Why You’ll Love It
Tikli Bottom is a treat. This sandy coloured Lutyens-style bungalow lies just 50 km south of Delhi but feels more than a million miles away. Located in the countryside at the end of a long, bumpy dirt track, the setting of this four-bedroom haveli could not be more different from the colourful cacophony of the capital.
Run by Annie and Martin, a welcoming British couple who have been in India for 29 years, Tikli Bottom is a true home away from home. Visitors are ‘invited to behave as a guest’ and are given the run of the property. In return you’re expected to mingle with the other guests (all meals are communal and Annie and Martin dine with you as well) and treat the place as you would your own home.
The haveli is set within two acres of flower-filled gardens home to some fascinating birdlife with the ancient Aravali hills providing the backdrop. Activities here include wandering the grounds, walks in the countryside, swimming in the pool, visiting Tikli’s farm and stopping by the school that Martin has established to provide an education for the local children. Or, you may choose to do nothing at all but ask Moona, the wonderful head housekeeper, for another drink or two.
Why The Kids Will Love It
Family-friendly Tikli Bottom is a wonderful place to come with children, particularly if you book all four rooms. So grab some friends and bring them along for the weekend!
The spacious grounds are heaven for little legs and the swimming pool has a shallow stepped area for less experienced swimmers. Tikli’s farm is a hit with children and you can take a tour with Martin or simply wander down there yourself to see the buffalo, pigs and chickens. If you visit after the piglets have been born, you may even get to hold one.
Big kids and teens can take walks in the countryside, climb the Aravali hills, escape to the garden gazebos or relax in the gloriously comfortable living room. Tikli is an extremely relaxing place and there aren’t oodles of activities on offer. But somehow children manage to keep themselves very busy and very happy. Tikli Bottom is closed 20 April – 1 July.
Tikli Bottom has just four bedrooms, all generous in size with high ceilings, a separate dressing area and large bathrooms with deep bathtubs and showers. Charmingly decorated with antique furnishings, books, prints and paintings, including some original watercolours by Olivia Dalrymple, they are extremely homely and comfortable. There are two twin rooms (the Blue Room and the Pink Room) and two doubles (Mani and Annie). Adventurous visitors can swap their bed for a charpai and sleep under the stars instead!
Best rooms for families: The rooms can all accommodate two extra beds and if the children are very young then Tikli Bottom will allow three extra beds per room. They have one baby cot and a handful of charpais that act as extra beds, including mini ones for little kids. Given the size of the property, all rooms are within monitor reach.
The food is a real highlight and visitors often come here from Delhi and Gurgaon for Sunday lunch alone. Meals are served at communal tables around the property and are convivial gatherings with all guests dining together. Breakfast and dinner is served at your table and lunch is a generous buffet with a fabulous selection of deserts. Tikli is very casual but guests do tend to change for dinner – although not in a Downton Abbey kind of way so you can leave the tails at home.
All meals and drinks are included in the tariff.
A continental breakfast is served in the inner courtyard and includes fresh fruit, cereal, sausages, bacon and eggs, porridge, yoghurt and plenty of tea and coffee. Indian breakfasts can be served upon request. ‘Bed tea’ is served in your room at a time of your choosing prior to breakfast.
Traditionally taken at a long table that sits between the courtyard and the garden, the buffet lunch may consists of salads, stuffed peppers, mushroom baked croissants, prawn linguini, couscous and herb chicken balls covered in sesame seeds.
The three-course dinners are decidedly British with hearty staples including Shepherds pie, fish pie and lasagne on the menu. Soups are generally served for starters and the deserts are very tasty – we particularly favour the apple pie.
Afternoon tea is served on the terrace overlooking the pool. Drinks are available throughout the day and pre-dinner drinks are served daily when you can enjoy Tikli Bottom’s take on a Bloody Mary.
For Kids: Although there is no dedicated kids’ menu, the staff are happy to accommodate requests providing they have the ingredients to hand and they are given enough notice. Popular kiddie dishes include macaroni and ketchup (a Tikli speciality!), chicken drumsticks, vegetables and rice and rice and daal.
Activities for Parents
Wander the flower-filled gardens and enjoy the swimming pool that’s especially welcoming in the warmer months.
The grounds are heaven for twitchers, bring your binoculars and keep an eye out for peacocks, kingfishers, woodpeckers, hoopoes and more.
Take a walk in the surrounding countryside that form part of the ancient Aravali Hills. You’ll have to negotiate the prickly trees on the neighbouring hills but it’s worth it when you get to the top!
Visit the neighbouring school that Martin established in 2007 in order to provide an education for children of the three neighbouring villages. The school was built in part by donations from house guests at Tikli. More information on the excellent work that the school is doing can be found here www.betsinfo.org.
Enjoy a relaxing a massage with Moona, who is a qualified masseuse or book an appointment with the assistant housekeeper, Rachna, a trained reflexologist.
Activities for Kids
Swim, splash and play in swimming pool that has a shallow stepped area perfect for novice swimmers.
Explore the gardens, play hide and seek, visit the chicken run and look for frogs in the small pond.
See if you can spot the fanciful nests of the Baya weaver birds hanging from the roof and walls of the haveli.
Take a walk in surrounding countryside, there are plenty of flat paths for smaller legs.
Visit the farm to see the water buffalos, cows, pigs and chickens. Time your visit right and you may even see piglets.
Take some time out on the veranda or living room to read, draw, write or watch a movie.
AC, common rooms, 1 baby cot, nearest hospital is 20km away, max 2 extra beds, kids’ activities, swimming pool.
When to go:
The best time to visit is from October to February when the region enjoys sunny skies and daily temperatures of around 24C. December and January can be chilly with temperatures dropping to 7C. Fog is also common around this time, which can affect flights so keep this in mind when travelling. From March onwards the mercury begins to rise and the summer months of May and June see temperatures reaching 45C and beyond. If you are in Delhi at this time of year then Tikli is a wonderful escape from the city heat. The monsoon rains fall from July to August.
Tikli Bottom closes annually on April 20 and opens again on July 1.
Location & Travel:
Tikli Bottom is located 50 km south of Delhi in Haryana, India. New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport is the closest airport located 30 km (45 min) from Tikli Bottom. There are regular daily flights from here to almost anywhere in India as well as a multitude of daily international flights. Domestic airlines servicing Delhi include Jet Airways, GoAir, Indigo, Spice Jet and Air India. Tikli Bottom can arrange transfers from the airport for an additional charge.
New Delhi Railway Station is 50 km (90 min) away from Tikli Bottom. Delhi also has Old Delhi Railway Station (also known as Delhi Junction) and Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station as well as a number of other, smaller rail stations. From Delhi you can take a train to practically anywhere in India.