A Comprehensive itinerary of the White Town of India – PONDICHERRY

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Back in 2016 our girl gang wanted to go on a holiday together so we all decided, planned and shortlisted places in India to travel so here we were in Pondicherry which is now known as Pudducherry and fondly referred to as Pondy.

Pondicherry, a quaint little French corner of India is a sneak peak to the French culture in reference to the food, architecture and the locals around. It is a cute little place and a destination which can be explored at leisure in 3 to 4 days of time span in a pocket friendly way. So we were on our way to Pondy during the last weekend of 2017 to loosen ourselves and have the time of our lives.

Before we take you along our Pondy experience through this blog we would love to share a detour to this ancient monumental site dating back to the 7th and the 8th century which is popularly known as Mahabalipuram and one of the famous complexes of Mahabalipuram is the Shore Temple. Shore Temple as the name suggests is an ancient temple of Lord Shiva by the shore that is the Bay of Bengal. We recommend you to surely go to visit this ancient town as it is on the way to Pondy by road from Chennai and you will not have to put your extra time in travelling to this place.

Bellas Suggestions:- Visiting Mahabalipuram for sunrise early in the morning is a good and positive start to the morning and trip as a whole. The road that leads to Mahabalipuram is well constructed so going by road will be a joyful ride. But you will not find any food or tea stalls on the way so please keep some snacks or beverages handy for the road trip.

From Chennai airport we reached Mahabalipuram in an approximate time  of one and a half hour.

P.S… A minimal amount of entry fee is to be paid for the ticket.

₹10 per person for Indians

$5 or ₹250 for foreign nationals.

THE TEMPLE PREMISES AT MAHABALIPURAM

IF YOU WISH TO CHECKOUT A SHORT ITINERARY OF PONDICHERRY AND HOW TO REACH, PLEASE SCROLL DOWN TO THE END OF THIS BLOG.

Day 1: Arriving at Pondy and evening stroll at the Rock Beach

As we reached the little town of Pondy we checked into our hotel, Abirami Residency and as all the girls were exhausted as we had taken an early morning flight from Mumbai, our gang decided to have a light meal in the hotel itself. After taking a little rest in the hotel we went on our first and foremost expedition to the white town of Pondy being Aurobindo Ashram.

  1. Sri Aurobindo Ashram                                                                                               

      [8am-12pm and 12pm-6pm]

      Sri Aurobindo Ashram located in Pondy is a community of Sri Aurobindo’s disciples. It is a very peaceful and serene place to visit and one can just sit by themselves and feel the positive energy in the ashram by spending a couple of hours there. Disciples from all over the world visit this Ashram. The ashram is very well maintained by the disciples which you will realise as you enter because you will see a garden full of different types of colourful flowers and green leaves. There is a book shop in the Ashram if you want to buy books on Spirituality. 

Bellas Suggestions:- Please wear comfortable footwear which is easily removable as you will be entering the ashram barefoot and keeping the footwear at the counter.

After visiting the Aurobindo Ashram we took a stroll on the Rock Beach which runs parallel to the little white french town of Pondy.

Sri Aurobindo Ashram in White Town

2)  Rock Beach

      Pondy’s very own Marine Drive. The promenade is usually a decorated street but as we visited on the 26th of January, the place was lit with tricolour lights and there were dance and other programs going on and the place had happening vibes of a small fair. We spent a good 1 to 2 hours hanging out with our girl gang breathing in the salty breezy air of Bay of Bengal.

After the Beach we headed onto our first dinner at this amazing place called Dilliwala 6.  After the dinner we walked back to our hotel to burn out some calories and crashed on our beds happily.

Rock Bech at Promenade

DAY 2- Morning session Auroville, Lunch at la cafe; Evening at Serenity Beach, dinner at Farm Fresh.

We started our day with our complimentary breakfast. The plan for the morning session of the Day 2 was to visit Auroville which was approximately at a distance of around 10-15 kms from our hotel. As suggested by the locals we took an auto rickshaw to Auroville which were easily accessible from our hotel. 

