Bengal is a state of vast contrasts and a rich tapestry of history - and yet, somehow, it has remained something of a traveller's secret. This holiday reveals the many shades of its magic, guiding you through Kolkata's vibrant history before retreating to cooler air and countryside adventures at a tea estate in the Himalayan foothills. While the differences between the two regions are stark and fascinating, you will be staying in two gorgeous sister properties with consistently excellent service and considered experiences.
After landing at Kolkata airport, you’ll travel to the Glenburn Penthouse, a true oasis in the heart of the action. Kolkata is much more than a city: it’s a riot of colour and hub of Bengali culture, bursting with lively markets, colonial architecture and people from all across India. We advise travellers to “go with the flow” here and allow yourself to get swept up in the energy. You always have the splendid penthouse awaiting you on your return.
OVERNIGHT FLIGHT//4 NIGHTS AT GLENBURN PENTHOUSE
India specialist Sara recommends exploring the city's culture and history in the early morning and late afternoon. Then, over the hottest part of the Kolkata day, relax and process it all at the hotel, especially while enjoying the Penthouse's cool lounge or magnificent rooftop infinity pool.
We have included two fantastic experiences to help you get beneath the surface of Bengal. The first will delve into the heritage of the British Empire heritage in ‘Calcutta’. You’ll discover historical architecture, lasting institutions and many stories, before a delicious local lunch and an afternoon cruise down the River Hooghly. The second will be a deep dive into the Bengal Renaissance, visiting opulent 19th-century buildings, the home of Mother Theresa, and a dynamic market.
It’s sophisticated luxury in the centre of frenetic Kolkata, a refined reprieve from the bustle of the city. The penthouse terrace offers spectacular views of the city’s landmarks, meaning a morning coffee or sunset G&T up here becomes an experience in itself. Plus, furnished with beautiful antiques and artworks alike, this hotel grants a unique window into old-world Calcutta.
Next, it’s a short flight from Kolkata to Bagdogra before an onward drive to the foothills of the Himalayas, where you will be for a six-night stay. In contrast to your previous hotel, at Glenburn Tea Estate, you will be plunged into rural living. The verdant plantations of Glenburn Valley are about an hour from Darjeeling and, with over 1000 acres of private forest and tea bushes, your hotel offers a brilliant chance to immerse in these incredible landscapes. And, obviously, drink a whole lot of tea!
5 NIGHTS AT GLENBURN TEA ESTATE
There’s plenty to keep you gently occupied around the beautiful hotel. Most guests like to take a tour of the Tea Factory and taste the produce of the working estate. Wildlife lovers might enjoy a bird walk through the private forest areas, followed by a picnic lunch. And for those who wish to get up close to nature, you have the option of an overnight stay at Camp Glenburn Log Cabin, a 2-bedroom rustic lodge on the river bank.
Your stay will include an insightful day trip to the nearby town of Darjeeling, home of the famous Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (or "Toy Train") - a UNESCO World Heritage narrow gauge railway from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling. You’ll hop aboard the train for a short ride through the majestic scenery, before exploring the monasteries, Everest museum and remarkable viewpoints of this ramshackle hill town.
India specialist Sara says, “At Glenburn Tea Estate, you’ll experience old fashioned elegance, colonial traditions and the rituals of tea production. Don't forget just to relax and sit back on the verandah, with a board game or book in hand. There’s nothing better than sipping freshly brewed tea and enjoying the peaceful surroundings.”
Bengal’s peak season runs from October to March, but do note that the best views of the Himalayan mountains are in November and February. So if you’re coveting the ultimate white-peak skyline, this is when we’d recommend travelling. Summers are scorching and best avoided!
You can get the full picture on the best weather in India from our handy india weather guide.
To ease you into your stay at Glenburn Penthouse, we have arranged a complimentary dinner on the first night of your stay. When you transfer to the tea estate, a bottle of sparkling wine will await you on arrival, and you will be able to indulge in a complimentary neck, shoulder and head massage during your stay.
Revitalise is a culmination of 16 years’ work, research and client feedback. Our travel team take annual trips to each of our destinations, testing the experiences and inspecting the hotels (someone’s got to do it, right?). We are passionate travellers in our own lives, and we have all visited Asia with our friends, family or backpacks. Basically, we’ve done the legwork: we know travel. And that’s why these trips are nothing short of magical.
We understand that while you may be itching to travel again, committing to a trip right now feels daunting. That’s why we have introduced our COVID-19 promise. We promise that if you book a holiday with us, but for any reason cannot travel due to COVID-19, we will refund you the bulk of your money, up to the day of your departure. We hope that this will give our travellers a little peace of mind and help you enjoy the magic of travel anticipation once again.
An ETG experience cannot begin unless our travellers feel secure in every respect. Financially secure: we are fully ABTA and ATOL bonded. Fully supported: our friendly team is on hand to help 24/7 before, during and after your trip. Free from hassle: we will ensure your trip runs like clockwork. Plus, all our experiences are tried and tested by our discerning team, so you can rest assured every excursion you book with us is both worthwhile and ethically sound.
With ETG, the experience starts the moment you pick up the phone. We are committed to seamless service at every stage of your journey. Before you depart, your dedicated travel consultant will provide all the information and insider tips you need to get you prepared (and excited!). Your in-country experiences will be distinctive, tailored to you, and always reveal the fabric of the destination. And you will come home with memories to share - not just photos to show.