Glenburn Tea Estate

Darjeeling, Sikkim, India Book from Book from £484 per night

Blissful collection of colonial bungalows with soaring Himalaya views and excellent service, set on a working tea plantation
It’s rare to find good walking country in India where you won’t be disturbed by lots of other people and can sleep in luxurious surroundings each night. Step forward idyllic Glenburn, a working tea estate established in 1860 by Scottish tea planters, with 1,600 acres of verdant forest, rolling hills, tea picker villages and a pair of river valleys to explore. It’s a window into a long-gone world of refinement; polished silver, bone china, mahogany four-poster beds.

There's pampering service, delicious food and a choice of hikes from an hour to a day. Learn how tea is made, cross the hanging bridge into Sikkim, spot birds and butterflies, roam the estate in a 4x4, or sit and sketch the stunning landscapes. Head off to the stilted river lodge, for lamplit dinners, stargazing or trout fishing. Whether you’re alone, with a lover or in a group of friends and family, you’ll find privacy and inspiration here; we liked Glenburn so much we went back twice on the same trip!

Highs

  • Wonderful staff attend to every whim: a steaming hot pot of Darjeeling ‘bed tea’ is produced each morning, and a cold glass of freshly squeezed lemonade is magicked up on a day hike
  • There are breathtaking views, capped by the Kanchenjunga range
  • The food is brilliantly tasty and inventive: jackfruit kofta curry, rose-petal salad, homemade chocolate brownies...
  • Heaps of activities and excursions; guided hikes whenever you fancy, tea plantation tours, local village walks, even day trips to the market towns of Darjeeling and Kalimpong

Lows

  • Glenburn is remote, but blissfully away from all the crowds and chaos
  • Midges can be a problem down by the river - bug repellent should do the trick
  • Alcohol is pricey, but consider the distance it has to come
  • It's not cheap, but prices include a car and driver on call for you every day, as well as all activities, laundry and food, so you'll barely need your wallet once you arrive!

Best time to go

Glenburn is open all year round. The best time to visit is from October to March, and you’ll get the best mountain views during November and December. The busiest times are October, November and March, so be sure to book way ahead. Glenburn is a good place to come to celebrate Christmas and New Year - the estate is 3000 feet lower than Darjeeling Town so it's not half as cold. Off season discounts are available from June to September.

Our top tips

This part of the Himayalan foothills is a hiker’s paradise, and there's no shortage of hikes (ranging from easy hour-long treks to all-day excursions).

Great for...

Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 8
  • All meals included
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

There are two colonial-style bungalows: Burra Bungalow has a romantic veranda offering exquisite views out to the Himalayas. Tucked below the hill is Water Lily Bungalow, with another 4 stunning suites and a cosy sitting room with a log fire.

Of the 4 suites in the restored Burra Bungalow, our favourite is the colonial-style Planter’s Suite, with its fabulous four-poster Spanish mahogany bed, Toile de Jouy furnishings, and old maps and prints on the walls. The feminine green and pink Rose Suite has a double bed, garden views and a conservatory with access to the main veranda. Families will suit the blue and white Kanchenjunga Suite, from which you’ll be able to see the Kanchenjunga mountain range. The pretty Simbong Butterfly Room is the smallest room, with a double bed, a private sitting area and a garden. All rooms in this bungalow have private bathrooms with Glenburn Tea toiletries; most have claw-footed bathtubs.

A short walk through the gardens, you'll find Water Lily Bungalow, which also has marvellous views across the valley. Its 4 romantic, spacious suites each has a bay window sitting area, a private balcony and mountain views. The Camelia Suite has twin single beds (which can be made up as a double); the Rung Dung Suite, Rangeet Suite and Singalila Suite have ornate kingsize beds.

If you fancy something a bit more rustic one night, you can camp out by the River Rungeet at Glenburn Lodge, which has 2 rooms, private bathrooms and a full team of staff, and is lit only by kerosene lamps.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Cots Available
  • Electric blankets
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Heaters
  • Internet access
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

All meals, snacks and non-alcoholic drinks are included in your nightly rate. Allow yourself to be surprised by the inventive range of food on offer. Continental breakfasts feature homemade breads, marmalades and even Marmite and Scottish potato cakes for homesick Brits; lunches are inspired picnics using salads, herbs and vegetables from Glenburn’s organic garden wherever possible.