3)   Auroville

      [Monday – Friday : 9.30 am -12.30 pm & 1pm – 4 pm]

      No entry charges

      As we entered Auroville, we saw a documentary on the construction and the history of Mantri Mandir which is worth watching as it describes the scientific and spiritual importance and benefits of meditation.

Bellas Suggestions:- If you want to meditate and visit inside the Mantri Mandir, please coordinate with the staff at Auroville to make prior arrangements for the same.

After watching the documentary we headed through the muddy paths of Auroville to visit the Mantri Mandir. On our way to reach the Mantri Mandir we had a little stop at a huge Banyan tree which happened to be a good photo stop for our gang. It is better to have a morning visit to Auroville and wrap up by afternoon to avoid crowd. You can buy some famous baked products at Auroville which are made in their in-house bakery but the food items, textiles and hand made products are a little heavy on the pocket so it is advisable to have your shopping spree at Pondy. After visiting Auroville we headed back to this cafe named Le Cafe at Rock Beach, White town. We ought to mention that our expectations of this place came crashing down like an avalanche as we had the most disappointing lunch of our lives.

After the disappointing lunch we headed back to the hotel and in the evening to  explore another beach , The Serenity Beach.

Evening blues at Serenity Beach

Bellas Suggestions:- We wanted to go to see the sunset but as it was cloudy we couldn’t get to experience the sunset for which Serenity beach is famous although the orange tinted sky was worth the visit. After the sunset the security guards will try to vacate the place so go reasonably before the sunset to spend some equality time.

For our dinner we had plans to visit Le Pasta which we had researched to be as one of the best Pasta serving joints in Pondy but their hospitality and priority towards Indians was a blow to us Indians. To know more about our experience, click on Le Pasta

But as they say “Gods plans are the best plans” because we found the most delicious and mouth lurking Pizzas and Pasta’s at New Farm Fresh.

After the sumptuous dinner we walked back to our hotel and concluded our day 2.

THE PREMISES OF AUROVILLE

DAY 3:- Cycling our way through the pretty streets of Pondy

On day 3 after having a leisure breakfast at the hotel we went on to the local bicycle rent shop on the Mission Street to rent out our bicycles for the day.

Bellas Suggestions:- As we were late and reached around 11ish it was tiresome and little waste of time for us because of the non-availability of the adequate number of bicycles required for our girl gang as all the bicycles get rented out early in the morning between 8am to 9am. If anyone of you want to rent out two wheelers it is readily available at shops on Mission Street. As you rent the bicycles one need to deposit photo Id proofs which will be returned on submitting back the cycles. 

Cost of renting on bicycle per day is between ₹100 to ₹200 depending on the quality and type of cycle.

4)  Botanical Garden

[9am – 7pm]

     If you are a flora enthusiast then this place is heaven for you. This garden is in existence since the French colonial era. The garden is filled with species of local flowers origination from Tamil Nadu. The garden displays floral structures of cartoon characters (minions being our favourite) and animals which will attract the kids. The garden also has a toy train ride, the ticket for which is ₹100 per head. Also it has a nursery section from where you can buy and take home saplings of your favourite flowers. The entry to the botanical garden is ₹20 making it an economical option.

After the Botanical garden we headed straight to this very famous cafe of Pondi, Cafe De Arts but as our gang was hungry AF we did not want to wait for 1.5 hours to get our table so we were back on our bicycles in search of new restaurant/ Cafe on the streets of Pondy to satisfy our hunger pangs.

As destiny would have it we discovered this very tiny little cafe in a corner which would be one of our best food experiences of Pondy at Canteen 18.

After a satisfying late lunch (as we were searching for a good place to eat) we had reserved our evening slot to visit the beautiful churches made with intricate French architectural influences. As the three famous churches of Pondy are at a considerable distance from each other and we being on our cycles thought evening would be a pleasant time to witness the beauty of these churches.

