When we were kids, I remember our parents would always prefer to stay in some private cottage, home, villa or apartment, when we travelled to the hills. Those days it was easy to find family cottages, villas & homes to stay, as the times were not as commercial, as today. This thought has always been there in my mind, to enjoy those memories again. Once I stepped into the travel & hospitality business, I got busy with the usual hotels & resorts, people mostly seek to book. It took one negative event, to eventually turn towards the childhood dreams again.
How it happened.
In the travel trade since the year 2000, it was an unfortunate instance in the May 2004, when one of the resorts we sold in Kasauli (Himachal), accidently bumped-off the Aug booking of our guests. We had to refund the payment back to the guest with a lot of apologies. This made me sit-up and think hard. Just then, by God’s grace, I got a call from an old friend, saying that he had an elderly cousin who had two beautiful cottages in Kasauli and I should advise him how they can be used for holidays, thus, generating revenue for him & the for the upkeep of the cottages. For me, this was God sent and just when I needed it. I immediately drove-up to Kasauli and met Mr. Biri Rarewala, who, I found out was the son of the 1st chief minister of Punjab. As told by my friend, he was an elderly gentleman, very intelligent, very sharp and very connoisseur. He showed me his two cottages – Biri’s Picket, the hill-top cottage where he lived & Sundowner Cottage – which was originally the village Chief’s house. He told us that the two rooms in lower section of Sundowner was actually the barn. He told me to prepare a wish / change list, to get the cottages ready for guests. I gave a list, which was implemented immediately. I took hundreds of photos and as soon as I reached back to Delhi, I positioned the cottages into our portfolio, for the potential guests to see them.
From there, began the journey of Cottages India, A Private Cottage collection of Ashex Tourism. Today, we have hundreds of Private Cottages signed-up from Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Goa and many other parts of our beautiful nation - India.
Since then, over the years, we have had hundreds of wonderful guests staying in several of our cottages. These guests have come from all parts of India and even overseas. Many have come back again into the same cottage and many have asked for more options to try. Mostly all of them have referred their friends and families to us. We have loved having each one of them at our cottages.
I personally look after the Cottages India project, as passion drives me deeper into it. I regularly go searching for newer destinations & private cottages, which I can sign-up and offer to my guests. This is proven by, you seeing newer cottages, every time you re-visit www.cottagesindia.com
Advising cottage owners on hospitality, housekeeping, design & even menus, is now a regular feature for me.
Each of our cottages has a USP. It could be the View, the Interiors, the Location or something else, that makes it unique, which will make you come back to it, again & again, year after year. While Hawkdale Cottage in Kasauli has a view of 4 cities, Chello is a compact 2 Bedroom cottage, Frazier has a great interior and a big Lawn and Shimla View is the most premium of our cottages.
While majority of our cottages, come with meal plans, we have many with “Self Catering” options. The feel of having come outside, yet feel “at home” and having “home food” is by far the most important hallmark of stays into our cottages.
Cottages India misses Mr. Biri our friend & owner of our flagship cottages – Biri’s Picket & the Sundowner Cottage, which are not available, since he died a few years ago. He taught us how to look after the cottages and the hills on which they stand.
It amazes me, how from one unfortunate happening, we walked the path of a never-ending & beautiful journey. Its holds true, when they say “What God Does, He Does For The Good”.
I am sincerely looking forward to seeing you at one of our cottages, very soon. Kindly do let me know, if you find a cottage worth the portfolio of Cottages India.