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"Simply the Best"

30 Mar 2009

Glenburn is a magnificient Country House Hotel on a Tea Plantation about an hour and a half from Darjeeling. Everything about the hotel from the moment they picked us up at Bogdagra airport till we left the hotel 4 days later was exceptional.

We were met at the Hotel by Neena who will ensure that every guest expectations are exceeded. We had a room in the new bungalow overlooking the mountains which unfortunately we did not see because of constant cloud.

The local scenery is outstanding and the walk down to the river camp is an enjoyable experience even if the muscles did ache for a day or two afterwards. The lunch provided was excellent.

We would highly recommend anyone visiting Glenburn to visit the local school assembly which was a delight to see and hear 4 and 5 year olds singing "All things Bright and Beautiful" and "We shall Overcome" both in English.

Neena also arrange a day trip to Darjeeling including a ride on the Toy Train again this was included in the package

The hotel is spotless and the staff provide an exceptional level of service always with a smile.

Finally the evenings were the high point of the day starting with drinks on the lawn in front of a roaring fire followed by excellent food drink and conversation around the large dining table.

I would go back to Glenburn tomorrow it really is Heaven on Earth.
  • Date of Stay: March 2009
  • Visit was for: Leisure
  • Travelling group: With Spouse/Partner
  • Your age range: 50-64

"I have never loved a place more."

Our Background: My husband and I have traveled all over the world in different comfort levels (from 5 star to 1 star), methods, etc. and currently reside in NYC. We chose Glenburn rather haphazardly based on reviews from this website, with the intention that this would be the relaxation part of a three week honeymoon in India and Dubai. We stayed for seven days, six nights in October 2008 - and I can honestly say I have never loved a place more. I write this review reluctantly because I don't wish to make this place too popular!

The property: Amazing. Once you arrive on the property you are struck with the magic of it all - mountains, rolling tea fields, adorable buildings, and happy people. I felt instantly at home and at peace, and often awoke early to listen to everything come to life.

The Rooms: Glenburn is comprised of three bungalows. The main bungalow is located in the middle of the other two - one being the older (but still amazing) 150-year-old building and the other being the brand new building (almost completed while we were there, breathtaking). Each bungalow has only four rooms and all of then are ridiculously spacious. We were in the main bungalow in the Kanchenjunga Room. Our room had two walls of windows, a main room with a king sized bed and wonderful mattress, a double bed, and a separate room for a single bed that opens into the garden. The bathroom is spacious (please note, no shower) with another door that opens into the garden. All of the windows and doors made for the most lovely, open feeling space - I highly recommend it!

The Cuisine: Before dinner, there are drinks - sometimes on the verandah and sometimes under the stars on the lawn with a bonfire crackling. Dinner is inventive and at par with or better than some of the best restaurants in NYC, and generally served between 7pm and 9pm. Everyone is sat together at the same dining table - and the kind hostess Neena determines who should be your conversational partner for the night - I rarely sat next to the same person twice - and never next to my husband! It was a lovely way to meet people from all over the world. Lunch is also a wonderful affair, set at a smaller table on the verandah with a more informal feeling. The meals are simpler but just as divine. Breakfast is also served in this meal nook - generally eggs, porridge, and a multitude of accompaniments. And of course, should you wish it, any or all meals can be taken in your room - as well as bed tea and afternoon tea. If you're traveling for the day, you can be certain a delightful meal will be packed for you - and if you hike down to the river you may enjoy a wonderful barbeque.

The Location: While the roads are a bit rough - it is completely worth it and you can get used to it! Glenburn is about 1.5 to 2 hours outside of Darjeeling in basically the middle of nowhere. It takes about 2 hours to drive to Kalimpong and about 4 to Gangtok.

The Activities: Glenburn is the perfect place for someone who would like to experience the area's natural beauty without sacrificing any of the luxuries to do so. My husband and I took a hike every day - from the long 6-hour hike down to the river (so amazing - do it!) to the tea tour - and everything in between. Usually other guests and always one or two guides accompanied us. The most magical hike was the one my husband and I took on our own, with a guide. After hiking about an hour we came upon a clearing and there, on the top of a hill that overlooked Glenburn and fell under the majestic mountains was a three-course meal for just the two of us. Perfectly laid out with an umbrella to shield us from the sun. I can't put into words how powerful this experience was. It was just perfect.