5)  Immaculate Conception Cathedral :-

6)  Basilica of Sacred Heart of Jesus :-  

7)  Notre Dame :-   

Bellas Suggestions:- As we chose the evening slot for visiting cathedrals of Pondy we were lucky to experience and attend the evening mass. So it would be ideal to visit these churches between 7pm to 8pm because the beauty of the churches is enhanced by the lightings during this time.

8)  Aayi Mandapa (White monument) :-

  

    We took a short stop at Aayi Mandapam which we randomly came across on our way back to the hotel. It was very well lit in the evening and can qualify as a good photo stop. The place is very calm, breezy and well maintained.

After a little shopping from some random local shop we went to deposit our cycles (to avoid extra charges deposit the bicycles by 8pm) and headed to the hotel and treated ourselves with dominoes pizza’s in our cozy rooms itself and crashed onto our beds to prepare ourselves for the last day of our trip.

Day 4 :- Check-out from the hotel, Paradise beach & Bird Sanctuary (Outseri lake)

After having our last breakfast in Pondy we checked out of Abirami Residency and headed straight to Paradise beach.

 

9)  Paradise Beach

 

      This beach is situated south of Pondy and is separate from the main land so to reach the shore you will have to take a ferry to this beach which is like Pondy’s own little island. For all those beach bums it makes a perfect place to take a dip in the waves and get yourself those tanned lines. You will be taken aback by the scenic beauty of the greenish blue water, coconut trees and the white sandy shore. You can spend a leisure time soaking under the sun with your loved ones as there is no time limit to sink in the beauty.

After all the pizzas and Pastas for straight three days, we wanted to binge on some Indian food at some random Indian restaurant before heading to Outseri Lake which apparently was a bird sanctuary. The road leading to Outseri was not very well paved and it was all the more heartbreaking to not be able to spot a single bird which was against our expectations.

Outseri Lake

Bellas Suggestions:- You can totally skip this place and save on some time chilling and getting some retail therapy. We had some spare time on our hands so we went back to Pondy to tickle our shopping buds.


10)  Auroshikha

 

       This is like a one stop shop in the white town selling some very amazing hand made souvenirs like diaries, pens, coasters, fridge magnets, gift articles, fragrances, essential oils, beauty products, incense sticks and handbags. The best part about this place is that it sells products made by local women and hence shopping from here is an encouragement to their art and skills. Also the products are very reasonably prices so it will not burn a hole in your pockets.

Bellas Suggestions:- Do shop for a wide range of fragrances, essential oils and beauty products that are organic and natural which will soothe your mind and soul. Some of the products we purchased and recommend :

  • Handmade diaries
  • Fridge magnets
  • Incense sticks- Vanilla, Lemon grass, Lavender
  • Fragrances
  • Body mists- Opium, Lavender
  • Essential oils- Eucalyptus, Mint
  • Soaps

After getting done with the shopping we headed back to Chennai Airport which took us around 3.5 to 4 hours drive from Pondy and near the airport we had an authentic South Indian dinner at Sarvanna Bhavan.

We were back to Bay with some fond Pondy memories and experiences to share it with the world. We would love to hear your experiences and how this itinerary helped you to enhance your experience and make it a memorable trip for you.

Climate and Atmosphere :

The four days that we spent at Pondy in the month of January, we experienced a little bit of drizzling and also bright sunny days with temperatures around 30 degrees celsius. You can experience a little humidity in the air all round the day as Pondy is situated in the coastal area of South India. If you wish to keep wind cheaters or umbrellas handy, you can do so as per your convenience.

SHORT ITINERARY 

DAY

PLACES EXPLORED

TIME TAKEN

1

Mahabalipuram

Aurobindo Ashram

Rock Beach

2 hrs

45 mins- 1 hour

No time limit

2

Auroville

Serenity Beach

3 hrs- 4 hrs

No time limit

3

Local Places

Botanical Garden

All three churches

1 hr- 2 hrs

3 hrs- 4hrs

4

Paradise Beach

Outseri Lake

No time limit

1 hr

Overall budget (per person in INR)

Flight tickets

5000

Drop taxi service

800

Accomodation

2640

Food expense of places we visited

2500

Bicycles on hire

100

Autorickshaws

115

Total

11,155

P.S this cost does not include personal expenses like shopping and the cost is subject to change as per your spending pattern.

