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Jones Estate Near Butterfly Museum, Bhimtal 263136 India
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#3 of 56 in Bhimtal
The Retreat is a 19th century colonial bungalow set in an oak, pine and deodar forest estate in the Lake District of Kumaon. The welcoming Indo-German family do their best to share their home, lifestyle, and the fascinating history of this 1860s house that include British influences of the colonial owners, of Fred Smetacek, who came next and who had escaped the Nazis, and Shaheda Smetacek who was a descendant of Tipu Sultan and the Mughals. Delicious home-cooked meals are prepared every day, ranging from Indian to European to colonial specialties. The area is ideal for barbecues, nature walks, birdwatching, and excursions to the forest and lakes (for we are at the very heart of the best and most unspoilt part of the Lake District of Kumaon). The hospitality and personality of Paddy Smetacek and her children make The Retreat an ideal place to be. The Retreat is particularly suited to writers, artists, naturalists and people working from home, who are looking for a long stay in a safe and comfortable environment. Birdwatchers will see almost all the species they look for in Sat Tal. The Retreat is the ideal place for children to romp around in the open, play with lively and friendly dogs, spend quality time with their parents and enjoy nature and unstructured play time outdoors in our gardens, sprawling grounds and forest.
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Property amenities
Free parking
Free High Speed Internet (WiFi)
Free breakfast
Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly)
Car hire
BBQ facilities
Complimentary tea
Complimentary welcome drink
Kids' meals
Outdoor dining area
Special diet menus
Walking tours
Board games / puzzles
Taxi service
Outdoor furniture
Picnic area
First aid kit
24-hour check-in
Clothes dryer
Laundry service
Washing machine
Ironing service
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Room features
Interconnected rooms available
Wardrobe / wardrobe
Clothes rack
Private bathrooms
Room types
Mountain view
Non-smoking rooms
Family rooms
Good to know
Languages Spoken
English, German, Hindi
136Reviews7Q+A33Room tips
Traveller rating
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Popular mentions
Pooja_Pande wrote a review Mar 2022
1 contribution
'We'll build in sonnets pretty rooms', wrote John Donne in 1633. Centuries later, I inhabit & experience its true meaning at The Retreat. This homestay exudes a mystical, magical, vibrant vibe, surrounded by deodar trees - a piece of nature's best under an orange sky. Padmini (or Paddy), the host-owner, has a wonderfully genuine and joyful presence, which lends the entire space a magnificently tranquil aura. (They just don't make 'em like her anymore!). The staff and service are excellent, the place is child-friendly, and is very well-located for nature-lovers who understand the value of treks and walks and the peace they bring to our bodies and minds. As for nourishment of the more usual kind, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better place to stay. (Mission Impossible in fact). Everything they make at The Retreat - from the bakes and breads to the preserves and soups and curries and stews and tarts and puddings - is divine. You would never have tasted food this good. It's a deal-clincher.
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Date of stay: March 2022
Janavi G wrote a review Nov 2021
25 contributions5 helpful votes
The retreat is a quaint, comfortable haven in the hills of Bhimtal. The best place to unwind, warmest hosts and the best fur therapy one could ask for. We spent 4 nights in the green room and by the time we left, were wondering why we weren't staying longer. The food was exceptional, Robbie is a whiz when it comes to whipping up elaborate dinner spreads. The homemade breads are a treat and everything was truly delicious. Carry a book, spend time with the band of 6 dogs who are absolutely adorable, with Bo's morning alarm being my personal favourite. There are plenty of small trails to go on long winding walks, days will pass in the hilly bliss. The bonfire nights were superb and spent a couple of evenings with some very interesting people. It's a comfortable stay which is immaculately clean. Paddy and Ela kept engaging with us and made us feel at home. We will definitely be back very soon. Go glad to have found this gem of a place!
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Date of stay: November 2021Trip type: Travelled
Room Tip: The green room is very comfortable for 3-4 people
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Response from Padmini Smetacek, Owner at The Retreat, Bhimtal
Responded 27 Nov 2021
Thank you, Janavi! What a lovely review! Your kind words make us more happy than you can imagine... It was a pleasure having you and your family stay with us. We look forward to seeing you here again soon!
