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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in India

Oberoi Cecil: a viceregal revival among the cedar trees

It’s the poignant history, fairytale forest location and signature service that draws people to the Oberoi Cecil…

By Manav Gopal Mathur
General Manager at The Oberoi Cecil

The Oberoi Cecil is a unique hotel established in the 1800s when the British Raj appointed Shimla as their summer capital. The first viceroy’s house, Viceregal Lodge, is only ten minutes away, as is the Army Heritage Museum and of course Mall Road which was the main promenade back then. While the city has developed, the hotel has stayed the same although today we run entirely on hydropower. The preserved colonial style is evident in the grand atrium lobby and the white and green façade merging into the forested hills. 

All of our 75 rooms are different sizes divided into five different categories: deluxe, luxury and premier valley view rooms as well as two different types of suites. Interiors include the extensive use of Burmese teak wood, old fashioned pulley windows, walk-in wardrobes, ottomans and furniture finished with mother of pearl. Half of our rooms face the Shimla Valley and toy train track that runs right below. Whenever I hear it whistle, I still run out to my balcony for a glimpse! The other half face the city and distant valley. On a clear day you can see the entire Dhauladhar range. 

Other than our main restaurant offering Mediterranean, oriental and north Indian cuisine, we have an alfresco dining area under the cedar trees where every evening we serve local Himachali accompanied by traditional folk dance. Most of our staff are from Himachal Pradesh – they’re the best people to talk to about the culture. The menu will include things like light buttermilk curries and sidu – dim sum-like steam buns filled with ingredients such as mushroom, beetroot, mutton or chicken with various sauces including local walnut. 

A trek through the adjacent Glen Forest is just beautiful with dense towering trees, various shades of greens and the sounds of more than 50 species of bird. You can remedy any muscle ache with a swim in the pool or a poultice massage at our spa, using Indian herbs and hot oil to release toxins. Or soak in the bath, cheeks rosy from the fresh air and exhilaration. 

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  • Places to stay

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Alfred & Manav Gopal Mathur

After an apprenticeship with The Oberoi Group, Manav started his journey at The Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur where he learned the ropes of refined luxury and the importance of impeccable standards. After a post graduate course, he acquired several managerial positions at hotels such as the Trident Bandra Kurla, Mumbai and The Oberoi Udaivilas in Udaipur. Shimla is very close to his heart having spent most of his holidays there in his family home and he incorporates the utmost care when introducing guests to the area.

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