HOW TO REACH PONDY ?

Air Tickets : We booked online air tickets from Bombay to Chennai 2 months prior to our travel date and the ticket costed us approximately ₹5000 for return journey back to Bombay through Musafir.com  

You can get good deals on other websites as well if you plan in advance.

Taxi on Hire : From Chennai airport to Pondy and from Pondy to Chennai airport we booked online taxi for our drops and pick ups through Chennai based Drop in taxi service Dropintaxi.com  This taxi service is pretty reasonable, safe and reliable. If you wish to wait on your way they provide waiting service on hourly basis at minimal extra cost. It costed us approximately ₹3000 for one way with waiting charges at Mahabalipuram for 2 hours and as we were seven of us it costed around ₹400 per head for one way. 

Also we took 2 autorickshaws at a rate of ₹400 per auto that accommodated 4 passengers in each auto with waiting charges for about 3 hours at Auroville.

Bellas Suggestions:- As our hotel was well connected to all modes of transport and situated within the city we opted to take autos likewise you can alternatively hop into local bus service as well.

On our way back to hotel from Serenity beach we took a Bus ride which was one short, economically viable and crazy bus journey which costed us ₹4 per head.

Within the city you will have a sparse network of Ola cabs with very few cars in operation so it is not a reliable source of transport in Pondy.

Cars and two wheelers are not allowed for maximum time of the day in the white town so you can take Cycle rickshaws to move around which are on a little expensive side but will help you commute easily if you don’t want to walk or cycle around.

All said and done, Pondy can be best explore by taking strolls around the city, exploring the narrow alleys of white town and also riding a bicycle.

The beloved Pondy Autorickshaws

Staycation At The Coffee Capital Of India- Evolve Back Resorts, Coorg!

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Imagine yourself leisuring around the scenic beautiful hill station of South India amidst the lush green coffee and pepper plantations running parallel throughout your road journey while you can relax and breathe in the aromatic air !!!!

                                             Thats Coorg for you !

Our #HolidayGoals for visiting Coorg was to unwind ourselves from the monotonous routine of city life and soak ourselves away from the hectic life in this beautiful hill station.

Coorg which is also known as “Kodagu” is basically a quintessential quiet and calm place but the hill station of Madikeri is where there is hustle and bustle of the tourists and locals. Madikeri as such is not a total tourist spot but can be a connecting point to visit various tourist destinations of Coorg. As we wanted to seclude ourselves from the hustling hill town we enjoyed Coorg while staying at some premium properties being The Ibnii Spa Resort and Evolve Back Resorts (Formerly known as Orange County)

 

This beautiful property was on our bucket list since the last three years when Evolve Back was popularly known as Orange County Resorts, Coorg but we were  not able to squeeze in the time to go on a staycation at Evolve Back. This year gave us an opportunity to experience the stay at Evolve Back which we grabbed royally. It was formerly called Orange County because the property was surrounded with Orange Orchards but now they do not have Orange Plantations around and hence it is renamed as Evolve Back Resorts. The idea behind naming the property as Evolve Back originates from the fact that they want to stay connected and rooted to their past heritage and can give their guests some very authentic and traditional experiences which can be felt throughout the stay with Evolve Back resorts.

Evolve Back resorts is situated in the Chikkanahalli estate surrounded by 300 acres of coffee plantations. Evolve Back resorts is situated at about a distance of 33kms from the hill town of Madikeri in Coorg. The road leading to the resort welcomes you with prolific coffee plantations and Dubare forest running in line with the road that leads you to Evolve Back Resorts. 

