Our friend Soumya recommended Sunrise Villa to us and we found it listed in one of the guidebooks as well. We had planned on staying there for just one night but eventually stayed for four.
Owned and managed by Mr. & Mrs. Aggarwal, Sunrise Villa is like a home-stay with the owners living on the ground floor of the 2-storey (soon to be 3-storey) structure. The rooms above are simple, basic and clean with attached bathrooms. It is located about a kilometer away from the Shoghi bazaar and is a bit of an uphill climb from there. But because of this, the villa is removed from the chaos of the national highway, yet quite accessible.
When we first got there we were given a room on the 2nd floor. It was small but clean, private and quiet. The bathroom was neat with a geyser for hot water. We had a nice view of the valley as well. Later, when we extended our stay, we were moved to a room on the ground floor next to the Aggarwals’ living quarters. This room, though nicer and bigger than the ones above, was noisy as we could clearly hear the family talking or working in the kitchen, which is practically next door. Moreover, since the room faced the entryway, with people coming and going, we had to keep the curtains closed at all times for privacy.
Mr. Aggarwal seems to manage the actual operation of the home-stay, handling the bookings and money matters. Mrs. Aggarwal manages the kitchen and is more personable of the two. Food was served in a dining area separate from their living quarters and this room had its own kitchen as well – fresh, hot chapathis or parathas were prepared here while we ate. Mrs. Aggarwal gave us company here most often than not and was a good person to ask about places and bus connections. She was also the go-to person when we came down with a bit of a cold.
Food was vegetarian, simple, freshly prepared and good. For dinners we were served with hot chapathis, some kind of daal, sabzi (vegetarian dish), rice and papads. For breakfast, we were served with Parathas and curd on all four days, which got to be a little tiring by the 4th day. But I’m sure if we had requested some bread and jam instead, it would have been provided. For dinners, it was a flat rate of Rs.90 per head, while breakfast was charged as per what and how much we ate, which worked out well.
Overall, Sunrise Villa at Shoghi is great value for money; we would have never found something of this quality for the same price in Shimla.
Rating: 7 out of 10