When the tedium of everyday life gets too much to handle, you know it is time to wake up and smell the coffee. And when you are heading to Coorg – once grandly, and perhaps somewhat truthfully known as the Scotland of India – that is literally possible. After all, the Kodagu (Coorg) region, nestled in the western ghats of Karnataka, is known for its rolling hills dotted with emerald green coffee plantations.
In Coorg, you can choose to spend all your time outdoors, trying out a range of adventure activities from hiking to canoeing. Or you can curl up indoors with a book and strong cup of kapi, leaving the armchair only for delicious meals of local dishes such as akki otti (rice roti) with pumpkin stew or kadumbuttu (steamed rice balls) with pandhi curry (pork).
If you opt for the latter, here’s our pick of the best boutique properties in Coorg.
The hospitality brand from Tata Coffee, Plantation Trails, has six heritage bungalows built in original colonial style. The bungalows aim to showcase the lifestyle of coffee planters, with their charming names themselves evoking memories of that age: Cottabetta, Thaneerhulla, Woshully, Glenlorna, to name a few.
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The highlight at Plantation Trails is the ‘Bean to Cup’ tour, where naturalists explain all about the local flora and fauna during a safari through the coffee estates. You also get a chance to interact with planters at work and understand more about the history of coffee cultivation in the region.
The core principle on which Ibnii has been constructed is “Surrender to Nature” – and this is evident in every aspect of the resort. Ibnii, meaning ‘dew’ in the local language, promises eco-luxury, which translates into sustainable and environment friendly practices. For instance, the owners and staff take great pride in the fact that not a single tree has been cut in the process of building this massive resort.
Make time for an evening cuppa at the lakeside Kaldi Kappee coffee shop inside the property itself. And take the coffee experience a step forward in Ibnii with a rejuvenating coffee scrub and massage at the Manja Spa.
The Tamara is located inside a fully functioning coffee plantation spread over 180 acres of land that produces cardamom and pepper along with your morning brew. There are 56 rooms perched high up on the cliffside, all of them with expansive views of the Coorg hills.
This resort’s signature coffee experience takes the form of “Blossom to brew” that allows guests to create their own custom coffee blends in the estate: in season, you can pluck the berries, pulp, blend and roast the beans to make your own cup full of the flavour you like.
The Chikkana Halli Estate in Coorg is now home to the luxurious Evolve Back resort (earlier known as Orange County) that is one of the oldest in the region. The estate is ensconced inside a lush 300 acre plantation, which means that guests have the choice of various activities such as nature walks and birdwatching right within the property.
One of the unique attempts at Evolve Back is to preserve and propagate the history and culture of the local Kodavas. While the architectural theme is a nod to the ainemanes (ancestral homes) of Kodavas, the food also takes inspiration from local home recipes of the area.
The plantation stretches over 200 acres of abundant green coffee bushes and pepper vines amidst the verdant hills of Coorg. The property was originally developed in the 1800s by Lieutenant Colonel W.R. Wright, a British army officer, whose descendants took over upon his death. It was only in 1964 that the Thaikappa family hailing from Tamil Nadu bought it and turned it into its current form.
The heart of this property is the Old Kent Lodge, dating back to 1864 and located at a vantage point that offers stunning views of the countryside. There are eight guest cottages within the estate, each offering complete privacy and tranquillity.