Private Lake at Evolve Back Resorts, Coorg

Rooms

The abode for our three day stay at Evolve Back Coorg was the Lily Pool Cottage. It is a luxurious villa overlooking the paddy fields, banana plantations and the greenery surrounding which will take you to a zone where the time stops and make you aloof from the routine life. The Lilipool cottage is very spacious for two guests to stay and relax. The cottage has in itself one bedroom, one living room, one bathroom with a bath tub and a sit out area at the pool. The unique selling point of Evolve Back Resort is that all their rooms have adjoining private pools where you can soak yourself and have a soothing swim away from the other guests and disturbance. All the rooms are constructed with traditional Karnataka style homes but are equipped with all the modern facilities. The other categories of rooms at Evolve Back are Heritage Pool Villa, Lilipool Villa, Lilipool Bungalow. You can select any of the rooms from these categories that best suit your choice and preference.

Culinary rollercoaster

Evolve Back resorts have a cluster of three restaurants that serve diverse foods. Its like you name it and you have it. The restaurants are Peppercorn, Plantain leaf and Granary.

 

The Peppercorn serves some authentic organic Coorg cuisines. Being vegetarians we did not have much food options to explore here and hence preferred Plantain Leaf and Granary. But as this restaurant overlooks the private lake of the resort it is an ideal binging spot for non-vegetarian and organic food lovers.

 

The Plantain Leaf is a vegetarian’s delight serving the traditional South and North Indian cuisines under one roof. Out of our three days stay at Evolve Back majority of the meals we relished were at Plantain Leaf. The food served here is on banana leaf giving you the feel of traditional South Indian setup and taste. We have binged on only South Indian delicacies because when in South India, eat like the South Indians. The chef there used to prepare for us the choicest of food items with authentic spices and aromas of our choice to give us a South Indian cuisine roller coaster. Ragi puttu, bamboo coconut curry, sautéed dry jackfruit, beetroot chutney, mint cheesecake, kiwi moose and abundance of typical idlis and dosas to name a few were the best food items that we have throughly enjoyed. 

Breakfast, lunch and dinner was such a widespread food affair that every time we went for the meals it was like a food coma situation in a whole. We would like to give a special shoutout to the chef of Evolve Back to spoil us with delicious food that we will forever remember as the highlight of our staycation. Also a special mention to the staff of Plantain Leaf restaurant that are super friendly towards the guests to give a homely feeling all along the stay. 

The Plantain Leaf At Evolve Back Resorts, Coorg

Granary is a multi cuisine restaurant serving Italian, Continental, Mexican and Indian food, etc. As an experiment we had our first dinner at the Granary restaurant and we loved the tasteful dishes. Granary restaurant can qualify as one stop food restaurant at Evolve Back resorts to binge on the variety. We ordered some red sauce pasta and Dal makhni with rice at Granary. 

Every evening high-tea was served besides the common pool area. Sipping on some filter coffee from their very own coffee estates, some masala chai along with some food options like sandwiches, cakes, pastries, vadas, etc in witness of the beautiful sunset is a worthwhile experience.

Activities at Evolve Back

Evolve Back resorts believe in engaging their guests with some activities to get connected with the world which people from big cities rarely get a chance to do in their hectic routine lives. Some of the activities that are undertaken by the resorts for their guests are :

  • Plantation walk
  • Nature walk
  • Bird watching
  • Coracle ride
  • Village visit
  • Workers trail

    Beehive – Activity Area at Evolve Back , Coorg

The guided Plantation walk is the signature activity of Evolve Back Resorts which is conducted by their in-house naturalist for a duration of approximately two hours from 4pm to 6pm. (Please confirm the timings at the reception) The plantation walk is all about learning how coffee and pepper plantations are cultivated, harvested and processed by the workers. Mr. Murthy, our guide for the day was friendly, informative and interactive fellow giving us insights about the history of the resort and also the flora around it. Our plantation tour began with some knowledge about the spices, fruit bearing fig trees and some traditional flowers of the Karnataka state. We visited Coorg in the month of March being the flowering season of coffee which made the landscape look like the area is flourished with white flowers blooming to turn into coffee beans over the time. The guide accompanying us explained us the whole process of how a coffee sapling is grown into a bean bearing plant, the procedure of harvesting beans, roasting beans, methods of protecting the plantation etc. Sipping on coffee before our visit to Chikkanahalli estate, we would have not known so much goes into producing coffee beans and further to coffee powder. Chikkanahalli estate spread over 300 acres of which Evolve Back Resorts is a part is adorned with Oak trees which provides shades to the coffee and pepper plantation and hold the reputation of one of the biggest coffee plantations of Coorg. As our plantation tour came to an end we were served with filter coffee grown in their in-house plantation and sipping on the coffee we wondered how much efforts and care has gone into making these coffee beans is just incredible !!

