For the longest time, Mussoorie has been a popular hill station where travelers from nearby cities and states rush as soon as the summer weather starts to play havoc. Until about a decade ago, the hamlet of Landour, a few kilometers above Mussoorie, had been a hidden gem, where writers went to retire, day-trippers drove for a meal at Char Dukan, and it was only the ardent mountain lovers who thought about staying there.
The last few years have seen Landour gain popularity among the weekend crowd. While the sudden influx of tourists has taken away some of its charms, this tiny mountain destination continues to fascinate visitors with its raw natural beauty, passionately conserved by its residents.
With limited places to stay, there is still an exclusivity about Landour, a cantonment area because of which new development is restricted. Among the three main habitations where outsiders can reside, La Villa Bethany is a quaint English cottage that captivates guests with its simplicity and welcomes them to a unique and friendly mountain escape.
How To Get There
The quickest and easiest way to reach Landour is to take the train to Dehradun. It takes roughly an hour and a half by road from Dehradun to Landour, with plenty of taxis available at the railway station.
If driving on your own, which most people do, the roads all the way to Mussoorie are quite good for the most part of the year. It gets a bit tricky during the rainy season. From Delhi, it takes about eight hours to reach Landour, including a stopover or two midways.
The road from Mussoorie to Landour is tight at places, and you are likely to get stuck in a traffic jam en-route. A smaller car is thus preferable. There is also limited parking space in Landour.
When staying at La Villa Bethany, inform them about your arrival, and they will book a parking spot for you near Char Dukan, which is within walking distance from the villa. It costs Rs 300 per day to park the car, so remember to factor this in your budget.
La Villa Bethany has a magnetic aura that makes you fall in love with it from the very beginning. It truly personifies the quaint mountain abode set amidst nature’s quietude.
The personal welcome on the property, either by the caretaker or the owners, Mr. and Mrs. Kudle, oozes warmth. La Villa Bethany is pet-friendly, so expect to be greeted by the resident tail-waggers as well.
The highpoint of staying at La Villa Bethany is that it isn’t a grand space, making it’s the perfect cozy sojourn. Moreover, the views of Mussoorie and Doon Valley from here are phenomenal, particularly at night when everything lights up.
Another place to get lost in La Villa Bethany is its library, packed with shelves full of books. You’ll find the collection here to be uniquely diverse. However, it is worth picking up books that particularly talk about the surrounding region.
One important thing to note is that the final descent to this hillside bed and breakfast is quite steep. They do have a golf cart to take the luggage and passengers up and down the slope, but it does become problematic if you plan to go out a few times a day.
La Villa Bethany offers different rooms suitable for everyone from solo travelers to families. The suites and deluxe rooms are well-appointed, snug, and comfortable.
If visiting with family, you can stay at the Log Cabin. A duplex accommodation for four, it has a kitchenette with a fridge and a little space out front to sit.
The other more memorable choice is Bag End – the Hobbit Home. While not exactly set in the ground, it is undoubtedly inspired by JRR Tolkien’s classic. Slightly smaller than the Log Cabin, it can still easily accommodate a family of two adults and two children.
The Hobbit room also has a lovely garden on top, perfect for an afternoon in the sun or an after-dinner wine session with views of the twinkling valley. The mornings are typically reserved for the local monkeys. They like to run around in this space and act as natural alarm clocks for those staying in the room.
What is truly noteworthy and commendable about La Villa Bethany is their approach towards sustainability and environmental protection. There are no plastic bottles here, replaced instead by water filters or coolers refilled regularly. Moreover, if you are in luck, and the weather is nice and sunny, you can have a lovely meal prepared over a solar-powered barbeque.
Breakfast in Captain Young’s Dining Room is an excellent time to mingle with the other guests and Mrs. Kudle, who is ever ready to guide you on things to do and see around Landour.
The food is delicious, healthy, comforting, and as homely as it can get. If looking to try something special, just ask. The cook, often Mrs. Kudle herself, is more than happy to whip up eggs or anything else according to their guest’s preference.
Dinner is usually a three or four-course affair, not included in the room rate, and only prepared upon request.
Now, the one thing you will find plenty of in Landour without any hassles is comfort food. Landour Bakehouse, Char Dukan, and Café Ivy are some of the main restaurants where food lovers from far and wide come every day. They are all within walking distance from La Villa Bethany.
If looking for a change, call for a taxi and head down to Mussoorie’s famed Mall Road to do some shopping and enjoy more diverse culinary options.
La Villa Bethany, in their booking confirmation email, states that they are a “home stay not a hotel.” If you visit with this exact mindset, you’ll find your holiday to be a joyous affair, one that lets you appreciate the goodness of life in the mountains.
It’s worth mentioning that there is very little to do in Landour, other than walking around and being one with nature. Thus, a two-night weekend break at La Villa Bethany is more than enough for most people.
However, if you genuinely want to get away from the dilemmas of daily life, extend your stay at La Villa Bethany by a few more days and lose yourself to the magic of the mountains. Trust us, you won’t regret it!
Lastly, if wondering about excursions from La Villa Bethany, besides taking leisurely walks and eating to your heart’s content, check out these 8 memorable things to do in and around Mussoorie.
La Villa Bethany
Near Kellogg Memorial Church