The place with a heart
We were in love with Queen’s Meadows even before we arrived there. It was a mad sudden New Year’s plan to just get out of Dubai, and one conversation with Sanjay was enough to forget all the worries and just get there. The Delhi fog and weather warnings not withstanding, we arrived at Queen’s Meadows, to warm welcoming chais and a clear star studded sky above and that was just the beginning of one of our best getaways till date. Perfectly equipped and gorgeous tents, better than many we have stayed at in Amby Valley and many other premium retreats , acres of green forest and every tent and villa having a stunning view of the Himalayas. It let us take long meandering walks up the hills, with no car honks, no sounds at all, except of nature. It let us have our own personal bonfire on new year’s eve, with nothing to worry about and you could break into any song you liked.
Queen’s Meadows surprised us, from the lonely wooden bench perched in a beautiful spot, to the birdhouses, to the verandah, to the temple to the no signages. We walked we got lost, found something new, paused, clicked and walked again. It gave us a range of food from the warmest daal to delicious gulab jamun, to the specially made Chicken steak and mutton curry which could give any chef a run for their money. There were lots to do, so much that even on the last day, we felt we have note explored the place enough.. I thought of many reasons to explain why I liked it so much- maybe because it was not crowded, maybe because I was just so tired of Dubai , but I realised it was because everything there was done from the heart from people who belonged there. No standardised impersonal 5 star hotel this, but all the luxuries with absolute autheticity and genuineness. Sanjay we are coming back soon and many more times after that.
– Priyanka G, Dubai
A place that will remain in memories forever
Simply Superb. For us, it was ideal place to holiday, although unfortunately we planned only 2 nights there and I wish we had spent at least 3 nights.
Stay, food, service all aspects of the hotel were remarkably well. Hotel is located little away from Ranikhet and on a little hill. There is no road up the hill, so, one has to park vehicle below and trek up to reach to the hotel. We reached hotel late around 5 pm in our taxi, still hotel sent their driver and car to ensure, we don’t waste anytime in locating the hotel. Its a small thing but it helps so much as usually at the end of the journey you are little irritable; and if you have to search the place, uhhh. We reached below the hill and helpers were ready there and they took all the luggage and this small trek was a fun. Mid way the trek, a welcome stall served us a refreshing welcome drink. Trek which we thought will be tiresome became fun due to the arrangements that they had. Anyway, trek on the hills are refreshing than tiring due to quality of air and temperature. Pine trees along the trek looked so beautiful that feel good for us started during trek only.
Once we reached up, sight of the hotel grounds really made us happy that we chose this hotel. We were escorted to the villa. First look of the interiors and size of the villa made us realise that extra money spent for villa was well spent. Villa’s bedroom, walk-in closet & bathroom were large. However, living room we would have preferred to be little larger. Current size of living room is not large enough where two families can spend time together. Hotel is located on an uneven hill and that adds to the charm as villas are located on the steps rather than at the same level. We preferred higher level villa as we didn’t mind walking up few stairs for the view that it offered. Villas have balcony/verandah which helps both in summer as well as winter (for sun soaking). It was heavenly to come out in the winter morning and see the rising son. View of the peaks from there, unmatched.
Their deck is an awesome place within property where one can spend hours looking at the snow capped peaks. Along with main deck they have made few more places where guests can enjoy star gazing or snow capped peaks based on weather. Overall property is such that its luxury without taking away that hilly and rustic charm.
Considering its a boutique property, on the hills where supply has to reach on foot; we were not sure of the food. However, food served by them was delicious and since, its not a large property guest choices are incorporated in the menu. They know how to take care of guests and small example like – when we reached, we were hungry and asked them to send some fruits to the villa. When we reached villas we realised fruit basket is already present there as part of usual process. After 10 minutes, we got a fruit bowl and this fruit was different than what were there in the basket. Its a simple thing but needs detailed process/care. I can bet most of the places we would have got the same fruit what were there in the fruit basket.
Hotel does arranges one barbecue evening and whole setting of the hotel enhances barbecue party enormously. Six of us were of different taste but we all were happy with food and that’s surely speaks very well about their preparation. In fact, one evening owner of the place had prepared a dish, and he did make yummy KHEER.
When we booked this hotel, we got confused as hotel didn’t have a website yet, and telephonic discussion with Sanjay made me feel comfortable. However, I couldn’t locate this on map and I asked Sanjay to send coordinates, which gave me some idea but I was still not sure how it would turn out. My choice was made after reading trip advisor comments and I am happy we went there. Sanjay, owner of the place is a definition of hospitality. And when owner himself is like that team has to be good and thats what we felt throughout our stay.
