Just recently, my family and I travelled to Mussoorie, also known as the Queen of the Hills. We decided to spend our 5 days at The Savoy and it was a great decision!
On arrival, the location and then the architecture of the hotel will absolutely take your breath away. The welcoming guard greets you with a cheerful ‘Namaste’ and that immediately puts a smile your face. Since we traveled when Coronavirus cases were increasing daily, they checked our temperature before we entered the reception to check-in. More below on our experience at the hotel. But before that here’s a bit of history of the hotel and the whole concept of hill stations.
The Savoy, is a historic luxury hotel located in the hill station, Mussoorie, in Uttarakhand in India. It was established in 1902, built in English Gothic architecture style mostly in wood, the hotel is spread over 11 acres with 50 rooms at present, and overlooks the Himalayas.
It is now owned by Hotel Controls Pvt Ltd ITC Welcomgroup Hotels.
The Story of Hill Stations
Hill stations in India, were developed under British Raj around the 1820s. Initially as a sanitarium for ailing family members of the British officials. However, the importance of such ‘hill stations’ increased after the Revolt of 1857. This importance increased as the British began to identify highly populated Indian towns and hot-humid weather as a breeding ground for diseases and illnesses. In contrast, hill stations had similar weather as England which made them ideal for being inhabited by the British. After this revolt hill stations served as places where injured soldiers were sent to rest and recover.
The first hill station that was established in India was Simla and was known as the ‘summer capital of British India’.
The ghosts of The Savoy
An unresolved mystery at Mussoorie’s Savoy Hotel gave Agatha Christie her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920).
The germ for Christie’s novel was sown in the summer of 1911, when 49-year-old British spiritualist, Frances Garnett-Orme, arrived at the hotel. She had earlier been betrothed to a British officer from the United Provinces, who died before the wedding. The tragedy must have reinforced Garnett-Orme’s faith in séances and crystal-gazing in her attempts to communicate with the other side of life. At the Savoy, she was followed by Eva Mountstephen, a spiritualist from Lucknow.
One day, when Mountstephen had taken off to Lucknow on urgent business, Garnett-Orme was found in her room, well past rigor mortis. The door was locked from inside. Pigments of prussic acid (hydrogen cyanide) were revealed in the autopsy. Suspicions immediately fell on Mountstephen who was brought to trial before Justices Tudball and Rafiq of the Allahabad High Court on charge of tampering with the deceased’s bottle of sodium bicarbonate, thereby poisoning her.
Mountstephen was acquitted due to want of evidence, and the true circumstances of the death of Garnett-Orme were pronounced likely to be never known. In a few months, the doctor who had performed Garnett-Orme’s autopsy was also found dead, this time of strychnine poisoning.
There have been ghost sightings of the spirit of Ms. Orme who was poisoned here at the hotel. Several guests and hotel employees have mentioned seeing a white apparition wandering the corridors, staircase and the roof of the hotel. People who came face to face with the ghost said that she looked at them as if she was lost which led people to believe that even in death, she was looking for the person who poisoned and killed her.
Is The Savoy actually haunted?
No and no again. When I posted a story of the hotel on my Instagram story, i received many messages warning me that the hotel is haunted. Admittedly, I did fall for it but snapped out of it. During my first night I even went online and read about the murder at the hotel and I was scared for maybe 10 minutes, and ended up realising it was all in my head.
Talking about creaking and sounds from the roof, the creaking is caused by wood. The sounds from the roof are just monkeys. It isn’t haunted. Seriously. In my 5 days, I did not even once experience anything supernatural. Sorry to bust your bubble.
Believing in a story like that is different than it being true. So next time, someone says that you shouldn’t stay at The Savoy because its haunted, don’t listen to them.
My experience at the hotel
I’ll start by rating everything with stars on a scale of 1-5.
Staff: ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ (most hospitable staff we’ve ever come across)
Food: ☆☆☆ (they were short on supply because of coronavirus and we hardly had any options while we were there but whatever we did eat was YUM)
Location: ☆☆☆☆☆ (we were lucky to get a room on the side of the hotel which actually overlooks the Himalayas)
Facilities: ☆☆☆☆ (they have a spa, a gym, they have a game called ‘Croquet’ and it is SO MUCH FUN)
Every morning, we were greeted by the staff at breakfast and they would actually go out of their way to make us feel comfortable.
Playing Croquet at the hotel was probably the most exciting thing we did during our little getaway. Croquet is a sport that involves hitting wooden or plastic balls with a mallet through hoops embedded in a grass playing court.
The heritage of the building has been preserved and you can tell its a British building. There is constant slow music playing where the fountains are and its a delight to sit outside with a cup of tea/coffee.
The weather when we went (mid March) was perfect, considering that we love the cold. It was pleasant during the evening and slightly more chilly during the night.
From The Savoy, the mall road is just a 2 minute walk and Landour is approximately 30 minutes by car. You can also walk up to Landour through the Mall Road, but it will take you much more time and since its pretty steep you may get really really tired.
Outside our room
Grand Dining Room
Overlooking the lawn
The lawn, spa and gym
Entrance to the reception
Here is where I’ll end this post but if any of you have any question you can always email me, or comment down below. Hope this post was helpful to you guys in any way.
Keep trotting the globe y’all