Tipping: As stated, all tips are included - however, based on the length of our stay and the exceptional service we received we did decide to tip more.

Trip Tips: As many people have stated, try to stay as many days as you possibly can - it is completely worth the cost in every way. I felt like even a week wasn't enough and would love to go back as soon as we are able. If you ask nicely, you might be able to visit the opening exercises at the primary school - it will give you a good idea of life in the region and the resources available. Coming from a country were bilingual abilities are not the norm, it was impressive to see young school children mastering 3 or more languages at a time! Also - rise as early as you can - we were able to watch the famous Kanchenjunga sunrise from the comfort of the bungalow. Lastly, if you plan to travel to Gangtok after your stay at Glenburn, you can arrange your travels through them. We were able to spend our time in Sikkim with the most amazing guide (Neena's cousin) and enjoyed a helicopter ride back to the airport (thereby skipping the need to go over the winding roads again).

Feel free to contact me at [-] if you have any questions - there are far too many wonderful things to say about my experiences at Glenburn in just one review. I hope this place will continue to stay as wonderful as it was when we were there - and I can't wait to return.
  • Date of Stay: October 2008
  • Visit was for: Leisure
  • Travelling group: With Spouse/Partner
  • Your age range: 25-34

"Heaven on Earth"

Delaware
14 Mar 2009

I spent 3 glorious days at Glenburn in October and wished I had booked longer. Although wonderful areas of the world, after days of spartan accommodations in eastern Bhutan and India, I needed some luxury and pampering and found it a Glenburn. I truly felt I had discovered heaven.

A beautiful location, wonderful accommodations, food, staff and the extraordinary welcome by Neena Pradham. Neena was the catalyst for the international visitors she so graciously hosted. Tea time, cocktails, breakfast, lunch and dinner all so beautifully and deliciously executed. Interesting conversation and congenial guests made this a special stay. Don't miss the tea tour!
  • Date of Stay: September 2008
  • Visit was for: Leisure
  • Travelling group: Solo Traveler

"One of those holidays you will always remember"

Kolkata
13 Jan 2009

This place really is special. It is just the right combination of adventure and absolute luxury. After living in India for a year and travelling to many places, I was really impressed by this place. If you are looking for a unique, hassle free holiday topped off with amazing service then you should definitely go to Glenburn. The other reviews are right, you really do need 4 nights if not more as there are many activities available (often tailor made to suit you) - there is nothing better than finding a beautiful picnic waiting for you after a big trek up a mountain! I really do have to write a special mention about all of the staff at Glenburn (from the cleaners, cooks, drivers, waiters, walking guides to the hosts) as they constantly went out of their way to provide the best service - nothing was too much trouble!
  • Date of Stay: December 2008
  • Visit was for: Other
  • Travelling group: Spouse / significant other
  • Your age range: 25-34

"Perfect..."

Maidenhead, United Kingdom
28 Dec 2008

My husband and I spent two nights at the Glenburn at the beginning of December, after a 6 day trek through the Singalila National Park. We were picked up from Rimbick where our trek ended, an approx 4 hour drive from the estate. The first surprise was the driver offering us sandwiches for lunch, we were really hungry and wondering where to get food from for the drive... About half way to the estate the driver stopped and offered tea. He took out a perfectly packed picnic basked, with fresh fruits cake and hot tea - heaven. All this continued at the estate, tea drinks and food almost around the clock. Not only the amount and the quality of food are outstanding, but so is the service. There is always someone to bring you tea and to make you feel as comfortable as possible. Since we were tired from walking we didn't really want to go anywhere, so we stayed at the estate and had a very interesting tour through the tea plant. Overall I can say this was one of the best places I have ever stayed and I can recommend this place at any time. If only the road down to the estate would be better....
  • Date of Stay: December 2008
  • Visit was for: Romantic getaway
  • Travelling group: Spouse / significant other
  • Your age range: 35-49

"A little bit of heaven"