Dinner is a daily-changing set menu, with a focus on glorious Indian curries and Nepali dishes. South East Asian and European dishes get a look-in too, from Thai rose petal salads and glass noodles to the quiches and delicious chicken sandwiches given as part of a complimentary picnic en route from the airport.

Breakfast and lunch can be taken in the sunny morning room, in the front garden, on the terrace, or as a picnic during a walk or outing. For supper, everyone eats communally around a large wooden table in the dining room, but you can dine in private looking out over the mountains if you so wish.

Snacks on offer include tea leaf pakoras and Tibetan momos (steamed dumplings) accompanied by home-grown, zero-air-miles Darjeeling tea any time of day.

Features include:

  • All meals included
  • Communal dining
  • Organic produce
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Take The Glenburn Tea Tour around the estate and tea factory to see how the tea is made (it's grown 9 months of the year and is harvested in 4 different 'flushes')

  • Explore the estate, which includes tea gardens, 8 tea picker villages, the Lamha Haata orange orchard, the convent and the Cluny Sister’s Church and School

  • Visit Glenburn Campsite by the river for a picnic, a game of croquet or beach cricket or a swim. You can also go fishing for wild Himalayan trout and mahseer (bring equipment if you're a serious fisher as the rods provided are fairly basic), or stay overnight at Glenburn Lodge

  • Go walking (on your own or with a guide) to spot birds, butterflies, flowers and medicinal plants (binoculars are provided) and see local life. You can select from a range of shorter walks or day-long hikes, including walks following the River Rungeet to Manjitar Village in Sikkim, along the rocky river bed of the River Rung Dung to Shikari Dura Village, or into Darjeeling Town

  • Take a Jeep to visit the nearby towns of Darjeeling (where you can take a ride on the Darjeeling Hill Railway), Kalimpong or Mirik, or out to the impressive bronze Buddha statue on the opposite hill to Glenburn; paragliding can be combined with a half-day trip to Kalimpong

  • Practice yoga, Tai Chi or meditation, or arrange to have yoga classes with a teacher from Darjeeling; yoga mats can be provided on request

  • Enjoy a foot soak using fresh mint and camomile on the veranda, have reflexology or a head massage, or indulge in a full body massage using green tea oil

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Yoga

Kids

Children of all ages are welcome and those under 3 stay free. Older kids will love the outdoor activities, especially down by the river. Most suites have single rooms which are ideal for children. Cots, extra beds and babysitting are available on request.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Babysitting:

Babysitting is available by arrangement.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request.

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kid Friendly: The Camelia Suite

Location

Glenburn Tea Estate is an hour's drive from Darjeeling, in the Kanchenjunga Himalayan foothills. It's located along the border between the states of Sikkim and West Bengal.

By Air
Bagdogra (80km away) is the nearest airport. It's well served by good-value domestic flights from other Indian cities, including international hubs such as Delhi and Kolkata (Calcutta).

From the Airport
Transfers are included in the tariff. A Glenburn chauffeur will meet guests at the airport for the 3.5-hour drive, with a picnic hamper to enjoy en route. Glenburn can also pick up and drop off guests from other cities in the region (Darjeeling, Gangtok), at Bhutan border at Phuntsholing and the Nepal border at Bhadrapur. Helicopter transfers are available on request.

By Train
If you're coming by train, get the Darjeeling Mail (a daily overnight train service from Kolkata) and alight at New Jalpaiguri station. You can also take the Rajdhani service from New Delhi, via Varanasi. Glenburn can arrange for a driver to meet you at the station.

By Car
It is not a good idea to have your own car in India. A Glenburn vehicle is at guests’ disposal free of charge throughout their stay.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.

More on getting to Sikkim and getting around

Airports:

  • Bagdogra 80.0 km IXB

Other:

  • Beach 500.0 km
  • Shops 30.0 km
  • Restaurant 30.0 km

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