The Retreat, Bhimtal

The Retreat, Bhimtal

Jones Estate Near Butterfly Museum, Bhimtal 263136 India
Traveller (239)
Outdoor dining
Dining (48)
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Room & Suite (29)

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About

5.0
#1 of 11 lodges in Bhimtal
4.7 of 5 bubbles
Location
4.4 of 5 bubbles
Cleanliness
4.8 of 5 bubbles
Service
4.6 of 5 bubbles
Value
The Retreat is a 150-year-old heritage colonial bungalow in pristine condition, set in an oak, pine and deodar forest estate in the Lake District of Kumaon. The welcoming Indo-German family gladly share their home, lifestyle, and the fascinating history of this 1860s house, and the story of Fred Smetacek, who escaped the Nazis, and his wife 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 (including heirloom recipes) to colonial specialities. 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 unique, 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
Bicycle rental
Canoeing
Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly)
Car hire
BBQ facilities
Wifi
Complimentary tea
Complimentary welcome drink
Kids' meals
Outdoor dining area
Special diet menus
Hiking
Fishing
Patio
Walking tours
Board games / puzzles
Taxi service
Outdoor furniture
Picnic area
First aid kit
Umbrella
24-hour check-in
Clothes dryer
Dry cleaning
Laundry service
Washing machine
Ironing service
Shoeshine
Room features
Fireplace
Housekeeping
Interconnected rooms available
Separate dining area
Coffee / tea maker
Electric kettle
Electric blanket
Complimentary toiletries
Separate living room
Wardrobe / wardrobe
Clothes rack
Private bathrooms
Hair dryer
Room types
Mountain view
Non-smoking rooms
Family rooms
Good to know
HOTEL STYLE
Business
Family
Languages Spoken
English, German, Hindi

Location

Jones Estate Near Butterfly Museum, Bhimtal 263136 India
145Reviews7Q+A37Room tips
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Detailed Reviews
Caravan196 wrote a review Feb 2020
New Delhi, India2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
First of all let me apologise to the Owner (Paddy) for this late post. We went to stay over a weekend at Bhimtal with the most gracious host, who runs and keeps this 19th Century Colonial House in its original Shine and Spark. Upon checking in, you would be greeted by the most cute ensemble of dogs who guard/play/sleep/eat with you around the estate.

If you like breaking bread with the owner, while discussing Hugh Laurie and his musical adventures, or just taking a conversational leap into the then days; then this is the place for you. The food is sumptuous, the company is relishing, the ambience which the estate holds is something which is a feast for the eyes.

The rooms are extremely cosy and living there feeled like a marshmallow floating on top of hot coco. The staff is indulgent and takes care of all your needs in the most polite fashion. Upon my request, paddy baked a cake for birthday of my girlfriend and also prepared a special dine-in for us. The scenic beauty of the arrangements not only made the birthday extremely memorable, but also reduced the pain of the aging birthday-girl.

Not only is paddy a great baker/chef, her staff is equally trained in handling the flame. You could witness it in the morning where you would indulge with the varied types and flairs of eggs,marmalade and en entire entourage of flavours plucked from the estate's own gardens .

We also managed to chart a trekking route suggested by Paddy to Sattal from the estate. Which was another feather in the hat of the Host, as she is also a navigator. In short, we were hosted by an entire family of great people, with their own stories, and their passion towards making us feel at home.

Tip: If you are lucky enough, Paddy might allow you to have your wine, in her vintage goblets.

