Binsar Eco Camp – Hotel Review

During our Great Kumaon Monsoon Mission in June 2011, we spent a night at ‘Binsar Eco Camp’ and here is a short review of the hotel, including pictures and videos. We were there for only one night and it was not the friendliest season so certain things would be discretionary (like tariff). As the name suggests, the camp/hotel is located close to Binsar but is NOT on the obvious default road that people use to reach Binsar.

Location
Beyond Almora, there is a regular connection to Binsar and then there is a road that connects Almora to Dhaulchhina. You need to take this road and it is about an hour away. Here is a graphic to get a better idea.

I got this from mapmyindia.com . Google Maps does not show this.

Location of ‘Binsar Eco Camp’


In terms of location, this camp, though called ‘Binsar Eco Camp’, is not the best staying option if you are keen on Binsar since it is a little away. But, if you are headed towards Munsyari or Chaukori, then this is a brilliant place for a halt. With this halt, you can do Munsyari in two days. And yet, it is very beautifully located but more on that later.

Before I begin the review, here is a picture of Mr. Kesar Singh Mehra – the owner. I had a good chat with him and I was very impressed with what he has build. A very hands-on person, he was available all through.

Kesar Singh Mehra of ‘Binsar Eco Camp’

Infrastructure / Rooms
It is not a single monolithic structure though there is a a central, primary building that probably has many rooms with individual entries. There is a large lawn in front of it and that is simply great for folks traveling with kids.

Lawns

Monsoon Green

The herbal connection – Rosemary, thyme, lemongrass

Lush lawns and Herbal Plants

Rooms are humble and washrooms are utilitarian. If you are looking at spending time indoors over cosy conversations and luxurious room-service then this is not the place. Rooms are best used for sleeping (and do a good job with that) and then you should be outdoors. Room fittings, furniture, bathroom fittings are all there for their functionality, they are comfortable and value for money.

Bed sheets were OK (not crisp as in Chaukori) but I would blame that on rainy season.

Room

Bathroom. Small but functional

There is no running hot water but you can request for a bucketful and you would be provided one promptly. I was very impressed by their heating system though. I have never seen this kind of contraption before.

Heating Contraption

Sufficient parking for 5-6 cars and I am sure more space can be found elsewhere if you are planning with a bigger group.

Parking Area

Dining / Food
There is a semi-open dining hall and I really liked the cafe-like ambience. It is next to Kitchen so it helps. There is no room service. When we were there, the camp was at full occupancy and probably because of that the service was not upto mark. It took forever for the dinner to arrive and once it did, it tasted too spicy/chilly. The same was for breakfast and snacks.

View from the Dining Hall

Another view of the dining area.

We also peeped in the Ktichen and it was OK. It could benefit from some more cleaning. Overall the quality of the food was not impressive.

Kitchen

Tariff
We paid INR 1.2K per night for a couple including all meals. I am not 100% sure on whether I remember this correctly the tariff was pretty reasonable. I would imagine that it would be much higher in the peak season, i.e. during summers.

Now, here is a bonus video that I found on youtube.

Highlights
Now, the big question of why should one go there and what should one do. The biggest highlight of this camp is the herbal connection. There are enough plants in-house and then you can take a walk around and Mr. Kesar Singh is more than happy to spend time with you and help you identify many variants, herbs.

There is a short hike next to the camp and one can enjoy the majestic view of Himalayan Peaks. This in itself can be a great motivator.

A day’s ttip to Binsar National Park. Just leave early, drive up till the last point and then enjoy walk to the Zero point inside the park. Come back and have lunch at KMVN before heading back to camp.

Jageshwar Dham is very close. There is a kuccha (muddy) connection and jeep-able road. If you are keen then you can make a mix of trek and jeep.

Overall rating – 3.5/5

From here we moved to Getaway Jungle Camp at Sattal which is almost like our second home. We spent a couple of days there and then braved few landslides to get back to urban world. This concludes my King Kumaon Drive of 2011.

30 Comments

  • ?????? ???? ?? ,??? ?????? ??? ???? ??????? ?? ?? ????? ?? ???? ??? ????? ???????? ??? ????? ?? ????? ????? ??? ????? ??? ?? ?? ??? ?? ??? ??? ?? ??????? ?? ?? ??? ?? ??? ? ?????? ?? ???? ??? ???? ?? ??? ???? ??? ???? ?? ??? ??? ?? ?? ????? ??? ???? ?? ,??? ?? ???????? ?? ??? ????? ?????? ??? ,……………..???? ??????? ?? ?????? ??? ?? ????? ??? ?? ???? ?? ?? ??????? ?? ?????? ?? ?? ???? ? ??? ??

