In the first week of Dec’20 we had broken our duck when it came to travelling in the ongoing pandemic. Finally, we had packed our bags and driven down to Jim Corbett for a few days of tranquility away from the frenzy of an online mode of working which the entire world has taken to. We all have shown tremendous agility and resilience at the same time in keeping the ball rolling but it felt like the right time to take a pause for a few days and not use the most quoted phrases of the year 2020 – “Am I Audible “or “Is my screen visible “. The apprehension and physical restrictions of the pandemic continue to linger so all we wanted to do was to go to a place of seclusion and disconnect. A quick research on various travel websites led us to a few options (Read Here) and having liked the reviews we had chosen The River View Retreat. The place did live up to the expectations which were set by what we had read and we were so enamored that we actually extended our stay by one more day. It was a retreat not just by its name but in reality where you could just sit by the River Kosi and bide you time away immersed in your thoughts.
Where is it located ?
Situated on the banks of Kosi, this resort is around 20 kilometers further from Ramnagar. It is also only 15-20 minutes of drive away from the Bijrani gate of Jim Corbett. Nestled between the forests on one side and the river on the other it is a peaceful cocoon.
I always think that the experience which you have in the first few minutes while you are checking in a hotel goes a long way in setting the tone of the ensuing experience. We had reached at the Riverview Resort just around lunch so any dodgy effort could have made us “hangry”. However gladly, that was not to be. We were welcomed by a fairly humble staff, not what you would have in a typical premium hotel, suave and trained to speak with a polished accent, but people with a rustic friendliness. Reception lobby was similarly pleasant and all the formalities were quickly done. Once through the check in, we walked through this beautifully landscaped property spread over 8 acres. The lovely green environs which surrounded the meandering path was another reason which made us feel good about our decision, even though we were yet to see our room.
About The Rooms
Walking on the narrow concrete path we crossed the beautiful the earthen double storey villas with huge windows. The lush green landscapes and the contrasting muddy brown exteriors was very easy on the eye. All the rooms are actually are part of these villas.
When it comes to choosing rooms here, following three options are there
- Superior Rooms – This is the basic room on offer with all the amenities you would want to have in a premium property.
- Premium Rooms – Slightly larger, with comfort of the extra space you get, these come as the name suggests at a premium of a few grands.
- Family Rooms – Since all the rooms are part of a double story villa, there is probably a way to book the entire floor which has two rooms and a living room. We did see some rooms being occupied in the above fashion but didn’t inquire much so it would be best to check with the hotel directly.
We had booked ourselves a Superior room but were upgraded to Premium, one of the perks of travelling in a pandemic when the traffic is lower. Our room was on the periphery of the resort but found it cozy, comfortable and spacious. The huge glass window, as I had already mentioned, ensured that it was well lit during the day, definitely not one where you would feel claustrophobic after spending a few hours. In case you still wanted to get out there was the living room and the balcony overlooking a lawn for some fresh air (however thanks to the monkeys, a little caution is advisable). The room was well stocked with condiments like cookies, tea, coffee and mixture for mid meal cravings. The premium room easily accommodated an extra bed we wanted for our daughter. Two big and comfortable high chairs placed next to the window were perfect for an afternoon with a book in your hand. A spacious bathroom with good hot water and premium toiletries completed the comfort quotient.
“The icing on the cake was their AC with heater which ensured that our room was always warm, a clincher for winter”
Food is very close to the heart of us Indians and therefore whatever the destination be food tends to make or break the experience for a lot of people. And when it comes to a premium place the expectation from what we get on our plate sky rockets. Any minute mismatch is equated to a fall from grace making us go into a frenzy. I wonder about the pressure of the Chefs who manage the kitchen of these premium hotel and their need to deliver lip smacking dishes thrice in a day. One bad meal and the hotel might get a blanket rejection, that is how the psychology of travel can work with a big halo around food.
However, the Chef at RiverView retreat passed the test with flying colors and laid out such an unexpected variety in all our meals that we had no choice but to be a glutton for three days. Being vegetarians both me and my wife have always had to contend with limited choice in a buffet but not here. Here we had to optimize our multiple servings to ensure we tasted all that was on offer. And the taste of each and every dish left you yearning for more. Each of their preparations felt and tasted authentic and if ever you had to use the phrase – it tastes like home – then it was here. Amidst all the wonderful food it was the humble “Naan” which made me a fan. The best we have ever had. Forget about the jungles, river and the mountains; you can come here purely for the love of food.
The Deck and the Thela Chai
Why do you remember anything or any place any particular?
Our memory fades over a period of time, and most of what we have cherished today somewhere gets lost in the layers of our own experiences tomorrow. But what stays fresh forever are those very distinct and unique experiences, ready to be recalled whenever you have a story to share. It is these aha moments or factors which separate a good place from a remarkable one, one which always finds a place in your remarks. They become the reason why your shower recommendations to your friends and family.
At Riverview Retreat there were two such things. First was their Deck by the rive Kosi where you could just idle around marveling at the wonderful surroundings, as the gushing of the river puts you in a sense of calm.
And then there was their Chai Ka Thela which got our special attention as we gobbled cup after cup at breakfast and in the evening as the sun set. Best tea we had in a resort by far!
Our Recommendation –
Definitely worth a visit and perhaps travel during Dec-Jan is the best if you want to enjoy sitting on the deck and cherish their Thela Chai.