Orange County resort is one of the best resort experiences we have had in recent times … unparalleled when it comes to experiencing nature.
Coorg had, for long, been in our wish list. When we finally made it to the lovely little town, we chose to stay at the Orange County resort.
It is a 6-hour long drive from the Bangalore airport to Orange County through a good highway and then narrow, unpaved roads closer to the destination. We had flown down from Mumbai. And even though we had read about how Orange County resort is unparalleled when it comes to experiencing nature, we were not quite ready for the welcome team of Guinea Fowls that squealed around and hopped about when we reached the resort. We, of course, were excited the kids. Once past the check-in lobby, you get a sense of the vast place — The whole estate is located in an area of about 35 acres (in a 350 acre plantation) and is lined with coffee, pepper, jackfruit, cheery, oranges and fruit trees of all types!!! It is a different world….unwinding, we realised, would be automatic and compulsory…..
We had opted for the Presidential Villa since my mother was with us. The Villa came with a living room and a separate bedroom. A small porch looked into the coffee and jackfruit woods, giving us a just the reason to sit there with a cuppa. The bathroom was the biggest delight though what with being strewn with fresh flowers and with plants in the corners. The well-stocked mini bar with complimentary cold drinks and coffee/tea tray with hand-made cookies, replenished twice a day, liberally allowed us our steaming cuppas at our whims and fancy…
“Namaskara” is a word that you will keep hearing throughout your stay there – each one of the staff members almost take it upon themselves to make your stay most memorable. Be it the ladies at the reception who pampered our daughter to no end. They also taught me how to wear a saree the Coorg style!
The daily activities sets Orange County apart from others — choose from bird watching (6:30 am), nature walk (10am to Dubare Forest), eco-trail walk (10:30 am), paper bag making (11 am), workers trail (2:30pm), plantation trail (4pm) and cultural activities (7:30 pm)!!!
We took the bird watching session with Murthy who showed us the wide variety of birds who call Orange County home and showed us a few giant centipedes and spiders too! We also took the nature trail – following elephant tracks deep into the forest. The trail is not for the faint-hearted – be ready to get scratches, insect bites and dirty your dress in the process. We had our share of rewards too — sighting the wild elephants and snakes!
Evenings were reserved for cultural events – dances of the local regions with expert performers coming over for the 30-min shows. Whatsmore, there is a small club house with a good dose of kid activities near the common swimming pool. Wonderful arrangements for families with kids…
Orange County also has a lake filled with fishes. Our daughter was drawn to it like a magnet – she’d walk up to it every morning and evening with a packet of rice crispies given by the restaurant staff. Scores of beautiful golden and silver fishes jostle for these when fed and I never saw any kid happy with only one bag of the crispies. The smiling staff, though, always provided them with more.
The road next to the lake is a naturalists delight – with lizards (and sometime snakes) sun bathing, purple-colored dragon flies flying around, birds of all colors and size hunting for food. The most remarkable thing about Orange County is that they don’t pluck any fruit that grows in its grounds — all of them are for the ‘resident’ birds and insects of the resort. No wonder then, that they have a full-fledged animal kingdom there!!
Food at Orange County is the other best part of staying there. We ate all our meals at the Granary, a multi-cuisine restaurant that served some excellent local food too.
Undoubtedly one of India’s best maintained resorts, we’d recommend Orange County to both luxury and nature lovers…
PS: Want to plan a holiday in Coorg? Read this post for help with itinerary and food and shopping recommendations — A Holiday in Coorg