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Banashri wrote a review Oct 2021
20 contributions1 helpful vote
We came across The Retreat while looking for a place to stay enroute while returning to NCR from Ranikhet. From the first Hello from Padmini Iyer Smetcak I was impressed. Clear, informative and caring. The website accurately reflects her meticulous attention to detail. The Retreat is like an old time planters bungalow, modernized to provide you the necessary conveniences without changing the period feel. So don't expect Jaquar shower in a tiled bathroom! What you get is a REAL homestay in Padmini's unique home set deep in woods. It is as if time is standing still..tranquility, serenity and warmth are the adjectives that leap to mind...the cohort of friendly dogs adopted by the family adds to the feeling that one belongs! We were fortunate enough to be accompanied by one of them (Hoshi) on our wanderings in the surrounding woods Last but not the least feature of the Retreat which won our hearts ( and stomachs( was the lovely food prepared with care and experience We gorged on the perfect pancakes, slurped over the smashing soft scrambled eggs and gobbled the mutton goulash. We travelled back with a haul of freshly baked multigrain Bread, scones and mini chicken pies ...plus a load of wonderful memories. If you are looking for a big TV in your room and proximity to fast food joints, stay away but if you want to find yourself and meet a wonderful family ( from Padmini's gracious mum to her sweet children, book a stay at the Retreat, Bhimtal
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Date of stay: October 2021Trip type: Travelled
Response from Padmini Smetacek, Owner at The Retreat, Bhimtal
Responded 4 Oct 2021
Thank you so much, Banashri, for your warm and beautifully written review. It has added a sparkle to my morning! It was just as much of a great pleasure and privilege meeting you and your husband, and enjoying your entertaining and erudite conversation. I hope we shall see you here again!
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Gaurav Kapoor wrote a review Jun 2021
New Delhi, India2 contributions1 helpful vote
The Retreat is certainly one of the best homestays that you will find in Bhimtal, Uttarakhand. Located in Jones Estate and just about 10 minutes from Bhimtal Lake, it is a British era bungalow that is nestled in the lap of nature. We visited The Retreat in June 2021 and it had everything we needed to feel at home and more importantly it is an ideal place for nature lovers and foodies. At the Retreat, one can enjoy the serene surroundings, long treks, work remotely enabled by a decent Wi-Fi connection, or spend quality time with family or friends. The Retreat is run by Padmini (Paddy) who is truly a Superhost and a wonderful lady! Paddy along with her family and staff treat you to sumptuous meals and I must say that the food prepared by them is way better than the Cafés or Restaurants that you find in Delhi NCR. Furthermore, in case you’re a Dog lover then there are six lovely Dogs that are energetic, friendly and love you unconditionally. My family has carried many unforgettable memories of The Retreat and of course, want to visit it again soon!
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Date of stay: June 2021
Response from Padmini Smetacek, Owner at The Retreat, Bhimtal
Responded 8 Jun 2021
Thank you so much for the fabulous review -- especially we are touched by your praise of our beloved dogs! :-) It was a pleasure having you and your lovely family here, and to make good food for you. We all look forward to having you here again, soon! Just as guests value good hosts, hosts value good guests, and so you and your family are valued by us. We are indeed fortunate we get so many absolutely wonderful people like you for guests, who become friends for life. It is the greatest bonus in running The Retreat!
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Aayushi Thakur S wrote a review Oct 2020
New Delhi, India6 contributions11 helpful votes
We were three friends who visited Paddy and her lovely family in October 2020 (with all precautions in place against COVID) and it was a memorable time! The colonial estate itself is striking and full of stories, you feel enchanted the moment you arrive. Paddy's family, including her six happy dogs, are warm and welcoming, and we were so lucky to spend quality time with all of them. However, as many have pointed out, the kitchen is remarkable and we were absolutely delighted with the food and bakes-- both done with skill and care. The whole ambience feels spiritual almost, with enough beautiful pines and butterflies for company. I personally cannot wait to see Paddy and the house again, and am very grateful for the hospitality.
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Date of stay: October 2020
Sleep Quality
2 Helpful votes
Response from Padmini Smetacek, Owner at The Retreat, Bhimtal
Responded 17 Oct 2020
Thank you, Aayushi! It was a pleasure having you and your friends here. Hope to see you here again soon!
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$83 - $105 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
IndiaUttarakhandNainital DistrictBhimtal
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Frequently Asked Questions about The Retreat, Bhimtal
Which popular attractions are close to The Retreat, Bhimtal?
Nearby attractions include Kainchi Dham Neem Karoli Baba Ashram (4.5 km), Naukuchiatal Lake (5.1 km), and Bhimtal Lake (2.3 km).
What are some of the property amenities at The Retreat, Bhimtal?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include free wifi, free breakfast, and free parking.
What food & drink options are available at The Retreat, Bhimtal?
Guests can enjoy free breakfast, barbeque facilities, and complimentary tea during their stay.
Is parking available at The Retreat, Bhimtal?
Yes, free parking is available to guests.
What are some restaurants close to The Retreat, Bhimtal?
Conveniently located restaurants include Pine Wood Restaurant, The Lake Hill Restaurant Café, and The Kumaoni Farm Cafe - By Reservation Only.
Is The Retreat, Bhimtal located near the city centre?
Yes, it is 0.6 km away from the centre of Bhimtal.
Are any cleaning services offered at The Retreat, Bhimtal?
Yes, laundry service and a clothes dryer are offered to guests.
Which languages are spoken by the staff at The Retreat, Bhimtal?
The staff speaks multiple languages, including English, German, and Hindi.
Are there any historical sites close to The Retreat, Bhimtal?
Many travellers enjoy visiting Governor's House Raj Bhawan (9.2 km).