In the Lap of Nature
Cottages built on bamboo stilts in the lap of nature surrounded by misty hills, lush teakwood and
sandalwood forests, and acres of coffee plantations provide guests a unique experience at
Tamara Coorg feels Chandragupta Amritkar
the Mysore Palace and Chamundi Hills.
I think this would be an ideal routine if one plans a trip to
Coorg with these stops.
Then we got ready for another four hours of journey. I think it
would be a good idea for Tamara management to have in-car WiFi connection which will allow guests to surf the Internet and
check their e-mail on the move. You just require an in-car Wi-Fi
pocket wireless router.
On reaching Madikeri I felt elated but the driver said its 1.5
hours more and then I saw the sign board - Tamara 36 kms away.
The winding roads are not exactly in the best condition but inspite
of it being dark we could sense the serene beauty of the nature. I
would suggest my readers to possible try to make the travel during day to soak in the natural beauty.
On reaching the resort at 10.30pm our check-in was smooth
and quick as they were already expecting us. The front desk
arranged for a buggy to take us to our room which is quite some
distance as the buggy had to traverse through the terrain. We were
allotted room number 203 which gave us some magnificent view
to the valley. We were informed that higher the rooms the better
view to the valley as one is able to see beyond the trees.
There is no Room service but fortunately we were able to have
a quick dinner at the restaurant and a wonderful sleep later on.
The next day morning as my wife opened the curtains we could
truly feel nature beckoning us on the valentines day. Our luxury
cottage was quite spacious with 660 sqft living area with a comfortable bed and an extended living space. We spend some time
in the balcony enjoying the spectacular view.
During the HIFI event in Delhi when I met Senthil Kumar,
CEO, The Tamara Coorg, he was kind enough to invite me and
my wife to experience their property. “Valentines day would be
ideal. You confirm and I will get the flight tickets done and will
block the rooms,” he said.
Having heard of Coorg (also known as "The Scotland of India"
where Tamara is located) several times from my hospitality
industry friends, the only deterrent had been the thought of traveling 7 hours from Bangalore to Coorg. But then I decided to use
this opportunity to visit a hotel in Bangalore – do some sightseeing and then stopover in Mysore before proceeding to Coorg.
Emailed Sanjay Sethi, MD and CEO, Berggruen Hotels (which
owns Keys Hotels brand) and he immediately replied that it
would be our pleasure to host you and connected me with Anand
Ramachandran, GM, Keys Whitefield.
On 11th morning we left Mumbai and then proceeded to Keys
Whitefield. It’s basically a business hotel with serviced apartments (148 rooms and 74 service apartments) catering to the ICT
clientele and long staying guests. After spending a couple of days
during which the GM arranged for a vehicle and driver cum guide
to show us the city, on 13th morning we proceed to Coorg. As
always traffic was bad and finally after 4 hours drive at 1.30pm
we reached Mysore. Had an excellent lunch with local delicacies
at Fortune JP Palace, Mysore with the hotels GM Manoj Kumar
joining us. They do have a wonderful property - with palatial
architecture and landscaped gardens and it would be a good idea,
time permitting to stay back for a night at this hotel. There’s a lot
to see in Mysore but in the next 3 hours we were only able to visit
Mar - Apr 2014
Getting ready for breakfast we proceeded to the only restaurant
on the premises. We decided to walk it down the hilly terrain. The
multi-cuisine restaurant, named ‘The Falls’ offers regional,
national, international & fusion cuisines in an atmosphere of
warmth and elegance and featuring a see through dance floor. The
restaurant has been conceptualized on a bridge above a naturalwaterfall. The quality of food was good and we could order what
we liked from a set menu. We preferred the south Indian dishes.
In the evening they arrange candle
light dinner for couples.
Tamara means Lotus and the
resort is as beautiful as one. Its
truly an architectural feat - multiple
cottages made on stilts spread
across the hill top. The resort is
spread across 170-acres working
coffee & spice planation in Coorg
(Its also one of the few resorts in
India built inside a working coffee
and spice plantation). Its a 60-key resort with a built-up area of
90,000 square feet. Nestled on the eastern slopes of Western
Ghats the resort is at an altitude of 3600 feet above sea level.
The resort is really quiet except for the birds and the breeze. Its
perfect for those who love nature and prefer hiking, nature walks
and solitude. I was informed that the swimming pool and spa are
Guests have access to many leisure activities like plantation
and nature walks, yoga, meditation and signature 'blossoms to
brew' coffee experience. For adventure lovers, they organise
trekking & bird watching. These activities can complete the holiday experience of every discerning guest during any season.
We took a plantation tour which showed us various plants, the
bio-gas plants etc. The estate comprises of Arabica, Robusta &
Cardamom plantations, interspersed with pepper vines on silveroak and hardwood species such as rosewood surrounded by a
wealth of native flora and fauna in a magnificent ecosystem. We
were also shown the Rudraksh trees where if you are lucky you
may get the rare 'ek-mukhi' Rudraksh.
For nature lovers keen on trekking there are three trekking
trails leading towards various ranges. The duration of the trek
varies from 3-5 hours. The resort is also an excellent place for
ornithologists and bird-lovers. The
area is considered the best place to
spot several species of birds
For those keen on making their
own coffee - the rustic coffee boutique called “The Verandah” is the
place. This heritage building creates the perfect backdrop for guests
to indulge themselves whilst they
stay over at the resort. The Verandah is divided into four sections.
The first section is an exquisite gift shop where all guests can take
back a little bit of The Tamara Coorg, as The Verandah boasts of
a wide range of exclusive branded memorabilia and gifting ideas.
The gift shop opens up into the “Custom Coffee” section; it is
here that guests can custom blend and roast their own coffee
beans to create the perfect “cuppa” and call it their own. This coffee blend can be taken back home and guests can savor the coffee that they have created as a signature taste for themselves.
The resort is roughly 40 -60Kms from local sightseeing spots.
The roads are not in their best shape. So better plan your trip
accordingly. Alternately just relax in the lap of nature and let your
thoughts take its own course. In case you bring your vehicle or
hire one chauffeur accommodation is complimentary and all
meals are provided at the staff cafeteria at nominal charge.
To get an insight into the property
we spoke with Senthil Kumar, CEO,
The Tamara Coorg. Excerpts
Who are the property’s key target markets?
The Tamara Coorg has a wide
variety of people as their target market. Our target audience includes
couples, HNIs, Corporate groups,
Celebrities, Top management personnel.
The unique experiences at The
Tamara Coorg are custom created to
suit guest preferences. These can include outdoor activities, bird
watching, photography, treks, and the coffee experience; dining,
relaxation and meditation among a host of many rejuvenating
options. Our role is to create exceptional experiences with an
unobtrusive service and a warm, genuine hospitality in Coorg.
To what percentage of your hotels depend on inbound traffic from abroad and domestic travellers?
Due to the wide reach of our brand through social mediums we
are seeing a substantial interest from prospective guests from
across India and overseas.
As guests are becoming more and more health and fitness
conscious what steps is your group taking for a better wellness and fitness experience?
In our experience, the location and aesthetics of The Tamara
Coorg evoke a strong sense of calmness and tranquility among all
visitors. Nature itself is the primary experience, which the resort
compliments with several luxuries in a responsible and pleasing
way. Our guests are guaranteed a genuine warmth and hospitality
from all our personnel, trained to have an eye for detail. The
delight is in the little gestures, in witnessing rare biodiversity,
maybe a private candlelit dinner by the waterfall under starlight
and fireflies, or a picnic lunch in the midst of the plantation. The
restaurant serving gastronomical delights tailored to guest preferences, an early morning yoga session surrounded by a melody of
birdsongs, and many innovative ways to deliver
more delight than can be described in words.
meetings, conferences and events. The conference space can host
sessions for up to 80 people in a very serene atmosphere, magnificent views of the waterfall and valleys and a large breakout area
for low/high tea. The leisure and recreation zone next to the conference room inspires creative thinking effortlessly and these
spaces provide many opportunities for effective conversations
and total enjoyment. After a day of interesting activities, guests
can let their hair down and truly enjoy themselves with a few
cocktails over exemplary food and service.
What improvements have you recently made/plan to implement in order to stay ahead of the competition?
Our customers are the key to our growth and a lot of our marketing initiatives revolve around customer experiences. Also customer sensibilities have been evolving very rapidly in recent
times with the avid traveller logging onto social networks for
word of mouth referral rather than push advertising.
In a core service sector industry such as hospitality, the perceived authenticity of the experience is what determines spending
decisions. Guest experiences at The Tamara Coorg encompass
elements of biodiversity, a unique and challenging terrain, genuine, warm and personalized service, and a very well differentiated product. A core group of patrons are also co-creators of the
experience as the property evolves. The Tamara Coorg will be
one of the few resorts in the world to offer a unique coffee experience.
Can you mention any interesting miscellaneous trivia
regarding the hotel?
• One of the few resorts in the world that is housed inside a
working coffee and spice plantation.
• All our guests get an opportunity to create their own signature
blends from coffee berries by pulping, polishing, blending, roasting, crushing and brewing using state of the art machines.
• Home to an astonishing diversity of bird species, insects and
reptiles in the region.
• Located close to the highest peak in the region Thadiyandamol (1750m)
• Children under 12 years have no access to the resort and
therefore couples can spend self-time and connect with nature.
What is the main aim of having ‘no Room
Our resort is located on the edge of a rainforest
in the Western Ghats, and home to an astonishing
diversity of bird & insect species apart from reptiles in the region. Occasional visit of insects or
small animals may not be entirely inevitable. We
need to respect our unique topography and the
ecosystem surrounding it. Small specks of food
that we overlook may attract insects and small animals into the cottage. It is owing to this probability that we discourage room service.
What is the potential for MICE?
The Tamara Coorg is well equipped to cater to
Mar - Apr 2014