Guests often come back after a day of sightseeing in Delhi and tell me: “It’s nice to be home”…
Experience a home away from home at our family-run B&B in the heart of Delhi. The Colonel is my father, a 97-year-old veteran of the British Indian Army and a first-class cricketer. His family were once millionaires in Lahore but ended up penniless in Delhi after their home and business was left behind in newly-created Pakistan during partition. Nevertheless, he picked up the pieces with his military career and married my mother, who was also a star athlete in the 50s. They built a life together in Delhi and opened their four-storey townhouse, the Colonel’s Retreat, to guests about 20 years ago.
My wife and I now run the B&B, although our parents do still come in from time to time to meet the guests. We’re not pretentious, we just want to provide a peaceful, welcoming space. Set in the centre of Delhi on a broad, tree-lined street, the property has three rooms and a lounge on each floor. The décor is contemporary with Indian motifs like an elephant mural – our art is hand-drawn by award-winning artists and we feature local photography. People often come back after a day of sightseeing and say: “It’s nice to be home.”
Guests spend lots of time on our terrific roof terrace where you can see both sunrise and sunset over Delhi; there are birds flying around and humongous fruit bats in the evening. This is where we serve meals and we get lots of compliments about our homestyle cooking. Breakfast includes homemade seven grain bread, akuri (Indian-style scrambled eggs) and bite-sized Indian dishes. Dinner features more northern cuisine like tandoori chicken, vindaloo and an exciting Delhi street food menu. Our complimentary afternoon tea is very popular and includes our famous banana bread, biscuits and various teas.
Running Colonel’s Retreat is our passion and doesn’t feel like work – it’s a tremendous way to spend time with people from all over the world and we get to meet everyone from authors to deep sea divers and people from the UK tracing their grandparents’ military history in India. Our small team of staff have been with us for about 10 years and hail from the Pindari Glacier region of the Himalayas – they’re part of the family and loved by guests.