After a long time, my wife and I decided to visit a hill station for a short break. We zeroed in on Coonoor purely from a logistical perspective. When travelling in India, getting the logistics right is important. Most hill stations are a long drive from a major airport. Coonoor is a convenient 2.5 hour drive from Coimbatore airport which is well connected with Mumbai. For people like us who aren’t keen on long road journeys, this was enough to decide on Coonoor.
The next factor that aided in this decision was that Coonoor is the lesser known and visited hill station compared to neighbouring Ooty and hence expected to be less crowded (relatively speaking).
The last factor was that my favourite non-hotel chain, Neemrana Hotels, has a property there! This is a great hotel company that takes heritage properties, restores them and provides a slightly unconventional hotel stay. Each hotel is unique and each room within it is unique. Don’t expect the usual hotel conveniences such as 24-hour room service, spa, television to name a few! It does not, however, mean that you won’t get the basic comforts such as a clean room, bathroom, good food.
The Wallwood Garden in Coonoor is not a hotel in the true sense. It’s a beautiful cottage in the hills with tastefully done up rooms that lend a colonial charm. We booked the Pine room because it has a private entrance in the main cottage. There are certain other rooms inside the main cottage with access from the living room area and some other rooms in an annexe building. The Pine has room a huge tall bed and you need a step ladder to get on it! The room is fairly large and also has a writing desk.
They offer an ala carte menu and the food is home style with a good mix of local cuisine in addition to the north Indian, Asian and continental. The preparation does take time to best to place your order an hour in advance. The local dishes, needless to say, are the best and that’s what we had most of the time. The idlis, dosas and sambhar and chutneys were superb. It is best to dine at the cottage. There aren’t dining options near the cottage. The cottage is on the main road that takes you to Ooty but there are no commercial establisments around and hence very peaceful save for annoying motorists who, for some reason, feel compelled to honk even when it’s really not necessary.
The staff is courteous and helpful and service is good.
Despite suggestions from various quarters about visiting the popular viewing points, I was quite skeptical. We did take a few hours to visit a few but that was enough. The small shacks and crowds are enough to dissuade me and we spent the rest of the time in the cottage. Sims Park is, however, just a walk away and worth a quick visit.
All in all Wallwood Garden is a great cottage to just unwind and spend time with your dear ones.