There’s something about the Nilgiris
WHERE TO STAY
This historical palace of the Mysore Wadiyar kings is now a luxury hotel with sprawling suites, private woods and wonderful views. The 19 suites come with glass-encased verandahs overlooking private gardens and bathrooms fitted with Jacuzzis. The teak wood panelling, high ceilings and Victorian furniture finish the rooms with regal flourish. Editor's note: the staff can arrange for a temporary golf membership at the Ooty Club besides obtain permits for entry into restricted forest reserves.
Fernhills Palace, Fernhill Post, Ooty, Niligris, Tamil Nadu (+91 423 244 2555; www.fernhillspalace.co.in) Doubles from Rs 9,000
Destiny The Farmstay
Located on the edge of a farm in Avalanche, this property offers 25 cabin-style rooms across four blocks -- Wild West, Great Explorers, Men of Nature and Planet Savers. Interesting activities you can enjoy during your stay include farming, horse riding and barbecues. Its restaurant uses vegetables and herbs grown on the farm.
Destiny The Farmstay, Muligoor Village, Ooty, Niligris, Tamil Nadu (+91 423 222 4545; www.destinyfarmstay.com) Doubles from Rs 6,175
WHERE TO EAT
La Belle Vie
This multi-cuisine restaurant housed in a 115-year-old heritage villa serves delicious, mostly organic fare. The French dishes and pizzas are particularly good and the chocolate-banana dessert comes highly recommended.
La Belle Vie, 180˚McIver, Orange Grove Road, Coonoor, Tamil Nadu (+ 91 423 223 3323; www.serendipityo.com)
Curry and Rice
The restaurant's menu is inspired by George Francklin Atkinson's `Curry and Rice on Forty Plates', published in 1859. It was a satirical work describing the cuisine of the recently arrived British in India. As a result the place serves a variety of Anglo-Indian dishes. They even prepare a decent Badaga meal on request.
Curry and Rice,Fernhills Palace, Ooty, Niligris, Tamil Nadu (+91 423 244 2555; www.fernhillspalace.co.in)
King Star Confectioners
This place popularised the concept of homemade chocolates, way back in 1942. It's an institution in itself and sells a delightful range of bakery goods, from raisin chocolates to plum cakes.
King Star Confectioners, 33 Commercial Road, Ooty, Niligris, Tamil Nadu (+91 423 245 0205)
WHAT TO DO
Opt for a two-hour guided tour of this family-run, organic cheese farm in Coonoor and enjoy the hospitality of director Mansoor Khan and his wife who manage the place. The tour includes a cheese tasting session, all for just Rs 100 per person.
Acres Wild (www.acres-wild.com)
Located on the Coonoor-Kotagiri road, their tea tasting tour, for Rs 250 per person, lets guests enjoy the best flavours from around the world. Don't forget to take a walk along the surrounding estates to understand how tea is produced.
Less than an hour away from Ooty, you can spend a day going on a jungle safari to spot animals.
The nearest airport is at Coimbatore. From there, it is a three-hour drive to Ooty. GK. Star Cabs have Taveras and Innovas for hire.
GK. Star Cabs (+ 91 94870 28381)