France
27 Dec 2008

This is a stunning location amid a tea estate with views all around. There are garden terraces and shady corners to hide away in.
This tea estate manager's house feels like a home with wood floors, comfortable furniture and those little touches that make you feel welcomed. The bedrooms are well appointed, each with its own sitting area and access to the gardens. The bathrooms are large. Ours had an original rolltop bath. There are fires on colder evenings and hot water bottles. There is a comfortable sitting room and an elegant dining room where dinner is served for everyone around one huge table.
Trips and visits are organised if you want them, to Darjeeling, down to the river and around the estate. Even my non-tea drinking husband took a liking to the local teas and was fascinated by the production of them.
Do you ever come away from a hotel and say " I must come here again" and then never get round to it? Well I shall definitely be coming back to Glenburn.
  • Date of Stay:November 2008
  • Visit was for: Quality time with family
  • Travelling group: Spouse / significant other
  • Your age range: 50-64

"An exceptional experience!"

blue ridge mountains
13 Nov 2008

We'd read the excellent reviews on this site, but Glenburn was even better than we'd imagined -- truly an exceptional experience. We were greeted by Glenburn's driver upon arrival at Bogdagra's airport and driven 3 hours to Glenburn's Burra Bungalow, nestled on a mountainside across a valley from Darjeeling. Although the initial ride was through the intriguing variety of vehicles typical of urban India, much of the drive was along the beautiful Teesta River as it meandered through the mountains. We stopped for lemonade and sandwiches at a scenic overlook about halfway. The last part was over narrow mountain roads and through a few small villages up to and over a 6000 foot ridge and down to Glenburn at 2400 feet. If you're not a backwoods sportsman, you'll arrive with a good understanding of why 4-wheel-drive SUVs were really designed.

Neena Pradhan, the manager, greeted us warmly upon our arrival and invited us to tea on the veranda. Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres were served later on the back lawn, complete with a small bonfire. Dinner was served afterwards in the dining room at a large oval table with place settings of elegant English china, fine stemware, and embroidered napkins. There were at least half a dozen delicious regional dishes every night plus dessert and coffee or tea. The waiters usually offered a pair of serving bowls at a time (on a tray) to each guest, allowing us to take the amount we wanted. The local red wine (made with Chilean grapes) that was offered with dinner was quite nice -- a local white was also offered. Before we retired, we were asked what time in the morning we'd like "bed tea" to be served.

We were told that we ought to arise at 5:30 to watch the rising sun strike the eastern faces of Mt. Kanchenjunga and the surrounding peaks, which are strikingly visible to the north from the front lawn. They were truly spectacular -- and the primary reason we'd come to this area -- but I think the experience of staying here matched the beauty of the Himalayas. Breakfast and lunch were also quite well done, usually served on the veranda. Their web site describes the various activities one can chose. We did the 8 km hike down to their campsite by the River Rangeet. It was a great opportunity to see the countryside and the tea fields, with great views of Sikim across the river. After an elegantly served lunch on the lawn of the campsite (which has a 2 bedroom lodge), we drove/hiked to a 200 foot suspension foot bridge across the Rangeet into Sikim. Since we were almost out of daylight by that time, we drove back to Glenburn, which on the winding, bumpy road/trail was an adventure itself.

The tea factory tour and tea tasting were also great experiences which taught us a lot about Darjeeling Tea. We were very happy that we'd been urged to do 4 nights rather than 3. There are plenty of activities to absorb the time, and the level of service is something that's difficult for those of us in the middle class to experience in most venues. Finally, given the length of our trip, we were very grateful for the complimentary laundry service.

As we left, they were completing an elegant additional 4 bedroom bungalow with views of the Himalayas, which will give them 8 bedrooms/suites. The rooms and suites are spacious and comfortable. If you're flying to Bogdagra from Delhi, note that Jet Airways currently has direct flights to and from on alternate days, otherwise you'll go through Guwahati, doubling the time for the trip. Note also that there's no air conditioning, but in October we didn't miss it -- and if you need a hair dryer, just ask for one. Again, it is truly an exceptional experience -- the staff are really great. We look forward to returning.
  • Date of Stay:October 2008
  • Visit was for: Other
  • Travelling group: Spouse / significant other
  • Your age range: 50-64

"Private Tea Estate w. Colonial Ambiance"

Luanda, Angola
9 Sep 2008

I took my 70 year old mother here for her birthday two nights enroute to Sikkin and Bhutan. We were both enchanted and wish we had stayed another night. (We were warned when we booked that 3 nights was the recommended stay but, sadly, we lacked the time).

