My family lives in Bangalore, and most visits to them get combined with a weekend getaway to rejuvenate and relax. Here are my top 3 recommended Luxury resorts for a family vacation in Coorg; these properties are a destination in themselves.
Kodagu or more popularly known as Coorg is a district of Karnataka State in Southern India. The main river in Kodagu is the Kaveri (Cauvery) River and its capital is Madikeri. Fondly known as the ‘Coffee Cup of India’, the slopes in Coorg are redolent with the aroma of fine Arabicas and Robustas. Besides coffee, pepper, cloves, cardamom, kokum, cinchona, and other stars of the fabled ‘spice route’ are residents of these hills.
It is a perfect spot to get away from the urban chaos of Bangalore. The nearest airports are Bangalore and Mysore.
Stay amidst a 180-acre Rainforest at Taj Madikeri
Rolling hills. Misty mornings. A 180-acre pristine rainforest. A deck perched 4000 ft above the sea level overlooking a valley. Can you ask for more?
Experience serenity and luxury at Taj Madikeri amidst spectacular surroundings.
Stay & Food
There are 63 rooms; each room is an independent unit build in Kodagu architecture with gently sloping roofs, views of the rainforest, stone bathroom and a rain shower. The options available are – Superior and Deluxe cottages, Premium villas and Luxury Pool villas. I remember seeing my cottage and being delighted with the room if it can be called that. I could sit by the window and look at the lush green valley all day. That is, if I could get myself to come out of the all-black-stone bathroom – the size of a standard room.
Do keep in mind that the cottages are spread out over a vast area; so if you have elders or very young kids travelling with us, request for a cottage near the main building. It can take some time for the golf cart to reach the cottages that are far away and more private.
The Fern Tree is their all-day dining option. Sit at the open balcony for breakfast; the views will make your day. Nellaki is their speciality restaurant offering Coorgi delicacies. Dew offers light healthy meal options. On weekends, barbecues and Sizzlers are offered by the poolside in the evening. This needs to be booked in advance. There is a lounge bar overlooking the indoor infinity pool.
The resort can create private dining experiences overlooking the scenic valley or the infinity pool. Frankly, all the rooms and restaurant offer such spectacular views that the mind boggles as to what more could be created.
There are a large number of activities offered within the resort – to indulge your adventurous or creative side – that you needn’t step out during your stay at all.
They have an activity partner on-site to organise off-terrain biking and zip-lining. A nature walk or a short hike within the rainforest can be booked. My husband, friend and I signed up for an off-terrain biking adventure with an experienced guide. It was a bit tough for an amateur cyclist like me to keep me with the uphill riding in parts, and I hung on for deal life coming back on those very slopes. Friends also enjoyed an easy zip-line course over the greens and a lake.
There is a pottery studio to take a class in pottery making. The on-site Taj Conservatory is a treasure trove of history, culture and the arts and crafts of Coorg. You can take a Coorgi cooking class and learn to whip up some delicacies with the chef.
You can choose from multiple therapy options in Jiva Spa. Ayurveda Therapies, Yoga & Meditation and beauty treatments are offered at this luxury spa. They have a temperature controlled heated pool to swim and relax at any time of the year. This infinity pool has the best views I have encountered in any resort in India. The only other heated pool with stunning views that comes close is that of Wildflower Hall, Shimla.
How to reach
Distance from Bangalore to the property is about 270 km. We had booked a taxi, did the obligatory stopover for idlis and filter coffee at Kamat en route, and had reached in about 5 hours (including the breakfast stop). Except for the last 15 / 20 minute when you take a turn to get into the property, the road is wide and smooth.
Website: Taj Madikeri
Tel: +91 8272 665800
Experience the Plantation Life at Evolve Back, Coorg
Imagine being part of a bygone era surrounded by a lush 300-acre plantation. Get the Coffee, Spice and Plantations Life at Evolve Back in Coorg.
Stay & Food
The Heritage Pool Villas, a true display of Kodava architecture feature a separate living room and en-suite bedroom, with a courtyard and a private swimming pool with deck chairs. At 4400 sq ft of private space, luxury and seclusion don’t come better than this. There is also an option for a 2-bedroom luxury suite – Lily Pool Bungalow – with 2 baths, a spacious living room and a swimming pool.
The Lily Pool Villas are elegantly appointed suites, that feature a spacious bedroom, living room and an en-suite bathroom, and comes with courtyard and a personal temperature controlled swimming pool.
The Lily Pool Cottages are slightly smaller, but also come with a spacious bedroom, living room, an ensuite bathroom and a swimming pool. We were a large group and had taken 3 Lily Pool cottages.
There are 3 speciality restaurants: Peppercorn that serves grills and kebabs, Plantation Leaf is a great option for north and south vegetarian delicacies and Granary that offers both Indian cuisine with Kodava flavours and continental options. If you want a private dining experience, that can be arranged by the resort – at the Peppercorn or Pool deck by the lake and even at a private Tree-house.
Evolve Back is a destination in itself. The resort has 2 large pools, one exclusively for adults, a reading lounge – overlooking paddy fields and plantations – and an Ayurveda centre with trained staff. At the time of our trip, the weather was cold to take a dip.
(Photos courtesy: Freeimages.com)
I recommend taking a trip to know more about coffee and spice plantation. I had really enjoyed the guided tour of the 300-acre plantation on foot, with an expert guide telling us all about the difference between an Arabica and Robusta. If you are more adventurous, you can even participate in seasonal estate activities – from pruning coffee plants to harvesting ripe red coffee berries.
You can go trekking in the adjoining Dubare Reserve Forest with a guide, or if you a bird enthusiast, the surroundings will delight you. Take a ride in a coracle – a circular local fishing craft or visit a village to know more about local life and customs. There is even the second largest Tibetan settlement outside Tibet, waiting to be discovered!
How to reach
The distance from Bangalore to the property is about 235 km. Their website has detailed driving instructions both from Bangalore and Mysore, and a route map.
Website: Evolve Back, Coorg
Tel: +91 96866 69745
Experience the Jungle and Boat Safari at The Serai Kabini
Kabini is protected land of the wild – home to Asia’s largest herd of elephants and with about 300 species of birds spotted throughout the year. Be it the evergreen forests or the Kabini river flowing by, this is nature at its best.
Stay & Food
Each cottage at The Serai Kabini gives you a view of the waterfront. Accommodation options available are Waterfront Verandah – twin cottages with a common sit-out area and a designer bathroom and Waterfront Villas – these are independent accommodations which comprises of a sit out, living cum bedroom and a bathroom with a shower cubicle. For the ultimate in luxury and privacy, there is The Residence; it comprises of a sit out, a living room, a bedroom, bathroom with a shower cubicle & a Jacuzzi in the backyard, facing the river.
The restaurant options at this Serai property are a bit limited. Wild Grass is their multi-cuisine restaurant, and by the end of our stay, we were really hoping for a different restaurant experience. Outpost Bar is a wooden-beamed log-cabin-like bar with its terrace deck to look out over the river.
The highlight of the stay at the Serai Kabini is the jungle and the boat safari. We experienced both, and perhaps because of the season (we went in March), saw a lot of wildlife both on land and in water.
My husband and his friend also did a cycling tour with a guide. There are other paid activities available – archery, kayaking, visit Bhimana Kolli Temple by boat.
They have an outdoor swimming pool, a gym, a spa and a library. Indoor activities like carrom, chess & board games are available in the common area. The outdoor pool needs to be better maintained, my friend had taken her 6-month baby for the first time in a pool, and the leaves and insects floating in the water dampened her enthusiasm.
Nature walks, coracle ride, bird watching are non-paid activities available on request. The evening bonfire where everyone would gather around with a drink in hand was enjoyable and serene.
How to reach
The distance of about 230 km from Bangalore to the property is easily covered in 4.5 hours.
Website: The Serai, Kabini
Tel: +91 9900063960
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