Former fashion designer and now a teacher in Siliguri, Amita Pradhan recalls the day her son had visited her in Dussehra. One fine evening, their chit-chat about the well-being of the family led to a discussion about their beautiful cottage, which was lying vacant in Darjeeling. Amita recalls,
“My son lives in Ireland. When he was home for Dussehra, we were having a usual mother-son conversation over a cup of coffee. Suddenly, he asked me about how is the cottage that we had in Darjeeling being maintained. That’s when it all began. From giving the idea of converting our vacant property to making it operational and listing it online, I give my son all the credit, as he did all the hard work and made us understand how great a business this was.”
Very contented and satisfied with the fact that her home becomes a quality experience for people on holiday, Amita joyfully shares how her cottage have had guests from the different corners of the world. Recalling one such group from Russia, Amita shared how a group of four Russian girls stayed there,
“These four girls were very chirpy and energetic. Seeing them jumping, hopping, exercising and relaxing in our cottage was another experience altogether. The thought of seeing people having so much of fun on our property that was left unattended and vacant otherwise was overwhelming.”
This is how Pradhan Cottage became what it is today. Providing guests with a remarkable experience of hospitality and homely feel, this splendid cottage was made open to the guests 10 years back. Amita and her family are putting up in Siliguri, yet maintaining the cottage never became a task. All thanks to Andrew, their acquaintance in early days and now, the caretaker of their cottage. About him, she claims,
“Being in this business for an average of 25-30 years, Andrew is handling the property pretty well and seldom are moments when we actually have to intrude or communicate with the guests for any inconvenience.”
Impeccably designed with pure pine wood, the most exquisite corner of this cottage is the library that has a varied collection of books that Amita and her family are fond of. The cottage has been exciting nature lovers as it overlooks the view of the splendid tea estate gardens nearby. Even when the cottage is not in the exact middle of the town, it has been attracting guests regardless.
“Standing at a 15 minutes’ walk from the main market, we have made sure that the exact location of our property is shared with the guests, so as to not giving them anything that doesn’t match up to their expectations. Our cottage is not on the main road, but still, it will never cut you off from the basic necessities, as the market is also nearby.”, adds Amita.
Not just this, Amita has been spreading her experience around to encourage more people to become hosts. Be it her cousins in Sikkim or her family friends, she never restrains herself from sharing what she has gained after becoming a host.
“My cousins in Sikkim have a vacant property, but they were very unsure about getting that listed. I made them understand that if they host their empty property, it will not only get them some real good business but will also lead to the proper maintenance of their homestay. They looked quite convinced.”, she giggles.
Talking about how hosting has changed her life extraordinarily, Amita believes that Pradhan Cottage was the best possible usage of an empty space. Not only has this helped in getting her place maintained, but has also got her a lot of business and made her financially strong. Concluding in her most happy energy, what Amita believes keep her active in the hosting business is the contentment she receives after witnessing how every guest of the cottage leave with the homely experience and a radiant satisfactory smile.
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