We were picked up at Bagdora Airport by the world's best driver who fearlessly navigated the monsoon roads (especially the terrible road down to Glenburn) and stopped whenever we wished. (A driver is included for your entire stay in Glenburn--a really great perk--and you can arrange to pay extra like we did to have the driver take you from Glenburn to Sikkim or the Bhutan border.)

Homemade afternon tea was served on a lovely terrace covered with plants and we were shown into our room, the Kantchenjunga suite which has a huge double bed and a queen.

Glenburn is a tea estate set up by a Scotsman over a 100 years ago and the three rooms, library and dining room are all in the main building that he built. (They are adding another 3 rooms in a new annex that will be ready in October, but try and get one of the original rooms and let the colonial era ooze into your pores.)

Nina, the efficient hostess, is a great host and doesn't miss a thing to improve your comfort. She also cooks very well and the meals she overseas with local ingredients are excellent. She also overseas the luscious gardens.

We spent a full day touring Darjeeling and the nearby stupas(Hint: the toy train isn't that great. Better to go to the sights by car and see the toy train going by.)

The next morning we toured the tea factory and estate. It's stunning scenery and a photgrapher's delight to see the colorfully sari clad tea pickers working the lush green tea bushes all over the hills. After lunch we drove to Gangtok in Sikkim which was 4 hours away. (You can get your permit at the border for free and no fuss. We had trouble getting our permits when we applied for them overseas when we requested our Indian visas.)

Glenburn is a rare opportunity to peek into colonial life and see how a working tea plantation works. (If you are looking for sleek, modern designer chic, this isnt the place. Note: there is no Internet or TV here.) ) I'm so glad I chose to book here after reading the other Trip Adviser reviews.
  • Date of Stay:August 2007

"a magic terrace overlooking the MOUNTAIN"

padova, italy
11 Feb 2008

After 7 km on an awfully bad track, turning right from the highway far before reaching Darjeeling, expect to find - if your Jeep will have survived -something special. You will step down from the car on a terrace full of flowers, overlooking a wide valley and - on top of the opposite ridge, well above - Darjeeling. To your right THE MOUNTAIN, can't say whether more beautiful at dawn or at sunset. The place is truly out of the world. Our room was the Kantchenjonga suite, and was great. A huge, confortable bed; old, tasteful furniture; a spotless bathroom; a smell of clean and fresh everywhere.

Excellent food for dinner, with an accent on fusion (one of the cooks was from southwest Asia) quite agreable, A charming hostess, very good wine, fireplace on, pleasant talks...Our second night there, even better !...

Excellent food for breakfast, with home made jams and the like.

No need for going anywhere to see THE MOUNTAIN. It is there. You just walk out of your bed, if you please, and watch the sunrise. When you'll come back to the House in the late afternoon from an interesting walk in the tea garden (enjoying a light that at that time of the day is perfect for photographers), you may watch - if you like - the sunset, sipping a glass of good wine by a bonfire....Really a wonderful place, where 2-3 nights is the shortest stay I'd recommend.
  • Date of Stay:November 2007
  • Travelling group: Consorte / altra persona importante
  • Your age range: 65+

"India at its Best"

Hong Kong
2 Dec 2007

I was attending a wedding in India and decided that I needed some peace and quiet beforehand and found Glenburn through Tripadvisor. I have been all around the world and stayed at many good hotels but I have to say that I have never had so much praise for any other hotel than Glenburn! It was exactly how others have described it on this site but even better. The beauty of the estate and Himalayas are stunning but it is the overall ambience and level of service that makes it memorable. Neena who manages the guesthouse has impeaccable manners and really is the hostess with the mostess. She should be the standard for every hotel manager - she is that good. If you enjoy free flowing gourmet food, a car at your disposal all day, nature, breathtaking scenery, trekking, chatting with other travellers and re-living the Raj then Glenburn is for you.
  • Date of Stay:November, 2007
  • Visit was for:Romantic getaway
  • Travelled with: Spouse / significant other
  • Your age range: 25-34

"Gorgeous Glenburn"

