Words by Pallavi Pasricha
As a child I visited Mussoorie, a popular hill station in Uttarakhand, several times with my family. We would often cross Dehradun, the capital city of the state, that lies en route, without stopping there, so when I was invited by Hyatt Regency for the launch of their first hotel in the state, it’s safe to say I was excited to stay in this city.
Surrounded by the Malsi forest, the hotel is about an hour away from the airport. The stunning drive winds its way partly through a national park and then lush foothills to the hotel, whose grey façade is striking against the green backdrop. But what immediately caught my eye was the orange hashtag sign outside #DoonitwithHyatt – amid the picturesque setting, it adds a millennial touch.
I entered the spacious sunlit lobby and was struck with its high ceiling, floor to ceiling windows and a massive pinecone installation that brings the feel of the mountains right into the hotel. Spread over about 4.5 acres, this pet friendly hotel has a resident dog Lucy who stole my heart the moment I set my eyes on her.
This is a massive hotel with 263 rooms including 24 suites. The rooms are divided into various categories – there are 37 club rooms that come with a balcony with mountain views and one presidential suite.
When I entered my room, I didn’t have to insert the key for the power to come on – the technology works on thermal power sensors that detects motion in the room so that the lights switch on as soon as you step in. This luxury room came with a king-sized bed, huge windows which frame the hills in front, a writing desk where I spent a large part of my time, since I had to catch up on work, and a wooden floor that blends into its Himalayan environs. What made me feel welcome was the platter of local sweets and a family picture that’s been framed and kept on my bedside table – after all, small touches make all the difference.
Keeping sustainability in mind, there are vegan toiletries, glass bottles have replaced plastic ones and there is a water bottling plant on the premises.
Food and drink
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served as a buffet meal at Range, the large multi-cuisine restaurant. The variety is massive, but what I loved was the spread of Pahadi (mountain) food that was included at every meal. For me, trying the local fare of a place I visit is very important, so for breakfast and lunch I tucked into some delicious local delicacies. The large and airy restaurant that can accommodate more than 120 people has spectacular views of the Himalayan hills and forests that enhance the dining experience.
Beyul, the fine dining Indo-Tibetan rooftop restaurant is helmed by chef Tenzin Dolma and her all-women team. She tells me all about it over dinner as I relish Tibetan favourites like dim sums, thukpa (noodle soup) and ema datshi (a Bhutanese dish made of cheese and chilli). I can see why this restaurant is going to be a hit – not only is the food spot on, but the rooftop terrace, with swings near the bar and comfortable sofas to lounge on has sweeping views of both the city, the forest and hills, a gorgeous setting that I am sure will become the talk of the town soon.
For cocktails, head to the Malt Bar or the Sky Pool Bar and Deck. Each signature cocktail is designed with some theme in mind and includes the use of local ingredients.
The in-house spa, with six treatment rooms and a range of therapies, is ideal for relaxing those frayed city nerves. I really enjoyed the much-needed Swedish massage and nearly fell asleep during the treatment, clearly the sign of a good masseuse. The temperature controlled infinity pool overlooking the mountains is inviting for sure, but I skipped it in favour of a good snooze. The StayFit Studio is the fitness centre that can organise yoga sessions as well.
This hotel pays special attention to children with the entertainment and activities centre called Camp Hyatt, which can keep kids busy for hours – and there is a separate personalised check in for them as well. Should you wish to buy anything but don’t feel like stepping out, head to the retail outlet here called ‘The Market’ which stocks local spices, salts and more.
In a nutshell
Being close to one of the most popular hill stations in North India, this hotel has an ideal location and is perfect for families as well as business travellers.
Room rates start from £200 for two people sharing.
Jolly Grant Airport is 40 km away and Dehradun Railway Station is 17 km away.