This is the year of being tanned. Whether it has been travel or a nice sweet summery swim! My tan just doesn’t seem to go and anyway, I wear it with pride, yus yus! There are not all ups in the life of travel blogging and that’s one thing I have learnt this year… when something has to go wrong, it inevitably will go wrong. Take for example my trip to all over Japan that was due this month (August) and was to continue for 3 months, which is why I had decided to forego few months of travelling before August. Think booked tickets getting cancelled a week before the actual date of travel. Sigh. Anyway, to make up for it, I went down to Bangalore again! This time to Kabini and not Coorg.
Now I can safely say that I am in a position to review both the Orange County resort properties in India, i.e. Orange County Coorg and Orange County Kabini.
For all the Orange County resort fans and Indian boutique hotel enthusiasts, Orange County resort is due to open near the UNESCO World Heirtage Site of Hampi too, think November end this year! The prime property to stay in once you are in Hampi. You will get to experience the spirit of the land at the Orange County resort there, having a palatial theme.
Orange County Resorts in India, for those who don’t know, is deemed as one of India’s finest luxury resorts and is a part of Karnataka’s leading boutique resort group.
Before I start off with the review, I have to admit one of the major experience dampener is the fact that I have to fly down from Delhi to Bengaluru, then what follows is a drive of around 6 hours to each of these places. Not to mention the poor and unmetalled road stretch right before you reach the destination, which gets even more worse during rains, which happens very often in both these areas of Western Ghats. So in effect I actually end up spending over 12 hours to reach either Coorg or Kabini.
Come to think of it in the same expenditure and time I could reach any International destination. I can’t even tell you about how pathetic the trip can turn out if your flight gets delayed. Yes, that too has happened to me, taking my total time taken to reach Coorg to approximately 16 hours or so. This, mind you, means lots of exhaustion.
The only thing to make up for all this is the final destination that you reach. Then again make sure you stay there for more than 2 days to maximize your experience. I went for a weekend trip to Coorg, that ended up being a disaster, majorly because of the flight delay and because it was peak summer time the day we arrived. Call it bad luck, it had been raining all throughout the weeks before we reached. So best timing, that I can suggest, to visit either of the Orange County properties is any time after November till February.
We were even more prepared this time when we went to Kabini, because we knew what we were in for. I have to slip in a word of praise for the Air Asia flights! I made use of their sale on ticket prices for Bengaluru and booked my visit to Kabini, without losing any time. So far I have had a great experience with Air Asia, whenever I have travelled with them. I love their smooth take offs and landings more than anything else.
Orange County Coorg is the more expensive, the more luxurious, the more spacious (think golf karts to take you from here to there within the property), the more green property (acres of plantation land) of this boutique hotel chain from Karnataka. We stayed in a Private pool villa here and it was beautiful. But since I am not much of an indoor person, I think it to be unwise to spend so much to actually experience having a pool in your backyard, which you are any which way not going to use, because, hello, you already have a swimming membership waiting for you back at home. Also, the pool is not climate controlled. Plus there are so many activities planned for you at the resort that you will hardly get any time to be inside your room except maybe when it’s time to sleep!
Orange County Kabini, though the lesser expensive, lesser luxurious, lesser green, lesser spacious has turned out to be the one I prefer more. We stayed at a Jacuzzi House here, because I saw no point in spending money on having pool in my villa, as I had already experienced that at Coorg. What I think was love at first sight was the backwater of river Kabini on whose banks the Orange County Resort Kabini is built. The chilled winds that you experience here are a sheer delight. I like less of commercialization and more of nature. This place is situated between 2 forests, how much closer to nature can one get? I loved it just for it’s close proximity to nature and the priceless sunsets that you get to witness when it’s not cloudy. Oh ya you can add crocodiles, tigers, jackals etc too. The government organized wildlife safari and boat safari are a must here as are the free coracle rides, free food all day long.
About food, if Orange County Coorg has 4 restaurants and one tree top restaurant, then Kabini has a modest 2 restaurants to boast of. If I loved the abundance of Anthuriums at Coorg, I had a delightful time catching butterflies of vivid and unseen colors at Kabini and the endless saffron marigold fields. The morning tours, nature walk, in house elephant, bullock cart rides, cycle rides to the tribal village are what hold the charm to these two places. And ya unlimited food at any hour! Bingo!
Hospitality at Orange County is exceptional, their hospitality knows no bounds, you just need to ask them for something and they will arrange it for you right there and then. Yet, I don’t think it’s a luxury by global definitions. However, by Indian standards, it works out just fine.
There is mostly no network at both the resorts, which I think is the best part, because I choose to disconnect from the rest of the world on any of my travels. However, don’t get too disappointed, both the resorts have activity centre, where you can get free access to wifi at any time of the day.
Special note to Orange County Resorts’ initiative of reuse and recycle, and also of employing local people and empowering them in the most remote places of India where farming otherwise is the only way to earn a livelihood.
So take your pick and go, or like me go to both the places because you really won’t be able to rank them up or down.
This brings us to the close of this blogpost! You saw the live feed of my wildlife safari tour on my Snapchat, don’t miss out on any live fun!Simple add me on Snapchat: TheBlogOfRuchi.