Archana and I have a special connect with mountains and jungles. We find solace, peace and mental rejuvenation each time we visit such destinations and that's why any place location in such terrain is always close to our heart. This is what drove us to book our recent vacation in Kurumba Village Resort in Coonoor. Located outside the city, the resort is accessible through a fun and exciting off-road drive of about half a kilometer from the main road. It's very easy to miss the turn, had it not been for a staff member waiting for us on the curb we would have trusted google and moved on ahead!
Kurumba Village Resort presents a luxury experience to its guests through it highly rated service, kosher food and fantastic location. It's named after the Kurumbas, a local tribe from the Nilgiri region who were known to be excellent hunters/gatherers and lived in steep edges of the Nilgiri mountains. The resort, similar to characteristics of the tribe represents closeness to nature, artistic beauty, and focus on homegrown food.After a 10 minute off-road drive, we lingered into the reception where the staff was waiting for us with garlands and a local herbal tea. As we were finishing the tea, we saw a golf buggy pulling up and we were wondering what it was for. The staff told us that since the property was spread across 17 across on the hilly slopes, the buggy would help us move around the vicinity. Super! Just the thought of roaming around in the buggy brought out the child within us as we hurriedly hopped on to it trying to occupy the best seats!The buggy took us through the winding roads full of Nutmeg trees, wild flowers and gigantic Bay Leaf trees. The property houses 3 kinds of room depending upon the view and the size of the bungalow - Kurumba Cottage, Kurumba Suite and the pampering Jacuzzi Room.What we saw next, that moment was so beautiful and mesmerizing! Our room was located right next to a waterfall; so close that we could reach out of the balcony and touch the cold, clear, pristine waterfall flowing down from the massive mountains in front. We were booked into the Kurumba suite; a 2 floored luxury bungalow with a lovely view shown below.The Infinity Pool
Kurumba Village's infinity pool is not an accoutrement, but one of the main highlights of the property. The pool is more of a lounging area which juts out into the forest presenting a beautiful view of the valley in front.Private BBQ in our room
This came highly recommended and we decided to take advantage of the starry night and have the BBQ in our balcony. Soon enough the staff walked in carrying all the ingredient and set up shop, ready to serve us some exotic looking preparations! We were served with an aperitif and sat down to some tasty morsels, the sounds of the waterfall, Malabar Squirrels and chicken being cooked in ghee. The aroma flew across the balcony, a slow breeze carrying the flavours across to us. We were literally drooling looking at the ingredients and couldn't wait to get a bite of all the dishes the chef had in store for us.
The BBQ preparation is made using home-grown spices and herbs by chef Bablu from West Bengal. He is from Digha and has been cooking for about 10 years. Started cleaning utensils then worked as a server and graduated to being a chef. He was kind enough to share his recipe for chicken kosha with us.
First up, was the tandoori chicken with spicy tomato chutney. It was a delicious combination of the chicken marinated for more a day in various spices all grown in the property. Visually it was striking and the taste of the chicken was an interesting contrast with the tangy chutney.
This was followed by Grilled chicken that brought with it heavenly taste of mustard oil and spices. Cooked to perfection and served piping hot, the chicken was a testament to the chef's cooking skills. Finger licking good and dripping with juices, we hurriedly lapped up half a chicken in no time! The non veg was accompanied by grilled potatoes, mushrooms, pineapple and corn but we chose to write about the chicken since we are hard core non veggies. Nevertheless, every single tandoori dish was perfect and demanded as much attention as the previous one!
Tree Top Candlelit Dinner
A lavish 7 course dinner served atop a tree house. The walkway decorated with candles led us into the dining space with beautiful flowers on the table, antique lamps and the aroma of local spices. We were greeted by Mr. Murali, the head chef at Kurumba. He has even cooking since the last 20 years and just listening to him explain his preparations made us realise how passionate he is about this art.The meal started off with a refreshing of mint & watermelon juice accompanies by Russian salad. The fruits and veggies, grown mostly at their property, tasted so fresh and tender and a far cry from the stale ones we get in the city. Next came Onion Rings and chicken fritters. I would have never imagined having these in the middle on a jungle in India and prepared just the way Americans would!For main course. we had Bayleaf chicken. As we unwrapped the bay leaf, the aroma of authentic local spices filled the air and we could see the juices flowing into the plate. What we experience next was nothing short of an explosion of deliciousness in our palate! Nothing short of sheer brilliance, this chicken took just 30 mins for the Chef to prepare but has left a lifelong impact on us. We hadn't even heard of such a preparation before let alone taste any chicken as succulent as this.Our entire dining experience was surreal due to the food and the environment. Nothing can get more romantic for a couple than dining on a rooftop with fireflies all over the place! Thumbs up to the entire Kurumba team for giving us such a stupendous experience!
To sum it up, its a place so heavenly that even the clouds stop by. We watched the clouds, as still as a child in deep sleep, hugging the trees. Overall, we really enjoyed our stay at Kurumba Village Resort and would definitely return. The hotel ticked off the boxes for us in location, service and amenities. Obviously, most people visit Kurumba for the seclusion but I think their greatest asset is their staff. They were all genuinely friendly and helpful and made our stay very comfortable!