Windamere Heritage Hotel - Our Story

We started off as 'Ada Villa' - the oldest and most traditional English Boarding House of its kind in the region.

The "lady of the house" looked after all of the needs of Raj types coming up from what was called 'Calcutta' in those days. Kings, Queens, Aristocrats, top Raj diplomats and lastly, Tea Planters, all stayed here and were waited on hand and foot. In 1939, a group of local businessmen decided to acquire Ada Villa and turn it into a Private Limited Company hotel. One of the shareholders was a Mrs. Gertrude Bearpark, who hailed from Windermere in the NW region of England, called 'The Lake District'. There was a Windermere Hotel there, set in Windermere Village, by Lake Windermere. Her associates loved the name, but she protested that using it would make it all very complicated, so refused to go along. Then, the "er" was taken out of "Windermere" and was replaced by an "a". Windamere Hotel was born! Even until today, the way we run our hotel is very similar to the old English Boarding House days - our guests are really our friends - just staying for a few days. Individual care and attention is prevalent at our hotel. We have never renovated, but most definitely have updated and restored the place. We bought 'The Snuggery' in 1958. It was right next door to us and previously owned by HH The Maharajah of Cooch Behar. The only old building is the bungalow, which was also built in 1841.

Finally, Windamere sits on what is a very holy hill, going right back to the days when the whole region was in Sikkim. A lama called 'Dorje Rinzing' found our hill to be sacred and laid his shrine here. It is said to still be extremely enervating - so our guests tell us as they relax here!

History of Windamere
History of Windamere
History of Windamere

During the first National Awards Ceremony for outstanding hotels in India, the Prime Minister presented Windamere Hotel with a coveted award for its excellence as a Heritage Hotel of India.

Windamere is the original "Heritage House of the Himalayas". It is situated on Observatory Hill, a Darjeeling landmark, believed to be the focus and repository of life-enhancing cosmic energies.

Nestled in the heart of Darjeeling by the Majestic Himalayas.

Windamere is situated on historic Observatory Hill where Darjeeling began, and overlooks the Chowrasta, the town's exclusive promenade. From Observatory Hill, one can glimpse Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal and Sikkim, against a stupendous backdrop of twenty of the highest mountain peaks in the world.

Relax in The Heritage Hotel in Darjeeling

The Best Heritage House of the Himalayas

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The Windamere Palms - Trachycarpus Latisectus

As early as 1840, Darjeeling attracted the attention of European botanists for the variety of its plant life. One may suppose that, after all this time, there were no Darjeeling plants to be identified, categorised, and to be given root elsewhere. It therefore, comes as a surprise to read the following account in the Journal of the International Palm Society.

"It was Henry Noltie of the Royal Botanic garden, Edinburgh who first alerted us to the existence of a strange Trachycarpus in Darjeeling, India. He had been in the area during the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Sikkim Expedition in 1992 and had noticed a pair of these trees in the garden of the famous Windamere Hotel (oldest heritage hotel in the Himalayas). He took photographs and collected specimens, but our later examination of these at Kew provided no clue as to the identity of this palm, other than that it appeared indeed to be a species of Trachycarpus".

As visitors to Darjeeling and Sikkim discover, the hills and valleys provide a feast for the eyes with not only varieties of palms, buta profusion of flowering plants and shrubs, many species of trees, many kinds of orchid and rhododendron, and cascading waterfalls and rushing mountain streams. The Darjeeling hills remain a gardener's delight!

The Windamere Palms - Trachycarpus Latisectus