Oak Grove Inn, Lansdowne – Review

February 2009 – I’d just quit working and was keen to start off my break with a holiday, even if it meant a just small weekend trip with my husband anywhere away from Delhi. We zeroed in on Lansdowne as neither of us had been there and did not know anything about the place except that it is the nearest hill station from Delhi.

Lansdowne is a small hill station in Uttaranchal. It is situated at about 45 kms from Kotdwar en route Kotdwar-Pauri road in the Pauri Garhwal district. The town was established as a British cantonment in 1887 and named in honor of the Earl of Lansdowne, the Viceroy of India (1888-1894). Now it is the headquarters of the famous Garhwal Rifles of the Indian Army. The entire town is very clean and well kept.

This post is a review of Oak Grove Inn, a small hotel about 5 kms from Lansdowne city. For details on Lansdowne, please refer stories by other ghumakkars – Lansdowne – Walk and simply walk, Five Roadies and an incredible journey: Landsdowne the virgin hills.

Outside View of Oak Grove Inn

Outside View of Oak Grove Inn


There aren’t too many options to stay and most of them offer very basic amenities. After a lot of research on the internet, we realized that all the hotels with decent reviews (Blue Pine Resort, FairyDale Resort, GMVN Tourist Guest House etc) were booked for the weekend. I was trying to get in touch with anyone who’d give us a room to stay so that we could escape the city and accidentally found just one review of Oak Grove Inn on one of the hotel review websites. That gave me a lead, I googled further and got to the hotel’s website with contact information and called Colonel Rawat (the owner) to check if they had any space left. To my surprise, he plainly said that all the rooms were available and we’re welcome to stay over the weekend. He even asked me not to pay in advance as it was Thursday already and we’ll be reaching Lansdowne before the money reaches him if i transfer it to him now. Although happy to get atleast someplace, i was little skeptical as i could get no information on this hotel on internet and to add to my worries was the fact that despite other hotels being packed, this one had no reservations at all, which only meant it weren’t worth staying.

On Friday, after scanning the website and calling the owner again, we gathered that Oak Grove Inn was away from the main city and hence did not get too many visitors. Going still was a risk, but anything would’ve been better than staying in Delhi and doing the same old things, so we finally decided to give it a shot and incase this one turned out to be bad, look for a some other place to stay in.

We started the journey at 6:00 am on Saturday and reached the hotel around 12:00 pm. Oak Grove Inn is a cozy little place with about 10 rooms. The owners, Colonel Rawat and his wife, live in a house adjacent to the hotel. Although they have been living in the old house since long, Oak Grove Inn was built and started in 2008 hence is newly built and very clean. They prefer to call it a Holiday Home as it’s quite different from regular hotels/resorts. We checked-in, freshened up and had lunch.

Our Room

Our Room

Food is served in the dining area and is delicious home-made buffet all for Rs 100 per person. If there aren’t too many guests, you have the privilege of telling them what you’d like to have in the next meal. Col Rawat then guided us on places to see in Lansdowne. We visited Garhwal Rifles Museum, War Memorial (was closed for some reason), Bhulla Lake, few Churches, Tiffin Top to name a few. Once back, since we were the only visitors in the hotel and Col Rawat & his wife also had a free evening, they invited us for a drink at their house. The house is nicely made up, embellished with artifacts collected from all over India during his army days. They also have a beautiful collection of plants with varieties of flowers.

Mrs Rawat with some of the plants Outside their house

Mrs Rawat with some of the plants Outside their house

After the soups and drinks, we had dinner at their house. Over dinner they encouraged us to take a trek downhill to the village. Next morning we took the 1.5 km trek to visit the village which we completely enjoyed, had breakfast under sun, chatted some more with the owners and started the return journey. The over-all set-up at Oak Grove Inn gives a very different ‘home away from home’ environment and certainly seems better than the money minting impersonal hotels.

treck-to-village

Trek to Village

Trek to Village - 2

Trek to Village

A House in the Village

A House in the Village

Chitchatting With Rawats

Chitchatting With Rawats

Expenditure
Prices are REALLY reasonable. Money we spent for one night’s stay on 21-22 Feb, 2009 for two persons was within Rs 2000. (I think it can vary with time/season/availability).
Breakup of Expenditure:
Room – Rs 1425 (1350 + 75 taxes)
Food – Rs 100 per person/per meal (In all Rs 500 for two meals and breakfast for 2 people)
Tea – Rs 5 (can you imagine!)