The Nature walk activity was temporarily restricted on government orders during our stay at Evolve Back Resorts.

For the guided Bird watching activity you will have to rise up early in the morning to get a chance of observing some exotic bird species. The activity of bird watching is for a duration of two hours with the greenery surrounding the resort, watching the fauna around will be a treat to your eyes. So if you are a bird enthusiast and an early riser then do not miss out on this early morning bird exploration opportunity around the resort property.

Village Visit : The Chikkhahalli estate is surrounded by local villages at a mere distance of 2kms to 3kms adjacent to the bank of Cauvery river. We were accompanied by their in-house guide Mr. Vikas  to the nearby village Karadigodu. The Village visit began at 7.30am and the exploration goes on till 9am. The traditional tribal village homes are getting transformed into modern homes with bright colours of pinks, yellows, blues and purples. Early into the day you will see the local ladies heading onto their jobs at the nearby coffee plantations, children on their way to school which is funded and managed by the resort and the tiny tot kids playing around all away and unknown about the hard times of life. When you visit the village you can see how content and happy the people are with their lives which fills you with positivity and gratitude with what you have and own. The village visit ends on sipping the Mohammad Ali’s special tea at his tea stall on the banks of River Cauvery.

Workers Trail activity happens during the day ( please check the timings with the reception as they keep changing ) to give you a sneak peak into the lives of the workers working in the plantation. The time of your visit in the resort will make you experience that part of seasonal work being conducted in the plantation like in the month of March the coffee plantations are water for their further growth. Usually ladies work in the coffee plantations and we got a chance to help the ladies with watering the plants and getting a slice of their working life. You will be taken to the estate in a tractor which will be a unique experience in itself so go ahead and live a few moments of your stay as the local workers do.

Hospitality

To make your stay luxurious and comfortable Evolve Back Resort assures to provide services to fulfil all the needs of their guests during the stay. As we reached the resort the staff greeted us with traditional Indian culture and we were welcomed with coffee flavoured coconut milk. The staff at the reception after doing all the check-in formalities will show you around the resort and give a brief about their activities happening around the resort premises. As the resort is spread over a wide area, it is better to explore the place by taking walks around or if you wish to move about in the resort on polo cars it can be done by hopping onto them as well. The resort is very clean and the staff takes utmost care to assure that cleanliness is well maintained during our stay,  Ms. Priyanka assured that we had a comfortable and leisure stay at the property. The room service department of the resort is very prompt and swift in their service. If you need anything just make a call and your demands will be fulfilled.

The rooms are cleaned and made twice a day so the rooms are spick and span. Kudos to the housekeeping department as well to provide us with swift and speedy service. Every evening in the activity area the staff arranges tribal dance for entertainment of the guests everyday. There are varied folk and tribal dances performed by the local communities of Coorg which for us is something rare and never seen before entertainment package. The tribals and the local dancers perform so well that all through your stay at evolve back resorts do not miss out on this evening entertainment slot. By providing exposure to the locals and their art form the management is taking a great effort in keeping the Coorg culture alive and refreshed. The resort also provides with soothing and relaxing ayurveda massages at Vaidyasala, their very own ayurvedic massage centre where you can chose from varied choices of ayurvedic treatments that best suit your body and spirit. On our last night of stay at Evolve Back we were sent a surprise cake by the head chef of the resort to our room which in all made us feel very special and we ended our stay at the resort on a very sweet note. 