Melbourne, Australia
23 Nov 2007

Hi there Adventure Diva, we also stayed during your visit and totally endorse everything you said. In fact now that I'm back home, I'm really missing bed tea in the morning, daily laundry service and having cold lemon juice, tea and cake or gin and tonics being brought to you at various times of the day. Another big bonus of this place is the people you meet, we thought we were fairly well travelled until we got talking to some of our fellow guests, it really is the most special place, great company, amazing service and a wondeful part of the world.
  • Date of Stay:November, 2007
  • Visit was for:Quality time with friends
  • Travelled with: Spouse / significant other
  • Your age range: 35-49

"A True Himalayan Jewel"

Manchester, Connecticut
7 Nov 2007

This is a traveling experience not to be missed. Glenburn is the only destination in India where you can walk and explore all day through the acres upon acres of tea fields and private forests and return to their luxury estate at night for a sumptuous meal. Only 12 guests can be accommodated at one time which allows you to have an exclusive and very personal atmosphere. Neena Pradham and her Glenburn team operate their personalized destination just right and I hope they don't ever change. I am so glad I booked 4 nights here. (Stayed in the Kanchenjunga Suite which overlooks the picturesque mountain range it is named after. My room's windows covered the length of two entire walls which provided great natural lighting during the day).

P.S. If the fresh herbs in their gardens inspire you to create a favorite recipe, leave it behind and they will name it after you and serve it to future guests.
  • Date of Stay:November, 2007
  • Visit was for:Hobbies / interest / culture
  • Travelled with: Solo traveler
  • Your age range: 50-64

"A Rare Gem"

East Lyme, CT
15 May 2007

Our group of four friends have known each other since meeting in college in the 60's. One lives in Bangkok and three of us came from the States with a 15 day trip to Bhutan as the main goal. We were looking for something restful and lovely to start our trip and found Glenburn (through a Trip Advisor Review!!!) on the internet. What a delightful time we had. We were fed and pampered and treated to exquisite views, food, excursions and even a total education about the growing and processing of tea. What a lovely spot to unwind with friends. Arriving after a short stay in Calcutta, the peace and quiet and glorious beauty was so refreshing. I can't say enough good things about Neena and the staff who took care of us. We loved the walks, the picnics by the river complete with flowers on the table and nasturtiums in the salad, and we even had a car nearby in case anyone needed a lift (the road was a challenge to walk, but worth the effort!} We were fortunate to meet the owner of the estate, a renowned tea taster!!!, and many others involved with the running of the tea business. it was a real learning experience for us. And what a place for photos! One day we enjoyed a trip to Darjeeling Town and loved visiting the Tibetan Refugee Center, the Zoo, the Market, the Toy Train, a Monastary and even the Himalayan Mountain Climbing Museum. But the best part of the stay was the feeling of complete and utter pampered relaxation. This is just the best little gem of a place and we feel so fortunate to have stumbled across the Trip Advisor Review from someone who was there around Christmas in 2005 or early 2006. When it was time to leave and go to Bhutan, Neena arranged a car to take us to the border to meet our Bhutanese guide and begin another adventure all rested and reconnected with each other.
  • Date of Stay:April, 2007
  • Visit was for:Quality time with friends
  • Your age range: 50-64

"A little bit of heaven"

Singapore
22 Apr 2007

We enjoyed a idyllic week at Glenburn, enjoying the glorious scenery, fresh mountain air, and wonderful home comforts provided by Neena and her staff. The bungalow is set far down a track in the midst of a beautiful tea garden, and you feel like you have travelled back in time. Our accommodation was really lovely - great big L-shaped room with annexe, all with warm old floorboards, pretty furniture and a tremendous, old-fashioned bathroom. This easily fitted us and our three children comfortably.

Each day started with "bed tea" brought in on a tray,complete with tea-cosy and a couple of homemade biscuits. From that point on, there was a free-flow of tea, cooked breakfast, fantastic lunch,(or picnic if required), home baking, through to a three course dinner every night. Neena and all the staff were faultless - helpful, attentive, friendly. The price includes everything (except alcoholic drinks), even a car and driver to take you anywhere you fancy, a "bearer" to guide you on walks, carry water and even tired toddlers.

During our stay we simply explored the estate and made a day trip to Darjeeling The estate workers were very friendly and welcoming when we walked through their villages, and we enjoyed sharing a wonderful Easter mass with some of them at their church.

Our stay at Glenburn was an absolute treat.
  • Date of Stay: April, 2007
  • Visit was for: Quality time with family
  • Travelled with: Family with young children
  • Your age range: 35-49
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