Revolver is more than a guesthouse: It’s a tribute to The Beatles, the iconic English rock band from the 1960s. The modest hotel in Darjeeling is inconspicuously tucked away behind Union Chapel, a few steps from the incline of Gandhi Road, south of popular Mall Road.
Revolver takes its theme quite seriously. Rooms are named after band members John, Paul, George, Ringo, and their manager Brian (Epstein), and are filled with quirky memorabilia. On the walls are framed photos of the musicians, collector’s edition stamps featuring them, and a variety of posters. My room (Paul) had a huge mural of the singer opposite a wall with “Follow your heart” scrawled on it. The TV’s home screen displayed a superb collection of the band’s discography—from the trippy Yellow Submarine to the crowd-pleasing Love Songs compilation.
A chat with owner Vikash Pradhan revealed that he and his wife Asenla moved back to India from Kathmandu in 2010 after it became difficult for their business to survive there. Upon their return, they decided to turn the family property into a hotel. The Beatles theme was an easy choice given their love for the band’s music.
At Revolver you’re never too far from a song. One night I was lulled to sleep by sweet music from the guitar of the long-haired, bearded occupant in the neighbouring room. I’d seen him earlier in the day, strumming his guitar by the fireplace in the hotel’s cosy common room awash in soft light streaming through the window.
Revolver’s restaurant has bookshelves and a Washburn acoustic guitar that guests are welcome to play. The one-page menu (peppered with Beatles trivia, of course) has an unfussy list of reasonably priced Continental and local fare, featuring two regional favourites: pork with bamboo shoot, and smoked pork with fermented soya beans. I liked the Naga thali, a simple meal of rice, shrimp based dal (merse-un), and boiled vegetables. Kanchi and Slander, the hotel’s cats generally stroll between the restaurant’s tables, unless they are outside basking in the sun in the tiny garden.
Beatles memorabilia in the form of coasters and mugs make for warm souvenirs of your stay at Revolver. Photo: Prathap Nair
Before I left I intended to buy a piece of Beatles memorabilia and selected the John Lennon imprinted mugs they sell at the hotel. But that one goes fast and was out of stock. Vikash, sensing my disappointment, generously gifted me a Beatles engraved coaster of slate.
Revolver is a fun tribute to The Beatles, but it’s also testimony to Darjeeling’s vibrant music scene. While the hotel’s theme may attract musically inclined travellers, its laid-back vibe is suitable to anyone looking for a clean, comfortable place with character.
Appeared in the June 2015 issue as “Hitting The Right Note”.
Accommodation Revolver has five distinctly furnished rooms. George and Ringo offer sunrise views, John has mountain views, while Paul and Brian promise bird call and dewy sunsets. Rooms are basic and neatly furnished, with electric bed warmers. En suite bathrooms have immersion water heaters(110, Gandhi Road, Behind Union Chapel; 98000 05455; doubles from ₹1,100).
Getting There Bagdogra is the closest airport to Darjeeling (96 km/3 hours away) and is connected to major cities like Delhi, Kolkata, and Guwahati via daily flights. Darjeeling is 70 km/2 hours away from the nearest railway station, New Jalpaiguri. Taxis are easily available from both the airport and railway station to Darjeeling.
quit his job to travel and write a few years ago. He has travelled on the TransSiberian train, walked the Flaming Cliffs of Mongolia and hiked up Mt. Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia. He likes the unpredictability of loosely planned solo travels.
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