My only compliant is that – I live in Pune and not in Delhi. Had I been in Delhi, this would have become twice a year sort of destination for me.
– Jagat Pal Singh, Pune
Never stops surprising you
This time on New year’s, we wanted to be away from the Dubai Hustle bustle, and spend the eve on a hill, under the stars and freezing temperature, with bonfire keeping us warm. With no firm plan, just 4 days before the New Year’s Eve, while searching randomly on trip advisor, we came across Queens Meadows. Then on wards it was a journey that started with skepticism, but with so many pleasant surprises along the way, turning out to be one of the most lovely and ‘perfect’ experiences we have ever had.
Sanjay Sarin, the owner of the property, who worked his way up from the grassroots and went on to own a construction business, gives in to his passion and ends up building and living in this lovely property, 10km away from Ranikhet, on a hill surrounded by 200+acres of jungle, overlooking the Himalayas, and can only be accessed on foot, walking up 400m from the Road.
Sanjay Sarin has no experience in hospitality, nor is a marketer, but is a living example of the fact ‘when your heart is in it, you don’t need skill or experience’. With his heart, he built something which at every step surprises you. He selected a location which many would have thought twice about. He decided to use resources from the Kumaon region only, as his way to give back to the region, whether it is wood, stone or the people. It took him years therefore, to complete this property, with each and every element planned as if he was building his own home.
After investing so much time and money, he could have easily spent money and spread the word. Could have got every booking site nationally and internationally to list it, tied up with travel agents. But he didn’t. Because he wanted people to find it, the right people, who can appreciate the surroundings, the calm, the view of the Himalayas and who like their holidays finding EVERYTHING in NOTHING. So he only put this up on Tripadvisor, with only an option to mail him to get further details.
The people who work in Queens Meadows, are all from the nearby villages, who have no experience like him, of the role they have been given. But like Mr Sarin, they work with their heart into it, and you would not feel a bit, they are not trained for the role. They almost seem to be preempting your needs, run around at the smallest request with a NEVER SAY NO attitude. You walk into your balcony early morning, and you see Mr Sarin waving at you from the restaurant, and a person ready to run to you with the morning tea/coffee. There is no timing for the meal. The meal is served at the time you want, since it is cooked fresh, in their open kitchen, accessible to all. Breakfast at 12, Lunch at 4pm and Dinner at 10pm….no timings….The food is customized to your taste, and amazingly homely. For people like us staying away from home, it was just the way we wanted.
When so many things surprised us, how could the villa not. Our experience of tents in the past, whether the jungles or the hills has been very stereotypical. You dont look for the best comfort and hygiene, but the experience. However, the tent villa we stayed in combined the best of both worlds. A proper tent, with most cosy beds possible, comparable to a 5 star bed, extremely clean loos with hot water throughout the day, a heater to keep you warm, a private balcony overlooking the Himalayas, and hot water bottles under our beds every evening to keep us warm.
Mr Sarin’s welcoming attitude, his flexible terms, his helpful nature, and the small little things he did kept overwhelming at every step.
We reached the hotel at night, and with a team of people carrying our luggage, were walking up the 400m path in the jungle, when half way through, we suddenly notice a bon fire, with people waiting with tea and biscuits. It was a pit stop, Mr Sarin had arranged, to ensure we catch our breaths, in the lovely surroundings of the jungle! The climb is not bad, and we were really enjoying walking up the jungle, and this small little gesture just won our hearts, even before we reached the property.
He knew we were driving down from Delhi, and to make us comfortable, assured us that he had a back up car waiting, in case anything goes wrong on the way. Not just that, starting 7am, when we landed in Delhi, he called us every hour, to keep a check and guide us whenever we needed.
We have stayed at so many hotels during our travels, but never found policy/rules like his. He has an ‘All Inclusive’ option, which in any other hotel, normally would mean Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, included in the stay. However, in Queen Meadows, ‘All Inclusive’ means All Inclusive and you don’t pay a penny more during your stay. Whether it is the tea or coffee at any time of the day, the water, the tasty snacks that the cook prepares for you in the evening, everything is part of that. You actually don’t pay a penny beyond the initial payment! Strongly recommended option to take!
He has the most outstanding cancellation policy. “There is no cancellation policy”, he said. Normally, it would be understood as NO REFUND POLICY. But this one is different. If you cannot make it to a place like this, you must have a reason, then why pay for it!
There is so much, that I can go on and on and on…..but I have to remind myself, this is a review and not a blog…so, to conclude
Mr Sarin is a good man, with a good heart and has created a lovely place. This review for us is not just another review of a stay, but also a way to say THANK YOU to him for the hospitality we received from him.
– VikasA, Dubai