    • rahul says:

      Dear Nandan Jha,
      gone through your Kumaon Drive of 2011.it has been wonderfully elaborated and certainly i will go through this route in 2013 summer.It was my first read at Ghumakkar of your journey.i have been to nainital,almora and mukteshwar lot of time but not go ahead.when planning to go,i will get information from u.

  • Very beautiful lawns Nandan……………….specially i liked the third pic, beautiful……………..

    Nice place ………………………………..

    What parameters you take while rating any place Nandan ,or its just on overrall experience ?????

  • Neeraj Jat says:

    ???? ????? ??????? ????? ???? ???????? ?? ?????? ?? ???? ?????? ??, ???????? ??, ??? ?? ?????? ?? ?? ???? ??? ?????? ??? ??? ??, ?????? ?? ???? ??? 1200 ?? ???? ??? ???? ??? 2000 ?? ????? ??????? ???? ?? ??? ?? ?? ?? ???? ?????? ?? ??? ?? ???? ???
    ???? ??, ?? ???? ?????? ?? ??? ?????? ?? ?????????? ??? ??? ??? ?? ???? ????? ?? ??? ??? ???? ?????? ?? ?? ?????? ?? ???? ???? ???? ??? 300 ?? ?????? ??? ???? ????

  • Mukesh Bhalse says:

    Nandan,
    Beautiful hotel to stay. good description and pictures. Did you visit Jageshwar during your trip to Binsar?

    Thanks.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    @ Vishal – Thanks Vishal. For me the important things in a hotel are
    – Hygiene (Clean bathrooms, Clean kitchen etc)

    – Space (I like places with open spaces so that kids as well as grown-up can get some fresh air. Even if it is not a hill-place I prefer hotels with open large lawns etc)

    – Hospitality/Service (Polite and caring staff)

    – Value for Money (If someone is charging a premium then they better give that kind of service. For example, If I go to a restaurant and I see a ‘Service Charge’, which is different than the taxes like VAT, then I do not pay any tip. In this particular case, I felt that dining services were very poor for the kind of price we were paying in an off season)

    – X Factor. :-). This place has this ‘herbal connection’ as the X factor. Also the owner, Mr. Mehra is a learned man so that greatly helps. Smaller hotels like these are best run when the owner is himself present.

    I think I would stop here. May be one day I should write a story under ‘Insights’ on how to find the best hotel and how to write a review. Thanks for asking.

    @ Neeraj – ??????? ???? | ?? ???? ???? ????? ?? ?????? ????? ?? ??? ?????? ??????? ?? | ??? ? ??? ?? ???? ??? ??? , ?? ?? ?????? ???? ??, ?? ???? ????? ??????? ??? ?? ????? ??? ?? ???? ?? | ???? ??? ?? ??? ???? ?? ?? ????? ?? ?? ?????? ??? ??? ????? ?? ?????? ???? ?? ???? ?? ?? |

    ?? ?????? ?? ???? ?? ???? ??? ????? ?? ?? ?????? ???? ??? , ???? ???? ?????? ??? ?? ?? ???? ?????? ????????? ?? ????? ?? ??? ?????? ????? ???? ?? ??? ??? | :-)

    • Neeraj Jat says:

      ???? ??, ?????? ????? ?? ???? ??? ?? ??????? ???? 1200 ?? ??? 1000 ?? ?????? ?? ??? 800 ?? ?? ??????? ????? ?? ????? ?? ???? ??? ?? ??? ?? ??? ?? ?????? ???, ?? ????? ?? ???? ??? ???? ??????

  • Nandan Jha says:

    @ ??? – ????? ???? ???? ?? |

    @ ????? – ????, ?? ??? ???? ?? ??? ?? ??? ???? ?? | ???? ?????? ?? ??? ?? ??? ??????? ?? ??????? ???? ?? ???? ?? ????? ?? ????? ?? ??? ?? ?? ?? ???? ????? ??? ??? ??, ????? ???????? ?? ??????? ???? ?? ???? | ???? ???????? ?? ??? ???? ???? ?? ?? ?? ??-??? ???????? ?? ?? ?? ?? ???? ??? ?? ??? ???? ???? ?? | ?? ??? ?? ???? ??? ?? ???? ?? ?? ?? ??? ??? ??? ??? ?? ???? ??? ???? ?? ???? ????? ?? |
    ???? ???? ??? ???? ???? ?? ?????? ?? ?? ?? ???? ??? ???? ???????? ?? ??? ??? ?????? :-)

  • Smita says:

    Lawn ?? ???? ?? ????? ?? ????? ? ??? ??!

