Nestled in the tropical forest of Karnataka, this retreat is an oasis of calm in a bustling life. Nature is at its best here, where a beautiful layout is set by a mystical blue sky, lush green rainforest, the musical sound of birds and the mysterious mists of Madikeri
After a 4-hour flight from Dubai to Mangalore followed by a 4-hour bumpy but scenic drive along the coconut trees, spotting this gorgeous estate from the bottom of the hill was such a relief. Zipping through the coffee plantations and drenched rice paddies, we arrived into 180 acres of pristine rainforest, 4000 ft. above the sea level.
Lobby: The hotel lobby is an open playground for magical thoughts. With an overview of the jungle, forest and the coffee plantation, you are definitely on top of the world. Lose yourself in the undulating greens amidst a breathing rainforest. The dark wood contrasted with light earthy tones creates a very soothing and relaxing effect in the entire property. Once the sun sets, the locals perform a traditional folk dance on the lobby terrace which is a must watch!
Room: Deluxe Delight
The villa was very well designed keeping every need in mind, not to forget, we had our very own fireplace. The vision of warming yourself in a cozy stone and cement hearth felt like a scene right out of a movie. The eco friendly design and interiors made nature and luxury co exist. The wide angled forested views from the window were jaw dropping.
To our surprise the room had no AC and the thought of crashing without it got us worried. However, we were proven wrong by the breezy room and the pleasing weather, which offered the most sound and peaceful sleep in the four nights we spent here.
NELLAKI- This restaurant is famous for its traditional Coorg meal comprising of various kinds of curries which can be relished with Kadambuttu or Akki Otti. Pork is an all time favorite here cooked in a spicy peppery gravy commonly known as Pandi curry.
DEW-The breakfast spread at Dew was massive. Right from international selections to south Indian specialities, they had it all. Dining on the deck amidst the forest was one thing that we looked forward to every morning. The restaurant also served some lip smacking pizzas, pastas and Thai curries.
POOLSIDE GRILL-This restaurant was nestled in the middle of the forest, beneath the stars by the poolside and surrounded by lanterns making it the perfect setting for a romantic evening. The menu comprised of a variety of freshly grilled Gallouti kebabs, Chicken Tikka, Vegetarian sheekh kebabs bursting with flavor which were accompanied with mint chutney and rolled papadums. These soft melt-in-your-mouth kebabs are sure to whet your appetite. Chef Nitish personally attended to his guests and grilled some special fancy kebabs.
HIVE BAR-Located at the pool level famous for its cocktails. Make sure to try the Coorg Coffee Martini.
FERN TREE- The perfect casual dining spot for a quick bite
Jiva Spa: With a cobbled entrance JIVA spa welcomes you to their beautiful lounge overlooking the lush green vale. While I sipped my herbal tea with jaggery, the spa manager helped me select the package from their list of holistic treatments rooted with Indian wisdom.
After checking out all their options and taking a spa tour I finally signed up for their signature treatment, Gudda Bath- a wood fired bath in an open pavilion overlooking the valley. This treatment is a traditional way of scrubbing and massaging with a signature blend comprising of nutmeg, turmeric, kalonji and other herbs which is then followed by a hot water bath from the Gudda (copper vessel) heated over an open fire. Post therapy, a glass of hot milk with saffron and almonds complemented this experience.
On the following day, I also tried the traditional Pichu massage where cotton and linen pads soaked in hot medicated oils are gently placed on sore joints to offer immediate relief from pain and discomfort followed by gentle massage strokes.
Pool: The highlight of the property is their temperature controlled indoor pool. The infinity pool opens up to the mystical valley along with two Jacuzzis on each side offering nature in abundance. You just have to sit in the pool, rest your chin on the edge and let the magic happen. The rolling mists rise above the Madikeri rainforest enveloping the entire resort and giving that heaven-on-earth feeling.
The hotel’s outdoor pool is beautifully placed in the middle of the forest with a few sunken beds that would make you want to laze there all day long.
Other activities: You can never run out of things to do here. Choose between the strawberry garden, butterfly park, the Buddha garden, plantation tour, bird watching, coffee tasting experiences, nature trails, kitchen garden walk, yoga retreats, cooking sessions, some zip line sports and much more. Trekking season runs from October to March. The pottery session here is simply amazing (I tried it too). They also house an entertainment and activity room with mini golf and countless video games. You can also grab a book from their library and head to the open lobby space for an ultimate ‘me time’.
Service: Taj, the name itself signifies impeccable hospitality. From the reception desk to bell boys, from chefs to servers, each one of them were exceedingly kind and welcoming. Not to forget the scrumptious hot chocolate (complimentary) served by the staff every evening by the pool!
Fly: Air India Express: Dubai to Mangalore 4 hours direct
Ideal for: A romantic getaway or a family holiday
-If you’re travelling from India you can take a flight to Mysore as the drive to Coorg is shorter from there.
-Do not leave this place without trying the Coorg special filter coffee. I suggest, take some home too.
Vivanta by Taj- Madikeri is right in the lap of nature offering some breathtaking views making it the perfect escape.
Address: 1st, Monnengeri, Galibeedu, Madikeri, Karnataka 571201, India
Phone:+91 82726 65800
Click the gallery below to view pictures!