signature sleek, minimal style with rammed earth and wood panelling throughout. From the expansive picture windows there are panoramic views across a cavernous gorge to the 16th-century monastery of Gangtey Goemba.

Amankora, Thimphu, Kingdom of Bhutan (00 975 2 331 333; Doubles start at US$1,300 (£867), full-board.

Wildflower Hall, India

This was the Shimla residence of Lord Kitchener, whose portrait hangs above the fire. Think colonial old world, plus a few contemporary touches. From the pool you can enjoy spectacular views of the snow-dusted mountains .

Oberoi Wildflower Hall, Chharabra, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India (00 91 177 264 8585; Doubles start at R23,500 (£315), room only.

Uma Paro, Bhutan

This former Bhutanese nobleman's house overlooks the Paro Valley. Its rooms are scattered through the azalea-clad grounds. However, inside it's contemporary chic with traditional touches. Visit local monasteries and markets, or indulge in a spot of pampering at the Como Shambala spa.

Uma Paro, Paro, Bhutan (00 975 8 271597; Doubles start at US$330 (£220), including breakfast.

The Famous Farm, Nepal

This Nepalese manor house has views of an ancient fortress and temple. There are 11 bedrooms and two cottages set around a courtyard . The food comes from the on-site organic farm.

The Famous Farm, Nuwakot, Nepal (00 977 1 4700426; Bookings through the Adventure Company (0845 287 5525; Doubles start at £47 full-board.

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