Regards
Piyush
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Date of stay: July 2019
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Padmini Smetacek, Owner at The Retreat, Bhimtal
Responded 17 Oct 2020
Thank you so much for your lovely and descriptive review - “a marshmallow floating on top of hot cocoa”! - I love it. :-) It was a real pleasure having you come and stay - and hope we will get a chance to renew our acquaintance and share food and conversation.
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Somesh wrote a review Dec 2022
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
The experience at The Retreat, Bhimtal came out to be beyond our expectations.
It is located so close to the city, yet very secluded, nested inside this beautiful jungle which once used to be a tea estate. The rustic feeling of the property with the red colour building covered with lots of plants around the property and 6 dogs playing around, made it feel like a home from a story book. The room was spacious and was made cozy with the electric heated blanket, hot water bottles to keep our feet warm and an oil heater.
The property also offers a small hike to the ridge behind where we can see beautiful sunsets and can further continue the trail towards Garur tal and Sat tal.
And Paddy, the owner, made us feel completely at home her warm hospitality and interesting conversations. The food was home cooked and tasty, with the Pumpkin soup and home baked bread being the star of our stay. The nicest gesture was the cake which Paddy baked herself for my wife's birthday during our stay as a little present.
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Date of stay: November 2022Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Padmini Smetacek, Owner at The Retreat, Bhimtal
Responded 1 Jan 2023
Thank you, Somesh Sharma, for your lovely, detailed review! It was a pleasure hosting you both. Hope to see you here again, soon! Happy new year!
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Gaurav Kapoor wrote a review Jun 2021
New Delhi, India2 contributions1 helpful vote
5.0 of 5 bubbles
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
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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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Has wrote a review Feb 2024
New Delhi, India5 contributions
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
The property is reminiscent of a bygone era that takes one back to the early 20th century Kumaon foothills when colonial bungalows weaved magic. One finds oneself in the midst of a verdant forest area that is barely a stones throw from the bustling lake area. The Retreat is a home-stay and truly a retreat that was an abode away from home. The meals (we opted for Continental) were delicious and the spread was lavish. The hostess Paddy was very warm and welcoming. She saw to every detail in making our stay comfortable and memorable. We've stayed in many home-stays earlier but would like to give the Retreat highest rating because of personal care and we would love to keep revisiting. God Bless Paddy and her team.
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Date of stay: February 2024
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled with family
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Padmini Smetacek, Owner at The Retreat, Bhimtal
Responded 4 weeks ago
Thank you so much for your kind words! You understand exactly what kind of experience we give - to go back in time to a relaxed, comfortable, gracious lifestyle in tune wwith nature, with delicious food made from the best locally sourced ingredients. The Retreat is your home when you're here!
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Janavi G wrote a review Nov 2021
31 contributions5 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
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 with family
Room Tip: The green room is very comfortable for 3-4 people
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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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Debabrata G wrote a review 5 May
Mumbai, India575 contributions155 helpful votes
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
The Retreat is a small home stay located close to Bhim Tal lake. Once you reach Bhimtal, you will still have to climb and travel on a small road which takes you to this property. The place has 3 large rooms/suites and you will have to book in advance with the owner - Padmini Smetacek.

Once you reach the place, you realise how comfortable the place is. You can lounge around all day if you wish with a book (there is a small collection of books to keep you busy). Or you can take a quick walk to Saat Tal (takes about 45 mins) or to Bhim Tal (30 mins). They organised a Parasailing trip for some other guests who were staying at the same time as us.

The food is awesome - all the veggies are fresh and the cooking style is unique. We also went down to the village to sample a “Pahadi lunch”. Again this was delicious. The best part is the desserts which are prepared by Padmini. All the food that is served is awesome.

I would strongly recommend a trip there. Do not expect a TV - there is an Internet connection available though. The idea of this place is to enjoy the peace and solitude (and of course, the food !).
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Date of stay: May 2024Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Padmini Smetacek, Owner at The Retreat, Bhimtal
Responded 2 weeks ago
Dear Debabrata, thank you for your kind words! It was, a pleasure having you both here, and we hope to see you again soon. Warm regards!
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Banashri wrote a review Oct 2021
38 contributions6 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
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 as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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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Aayushi Thakur S wrote a review Oct 2020
New Delhi, India6 contributions11 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
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
4.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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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mimi0896 wrote a review Jan 2023
New Delhi, India18 contributions34 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
This place was highly recommended by friends, and we are more than glad that we took up their suggestion
to finally visit.
Fabulous stay. Festive spreads. Friendly dogs. Fancy puddings. Flexible hours. Forthright conversations.
A warm hearth and even warmer hearts.
A place where we could rejuvenate and recharge.
Thank you, the Smetacek family, for hosting us.
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Date of stay: December 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Padmini Smetacek, Owner at The Retreat, Bhimtal
Responded 14 Jan 2023
Thank you, Mimi0896 for such kind words! You were also wonderful, warm guests who quickly became friends over the Christmas holidays. We hope to see you here again and often.
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Megjin wrote a review Jul 2023
Bangkok, Thailand24 contributions10 helpful votes
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
It should be enough to say that our family returned to The Retreat for the third time in 5 years. It remains just as lovely, cozy and delicious. This time we noticed several small improvements, which made the home even more comfortable and enjoyable. Our group of 7 ( 5 adults and two kids) spent a memorable 7 nights, our longest stay so far.

