Staying at 4 rooms hotel in Gunehar is a very unique experience. A few hours away from the bustling Mc Leodganj, which is perennially crushing under the touristy madness is this quaint home stay, away from all the touristy frills and other nonsense. I had never stayed in a restored property so I was looking forward to the charming vacation bang in the middle of a real Himachali village.
I was accompanied by 4 other travel bloggers who braved the early morning downpour to reach the hotel. But not before maneuvering our way through herds of cattle tended by the Gaddi shepherd community.
Picture above : 4 room hotel – BEFORE (Pic by Frank)
We were delighted to take a round of the rustic property. Built out of mud and wood and bamboo as main components, the hotel exuded an earthy charm. Walking bare feet on the mud floor of the hotel, I stared lustily at the verdant valleys and misty air from the balcony, disturbed only by the chirps of birds that set up their nest in the ceiling.
I was told it was originally the partially burnt house of a wealthy merchant. When I looked closely at the other bigger traditional houses in the vicinity, I found a striking similarity except that the hotel was more sanitized and spruced up.
Like all things Frank has done to put Gunehar on the ‘discerning’ traveler map, without alienating the locals and their lifestyle, 4 rooms hotel effortlessly blends with the local milieu and atmosphere.
The rooms are simple and comfortable, the washrooms equipped with bathtubs and the walls are adorned with gorgeous crowd sourced photographs from the rural Himachal. All the rooms in 1st floor open in a balcony with wooden seats, tables and cushions. We loved hogging on hot Tea over some pakoras (fritters) and spiced up Maggi noodles as the rain lashed the tress gently.
Picture above : 4 room hotel – After restoration
The balcony is also a great place for people watching. We languorously saw life pass by in slow motion as school kids, shopkeepers, farmers and many people from Gaddi community, dressed in their traditional avatars, kept the place alive with their activity. The rooms on ground floor open in a lawn landscaped with flowering plants and a huge swing. My vote goes for the first floor rooms though. All the rooms differ from each other (Remember it was a home once?) in décor, design and mood. In some rooms you are literally sitting on artworks (Look at the beds carefully)
This is the kind of hotel where you should come to do nothing. The maximum you should do here is take a walk in the Gunehr village, talk to locals, maybe indulge in paragliding in nearby Bir, or sample Tibetan food in the monastery rich Tibetan Colony nearby. This is the place to slow down, as they say, this is the place to indulge in JOMO – Joy Of Missing Out. I found my stay meaningful here as the hotel is rich in soul and character unlike the clinical hotels one is used to. Also the village is as authentic as it can get.