Tucked just off the busy highway linking New Delhi and Gurgaon, the Bird Group’s 50-room Roseate is a surprisingly tranquil and green boutique resort.
By Jason Overdorf
Destinasian (October 2017)
Separated from the roadway by a towering false-ficus barrier made of elegantly crafted steel leaves, the eight-acre retreat is enveloped by pin-drop silence. More than a thousand trees, landscaped gardens, and a winding reflective pool give it the feel of a fortified retreat—an impression underscored by the high-domed ceilings and twenty-feet-high doors selected by renowned Thai architect Lek Bunnag.
Closer examination, however, reveals bronze latticework and Persian pillars that give the modern, minimalist resort accents that are reminiscent of the style employed by Mughals who built Humayun’s Tomb and the Taj Mahal.
Its proximity to Delhi and isolation from the chaos of the city has made it a popular choice for staycations for well-heeled city-dwellers looking to avoid the long drive into the Himalayan foothills. But on the weekday afternoon we checked in, the manicured garden played host to a fashion shoot and an episode of a cooking show starring head chef Nishant Choubey.
Built to impress, the Roseate comes with well-appointed and spacious 60-square-meter rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the canal-like swimming pool or the lush garden. A complementary iPad controls the lighting, window shade, and television, as well as providing a menu of hotel services and activities.
Dominating all rooms are glorious, bespoke mattresses and sumptuous pillows that provide just the right combination of softness and firmness. The separate sleeping and sitting areas make it easy to combine business and pleasure, with the window’s natural light illuminating a comfortable desk with plenty of room for getting one’s work done. But the mood lighting is a bit dim for reading in bed.
With so few rooms, expect a personal touch: every staff member is likely to know not only your name, but your plans for the day. Head chef Nishant Choubey or executive sous chef Anuj Wadhawan will stop by your table with recommendations.
Kiyan, one of the restaurants, offers world cuisine with a tilt toward European classics along with subtly spiced and artfully plated Indian dishes. Meanwhile Chi Ni offers modern Chinese dishes inspired by London’s Kai Mayfair. Now that the well-meaning but idiotic ban on serving alcohol near India’s national highways has been lifted for five-star hotels, guests can grab their choice of tipples at the cozy Iah Bar, where they can even pair their drink with a cigar.
The elegant, all-white Aheli spa has justifiably attracted a dedicated following among local residents. It offers a full menu of treatments including what’s arguably India’s best hammam, as well as a small-but-efficient fitness center that’s enclosed in glass so that guests can enjoying working out “outdoors” in air-conditioned comfort. The Aheli signature treatment combines elements of Shiatsu, Thai and Swedish massage. Enjoy it—or one of the spa’s many other treatments—in a soothing white spa room or under the sky in one of its stunning outdoor treatment areas.
Ask the friendly staff to arrange for a trip to the resort’s dedicated organic farm, located less than a kilometer away, for a custom-tailored meal prepared with vegetables fresh from the vine. Here, chef Choubey can work some magic with little more than a fresh bottle gourd or two, a few pumpkin flowers, and a dash of baby spinach. Check for special farm-side food events as well.
Samalka, NH-8, New Delhi, Delhi 110037, India; 91/1133 552211; doubles from US$198 per night