    Longing to see hills in the rains again (even though we decided to skip them after the last monsoon).

  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    Your way of describing the Roads & Hotel is Superb !

    When I am traveling with my family I too look for a hotel which one is Hygienic , park for kids & approachable from the different place which we are planning to visit.

    Thanks for sharing with us !

  • Ritesh Gupta says:

    ???? ?? …
    ???? ????? ????? ???? ???? ????? ??? ????? ???? ?? ???? | ????? ??? ???? ?? ???? ??? ???? ?? ?????? ??? ??? |
    ????? ?? ???? ??? ???? ??? ??? ???…?? ?? ???? ???? ?? ?? ????? ?? ??? ??? ….???? ?? ?????? …|
    Very Nice Hotel Review..It make help us about during our Binsar Trip..
    Thanks…

  • ???? ?????? ???? ???? ? ???? ????? ???? ?????? ???? ?? ???, ???? ?? ??????? ??? 20000 ?? ?? ??? ???? ?? ???? ???

  • Kavita Bhalse says:

    ???? ??,
    ???? ?? “???? ???????” ????? ?? ??? ???? ?? ???? ????? ?? ?????? ?? ?? ??. ???? ??? ??? ??? ?? ????????? ???? ?? ???? ??? ??? ????? ?? ??????? ??? ??? ???.
    ???????.

  • Stone says:

    Sorry to differ from the rest of gang here, I found this review little ‘rushed’ or may be because of your high standards this one fall little short.

    Looking forward to your next post/series.

  • SilentSoul says:

    perfect review…. the water heating arrangement was quite innovative. We were just near here on our trip to Patal Bhuvaneshwar

    @ ???? ???… ???? ?? 6 ??.?? ???????? ????? ?? ???? ???? ?? ????? ????? ?? 200-300 ??. ??? ??? ??????… ?? ???????? ???? ???? ??????? ?? ??, ???? ?? ???? ??? ? ????? ???? ???. ???? ???? ?? ????, ???? ?? ????? ?????? ???????? ???? ?? ?? ??? ????? ?? ?????? ?? ? ????? ??.

  • Manish Kumar says:

    ???? ???????? ?? ?? ???? ??????? ??? ???????? ?? ????????? ?? ?? ?? ??? ????? ??? ????? ??????? ?? ???? ?????? ?? ???? ??? ???????? ?? ?????? ??????? ???? ?? ???? ?? ?????? ???? ??????????? ????? ?????????? ?? ????? ?? ?????? ?? ?? ????? ???? ???????? ?? ???? ?? ????? ?? ????? ??? ???? ?? ?? ???????? ?? ??????? ???? ?? ??????? ?? ???? ???? ???? ???? ??? ???? ???? ???? ???

  • Nandan Jha says:

    @ Mahesh – Thanks Mahesh. You have always been encouraging.

    @ Ritesh – Thank Ritesh. Please remember this this may not be a great option if your primary destination is Binsar since it is not as close to Binsar Park as some of other hotels. This is a great option for Jaageshwar though. Wishing you well for your planned trip.

    @ Kavita – Thank you.

    @ Stone – Guess the text could have benefitted from some more juice but was not sure on whether I should deviate much from the hotel part. Also the video in the end has many details which could have been part of log. Thank you for feedback Stone. Really appreciate. Would work harder. :-)

  • Nandan Jha says:

    @ Thank you SS. If you do plan to visit this side later this year then this is a good option to camp.

    @ Manish – From Binsar the views are great but the peaks still are afar. Probably Kausani has the best view among all.

    Birthi and the drive thereafter in upper Himalayas is one reason, the second is that Panchachuli is just next door and the 3rd is that you really feel like being away from the popular Kumaon (even facial features etc begin to change). I am leaving one more link of a series by your namesake.
    https://www.ghumakkar.com/2011/02/25/munsiyari-maximized/

    Professor covered this from the other side, making his first stop at DeenaPani, just before Binsar.

  • D.L.Narayan says:

    It was short and sweet, Nandan, but I guess that since it is a Hotel review, it is about right.

    However, the primitive water heating contraption horrified me; it is dangerous, thermally very inefficient and uses firewood as fuel which not only pollutes but also degrades the environment. The drum is not properly anchored and I shudder to think what would happen if the drum started to roll over. To top it all, the hot water tap is made of cheap plastic. If a small scale industrial unit were to use this kind of thing, the boiler inspector would have shut it down in a jiffy.

