If you’re coming to Cherrapunjee, you’re coming to see the living root bridges. In our view, if you’re coming to see the living root bridges, you need to be staying at Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort. It’s in a far more beautiful location than the more expensive hotels in Cherrapunjee town and closer to the bridges. More than that, the rooms are good (we recommend the premiums), the owners are lovely big-hearted people, their staff are great and, while the food is not haute cuisine, it’s really tasty!
Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort is not a holiday resort in the way that the term tends be understood in the west (no pool, no spa, no particular in-house activities nor many facilities). It is, however, a good base from which to explore the beauty of the hills around Cherrapunjee and especially the living root bridges.
Founded and still run by Denis and Carmela, this couple were the first to set up a hotel in this area, and have been the key drivers in bringing the world’s attention to the living root bridges here. They have always done this with a view to bringing the local communities here (which are quite remote) some economic benefit from tourism.
The hotel is not the most luxurious in Cherrapunjee (that would be the Jiva Resort or the Polo Orchid) but this is our preferred place to stay here.
It’s still quite a small hotel and it has the ambience of an explorer’s resthouse, though with better rooms! It’s the kind of place you can sit at night and chat to others about what bridges they’ve seen that day and how hard the treks were. Since most people eat at the same time (the buffet) it encourages the intermingling of guests and so conversations tend to start up easily. Most of the clientele is Indian (Meghalaya is still not really on the international travellers’ map) so it’s interesting to chat to the other residents.
The premium rooms are well-appointed with comfortable beds, en-suite bathroom, ceiling fan and kettle.
Open: All year.
Location: At Laitkynsew, Cherrapunjee. 900 m altitude. This is a great location for proximity to the living root bridges. It’s about a 45-minute drive to the town of Cherrapunjee. It is about a 2½ hour drive from Shillong.
Rooms: As at March 2019, the hotel has 12 rooms (standard, deluxe, executive and premium). We recommend the premium rooms (or executive if not available) as they are in a quieter area; the standard and deluxe rooms are off the main area so could be noisy. They are in the process of building another addition to the hotel which will bring 16 more rooms and public areas. This is being done very slowly, and is not likely to be finished until April 2020, so please note that there is a partially-built structure in front on the main entrance, and some work noise will be heard during the day (most guests are out trekking during the daytime).
The rooms have en-suite bathrooms with shower, a fairly reliable electricity supply (with backup generator) and ceiling fans.
Activities: No activites are included in your stay, but there is lots to do in this area. The main highlight is trekking to the living root bridges and local waterfalls. Swimming in natural pools can also be organised.
Facilities: Evening campfire, games room, live music on a few evenings.
Dining: The hotel includes a buffet breakfast and dinner. It’s vegetarian and very good. Other meals are available at extra cost, including meat dishes. Khasi cooking tends to be very tasty rather than extremely hot when it comes to spice. They tend to offer the heat of chillies as a side addition so the main dishes are fine for most palates. They do not offer alcohol.
Children: All children are welcome.
Health: This is classed as a malarial area, though there have been no cases for 20 years.
Communication: There is some wifi in the main area (not very reliable). Mobile signals are OK from here.
Explore the pine forests and unique living root of bridges of Meghalaya followed by safaris in Kaziranga National Park, home to two thirds of the world's one-horned rhinos.
The owners, Denis and Carmela, believe in employing locally and almost all of their staff are Khasi. They have always had the vision that tourism could bring some much-needed income to the local communities in this remote spot, and it’s working. In addition, they help with various projects such as tree planting; this is required because a traditional farming method is slash-and-burn and this is having a bad impact on the local forests.
"The things I loved about this hotel (‘resort’ really doesn’t have the right connotations for us in the UK) is the location close to the living root bridges and the people that run it. Denis and Carmela started the place in 1998 when no-one outside the local area knew about the unique bridges that are the key attraction here. Denis coined the term ‘living root bridge’, and he and Mary are committed to bringing positive benefits to their local community. Their local Khasi staff (mainly women) are some of the friendliest and most respectful people I’ve come across. This is not about luxury (though our premium room was very good), but the hospitality can not be faulted and the food ... well, I stayed for 3 days and everything I ate was excellent - tasty without being overly hot, and very varied. I would have no hesitation in coming back here if I wanted to enjoy the nearby living root bridges once more. Yes, you could stay in the two more upmarket hotels in Cherrapunjee, but I wouldn’t!"