15 Kid-friendly Homestays In India For Your Next Short Break - Plush Ink 15 Kid-friendly Homestays In India For Your Next Short Break - Plush Ink

15 kid-friendly homestays in India for your next short break

The Mirage Main House was set up in 1948 by Jaya Dayal, a drama teacher who was lured by the charms of this artists’ colony along with actor Prithviraj Kapoor post Partition. After passing several hands, the property finally fell into the lap of Denis Harrap 16 years ago—that’s when The Mirage was turned into a homestay. Now, Denis runs the property with co-owner Manak Singh, who divides his time between Delhi and Palampur. With freedom of expression at its core, every corner of the property from the yogashala to the verandahs nurture space for tiny tots to run around untethered. The homestay arranges movie nights for families with kid-friendly movies and camping nights where little ones can experience the thrills of outdoor adventure in controlled environments and also offers ample space to play sports. Pizza nights are hosted with prior booking, where the kids get together to select toppings and make their own pizzas. While Andretta is known for pottery, Manak suggests clay moulding and origami classes for younger artists who may not be dexterous at the wheel yet. 
CNT Tip: If your little ones are craving some familiar snacking, drive down to Bir just 40 minutes away and treat them to a host of exciting cafés and fast food joints. 
How to reach: Drive about one hour from Gaggal Airport in Kangra. 
Age: Apt for all age groups. Doubles from Rs8,000* including breakfast

The Retreat, Bhimtal

The Retreat is a 150-year-old bungalow located in a sprawling forest estate in Bhimtal which is partly owned by the Smetacek family. The three-bedroom homestay was started by Fredrick Smetacek Sr in 1953, as a guest house for diplomats from Delhi, and has quaint, colonial touches like period furniture and embroidered tea cozies. Frederick has a fascinating life story about how he escaped from the Gestapo in Germany after a failed attempt to assassinate Hitler and arrived in India just before the Second World War broke out. His wife, Shaheda, ran the homestay for decades, charming guests with her warmth, as well as her fascinating stories about growing up in a family descended from Tipu Sultan and Bahadur Shah Zafar, her courtship and early married life during WWII.

Padmini (also called Paddy) took up the baton from her parents-in-law and enjoys retelling some of the stories handed down, as well as chatting with guests about everything else under the sun. Guests enjoy birdwatching and going on nature trails, hikes and picnics but also indulge in evening bonfires while roasting potatoes, reading storybooktok picked from the booktokhelves, playing board games in front of the fire, drawing the beautiful birds and butterflies spotted on flowers and trees. Padmini’s children, who are home-schooled, live on the estate and there are also six dogs that children tend to love.
CNT Tip: Slow food is a big draw at the Retreat. Breakfast includes home-made preserves and bread, eggs to order and fresh fruit. They also cater to special diets (ethical, religious, vegan, healthy). Padmini’s sons can whip up some delicious dishes such as baked fish in lemon-butter and herbs, pizza, colonial pot roasts, grilled vegetables, quiches, tarts, cakes, chocolate mousse and tiramisu.
How to reach: Drive 7 hours from New Delhi.
Age: Apt for children aged five years and above. Doubles from Rs5,500* including breakfast

*Prices are subject to change.

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