Environmental conservation at Evolve Back Resorts

One of the activity that also encourages the participation of guests is in conservation of water and also in recycling water that can be used in miscellaneous activities like gardening. The resort has its own biogas plant which is a step towards sustaining the environment. The coffee estates are also enhanced with naturally made manures with very limited use of chemicals. Such a thoughtful effort makes Evolve Back Resort a responsible luxury property that balances out its surrounding ecosystem.

 

In a wholesome note we would be very happy to mention the efforts that the staff of Ibnii Spa Resort and Evolve Back resorts at Coorg have taken to assure that our stay at these luxurious properties becomes a memorable one.

 

Bellas Suggestions : At such luxurious properties you may not find mobile network connectivity depending upon the service provider you use but you will get wifi connectivity at few spots in and around the resort property but who needs to be connected to the world via technology when you are cradled at such lovely places for your holidays.

This was about our Staycation at Evolve Back, Coorg. If you want to learn about our Staycation at Ibnii Spa Resort,Coorg click on the hyperlink NOW!

Staycation At The Coffee Capital Of India- Ibnii Resorts and Spa, Coorg!

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Imagine yourself leisuring around the scenic beautiful hill station of South India amidst the lush green coffee and pepper plantations running parallel throughout your road journey while you can relax and breathe in the aromatic air !!!!

                                             Thats Coorg for you !

Our #HolidayGoals for visiting Coorg was to unwind ourselves from the monotonous routine of city life and soak ourselves away from the hectic life in this beautiful hill station. 

Coorg which is also known as “Kodagu” is basically a quintessential quiet and calm place but the hill station of Madikeri is where there is hustle and bustle of the tourists and locals. Madikeri as such is not a total tourist spot but can be a connecting point to visit various tourist destinations of Coorg. As we wanted to seclude ourselves from the hustling hill town we enjoyed Coorg while staying at some premium properties being The Ibnii Spa Resort and Evolve Back Resorts (Formerly known as Orange County)

IBNII SPA RESORTS, COORG

 

We had a stay at one of the most expensive properties at Madikeri, Coorg spread over 120 acres of land and it makes you feel like you have entered a whole new world. It is a coffee plantation land and it holds one of the most rejuvenating Spa resorts in the area. They have their dining rooms, hotel rooms, spa rooms and coffee house at a considerable distance from each other because they want the guests to walk each time and experience the natural environment within the premises. The property owner believes in sustainable development so they have kept the natural habitat intact.

 

Rooms

 

Ibnii Spa Resort has primarily four categories of rooms with 22 pool villas, 10 wooden cottages, private residences and premium suites. We had a pool villa and a wooden cottage to get a dual experience. The pool villa comprises of a private pool, a private jacuzzi, a hall that has a tiny beer bar and snacks, two bathrooms and one bedroom. The private pool villa is a spacious apartment in itself. Each villa is at a considerable distance from each other so that privacy is maintained. Pool villa is surrounded by greens in abundance and you feel like you are swimming amidst the nature. 

The wooden cottage on the other hand has two rooms. The woods used to build the cottage are imported from Thailand. It truly gives an international feel because of the minute details used to construct the cottage and its interiors. There is a balcony overlooking the dense green forest where you can sit in the morning and evening seeing the different species of different birds, sunlight falling across dew dropped trees and even some monkeys may be. The bedroom has glass windows through which you can enjoy the surroundings. The wooden cottages are close to each other so there is not much privacy compared to pool villa but it is worth experiencing once in your life. The wooden cottage does not have a private pool but you can use the common pools which are equally beautiful.

Culinary RollerCoaster

Ibnii Spa Resort has its own in-house restaurants namely The Fig which is a multi cuisine restaurant, Baalelle a pure vegetarian restaurant, Masi kande for barbecue lovers and Kalki Kappe which is a coffee and cookie shop. So we find ourselves very privileged to have tasted one of the best cuisines in Coorg from the best of the chefs who were ever ready to share their recipe ideas with us. They had assorted breads and spreads for the breakfast, freshly cut fruits and vegetables, they had installed machines for self extracting the fresh juices of fruits and vegetables, a wide variety of milkshake and a mix of buffet varying from South Indian to Italian dishes. They particularly avoided Chinese cuisines or any other cuisine artificially made or having added flavours as the leftover food is used a manure for plants so that it is recycled in a better way perhaps.

