You could imagine yourself in the English countryside in this wonderfully cosy cottage full of interesting art, books and furnishings and a lovely flower garden. Sunnymead was constructed at the turn of the last century and is one of the older surviving residences of Shimla. This beloved family home has now been opened to guests after careful renovation with a particular focus on conservation. The house belongs to the delightful Madhavi who welcomes guests into her home and ensures your stay is comfortable and enjoyable. Madhavi is passionate about her garden and her animals - please do not consider staying here if you are averse to dogs and cats in the home. The garden is simply stunning, full of poppies, delphiniums, lupins and foxgloves in the summer - a picture postcard cottage garden.
Although Sunnymead is 3 km west of the heart of town, down a short path from busy Cart Road, it is only about 10 minute walk below the Viceregal Lodge, which is linked to the centre by the largely traffic-free Mall. However, anyone with mobility issues could find the walk down to the house too challenging.
The four rooms are comfy and homely, all have simple ensuite bathrooms, charming fireplaces and one room (Tara) has a private balcony. In-room amenities include tea/coffee facilities which are replenished daily, naturally produced bathroom products, hair dryers, electronic safes and mini refrigerators in each room. There are electric blankets and radiators to warm the rooms in the cooler months. Please note, there are no televisions in any of the bedrooms, guests may watch television or videos in the common TV lounge. The house is non-smoking for safety reasons - guests may smoke in the garden if they wish.
The Oak Tree: Named for the old Oak tree that it looks onto, this twin-bedded room houses a rare and complete set of "The Historian's History of the World" in its original book case. A red Afghan and a pink Turkaman carpet adorns the floor. A signed sketch of the holy Arunachalam hill by Sri Ramana Maharishi above the desk as well as his photograph complete the restrained decor of this space.
The Forest Room: This twin-bedded room has a view of the forest adjoining the property. Decorated in shades of pink and green, the artwork in the room includes six original 19th century watercolours painted by Dr. Gertrude Darnley, the surgeon who delivered the current owner of Sunnymead. This room also displays fine object d'art including several Cloissone pieces. Amongst them is a French Cloissonne vase of exceptionally luminous though somewhat battered enamel and three antique chain stitch and petit point rugs.
Tara: This double room faces the Tara Devi mountain and has a private balcony. Home to some lovely furniture including an antique four poster bed and a carved wooden settee,this room also houses some framed woodcuts, an Afshar carpet , a really lovely Khotan carpet and an Afghan carpet. The two table lamps are a converted kerosene burner and antique Oriya brass diya fitted for electricity.
The Bay Window: This single room overlooking the oak and rhododendron forest has the flavour of a secret hideaway. Decorated in shades of yellow, this warm cheerful room has two exceptionally lovely carpets-a Kilim and a rather special cotton Agra Jail.
The house also has a spacious living room, a small TV lounge and a dining area where the hostess serves delicious home-cooked meals. Infact, meals at Sunnymead are a highlight - no-one leaves feeling hungry! A full four course American or Indian style breakfast is served together with evening meals on request, according to guest's preferences. Locally sourced ingredients are used wherever possible including home grown fruit and vegetables, fresh home-baked bread, marmalade and eggs. Meals are served in the dining room or alfresco in the garden.
Sunnymead is a delightful homestay that will appeal to animal lovers looking for beautifully furnished accommodation with an attentive host and wonderful home cooking. A unique experience in Shimla.