360 Leti, Uttaranchal
Tel: 91 11 4173 4788
From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
Getting to 360° Leti is not for the faint-hearted. After an overnight train ride from Delhi (or a charter flight, which cuts out an additional two-hour drive), you face seven hours of hairpin driving through steep mountains, followed by a one-and-a-half-hour trek along a narrow trail that clings to the face of a plunging cliff. (Your luggage, and for that matter everything else, is portered in by local women who bound light-footedly ahead of you.) Your spunk is well rewarded, however, for perched on a small plateau 8,000 feet above sea level, 360° Leti basks in spectacular panoramic views. Until recently just a collection of tents, the camp is now an ensemble of stone, glass, and wood structures that draw on solar power and mountain water. Each of the four cottages, furnished with a spare yet pampering luxe, is sited for privacy and a knockout view that can also be enjoyed from a private terrace with a fire pit. During the chilly evenings, wood stoves warm the cottages, hot water bottles are tucked into the beds, and solar lanterns and candles are lit. There is no Internet or cell phone access, no TV or morning newspaperonly the occasional sound of bells, either from passing goats or a temple on a neighboring hilltop. But there is a well-chosen library in the lounge, and family-style meals are accompanied in the evening with fine wine. A day hike brings you rare views of Nanda Devi, one of the world's highest mountains, or you can swim beneath a waterfall of pure Himalayan water.2008 Hot List
When to go: The views of the mountains are crystal clear in November; from mid-March to mid-April, the slopes blaze with rhododendrons, and in April, the stars shine most brilliantly.
Which room to book: The cottage dubbed Gola has the most expansive view.