What: The Tamara Coorg is a 56-key luxury resort ensconced in a 180.2acre estate.
How to get there: The car is the best option to get there. It is 270km from Bangalore, 164km from Mangalore and 187km from Kozhikode, all of which have airports.
Things to do:
• Treks to Ballyaatre or the Pathi Pole Falls
• Swimming in the outdoor pool or in the temperature-controlled one
• Aromatherapy, Swedish or Balinese massages at The Elevation Spa
• Indoor games at the recreation centre.
For more information, check out www.thetamara.com
Nestled in the lap of the lush green forests of the Western Ghats, The Tamara Coorg is an experience in luxury. Gorgeous wooden cottages opening up to panoramic views of the forests and the valley, lazy breakfasts next to flowing waterfalls, indulgent spas.... The minute you step out of the car after a six-hour journey at the reception of the luxury resort, what hits you is the green and the absolute silence, broken only by the sound of the cicadas. A cool towel and a refreshing, hot locally blended coffee arrive — the perfect mix to perk you up.
Within minutes I was in a “buggy”, a golf cart-type thing that is the only mode of transport around the 8.5acres of resort property, riding uphill to my “Luxury Cottage”. Made of Canadian birch wood, the cottages have a very open layout. The sun-deck or balcony of every cottage has a deck chair where you can stretch with a cup of coffee and watch the sun come up, and for a cosy cuddle if you are travelling with your significant other. For those opting for the Eden Lotus cottages, which have two bedrooms, you even have a private jacuzzi on the deck.
As night falls, the resort takes on a magical look with dimly-lit paths leading up and down to the various cottages, activity centres and restaurant. You can always call a buggy to your room if you want to leave for the restaurant but I’d recommend the walk, especially if you are with a companion, because it is pretty darned romantic. Just carry the torch that is on the bedside table.
Feel the nature
If you couples are wondering what else you can do other than cuddling on the balcony and listening to the sounds of the forest (or saying hello to a tree frog that comes visiting on the balcony), there are a host of activities to choose from, depending on the kind of person you are. For the more adventurous there are the guided treks in the morning, a 5.5-hour one to Ballyaatre and a shorter 4.5-hour one to the Pathi Pole Falls. For those who don’t want that, there is bird-watching or yoga.
I signed up for the bird-watching — both this and the trek need to be booked the night before — and was up bright and early to catch the birds. Guided by Tamaya, I and a couple of guests spent a wonderful two hours hiking in the forest around the property, catching glimpses of birds like the Crimson-throated Barbet, Oriental White-eye, Pompadour Green Pigeon, Scarlet Minivet and Plain Flowerpecker. Don’t forget to slather yourself with insect repellent though because they are definitely going to bug you, pardon the pun!
After two hours of walking, you will relish the hearty breakfast laid out at The Falls. The restaurant is named after the waterfall that flows next to and under it and if you go during or after the monsoons, you can have your breakfast sitting beside it.
Thankfully, I had a spa session in the afternoon where a thorough hour-long Balinese massage helped me get rid of all the aches and pains of the morning hike.
Make your cuppa
Loose and limber, I arrived at the recreation centre, which is the meet-up point for all activities, for my Plantation Tour, where our guide, Bopanna, took us through the history and geography of the resort.
Tamara, which means lotus, is situated in an 180.2acre estate owned by Shruti Shibulal, the daughter of Infosys co-founder S.D. Shibulal. It grows coffee as well as cardamom and pepper and I learnt to identify the Arabica and Robusta variety, and about why I need to cut down on the instant coffee at work!
My favourite part of the tour came right at the end. At the Blossom to Brew section at The Verandah, a restored heritage building that has a gift shop, a library and a custom coffee section, I got to make my own coffee blend, roast the beans and grind them, all of it manually, and make my very own cuppa.
Text: Chandreyee Chatterjee