I awakened to a melody to see mists roll over the thick canopy through the large glass window of my room. It wasn’t my biological clock that woke me up, nor was it my alarm. My alarm doesn’t have such a soothing sound. What woke me up was a whistle, an incessant mellifluous whistle of a Malabar Whistling Thrush that was up early in the morning and singing gleefully. I couldn’t trace it anywhere despite my efforts, and all that I heard was the soothing sound. Who wouldn’t want to wake up to the whistle of a bird every day? I walked out of my room to see more mist and a light drizzle intermittently cover up the gorgeous panoramic frame of the thick rainforest, where I had been cocooned since the previous afternoon.
I was at TajMadikeri Resort & Spa in Coorg, the coffee country of southern India. Nestled amidst 180 acres of rainforest, the property is an apt place to indulge in luxury and wellness. Spread over 30 acres, Taj Madikeri is perched more than 4000 feet above sea level and shrouded by spices, eucalyptus and more than 200 species of plants. Built in traditional Kodagu architecture, the cottages and villas blend well with the serene surroundings and landscape. Located just 9 Kms away from Madikeri town, Taj Madikeri is where one can lose themselves to the enchanting frames of nature while engulfed in the warmth of your cosy cottages and villas.
Upon arrival, even though the gesture of the team at Taj Madikeri was full of warmth, what garnered my attention was the lobby of the resort. The neatly decked up lobby with subtle colours and lovely furnishings offered a spectacular panoramic view of the greenery below. Mists rolling over the green canopy and the surrounding hills were an absolute stunner. I gazed at that frame in oblivion for long before the camera came out. This is probably the most beautiful frame at the property and I was told that it is a favourite with the guests. The amphitheatre surrounded by a lotus pond is another highlight at Taj Madikeri. A photographer's delight, the amphitheatre is a beautiful one, with lotuses and water lilies accentuating the charm of the place. The premise also houses a herbal and butterfly garden.
The buggy ride in the drizzle gave a glimpse of the vastness of the property with the neatly laid out pathways winding through lush greenery and leading to the cottages, villas and restaurants. I stayed in a spacious Premiun Villa, which offered a bird’s eye view of the valley and rainforest below. With sloping roofs, tasteful furnishings, a large living space, a modish bath, a fire place and extensive wooden décor, the villa was absolutely a delight to stay in. The views of the surrounding greenery through the bay windows on three sides was another charming ascpect of this lovely villa. It was also fully equipped with all the facilities such as bath amenities, cotton robes, tea/coffee makers, wifi, in-room dining, mini bar etc. to make the stay a comfortable one.
The resort has other cottages and villa options too to choose from, which includes Superior cottage, Deluxe Cottage, Luxury Pool Villa and Presidential Nirvana Suite 3 Bedroom. Superior and Deluxe cottages have Kodava inspired architecture with spacious bed spaces and large windows offering views of the rainforest. The Luxury Pool Villa has an internal pool which becomes the cynosure of every eye as soon as you enter the villa. The heated plunge pool has a fully retractable roof and is surrounded by large windows offering views of the lush greenery. The villa has a separate living space and a bed space apart from the internal pool. The high ceiling and wooden pillars are the other major attractions in this type of villa. The Presidential Nirvana Suite is ideal for three families and comes with living area, dining area, three bedrooms and an outdoor heated lap pool.
When the hungry tummy growled, Mr. Jose Thachil, the executive chef was always there to the rescue with exceptional dishes and a mix of cuisines. Be it Pandi curry with Akki roti or Lime chicken broth or Pokchoy wrapped sea food dim sum or Topu Palaya or Carrot payasam or Jinga nisha or Koli nallamullu barthad or Bella paputtu, the chef and his team offered delicious dishes one after the other and I happily relished them all. Pandi curry (a Coorgi pork curry) and Bella Paputtu (a dessert made of rice and jaggery) were my favourites.
The resort has five dining options which also include a bar. Ferntree is the major dining area which is an all day dining space which serves South Indian, Continental and Middle Eastern cuisines. Dew restaurant adjacent to the infinity pool offers farm food and is where the guests can indulge in delicious platters. While Nellaki offers the local spicy Kodava cuisine, Pool Side Grill dining area offers sizzlers and barbeques with views of the swimming pool and greenery across it. Hive bar with eclectic décor and world music is one of the best lounge bars in Coorg.
