This tiny hotel by Zowa Architects hides among the jungle of India’s Kasar Devi peeking out across the Himalayan mountains.
The practice – founded by Sri Lankan architects Pradeep Kodikara and Jineshi Samaraweera – designed the rustic 10-room Kumaon Hotel to make the most of its panoramic views of the ridges of India’s second highest peak, the Nanda Devi Range. Guests can also catch a glimpse of the distant Himalayas, which are 300 km away.
Zowa used local materials and pared back details across the Kumaon Hotel in order to let the surrounding landscape play a starring role. The building was constructed using stone quarried nearby, as well as bamboo, ash bricks and local pinewood.
Kodikara and Samaraweera left concrete unplastered and walls finished with just one coat of paint, to create what they describe as ‘rustic simplicity’. Furniture, as well as copper goods, were made on site, and textiles were also designed and made locally.
Travelers must go off the beaten path to get to the secluded hotel – with rooms starting from £149 per night – by journeying through a nearby village and up a steep track to check in. Ponies are on hand to help with the trek, for guests that struggle to pack lightly.
Adventurous visitors can explore the ancient stone temples hidden in Kasar Devi’s valleys, and retrace the steps of musicians Bob Dylan and Cat Stevens – who stayed in the area during the height of hippiedom in the 1960s.
At the end of a day’s trekking through the village trails, guests can retire to the hotel’s roof terrace and catch a glimpse of the local leopard population doing some sunset hunting.