Rooms:
– The rooms provide basic facilities like TV with cable connection, hot water.
– In winters they offer angithi at some extra charge. You can also take your own room heater and pay some minimal amount for electricity.
– They also have a two bedroom set with kitchen called The Family Room

Family Room With Kitchen

Family Room With Kitchen

Positives:
– Rooms are clean, decently furnished and newly constructed
– Food offered is homemade, delicious and healthy. It’s a fixed menu and you need to inform them if you’d like to have a meal or not before hand.
– Very homely
– Route to reach this place from Delhi is a little different from the regular route (normally, one has to take right from the T junction after Dugadda, where as for Oak Grove Inn, take a left). This turned out to be a blessing in disguise as this road is amazingly well kept as opposed to the regular route that’s infamous for it’s enormous potholes. For clear directions, follow http://oakgroveinn.net/contact
– All day availability of hot water. In this age a mention of this does sound surprising, but there are hotels in Lansdowne that do not offer running hot water and one has to ask for a bucket!
– Meeting the owners was a surprise that made the trip extra special!

Negatives:
– This place is not meant for people looking for 24 hr service, lots of facilities, various food options etc.
– Might not be too comfortable for kids as there isn’t too much space to move around

Conclusion:
All in all, we completely enjoyed the stay there and it was definitely MORE than value for money!

Contact Information:
Oak Grove Inn
Colonel Bikram Rawat
Email: rawatbik@yahoo.com
Mobile: +91-9412934858 or +91-9410948282
Phone: +91-1386-262359
Address: Oak Grove Inn, Jaiharikhal, Lansdowne, Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand. PIN 246139

22 Comments

  • shobhit says:

    Well thas a amazing description…I had a plan to go Lansdowne last weekend,but it crashed badly due to some reasons.will surely keep in kind about this place in case i plan it again..Hope you both had a good break from regular Delhi life…Enjoy…

  • akaushik001 says:

    Web2.0 is the way to go Experience based marketing will grow up in future

    I am a hotelier myself and work with one of the biggest middle east based Hotel chain , responsible to create selling strategies and Revenue Development

    I wish some one wrote review about my hotels so passionately !

    Exquisite review for the oak Grove Inn I almost went there in my day dreams and came back thanks fully before lunch !
    For sure will plan to stay there on my next trip to India
    One Question I have How safe is it to travel there with family ? My wife and a Kid 2 year old .
    How will be the place during last week of July ?
    Also Shaguna favor required Do you have more pictures with view of mountains I saw some excellent ones at the Inns website are they real ?
    Link – http://oakgroveinn.net/lansdowne/

    Many Thanks

    Amit

  • shaguna says:

    Thanks for your comments.

    Shobhit,
    We had a relaxing trip. Hope you make it soon.

    Amit,
    Lansdowne is as safe as any other place on hills :)
    There isn’t too much space for a kid to move around inside the room and you will have to keep an eye on the kid as there are stairs just outside the room. The common area between hotel and Rawat’s residence would be a good place to play around.
    As for the pictures, sadly it was very windy when we went and could not get a good view, but i heard that one can spot peaks in clear weather. Although what you saw on the website is a highly zoomed in view.
    July might be rainy, i’m not too sure though. But i guess Col Rawat would be glad to answer all your questions, would be a good idea to call him whenever you plan to visit.

  • Ram says:

    Good to see you back after a long interval.

    I have been to Kotdwar and Pauri twice on official business. Due to time constraints, I couldn’t visit Landsdowne, despite the fact that it is hardly 45 Kms from Kotdwar.

    After reading your vivid description, supported by some excellent pictures, the urge to go there has become stronger.

    Oak Grove Inn appears to be fabulous.

