Evocative of a bygone era, Chapslee was formerly the summer residence of the late Honorable Raja Charanjit Singh of Kapurthala. His grandson, Kanwar Ratanjit Singh, popularly known as Reggie, now runs it as a small exclusive hotel.
Chapslee is Reggie’s childhood home and where he was born. It is also one of the last remnants of a family heritage a millennium old! When the State of Himachal Pradesh came into existence in 1971 with Shimla as its capital, the government gave notice to acquire the house and its grounds. However, Reggie and his wife Pronoti were determined that they would fight to preserve their unique heritage, whatever it took, and hence relocated from their farm in the plains to reside permanently in Shimla. In April, 1976 they opened the doors of Chapslee to visitors and so began the saga of “The Chapslee Experience” !
The dilemma was whether to advertise and go commercial or be select and let “word of mouth” be the only source of promotion . In obeisance to their prime motive…the preservation of their heritage and family tradition…the owners decided to carry on as it were, and make it an “exclusive affair”. Though Chapslee was registered as a hotel, it was first and foremost a home and would always remain so, except that now they would share it with their guests.
Staying at Chapslee is like stepping back in time. To experience the comfort and allure of valuable and time worn objects handed down through generations. To be surrounded by the gentle opulence of faded velvets and antiquities, glowing silver and shining brass, beautiful furniture and polished wooden floors, even if scarred by use. To feel the allure of tradition, the warmth of faded wallpaper and the soft lustre of old brocade. To appreciate the quirky elegance of chips and stains, cracks and dents, that assert character and reveal the charm of history. Experience at Chapslee the tranquilty of age and the beauty of imperfection.
Over the years, hundreds have passed through its portals and soaked in its old-world charm. Many have savoured “The Chapslee Experience” and described it as unique, like no other ! For Reggie, Chapslee resonates with childhood memories of an age gone by…an era of gracious living and soft footed service, painstaking attention to detail and cherished traditions, memories of elaborate sit down dinners, garden parties and liveried rickshaws. His pride and sheer love for this rambling old house with beautiful things and an aura of history, embodies the very essence of “The Chapslee Experience” and defines its spirit. Revel in its grandeur and soothing splendor and savour the ‘warmth’ with which it welcomes all who come within its fold.
* “If Simla is the queen of the hills, then Chapslee is its crown”….Lady Penelope Betjeman, daughter of Field Marshall Chetwode, the former Commander-in-Chief of the British Indian Army.
* “It is worth going to Simla simply to stay at Chapslee”….Hill Stations of Indian by Gillian Wright.
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