Luxury Hotels

INDIA -12

Magic is many things, say 8 a.m. mist in the Kingdom of Coorg, looking out as the morning yoga started on the terrace leading off the lobby of Taj Madikeri Resort and Spa. This is one of Conde Nast Traveller’s five 2024 India Gold Listers – ‘the serenity simply sings’ it says, oh so correctly. Beyond the thematic pool shown here there’s a drop of at least 100 metres. Ahead are valleys and the Western Ghats. Yes, there’s noise but it is subdued and adds to the magic. It is birdsong, warblers adding to the surreal, no super-real, feeling.

Girlahead will never say anything is the best but this 63-room mountain resort is among the best. Why? The arrival, finally reaching one’s goal after half an hour of rainforest driving. The welcome, from GM Vikas Kumar and his young and super-passionate team. A welcome drink while admiring the view. An eight-minute buggy ride down a steep road that reaches 32° at times.

Villa 508, 74sq m total. Outside it’s mustard-harled, plus wood and windows, capped by terracotta tiles. Inside – see the video below –  the space revolves around the enormous bed, pristine whiteness on a hardwood floor. Look ahead or either side through big picture windows, hardwood blinds if you must. Behind you, visible through a pair of half-open doors, is a solid-black soak tub that looks normal for Nefertiti, and behind that is the bathroom proper (individual geysers ensure instant hot water). In one area of the living space a brick-lined open fire is already laid with really dry logs from the 180 acre estate.

Perhaps dine, grills, down by the outdoor pool, its surround lit as if by a Broadway maestro. Wake up to birdsong, breakfast on the terrace at Ferntree, silently drinking the view. Mountain-biking or ziplining, or hike, say the two-hour curated Nettani Ridge route, the naturalist guide carrying the coffee. From the estate’s own coffee bushes. So much to do, so little time, but the magic of Madikeri stays forever.