Our Vision - The Bamboo Retreat Hotel
The Bamboo Retreat was envisioned and developed by Swiss Helen Kämpf who came to Sikkim in 1999. Following the ideals of TIES (The International Eco-tourism Society) it was her vision to create a place where the best of the Himalayas is combined with the best of the West. Her objective was to bridge these worlds together by providing a venue for intercultural exchange where both visitors and hosts could benefit from each other in a natural way.
Helen has many years of work and study experience in Sikkim and Ladakh (India), USA, Guatemala and Switzerland. In 1993 she participated in a "Permaculture Design Course" with Larry Santoyo after having been inspired by literature of Bill Mollison. At Bamboo Retreat Hotel we applying permaculture/native principles and every year we move closer to realizing the permaculture design that Rico Zook came up with for our place in 2015/16.
At Bamboo Retreat Hotel we aim to introduce our guests to the local, traditions and culture with all their senses. We are deeply rooted with the land through our large garden.
Come and taste Sikkim's unique cuisine and spices, smell its herbs, touch its handicrafts and textiles, dance to its songs, read its history, observe its nature and connect with its people. This is a great opportunity for guests to re-connect to a natural and quiet way of life to relook at their own roots and sense of belonging.
Besides simply being a unique eco-friendly and cultural hotel, we also facilitate intercultural workshops for the benefit of both locals and visitors.
Our ongoing objectives:
To create a place with space for people to interact with us, our garden and the local people; to facilitate natural experiences and understanding – to evoke inspiration and gratefulness in honor of Sikkim’s agrarian & cultural heritage and its environment.
To contribute towards preserving Sikkim’s agrarian and cultural heritage, its biodiversity and to contribute towards fostering harmony between the human family & nature.
In our garden we apply permaculture and traditional organic techniques for growing & food processing.
- Tourists, national & international
- Local visitors
- Bicyclists, bikers, trekkers
- Students and teachers
- Business people
- Persons interested in purchasing locally produced products
- Persons interested in local cuisine
- Persons interested in permaculture & organic farming
- Persons interested in Sikkim’s cultural heritage & art
- Persons interested in Sikkim folk music & dance
- Persons interested in relaxation & re-connecting with nature
- Persons interested in meditation & yoga.
The Bamboo Retreat Hotel and its approx. 3 acres of terraced fields & forest offers diverse activities that can take place in the hotel and on its land.
Our country hotel offers 12 individually decorated deluxe rooms, including an apartment and a suite on the top-floor. Most of our rooms offer panoramic view.
Each room is decorated in a different color-theme in accordance to the principles of Feng Shui.
Facilities include a Restaurant (with in- & outdoor sitting), a chimney, a library, a community TV-room, a herbal-bath-room, a massage therapy room, a kids play room, a traditional meditation- & prayer room and of course a large garden that we are in the process of turning into a permaculture show-garden.
The “Garden Restaurant” is on the ground floor and in the garden and offers – as much as possible – local, organic produce.
We offer a healthy “quick-meal of the day” for drop-in Restaurant visitors – as well as a variety of cuisines, including Lepcha, Bhutia and Nepali ethnic cuisine and a selection of Indian, Chinese, Italian and international cuisine (pre-order required).
We aim to avoid as much as possible industrial foods with their chemical additives and instead to prepare meals from scrap with healthy, fresh ingredients.
We aim to replace industrially produced soft-drinks with homemade syrup and to offer a variety of fresh herbal teas; we also aim to produce our own pickles, fruit-jams, tomato-sauce, pesto, herbal vinegars and wines, etc.
We are looking to collaborate with already existing providers and/or persons experienced in food processing & restaurant management.
Garden / Permaculture-Show-Garden
The area is large enough to grow herbs, spices, vegetables, beans and some fruit and berries. The garden is designed as a show-garden, with convenient pebble-footpaths.
We are planning to upgrade the garden into an educational show garden where plants and features by the trail are labelled. An info-brochure is being produced, providing an introduction to permaculture philosophy, its principles and some locally useful techniques.
We aim to convert the entire non-forested area into a permaculture garden, with a focus on typical local plant varieties.
This is our contribution to preserve Sikkim’s agricultural plant-diversity.
Amongst some of the permaculture features already existing are hot- and cold composting, liquid organic fertilizer production, vermicompost, mulching, grey-water-use, deadwood-hedge/living/green fencing, companion planting, theme-gardens (kitchen herb garden, medicinal plant garden, vegetable garden) and more. A fishpond is in the making.
We are looking for guidance by experts in organic farming and permaculture in order to guarantee continuation and expansion of our knowledge and to introduce new features such as a fishpond (for fertilizer), green manure / cover crops, greenhouse, butterfly-hedge, expansion of our vegetable and herb cultivation, flower-arches/pergolas, seasonal garden calendar, nursery management, etc..
We aim to honor traditional ways of food-preservation and wish to contribute towards fostering such knowledge. Vegetables, herbs and fruit are harvested and collected - or purchased locally - and processed.
Methods of conversation such as preservation by bottling/canning (syrup, jams, tomato-sauces, etc), drying (herbs & spices, fruit & berries, plants used as incense), fermentation (green mustard-family leaves and roots), freezing (peas, pumpkins), salting (chili), making of tinctures, creams, lip-balms, boddy-scrubs, etc are practiced for use in the Restaurant/wellness-area and for sale in the in-house shop and/or the planed farmer’s outlet by the main road.
We aim to further develop and promote our wellness treats that presently include massage therapy (upon prior notice), herbal bath and the outdoor traditional hot-stone-bath by improved marketing and growing medicinal herbs traditionally used.
Collecting & Conserving
In the area there are many small family farms. We aim to offer processing excess harvest. Products will be offered for sale. A brand will be created “Product of Bamboo Retreat Estate”. Each product has its own story. The story characterizes the product, the product-environment and its origin.
In our shop we offer local handicraft and locally produced agricultural products such as jams, pickles, herbal teas, spices, smudge bundles, etc.
We also look for collaboration with local crafts-people and locally produced food items.
The selection of items offered at our shop shall focus primarily on products produced by local farmers, housewifes, families, artisans and craftspeople.
Roadside farmer’s stand shop
We plan to run a farmer’s stand by the main road, at the access-road-head near our entry gate to sell excess harvest and to inspire passer-byes to visit us.
Here we plan to sell our own products and those of interested nearby small farms. Amongst our offer could be fresh products such as eggs, potted ornamental plants and flowers.
Small Animal Husbandry
Rabbits and chickens already live on our land. We aim to improve small animal husbandry management and look for experts in the field.
Playground for children and adults
To make our venue more attractive for families we are looking for persons with experience in building an ecofriendly playground and trail for children and adults, including features such as a bamboo-swing, sandpit, paddling pool, tree-trunks, fitness-trail, etc.
Classes & workshops
Almost all described projects offer possibilities for classes, courses, excursions, workshops and transfer of knowledge for adults, students, teenagers, children. Our venue acts as a platform for knowledge-exchange and aims to foster respect for Sikkim’s small farms and its agrarian heritage.
We also plan to offer guided garden-tours to our visitors and are looking for experts to help come up with a respective publication.