The lunch and dinner too had miscellany of different cuisines from all over the world being North Indian , South Indian, Mexican and Oriental with selected desserts on daily basis. The menu was non-repetitive and finger licking good food gets served everyday. The kalki kappe or coffee house is located besides a small pond that served us free coffee and cookies that were made by us. The coffee shop hosts a cookie baking workshop where you can learn to bake cookies and then enjoy it by the pond. It is one of the best experiences that should make you feel at home and at the same time enjoy the beautiful property of Ibnii for staycation.

Some freshly baked waffles on special request

Activities at Ibnii

 

Ibnii Spa Resort has a wide variety of activities to keep you busy within the property itself. Once you are in the premises you need to soak in each iota of this scenic beauty. For the same they have provided the guests with diverse activities like nature and cycling trails, bird watching, bird/duck feeding by the pond, cookies baking and Yoga. 

So the nature trails happen in the early mornings from 7am – 8am followed by Yoga from 8am to 8.30am. The walk within the premises amongst the canopy of trees and wild flowers gives the morning much required kick start.

The Yoga session includes basic postures and asanas. It is more on the meditative side than rigorous exercise routines. Yoga takes place in a very secluded spot surrounded by a pond with beautiful white swans which is a mesmerising experience. 

In the cookie baking workshop they teach you how to bake delicious cookies. The chef will help you design your own cookies which you can have it with coffee later on.  

They have a Spa facility which needs to be pre booked because the slots run out. The name of the Spa is Manja which literally means turmeric in local language. They have weaved together the traditional and modern way of conducting the massages. This will positively unwind you from all the stress in your muscles and joints making it an enriching experience for you. The spa is quiet costly but if you are on a leisure staycation.

Hospitality

As we walked in the reception through the wooden bridge surrounded by fully grown out branches of dense trees we were greeted with warm welcome and smiling faces of the staff of Ibnii. There is comfortable seating at the reception desk where we were served with hotel towels and some traditional house made coffees. After the process of check in we were oriented about the various activities in the hotel and we boarded our polo cars and went on to see the rooms.

As we were a little before time, the pool villa cleaning was still in progress which gave us time to move about in the property. Hence it is suggested to go a little before time so that you can take delight in witnessing the alluring property of Ibnii.

The staff was a bit laid back in delivering the luggage to the room as there were multiple check ins going on but we got our luggages in an hour or so. The room and the pool cleanliness is on point. You will  not find a speck of dirt in the rooms or the pool. The tea and coffee sachets are regularly replaced on the coffee shelves and the rooms are cleaned once a day. Towels in the rooms can be replaced on choice as they believe in “saving the water” policy. If not required then do not change the used towels.

Room service is not provided with respect to food that is food will not be served in the room as they will expect you to walk all the way to the restaurant whenever hunger strikes. That explains why it is one of the best resort. But they have personal car service for the presidential room as it is quite far away from the in-house restaurant and spa.

The service at the restaurant is very prompt. The warm hearted chef greeted us with twinkle in his eyes every time we visited for our meals. On special request he even made some complimentary pancakes and waffles for us which was a very nice gesture on his part.

 Overall the service was seamless and delightful. 

 

Ibnii’s efforts in conserving the environment

Ibnii Spa resort is an eco-luxe resort that is they believe in balancing ecology while providing luxurious experiences to their guests. Rainwater harvesting is done by building a small pond to save rainwater. They are trying to save water by giving the guests an option to not give their used towels / bathrobes for washing when not required. Food remains/ leftovers are used as manures for plants and no added chemicals or preservatives are put in the food so everything is natural. Also plastic bottles are not used inside the premises for maintaining eco-friendliness.

This was about our Staycation at Ibnii Resorts and Spa !! If you want to read about our Staycation at Evolve Back Resorts, Coorg click on the link NOW!