Ooty has been one of the most popular hill stations of South India from the times of British colonial era. This summer retreat is blessed with many attractions which make it worthy of being called as “Queen of Hills”. But with the high influx of tourists all year around, many travel lovers like me have become wary of this gorgeous hill town. Although to cater to the huge population of visitors, a number of resorts in Ooty have come up, yet there is one ooty resort I experienced recently which doesn’t only treat you with mind blowing views but with the experiences which will make your holiday the most memorable and cherished one.
Introduction to Sterling Fern Hill Ooty Resort
The Sterling Fern Hill Ooty Resort is a sprawling property of 177 rooms with a choice of various categories of rooms. It is tucked away at quite a distance from the crowded center of the city. The spectacular views of the lush green rolling hills covered in mist from the resort are a delight to the eyes.
The rooms are huge, furnished with a king size comfortable bed and with all modern amenities are just perfect to crash upon after a long and tiring day filled with experiences. The restaurant, the spa, the recreation room and the kids play room were absolutely top notch but which luxury resort in Ooty doesn’t offer all these. So, with plethora of high end resorts in Ooty, what is making Sterling stand out are the experiences offered by them which you wouldn’t have indulged in on your previous visits to Ooty. They have figured out the perfect recipe to make one’s vacation enriching, memorable and luxurious all at the same time.
My Experience of holidaying differently with Sterling Fern Hill Ooty Resort
I peeped through the curtains of the bus to find the mist enveloping the lush green hills, oh what a sight to open my eyes to! I had reached Ooty. I joined the bunch of bloggers and we got whisked away from the crowded center of the city to a secluded location of Sterling Fern Hill resort. I was delighted upon seeing my stay for next two nights which was tucked away amidst nature.
We freshened up and hit the multi cuisine restaurant “The Fern” for an appetizing breakfast. The service at the restaurant made the breakfast a scrumptious one. Then there was a presentation where we were told about the revamping of the Sterling theme to “Holiday Differently” and were introduced to the itinerary for the 2 days we were going to spend at Sterling Fern Hill.
We were all excited to explore the offbeat, learn about the culture of the locals and relish the local cuisine and experiences.
Visit to the Toda village
Having visited Ooty several times before and staying with many luxury ooty resorts before, I wondered what new could be there to explore but when I was taken for a visit to Toda village, I couldn’t believe that these ancient Dravidian tribes existed till date. The Toda tribes have been there in Nilgiris even before British colonization and have coexisted with the other 60 tribal communities like Kota, Badaga and Kurumba.
We were driven through the lush greens of Niligiris for around 15kms to reach Toda settlements called mund. We were introduced to the locals and their houses, culture, food and traditions. It was extremely enticing to meet them and see their way of living. Their houses were in the shape of half barrel constructed of mud and a unique type of straw. The entrance of the houses was only big enough to crawl and enter, made such to avoid any attacks by wild animals. The main source of economy for them has been pastoral based on buffalo.
The rendezvous with Toda tribe was quite an exhilarating experience and deserves another blogpost , so more in that!
Tea and Chocolate factory Visit
There can’t be an Ooty visit without touring a tea factory and relishing the aroma of the tea from up close. This time around we explored the Benchmark tea factory. We spent some time walking through the various processes of tea making and tasting the varieties of the tea. The icing on the cake was that the factory had chocolate making as well. My day was already made with tasting all the chocolates in the house. Ofcourse, I bought quite a lot of flavors for friends and family back home.
Tribal dance by Toda and Badaga tribe
After being treated to the most fanciest evening high tea with a variety of snack options to choose from, we were all geared up to witness the dancing steps of Toda and badaga tribe. The tribes in their traditional wear performed on the local folk tunes. They definitely had me transported to the gone by times when these arts were religiously practiced and celebrated.
While the bonfire at this ooty resort took care of the chill in the air, the staff at Sterling Fern Hill pampered us with mouth watering starters all this while.
Heritage Toy train ride to Coonoor
My next day at Sterling Ooty resort began with a quick tour of another brilliant property of Sterling called Sterling Elk Hill Ooty Resort. The view from their sit out area kept me hooked for quite some time until I was almost pulled by the collar for the round of the property. The rooms were absolutely princely and chic at the same time. The snacks were served with a jungle theme and theme was so profound that it was played in the music they played. That’s the extent to which Sterling goes in details of the experiences.
We were not ready to leave the property yet but it was our time to get on to the heritage toy train. It has been declared as UNESCO’s world heritage site in the year 2005. The toy train ride undoubtedly unveiled the Niligiris for me – the towering lush green hills, the fragrance of eucalyptus in the air, the meadows of tea plantations, the rustic bridges , the passing local life and the innumerable tunnels throughout. I wonder why hadn’t I been on this ride before!
For museum freaks, there is a room dedicated to the ancient pieces of railways. Don’t miss to check out those age old objects.
Picnic amidst Tea plantations
After an hour’s fun train ride to Coonoor, we were driven through the massive tea plantations. The sequence of tea plantations kept me engaged to not realize the bumpy ride which took us to the Nonsuch tea estate. The dedication and arrangements wowed me as much the views around. We were in the middle of a stupendous tea plantation where mist had enveloped the tea leaves almost completely. The nip in the air and the calmness around had blown me over. The lunch was served just when the hunger pangs had started setting in. I was taken back to the times of our little school picnics at beautiful spots.
I highly recommend you indulge in the experience of dining in the middle of vast tea plantations where everything is so serene and pretty.
Why should you stay at Sterling Fern Hill Ooty resort
- The property has the most gorgeous landscape and views around of the rolling lush green hills with some local houses studded here and there. You can never get enough of those views be it from your room’s window or from the dining area or while your leisure stroll through the property.
- This resort stood out for me for the enriching experiences they had carefully crafted keeping in mind the offbeat exploration, revealing only the visit worthy spots of Ooty and making it an engaging experience rather than checking off a place from one’s wish list.
- The families travelling with kids of any age would fall in love with the property’s amenities as they have plentiful outdoor activities, kids playing area and various other hosted events.
- The entire staff makes your stay a pleasant one. From preparing local delicacies to serving it with a smile to catering to all your needs, they will get you impressed.
P.S : I was invited to Sterling Ooty Fern Hill as a part of their Blogger’s meet. But all thoughts expressed are of my own.
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