A revisit to Orange County, Coorg, had been planned again after ten long years… with our little son in tow this time! This resort had etched itself a special place in our hearts a decade ago with its wonderful hospitality, super delicious food and its aromatic filter coffee from its very own plantation!
We had fond memories of the resort and were looking forward to visit it again. The ride from Bangalore to Coorg was a smooth one except for the last 3 kilometers or so on the plantation’s mud road which took us inside to the gates of the resort. We took NICE road and hit the Mysore expressway before taking a diversion for Coorg near Mysore. It took us approximately 6 hours to reach the resort with an hour-long stop at A2B on the way for a scrumptious South Indian breakfast.
At the resort, we were welcomed with a refreshing cool, coffee drink infused with coconut milk. Unique as it was, it was equally pleasing to the palate as well. The electric buggies (similar to golf carts) carried our luggage while we walked down to our cottage. On this occasion, we had booked the Lily Pool Cottage with a private pool and jacuzzi with it. My son loves private pools as he get to soak himself in the cool, inviting waters of the pool, anytime of the day. He also had a gala time playing with the fishes in the adjoining lily pool. I am sure he must have been some water fairy/elf in his previous birth which explains his fascination with water 😉
Having reached at around 1 pm, we decided to have lunch at Peppercorn, their grill and sizzler place which is overlooking a gorgeous lake adjoining the Dubare forest. The lunch had a North Indian set menu from which we could order. The food was amazingly delectable. Words cannot do justice to the food 🙂 One has to go there and savour the experience themselves. The ambience, the fact that we were the only ones in the restaurant for a long time, and the excellent customer service made our lunch quite memorable.
It’s hard to overlook the hospitality of the staff there. Even the sweepers and cleaners exchange smiles and a courteous ‘namaste’ when the guests pass by. The resort has employed many locals there and it is quite obvious the wonderful, hospitality training they have gone through.
Their other restaurants, The Granary and The Plaintain Leaf (their traditional, all-vegetarian restaurant) which serve North Indian/Continental and the local South-Indian/Kerala cuisine respectively, are worth raving about too. Granary is set above the common swimming pool and offers a fantastic view across. The Plaintain Leaf too delighted with me with their authentic South-Indian fare like Cherupayar curry, Kadala curry served with puttu, idiappams, kurma etc. etc.. It’s not everyday that I get to taste the local cusine of the land, that too so yummy 🙂 The Ayurvedic touch they added to their food through digestive drinks (like Zandu Pancharishta), and herbs-infused water was a silver-lining to the whole gastronomic experience. Digestive drinks are highly needed in OC though! No guesses for the reason 😀
As plentiful the food options are, so are the activities planned out by the resort for their guests. It will take at least a minimum of 3 days of stay to enjoy all the planned activities – plantation walk, nature walk through the Dubare forest reserve, coracle ride on the Cauvery, bird watching, fish feeding/fishing, village tour, worker’s trail, cultural entertainment program at night around a bonfire, and a story corner focusing on the Coorg culture and heritage right after.
They have a play centre for kids just across the pool and have some activities planned for the kids as well – such as a paper recycling workshop in the mornings and some games/contests during the day. I guess they offer daycare services as well.
Their Ayurvedic spa- Vaidyasala, offers some rejuvenating massages and treatments; however, we did not book the spa this time. We were just simply busy with the activities, gorging on food, sipping coffee and relaxing in their reading lounge. The reading lounge is atop the paddy fields with a panoramic view of the forest and plantations, and also offers a gratis supply of coffee-on-demand while we browse the books. Truly, a stay at OC, Coorg is simply a complete relaxation package without having to worry about anything! Of course, I mean the cost as well, as the stay is all-inclusive of food and activities – no extra hidden charges 😉
The OC staff even helped me put together a surprise birthday celebration for my hubby and decorated the bed with lovely flowers and swans. A small cake, a hand-written birthday wishes and the floral decorations made the celebration really special. No guesses for who enjoyed all this and the cake the most…our sonna 🙂
We couldn’t enjoy all the activities as we were short on time and my son too refused to stay back at the activity centre for some activities where he wasn’t allowed. Children under 12 were not allowed to enter the forest or take a bicycle ride to the nearby village.
However, I took the nature walk for 2.5 hours while my husband graciously looked after our son. The walk through Dubare and along the banks of Cauvery was fantastic. We spotted a group of wild elephants just 100 metres away from us. The walk through the forest was a rough one, in the sense that we had to clear the path of thorns and branches to make way for ourselves. These were animal paths and we were made our way through it with our excellent guide and naturalist, Mr. Vishwanath, who made the walk all the more informative and thrilling.
The story-telling session at night was another informative program OC, Coorg has recently started for their guests. We were served some delicious coffee wine (the resort owner, Mr Ramanapuram’s wife or so had gotten it made at home!) and were regaled with interesting tidbits about Coorg history and its Kodava culture. The stories are never repeated and there is always more to know each night!
That Sunday, dinner was arranged in the paddy fields under the open skies with lamps and lanterns adorning the night. The dinner was set on the buffet tables, live music was being played on one side and a beautiful bonfire was lit on the other. White, sparkling linen were spread over the tables creating a nice contrast against the dark background. When such great care had been taken to liven up the atmosphere, how can food be left far behind! We were again pampered that night with choicest dishes and great service.
Time flies! We did not even realise when our vacation came to an end. We did not step out of the resort even once during our stay there and yet we were relaxing and occupied at the same time. Away from our mundane city lives, we had an invigorating stay at OC. Next morning, bidding hearty goodbyes to our hosts, and carrying wonderful memories in our hearts, we started off on our ride back home.
Disclaimer: This write-up is not a paid review of the resort but is solely based on my visit and personal experience.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments.