Shimla will always be a remarkable relic of the British Raj in India. A piece of heritage worth preserving before it is swallowed by the relentless and often mindless calls for development. Despite unruly construction and unchecked tourism, Shimla and some areas the city, still hold some of the beauty of a city beloved as the ‘queen of the hills’, and the reason why the British bequeathed upon her the prestige of being their summer capital. The names of lanes, boulevards avenues and highlights of Shimla are a throwback to the days of the Raj, while mansions built in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries continue to hold Shimla as one of the top five places in India where British history can be narrated with adequate references to architecture and people’s stories.
Chapslee, just a short walk from the Mall is one such heritage building, the first in Shimla and one of the first heritage buildings to have been converted into a hotel. Yes, Chapslee has been operating as a small hotel from 1973, the eighth heritage hotel in India!! A heritage hotel in its truest sense, Chapslee is committed to preserving not only the heritage architecture in maintaining its iconic structural dimensions and style, but also the sense of timeless traditions attributed to Shimla from the days of the Raj. In preserving traditions such as the silver service, sit down dinners, Christmas celebrations, slow cuisine, high tea and quiet conversations, Chapslee invites guests to a glimpse into the past. Little wonder, time stands still as you move from your suite to the gallery or walk up the stairs; in awe each time as you look at the rugs and chandeliers from above or as you run your fingers over the silken smooth mahogany banister.
From wallpaper dulled with age, priceless crystal, wall high tapestries, to photographs, furniture and rugs – this is a living museum preserved with love and a sense for sharing with those who appreciate a sense of vintage. Mrs. Singh, wife of late Kunwar Ratanjit Singh who doggedly preserved a lifestyle much of it lost in time, is your regal host. An evening by the lively fireplace spent with her is to be regaled with stories of some of the last British gentry who were her friends. Her precise memory of places, timelines and anecdotes often told pointing to some object d’art around Chapslee are personal accounts told in an unconscious British accent with a great deal of wit and eloquence.
If you are looking at ‘renovated’ heritage you are likely to be disappointed. However, if you love a sense of the old, instinctively run your palms over fabric, wood, paper; your eyes pick on designs on chintz, sliver, crystal and you can’t get enough of the ingenuity of human thought and fervour, Chapslee is for you. The Chapslee suites – all five of them, are of various sizes and design, yet warm and spacious where daylight streams in gently, and, it’s not such a bad thing here. Low light has preserved the priceless artefacts and tapestries.
Chapslee is like a sparkling seductress at dusk, candlelight and mood lighting renders a particular mystery to the collections and photographs preserved over the years, the old wallpaper glows and there is the hush of long forgotten moments, of people and conversations. Dinner in particular is ‘throwback’ time and you will live a moment of the ‘Raj’ while the day is for lounging in the lawns or in the conservatory, liveried tea service at your call.
Beginning or ending at Chapslee are many walks that can be themed according to one’s own eclectic interests. There are several intriguing walks to choose from, and for history buffs several trails with experts await. Three to four days spent in Chapslee will be a real 'exclusive affair'. Morning or late afternoon walks along ridges, lanes or looking at well preserved buildings and learning about their historical significance, leisurely multi-course lunches followed by tea set out in the garden. Dress for dinner, have a drink in the beautiful hall, meet Mrs. Pronoti Singh and follow it with a formal dinner by the candlelight in the gracious dining room. And if you are celebrating your birthday or anniversary, at Chapslee, it will be a moment to frame!
We stayed at Chapslee for just two nights in the middle of a packed holiday in India, but now I'm back in the UK I find that whenever anybody asks me about the trip, the first thing I tell them about...
Wonderful experience, the house is jaw-droppingly beautiful, and all the staff were so pleasant and helpful. The tour of the house was an unexpected bonus. This gave us an insight into the amazingly...
Fabulous hotel, almost like staying in a stately home, full of family treasures. The staff were all thoughtful and attentive, we were made to feel as though nothing was too much trouble. Food was all...
Nearest Railway Station : Shimla - 3 km
CANCELLATION CHARGES …….
As of 12 noon of the scheduled date of arrival.
More than 30 days notice ……. Full Refund
Less than 30 days notice ……. No refund.
1). Names of your clients in full, indicating Mr./Mrs./Ms. along with age(s), Nationality and scanned passport/visa details stating the date of issue and date of expiry/Place of the issue, diplomatic ID and date of arrival in India.
2). Complete address and telephone numbers.3). Date of arrival, Mode of travel and expected time of arrival at Shimla.
4). Arrival transfer, if required.
5). Meal preference i.e non-veg./ veg. & Continental / Indian, or both and preference for Chicken/ Mutton/Fish, as well as particular likes and dislikes if any. Please note that there is no restaurant, only table d'hote (fixed menu meals).
6). Date, time and mode of departure, & if departure transfer required.
7). In case an arrival transfer is not required, please advise how your clients shall reach Chapslee and if we may be of assistance in the matter?
9). Do please advise should you require details re trains, or other modes of transport to, or from, Shimla.
Please note that whereas we shall be happy to arrange transfers and other transport for your clients during their stay at Shimla as and when required.