A holiday in the mountains is both refreshing and invigorating and The Tamara Kodai in Kodaikanal is the perfect excuse to experience this first hand.
As the road curves and twists up the hill into the hill town of Kodaikanal, there is an unmissable nip in the air. The lofty tree covered mountains, majestic waterfalls and bright wild flowers are the perfect landscape that set the tone for a break I am headed to at The Tamara Kodai.
The resort that launched in May is the newest addition to the hill station of Kodaikanal and being in the luxury space it has a great advantage. It also helps that the resort itself is located in the historical La Providence building that has been carefully and painstakingly restored over many years. The best part is that the original building’s walls and wooden frames have been retained and strengthened using a thoughtful architectural process that has ensured that the ethos of the place is maintained. In fact the stone sculptures of three monks outside the reception is a tribute to this place that was once a monastic retreat for Jesuit priests who lived and prayed here. The property’s colonial style of architecture becomes evident in the reception itself that happens to be a new construction but has blended so well with the existing structure that it never feels disconnected. Wood is the key element in the décor and small nooks for hanging newspapers, seating, a beautiful piano and vintage artefacts set the tone for what to expect inside. This is the second property under the Tamara Leisure Experiences Pvt. Ltd. brand and stays true to the Tamara philosophy of ‘Sustainable Good Life’. The resort blends seamlessly with its pristine green surroundings and the burst of colours in the native flowers that surround the property only add to the charm.
The all-suite property has 53 suites in French provincial design overlooking the valley of Kodaikanal. Some of the best views are from rooms starting with 300 to 600 so if you are here you could ask for the same. There are three categories of rooms including the Luxury Suite, Superior Suite (that has a few additional amenities like a better view) and the Neelakurinji Suite which happens to be the two bedroom presidential suite that is also fitted with a Jacuzzi. All the rooms have wood flooring and are fitted with top notch wooden furniture including a lovely work desk as well. The living area and bedroom area can also be separated using a wood slider that reveals a large dressing mirror. The bedroom has two large wood cupboards and is fitted with a locker as well. The bed is also huge and again in wood and an attached balcony allows you to soak in the birdsong with fresh mountain air. The colonial interiors also have room heaters, LED TV with satellite channels, exhaustive in-room amenities and complimentary high-speed internet as well.
While you are here, you will have a great time trying the varied food options. Executive Chef Rajan Samal has worked on the menu with much thought making sure that local food is well represented alongside international cuisine. The room tariff currently includes both breakfast and dinner and an extensive buffet is laid out at the in house restaurant La Providence. The restaurant also has an extended outside seating where a live kitchen counter is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a buffet spread as well as an à la carte menu. Chef’s local specials include the hill banana flower thoran as well as an array of raw jackfruit preparations. The other restaurant here is the Bistro 1845 that is modelled on the lines of a French style à la carte bistro and bar that serves a selection of European, Asian and Indian cuisine. This vintage-themed resto-bar is done up with handpicked accessories and will also have the resort’s wine cellar and has a nice, cozy feel with warm wood interiors and gives a comfortable sense of nostalgia too. An al fresco seating area here is the place to see the wonderful peach trees that dot the resort. At the Lobby Lounge, you can much on freshly baked short eats and wash it down with freshly brewed hot coffee. A must try is Chef’s eggless brownies which are to die for. You can also speak to the Chef for a cooking class and he is sure to oblige. And if you want to chill by the pool head to the Levinge Lounge that has an à la carte menu along with a mocktails, cocktails and other drinks. The property also provides round-the-clock in-room dining so you are never hungry here.
Activities & More
The property is set in a way that there are several walking paths that allow you to enjoy the pure air of the hills. The native flowering blooms are a wonderful addition to the landscape. If you are health conscious, a well-equipped gym on the property is the place to head to or take a dip in the temperature-controlled pool (the only one in Kodaikanal). For a relaxing experience head to The Elevation Spa that offers an array of traditional Ayurvedic and Western treatments. Interestingly the spa is set up in the old resting rooms of La Providence and there are five fully equipped massage rooms including a couple’s treatment room with attached steam facilities. You can also do a bit of shopping in the in-house store The Verandah that stocks everything from spices, organic cosmetics and toiletries, swimming gear, footwear, chocolates and unique souvenirs too. The Ball Room here can accommodate over 200 guests and comes with a spacious pre-function area. A boardroom is also available on site. When you are here you can sign up for activities like trekking and sightseeing that is charged for additionally. Shruti Shibulal, CEO, Tamara Leisure Experiences Pvt. Ltd. explains, “The Tamara Kodai is about providing unique experiences to our guests retaining our ethos of responsible tourism and sustainability.” I certainly could not agree more. And with the Neelakurunji flower blooming now (it blooms once every 12 years) its time you pack your bags to experience The Tamara Kodai.
Tariff: Doubles from Rs. 19,840, inclusive of taxes, breakfast and dinner.
Address: #22, La Providence, St. Mary’s Road, Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu – 624101.
This story first appeared in the Sep 2018 issue of Spicejet’s Spice Route magazine here: