We recently stayed at The Tamara resort in coorg where we were welcomed with non seasonal rains, converted an R&R trip into an adventurous one and reconnected with wilderness in what is definitely one of India’s most romantic resorts! Our review below will help you understand why.
As we left Bangalore we were prepared for a relatively warm couple of days at The Tamara in coorg. We slept through the first half of our journey bypassing most of the city traffic. We woke to beautiful landscapes whizzing past the window as we left the plains for the hills and the cities for the untamed vegetation. The size of the towns on our way became smaller and the scenes more beautiful and soon we were lulled back to sleep. The next time we awoke was not to the harsh overtones of the human speech but to the pitter patter of the raindrops falling on the window pane. The drizzle intensified and became a downpour and then disappeared as suddenly as it had arrived. The sky remained overcast for the rest of our journey as a reminder of good things to come. The untimely rain might have been a cause of distress for a range of people but not for us. We smiled and smiled till our jaws hurt and stared at the kaleidoscope formed through the drops sticking on the window. It was a childish pleasure, but then don’t the rains always bring out the child in us…
Our journey was long and except for the rains, quite uneventful but as we entered the gates, it started raining again, a grand welcome to say the least. The reception area is quite beautiful, housed within a huge thatched roof with a small artificial waterfall to the side. We were given a traditional welcome with a tilak and aarti and asked to rest on the sofas lined up by the side till our transport arrived. Our transport was an electric buggy – sort of like a golf cart which we found later was to be the primary mode of transportation for us unless taking a long trek up to our room everyday was our idea of fun, no thank you!
The buggy came quickly enough with the front desk manager as our driver/guide to the property and promptly took us to the Falls, the restaurant for our long awaited lunch. Though it was past lunch time, they graciously arranged a huge spread for us, a huge thumbs up for our hunger ridden stomach. Things could not start on a better note for us. As we were quite late in arriving, we had missed the deadline for most of the activities on the property and thus spent the next couple of hours soaking in the view from our room and relaxing.
The room comes fully loaded with a mini bar with juices, chips, biscuits and beverages for snacks in between your meals which is very thoughtful. A chessboard facing the view outside is also strategically placed for when you would want to spend your time indoors but with the view on full display. The TV was totally ignored during our stay, with such a beautiful view outside and loads to do on the property why anyone would want to laze around in front of the TV is beyond us.
Come evening we called a buggy to take us to the restaurant for dinner. “The Falls” is the restaurant for all meals on the property while “The Deck” is their bar area. A cursory glance told us that it was well stocked but we didn’t have the motivation to explore it further. At the beginning of the dinner and for that matter all our meals we were given a set menu for a full course meal with multiple options for starters, soups, Indian and continental main course and desserts. We found it delightful that the chef took his time to come visit each table asking for dietary preferences and if the previous meals were to taste. That he recommended and added a few local specialties for us to taste was also a big plus in our books. The food was well presented, was not oily or overtly spicy and the desserts were fantastic throughout our stay however we would recommend the chef to be a little more experimental in setting the menu. We can see the menu, mostly Indian, getting repetitive for guests staying a longer time. That said we found the entire restaurant team including the chef and the serving staff quite amiable and quite enjoyed all our meals. It helped that the views from the tables and the big glass see through floor in the middle which sometimes acts like a dance floor as well were fantastic. Truly a fantastic setting for having our meals!
To get back to our room we had to walk to the recreation center, hardly a few steps away, to get a buggy. The recreation center looks very similar to the restaurant from the outside but is a revelation. The entrance opens to a reception area with a wonderful ornate swing made of silver oak wood. Further down is the recreation area with chairs and easels lined up on both sides of the room for budding artists looking for inspiration from their surroundings. That it faces the valley on one side and the waterfall on another should say something about the view. Also lined up are poker tables and some board games, frankly a wonderful idea for rainy evenings for adults and children alike.
The moon shone brightly on our way back and we promptly fell asleep after requesting an early wakeup call for the trek in the morning. The 16 Km trek was 70-80% steep as we were repeatedly informed as if to dissuade us from taking the trek.
We were woken up by the shrill ringing of the telephone, our wake up call who asked us to be at a place called the Verandah, within an hour. Surprisingly with all our early morning idling and lazing we were still able to make it in time. The only person waiting there was Lokesh, an ex army man and our guide & task master for the trek and we were told that we were the only brave souls who had signed up for this early morning trek. The morning cheer which lokesh exuded combined with the beautiful vistas around us and the plentiful oxygen we consumed gave us the much needed zing to move our lazy bums for what in hindsight was the best decision of our trip.
The trek is to be very highly recommended for every guest except people physically inept to complete it. The first few kilometres can be incredibly tough especially for people not used to the incline and when your mind will provide you a million reasons why you should give up and go back.
After a point, the mind gives up on its cribbing and that’s when you really start enjoying it. The scenery is beautiful, especially from the key vantage points on top of the mountains or at the very edge of them, should you be adventurous enough.
The peaceful silence throughout the journey was only broken by bird calls or the gurgling waterfalls on the way and perhaps by the quintessential “aur kitna door hai?” question ever so frequently. The early morning mist, coupled with the sense of adventure in moving through a forest reserve (Brahmagiri National Park) and lastly the peace which envelopes you when you finally sit down at a wonderful vantage point at the edge of a cliff provides for an experience like none other.
It seems strange that the trek is planned in such a way that we reach in time for the last call for breakfast. We were sure that our slow pace combined with frequent breaks for photo ops, rest and sometimes just to soak in the beautiful scenery made us a prime contender for the slowest trekkers on the property but were assured we were nowhere near that mark and on the contrary had covered good time all things considered.
We had missed the official timing for the breakfast but were again delivered a fantastic spread by the staff who had kept the buffet on only for us. Another prime example of the great service ethics of the staff. We ferociously consumed copious amounts of food and then proceeded to our room only to flop down and sleep away the next couple of hours.
We opted for the coffee plantation tour post lunch because it seemed unlikely we would find the time or motivation to do it the next morning before our checkout. As it would also include a walk throughout the property it seemed a brilliant way to spend our afternoon. The tour was nice but for people who’ve done plantation walks before might not find it worth the time. There are a few picnic spots around the property. We visited one by a small lake complete with a picturesque bridge over it for a nice photo op and we could understand why a couple would like it, especially considering the privacy it provided.
We also found a variety of small nooks and corners we would like to explore when we visit the next time. Especially a staircase which we nicknamed the stairway to heaven, which presumably leads to the restaurant and a couple of small waterfalls, all wonderful places where you can spend a considerable amount of time doing nothing with your significant other.
The tour ended at the Verandah which housed the gift shop and a small area where we were showed how coffee beans are processed to the final look and aroma which we are used to. We were then told of the ideal mix ratio of the two kinds of coffee (Arabica & Robusta) and then grinded the beans and used the powder to make the perfect cuppa to end the evening. The filter coffee we opted for did not really compare to our favourite neighbourhood South Indian joint, however it was a very fulfilling couple of hours which we spent.
The last evening of our stay passed by very quickly and before we knew it, the day was at an end. We opted to sleep in a bit late the next day and checked-out right after breakfast. The checkout process was very smooth and we were given a small pouch filled with coffee beans, cardamom and pepper from the plantation as a souvenir. What a way to help us remember them after we return, brilliant!
We had expected some much needed R&R and some warm climate to go with it and instead found a very pleasant almost rainy weather and ended up going on an adventure of our own. Though the adventurous activities combined with the plantation stay reminded us a bit of the fantastic Glenburn Tea Estate in Darjeeling, they could not be more different. We will probably need another visit to be sure but can confidently say that Tamara is definitely one of the most romantic resorts we’ve stayed at in India and we look forward to coming back!
Some recommendations we feel can improve the experience even further
Food: We found the menu a bit boring and bordering on repetitive given the dominance of the Indian cuisine in it. A bit more variety can go a long way in spicing up the culinary experience for the guests.
Accommodation: The bed was great and décor optimal but the paper thin walls did leak a lot of sound to the other side. It might have been a case of loud voiced neighbours but even so it shouldn’t be justified given the premise of the property is the privacy it offers. We totally missed the pool and can’t wait to come back once its ready!
Service: Everyone is happy to help and frankly the service was top notch. However the art of appearing and disappearing at key moments is something not yet mastered by the staff. We had written about the experiences in Laxman Sagar & Shahpurabagh which have set a very high benchmark for us but we feel a property like The Tamara can create new benchmarks going forward and should!
If you’re exploring the region you should definitely checkout our stories of the fantastic Nagarhole (Kabini) Tiger reserve nearby of how we spotted two tigers in the wild.
- Coorg is 264 Km (Roughly 5.5 Hours) from Bangalore City
- The best time to visit would be during or just after the monsoons when it is green beyond imagination and the waterfalls have a lot of water to show off.
- We stayed in the Luxury room which is their standard offering. The suites are a bit bigger in size while the Eden suite comes with two rooms and a jacuzzi in the balcony. However all accommodation options come with similar views and vary only in size and amenities offered.
- The Tamara is great for couples looking for some adventure to spice up their romance. There’s love in the air and it’s hard to miss it! You can check the latest prices at their website or at Tripadvisor.
We were guests of The Tamara but as always our opinions and experiences are unbiased, untarnished and entirely our own!
Some more pics of our stay