Jive Spa at Taj Madikeri offers numerous wellness experiences inspired by ancient healing treatments of India. I had a soothing ayurvedic body massage that lasted for an hour and was an absolute refresher. With the finest oils and commendable services, the experience relaxed both my mind and body. Ayurvedic therapies, Signature experiences, Beauty treatments and Yoga & Meditation are some of the experiences that the spa offers. Some of the Signature experiences are Gudda bath (a traditional Coorgi bath massage), Udhanna (an experience to cleanse the skin) and Samattva (a Yoga treatment to relax the mind and body, improve concentration levels and reinstate positive energy). The Indian therapies include Pehlwan Malish (a traditional dynamic massage), Ventoz (using heat in a glass to relieve sore muscles) and Pada Mardana (a traditional foot massage). Some of the Ayurveda therapies are Abhyanga, Udvartana, Mukhalepa, Kati Basti and Pichu that the spa offers. Jiva Spa also offers numerous other therapeutic experiences beyond these.
When you wish to go beyond the therapies and body scrubs, the infinity pool overlooking the green landscape and distant hills is a nice place to relax. There are also two jacuzzis adjacent to the large semi circular shaped pool. Apart from the infinity pool, Taj Madikeri also has a lap pool next to Grill dining area. The resort offers a gymnasium and fitness centre with all the modern facilities to keep you in the best of the health. The resort also has a banquet and conference room- The Soiree Hall to cater to the requirements of an event or a function. The retail boutique shop, Taj Khazana offers a wide range of products to choose from.
As much as I loved strolling through the premises of the resort and cocooning myself in my cosy villa, I also wanted to experience some adventure. In the evening we went on a nature trail with Mr. Nitin, the naturalist at the resort. A well informed naturalist; he offered a plethora of information regarding the flora and fauna in the surrounding regions. It was a lovely long walk of 2-3 hours in the forest stretch adjoining Taj Madikeri. Geared with rain jackets and leach socks, we went past tall trees, wet cobwebs, chirping birds, dripping ferns, mulberry fruits, croaking frogs and a whole lot of greenery to soak ourselves in the lap of nature listening to Nitin’s stories and guidance related to the forest. We ended the trail at Bacterium, a frog pond inside the property premises which is known to be home to more than forty species of frogs. The team at Muddy Boots also offers a half day trek to the nearby hill top which offers a bird’s eye view of the whole place. While I had to skip the trek due to incessant drizzle, I was led to the Zip-liner by the team. Claimed to be the longest zip liner in South India, it was my first experience clinging on to the liner and zipping past trees, lake and paddy fields. Though it lasted only a bit more than a minute, that was a thrilling experience and I was quite tempted to try that again. There is kayaking facility too in the lake within the property.
At Taj Madikeri, the guests also get introduced to the world of Coorg and Kodavas at Conservatory, which is a living chronicle of the land of the Kodavas, the people of Coorg. Colonel P.C.Muthanna, the man behind this conservatory took us through the history, culture and heritage of Coorg and its people. The place has a huge display of photographs, stories and collectibles related to Coorg and offers a great insight into the life of Kodavas. In the evening the lobby was witness to some wonderful Kodava dance performance by locals. The large pottery studio is where the guests can try their hand at learning and creating clay souvenirs.
Taj Madikeri is an ideal weekend or three day getaway to dip in luxury, rejuvenate with therapies, relish delectable cuisines, wake up to the chirping of birds and soak in the lap of nature. This is an ideal place where one can relax, unwind and lose amidst the luxuries of nature.
How to reach Taj Madikeri Resort & Spa:
The property is located 9 Kms from Madikeri in Galibeedu. Madikeri is 4.5- 5 hours away from Bengaluru by road. Kannur has the nearest international airport, followed by Mangalore. The nearest major international airport is at Bengaluru, and the closest major railway station is at Mysuru. One can either drive down or book taxis from Bengaluru and Mysuru to Madikeri.
Room bookings and Tariff:
Please check the rooms, facilities, tariff and other details here- Rooms.
P.S.: I was hosted by Taj Madikeri Resort & Spa, but opinions are my own.