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Global Destinations March-April 2014 Tamara Coorg


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Global Destinations March-April 2014 Tamara Coorg

  1. 1. Cover Story 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 Global Destinations 18 Mar - Apr 2014
  2. 2. Cover Story 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 getting ready. 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.
  3. 3. Cover Story 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 service’? 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 Global Destinations 20 Mar - Apr 2014