It was sad to see business in the region being adversely impacted by the media hype over monsoons, which haven't impacted the Bhimtal/ Nainital region. In reality, it rained less than Delhi and we had lovely days filled with sunshine along with some rainy ones. Both were equally enjoyable. Recommend speaking with Paddy directly to get an accurate local picture if you are planning a visit during monsoon or other low seasons.

Thankyou for everything Paddy. The Retreat is becoming our favorite retreat.
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Date of stay: July 2023
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled with family
Room Tip: If unce.rtain about rains/weather, check directly with host for accurate info. Dont go by media hype
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Padmini Smetacek, Owner at The Retreat, Bhimtal
Responded 30 Jul 2023
Thank you so much, dear Megjin! Such a lovely review! You and your family are also fast becoming our favourite guests! A super 6-out-of-5-bubble review back to you all you are such fun, warm, appreciative guests who get the most out of the experience, are chilled out about minor blips and have become personal friends. Many thanks and looking forward to seeing all of you again!
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Answer from Paddy Smetacek
Bhimtal, India12 contributions7 helpful votes
Hi Vaibhav, did you find what you were looking for?
Answer from Paddy Smetacek
Bhimtal, India12 contributions7 helpful votes
Hi Kirtee, we have spoken already -- this message arrived only now! Terrible internet these days after the storm. See you soon!
Answer from Paddy Smetacek
Bhimtal, India12 contributions7 helpful votes
Hi Vikas, we have two suites of two bedrooms each available on 1, 2, 3 June. A total of 9 beds in four bedroom, with space for three extra beds. Each suite has an attached bathroom. Yes, we serve vegetarian meals, as well as Jain, vegan, etc.
Answer from Paddy Smetacek
Bhimtal, India12 contributions7 helpful votes
Hi, sorry about the delay in replying. We can accommodate a maximum of 15, using extra beds. We have two suites of two 2-bedded rooms each plus a very large double room that can take an extra 3 beds.
Megjin wrote a tip Jul 2023
Bangkok, Thailand24 contributions10 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"If unce.rtain about rains/weather, check directly with host for accurate info. Dont go by media hype"
Read full review
735contact wrote a tip May 2023
New Delhi, India16 contributions3 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"the location is badly signposted but the google map is correct"
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vijayram chakrapani wrote a tip Aug 2022
Chennai (Madras), India4 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"All rooms have their own ambience"
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Abir wrote a tip Jul 2022
2 contributions1 helpful vote
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Choose the Yellow room if you are just two people"
Read full review
Janavi G wrote a tip Nov 2021
31 contributions5 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"The green room is very comfortable for 3-4 people"
Read full review
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LOCATION
IndiaUttarakhandNainital DistrictBhimtal
NUMBER OF ROOMS
3
Prices are provided by our partners, and reflect average nightly room rates, including taxes and fees that are fixed, known to our partners, and due at time of booking. Please see our partners for more details.
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THE RETREAT, BHIMTAL - Lodge Reviews & Photos - Tripadvisor

Frequently Asked Questions about The Retreat, Bhimtal
Which popular attractions are close to The Retreat, Bhimtal?
Nearby attractions include Butterfly Research Centre and Fundraiser Cafe (0.3 km), Victoria Dam (1.2 km), and Stargate Observatory Bhimtal (0.8 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.
Which room amenities are available at The Retreat, Bhimtal?
Top room amenities include a fireplace, a view of the mountains, and a separate dining room.
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 Tadka Restaurant, Cafe Kumaon Local, and Belpatra cafe and kitchen.
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, dry cleaning and laundry service 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) and Jama Masjid Mosque (9.5 km).
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