Savouring Indulgent Bliss At Amaya Kasauli

In a world that often feels chaotic and overwhelming, Amaya, a luxury retreat near Kasauli, offers a sanctuary where guests can reconnect with nature, rejuvenate their spirits, and forge cherished memories that will last a lifetime.


Verdant forests and rolling hills create a picturesquely secluded setting for Amaya.

I woke up to a soft mewing on the other side of my shut windows. It was early morning, probably around 6 AM, and the room was still dark. But the mewing was insistent, and I got out of bed, walked barefoot across the cool marble floor, and opened the wooden-slatted, floor-to-ceiling casements. And just like that I seemed to have opened the portal to an entirely new world. For spread out before me was a panoramic vista of a lush green terrain dotted with soaring pine trees, set against pale-blue, undulating hills in the far distance.

I stood still, instinctively taking in a deep breath of the fresh air, as the sounds of rustling leaves and chirping birds echoed through the silence. The owner of the mews, a tiny, orange-furred kitten, tiring of my trance, weaved its way into the room, along with a gentle, pleasant breeze, blurring the boundaries between the outside and the inside with effortless ease.

Sunlight streams through a villa’s chic, minimalistic living room.

And that is what Amaya does so well. Nestled amongst the Himalayan foothills, near Darwa village, and a short drive from Kasauli, this quietly luxurious resort is a secluded haven of tranquillity for those seeking respite from the bustle of urban life. What sets it apart, however, is how seamlessly it integrates with the natural environs of its 25-acre forested setting.

Jungle Dreams

For the founder of Amaya, Deepak Gupta, this mountainous getaway, set at a height of 4,600 feet, is the culmination of a decade-long dream. “I had always envisioned building a sustainable sanctuary in the Himalayas where one could escape to slow down and enjoy the beauty of the mountains.” To bring his vision to life, Gupta teamed up with internationally renowned architect Bijoy Jain. Together, the two studied the site marked by terraced sections over multiple visits, ideating and innovating, as they worked towards creating structures without disturbing the natural layout of the land. The result was a set of five spacious villas, each placed across different levels of the property to ensure complete privacy, while still being within comfortable reach of the ‘outside’ world—a kind of disconnected-connectedness, if you like. The uniqueness of each of these villas lies in the fact that they can be easily sectioned off into smaller units, depending on whether guests require a single-room, two individual rooms, accompanying study or living rooms, or a fully functional kitchenette. This is where Bijoy’s innovative design is most apparent as the same space transforms from a cosy chalet or suite for two to a fully functional home for a family of six and more.

Guests enjoying a drink at the library.

The magic continues inside as the ethos of imbibing nature in every element of the architecture is reflected in the off-white soil and lime-stone walls, marble floors, chic wooden furnishings, brass latches, wroughtiron lamps, and stained windows that cast a warm, golden hue across the rooms through the day. A unique collaboration of international designers, such as Viewport Studio, London who curated the interiors, and local artisans, the aesthetic here is clearly minimalistic, with Nordic undertones, promising a muted sense of elegance and uncompromising comfort. The beauty of it lies in the fact that if one were to remove the modern accessories, these residences will simply merge into their natural environment over time.

Sensory Delights

There’s something about crisp mountain air that really stirs one’s appetite. And resisting the lure of my room’s luxe privacy, I headed out of my villa and made my way along the twisting stone paths towards Amaya’s sole restaurant. Nestled on a vast terrace, this charming dining area, with an inviting open-air patio, bordering a green expanse, is possibly the jewel of the property. But the pièce de résistance here is the view! On one side is a stunning, tear-drop-shaped pool overlooking the forested valley below, while the other offers gorgeous vistas of hills dotted with an assortment of blue, pink, and red-coloured houses of the Darwa village.

I may have forgotten my purpose for visiting the restaurant if it weren’t for the smiles of the welcoming staff offering much-needed nourishment. Beautifully illustrating the farm-totable concept, under the supervision of noted chef Prateek Sadhu, the menu is an amalgamation of fresh, locally grown produce prepared in a creative interpretation reflecting Himachali and international cuisines. Think amazingly soft sourdough breads accompanied by chutneys and jams made using their farm’s chillies and vegetables, fresh cheese, organic seasonal fruit, including apples, pears, plums, and more. There’s an imaginative selection of duck, fish, and lamb preparations, as well, all accompanied by crisp, stuffed breads. It’s a veritable feast of nature’s bounty.

A generous spread of Amaya’s fresh and nutritious farm-to-table dishes.

Those who can step away from this gastronomic fiesta can indugle in other appealing experiences to engage the senses. A discreet sauna/steam room tempts with its hushed ambience, as does the library where one can enjoy a read while sipping a favourite beverage. Couples can opt for a candle-lit poolside dinner experience, or take a walk into the sunset. While the surrounding valley beckons adventurers to explore the hidden secrets of the forests. Or, like me, one can simply surrender to the quiet hospitality of the hills, the sounds of nature, and sanctuary of serenity that is Amaya.

The tempting pool offers scenic views of the valley below.


Related: 6 Family-Friendly Hotels For A Luxurious Vacation!