  • smitadhall says:

    Thanks for sharing valueable info like this – something most of us is looking for and can never get. This sounds like a place you can plan a visit to.

    Having been to Lansdowne once, I was aware of the very few (good)options available to stay. Good to read you found a great home to spend you vacation in.

  • Abhijit says:

    Lansdowne has always been my favourite for its neatness and quite ambiance. Our next trip was getting delayed because of proper accomodation. GMVN has become stale and other options are mere compulsions. It seems now we have found a quite home away from home. Thanks Shaguna.

  • Surabhi says:

    Thanks Shaguna, after reading your views, we stayed at oak grove inn, well, certainly it was best resorts in lansdowne, colonel was very impressive , we had a great time with him.
    U will feel home there.
    Lansdowne is very peaceful , very small , very calm, thick green and very much clean unlike other hill station.

  • shaguna says:

    Thanks Smita, Ram, Abhijit and Surabhi for your comments.

    Surabhi, i’m glad that the post helped you.

    Abhijit and Ram, Lansdowne is surely worth visiting. It’s very different from the regular hill stations. Hope you get a chance to go there soon.

  • Nisha Sharma says:

    hi ,

    we have visited landsdown recently & stayed at Oak Grove inn. we felt warmth in their hospitality. we never felt that we are staying in the hotel. Everything about OGI is great. I will suggest every everybody to stay there , who loves a home away from home.

  • Seena says:

    Hey Shaguna…

    Well written piece on the inn. I’m definitely staying at the place when I go there next week.

    I’ve got a question though, in the info mail the col sent me…he very particularly mentioned that there are no tvs in the rooms while you’ve said the opposite here. Can u clear this up for me??

    • Shaguna says:

      Thanks Seena. The room that we stayed in had a TV, but i remember the col mentioning that all rooms do not have it. Probably the room booked for you doesn’t have one. See if you can request the same. Mentioning this review might get you some goody points. Give it a shot :)

  • manish khamesra says:

    Beautiful description Shaguna. Your description of Oak Grove Inn has made me to consider it as my first preferential place of stay as and when I might be visiting Landsdowne.

    Thanks for it.

  • sunita gupta says:

    u have definitey inspired us.Am just going to call the Col.and ask for bookings.Will write when back

    • shaguna says:

      thanks sunita :) We went at the same time i.e. Feb end last year. Hope u make it and have a great time!
      do share your experience :)

  • Rajnish says:

    Hi,

    We, a group of 7 families (14 adults and 14 kids) plan to visit Lansdowne on 2nd April 10, just saw this review and was really impressive and elaborative.

    Wanted suggestion if this would be a nice place for such goup to stay for 2 Nights and also to know if it has space for kids to play outdoor games.

    Incase Oak Groove is not a good option for this big a group, pls suggest alternate.

  • shaguna says:

    Hi Rajnish,
    Oak Grove Inn is a small place and doesn’t have too much place to move around. For such a big group i would suggest you look for someplace that covers a large area. One such place is Anand Retreat. It is not one of the best in terms of cleaniness but is situated in the midst of nature and they have huge area apt for playing games/sports and camp fires. There are other options as well, but can’t comment on their amenities/services.

    Hope u enjoy the trip!

  • Bhagwat says:

    I LOVE UTTRAKHAND

  • j s rawat says:

    nice hotel in garhwal

  • Aditya says:

    I visited Lansdowne 2 weeks back and stayed at Oak grove Inn again. I found it even more engaging with few new additions like hanging wooden terrace facing the valley and a hideout just below this terrace. Food was amazing and warm welcome by Mrs. & Mr. Rawat made the entire experience more than awesome.

    Highly recommend this home stay to every one!

  • prasenjit says:

    Most third class place I have stayed in a holiday.
    Bed sheets not changed, no service at all. Can you imagine a fixed menu dinner rajma chapati and baygan barta on a holiday trip. Yes, they offer you barbe-que (???). Minimum two chiken you have to order. But, the stuff they finally deliver as barbe-qued chicken is hopeless. It s waste of money, time and energy.

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