She stood looking out into the horizon. The sun was just setting. A cool breeze perfumed by coffee blossoms swept past her. Her garden had never looked better. The chill in the air reminded her of their homeland across the seas. Her husband would be home anytime soon and the perfume of the rabbit stew bubbling away in her kitchen made everything around her smell delicious. She hoped he’d be back soon. The fading evening light created magic as it silhouetted the hills across the valley. Lady Wright sighed as she savoured every second of the scenery around her. This was their home now.
More than a century later, I stand where Lady Wright probably stood. Every evening, she probably stared into the horizon as the sun set. Beauty like this is hard to come by. Like her, here was I… watching the majesty of the Coorg Hills as it wreaked havoc with my now tumultuous heart.
But let’s start from the very beginning of this journey.
Zarook Shah, author and entrepreneur, casually referred to this property when we were interviewing him a few months ago. He spoke about this property with a passion that’s hard to come by. The renovations and the careful preservation of the 150+ year old property, its grounds and the estates attached to it — it all seemed right out of a fairy tale. Needless to say, we decided to check it out.
Old Kent Estates (named after a now extinct variety of coffee that used to be grown here) situated in Suntikoppa, Coorg; is a dream within a dream. Almost stuck in time; the approach road to the property winds through lush estates and a mist that never seems to clear. The rays of sunlight playfully dance through heavy canopies and in no time, you’re far away from the highway and everything around you falls wonderfully silent. You can hear yourself breathe — it’s that quiet. Less than 10minutes from the Mysore-Madikeri highway, this property is tucked away, hidden exquisitely, deep within a coffee estate.
You’re welcomed to the property with a much-required hot drink of your choice and I would suggest you go with a coffee brewed from and on the estate. As you check-in, let the staff get your luggage to your cottage as you take in the beautiful view from the reception — a lovely British-style bungalow with a picturesque garden that is straight out of a postcard.
The best time to arrive at the property would be just before sunset. And if you hear Lady Wright sigh in the background as you sip on some exquisite Coorgi coffee, then you know you’re doing it just right.
The cottages are a class apart. Beautifully and tastefully designed, they house upto three people/cottage. While they are very reminiscent of rooms at any five-star spa/resort, the bathrooms are truly indulgent and do absolute justice to the style of the Raj, Epsom salt foot bath included. I melted into a warm bath and woke up only in time for an early dinner.
The joy of being at properties like the Old Kent Estate is that food is made to your liking. But I was in the mood to experiment and so I asked the chef to surprise me. What followed was a leisurely dinner that began with a warm, nourishing and wholesome soup followed by three main courses and a dessert. Paired with several hot cups of coffee, of course!
I was already drifting into a lazy slumber thanks to the warm long bath followed by that luxurious meal and soon enough I couldn’t keep my eyes open. The next thing I remember was tucking myself hurriedly into a warm quilt as the world before me blurred into oblivion. I slept like a baby that night.
I woke up to heavy rain the next morning. Like the scenery wasn’t beautiful enough, here was a heavy shower that just made everything look even fresher. I was informed about a few charted walks across the estate and decided to make that the focus of my morning. Walking on the wet earth, the air filled with petrichor, the smell of green enveloping me… I soon found myself at a man-made lake/tank that blew my mind with its sheer gorgeousness. This beautiful water body is in the lower reaches of the estate and is positively dreamy.
The walk back to the main cabin was a tough one; the uphill path however introduced me to the other plants grown liberally across the plantation — Arabica coffee, Robusta coffee, Pepper, Cardamom, Cocoa and a host of other beautiful garden and wild flowers.
Breakfast was an elaborate affair with one of the best views one could ask for. From a surprising array of continental options to some delicacies from closer home, I washed down several bowls of muesli with warm ginger-honey water (ask the chef for this wonderful drink). The sun was still filtering through the clouds and it was already 10am. In less than an hour, the sky cleared and the weather was now perfect for a visit to nearby Madikeri. Madikeri or Mercara is the capital of Coorg or Kodagu. The erstwhile capital of Kodagudesha — a princely state during the Raj, this hill station has a lot to offer to the tourist.
By evening, we were back to the property for a scrumptious and wholesome dinner. I retired to the in-house library and read a few pages from a historical account of plantations during the Raj before heading to the in-house theatre for a rom-com — the perfect end to a perfect day.
I woke up absolutely refreshed the next morning and got down to some reading right after breakfast. Cuddled on the sofa in the library, I soon passed out and woke up only in time for lunch with the resident house-kitty curled up on my chest. Lunch was a light affair — some more delicious soup as the downhill journey could prove to be worrisome for a full stomach.
We drove out early in the evening, hoping to hit Mysore before sunset, stopping on the way only to pick up some Coorgi wine, coffee, chocolate and honey and made a quick detour to the Buddhist monastery in nearby Bailakuppe. This beautiful heritage estate is the perfect getaway for a holiday that focuses on resting. That and being fussed on! The hosts do everything they can to make your holiday as indulgent as possible and ensure the service is on par with what the estate would have offered 150+ years ago, when Old Kent Estate was the home of coffee-plantation owners, the Wrights.
Things you should do while you are there:
Play with the resident house-kitty
Treat yourself to a session at the Spa
Watch the process of roasting and cupping coffee
Switch off your phone
Spend some time at the properties many gardens
Read a book
Old Kent Estates Resort & Spa is
at Thaikoppa Estate, Horoor Post
& Village, Suntikoppa, Kodagu,
Karnataka – 571237
For more details
contact +91 9789896454