    If the water heater were to use waste heat generated from the kitchen fires, it would have impressed me much more. When the focus is on ecology, everything should be ecofriendly.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Narayanji, technically you are right, but given the other water boilers in that area, this one was better. In GMVN, Patal Bhuvaneshwar where we stayed, they had set up a big temporary furnace outside in lawns of hotel. They were burning woods and the smoke was coming in the rooms. The were boiling water in open cauldron and were bringing buckets of hot water inside.

      When water reached rooms, it had lost its most of the heat…. 100 deg water when reached room was 50-60 degree.

      so keeping that scenario in view, I would see it better.

  • Sanjeev V says:

    Driving from Delhi for a 8N Kumaon trip (Ranikhet, Mukteshwar & Binsar) in Aug 10th-18th.
    Wow, I am excited. What will be the weather? What important thing to remember??
    Suggestion pls !
    :-))

  • Nandan Jha says:

    @ Sanjeev – Aug is a great time and you found find green all around. Be watchful of weather and try to remain up-todate on road status. Also it would be wise to plan for extra hours for travel because of landslides etc. Good luck and best wishes.

  • Rajat Sharma says:

    Binsar Eco Camp is a place with serenity and sense of rejuvenation. We had a 3 days stay there and experienced the warmest hospitality. Mr. Gaurav Mehra, a young & enthusiastic person, was impeccable host. If you like peace and glimpse of hassle free life, then Binsar Eco camp is just perfect for you. The food is simple and has a touch of homely feeling. The Mountain Top view and trekking in Jungle is a Big Plus. The view of Nanda Devi peak and Himalayan Range is breath-taking from a mountain top just 100 meters above Eco Camp. All n all the great experience.
    Kudos to Mr. Mehra and Gaurav for being a such great host. I am definitely coming again as Gaurav has promised me for a trekking to the glaciers. :)

  • Abheeruchi says:

    Very nice review. As you mentioned that you like hotels with big lawns , then I wanted to suggest one hotel .May be you can review that hotel . The hotel name is Shikha Inn ,it is at Bhimtal (near Nainitaal). Very good lawns, parking space and rooms were also good. We paid INR 2000/- in the month of October 2008.Our experience in this hotel was good. In fact morning breakfast in a hut type restaurant was also good.

    As regards to your review, I liked the hot water system and I had seen like this in many hill stations hotel but Mr Narayanan view is also correct

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Thanks Abhee for reading and the comment. I pass through Shikha Inn all the time :-) and had a very bad time with them in 2005/2006 oct or so.

    We had a not-so-pleasant experience with a place called ‘Mountain Trail’ in Bhimtal. ‘Mountain Trail’ is a RCI property and when we reached there with a booking n all, we were suggested to move to Shikha and were told that it is the same thing. At that point of time ‘Shikha Inn’ didn’t have the luxuries/blabla of MT and we had quite a fight with RCI folks. I guess Shikha guys got some instant business from MT so they were not at fault but had a real bad time with them. :-) They got to the point of ‘Yahee hai Sir, dekh lijiye’. :-) I felt very bad since for a regular tourist who may not know the place well or may not be familiar with local stuff, it was almost like being put at ransom. After an hour of fruitless discussion, I moved to my friend’s place in Sattal (he runs a camp and I was avoiding that since my daughter was about 1-2 years old) and finally we got rooms in ‘Country Inn, Bhimtal’.

    So I do not recommend Shikha and MT to anyone. I do not write about unpleasant experiences at Ghumakkar so it never made it here but a lot of people ask me and I stay clear of these hotels.

    I am sure things would have improved for better as you had a good time.

  • Sushant Singhal says:

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    ??????? ??? ?? ???? ?? ??????? ??? – ??? ???? ???? ?? ??? ???????? ????? ! ??, ??????? ???, ??? ??????, ????? ?????, ??? ?????? ?????? ??? ??? ???? ??????? ??? ???, ?? ???? ?? ????? ?????? ??? ?? ??? ?? ???? ??? ! ???, ??? ???? ?? ???? ???? ?? ?????, ??? ???? ! ?? ???? ???? – ????? ???? ! ?? ?? ?? ???? ?? ?? ?? ????? ?? ???? ??? ! ?? ???? ?? ???????? ???? ????? ?? ???? ???, ?? ???? ?????? ?? ?? ???? ! ???? ???? ??? ???? ??? ???? ??? ! ?????? ????? ????? ?? ??? ???? ??, ???? ?? ???, ??? ??????? ????? ?? ???? ??? !

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