Hey Peeps! How have you been? It’s been almost a week that I am back from a bloggers meet organised by Sterling Resorts. Sterling Holidays is quite well known in India for their vacation rentals. I love almost all their properties that I have visited till date.
I have been to Ooty quite a few times, still, I had never enjoyed Ooty as much prior to this experience with Sterling Holidays. They have a concept called “holiday differently”. Not only you get to enjoy the comforts of a well laid out property, you also get to experience the culture and customs first hand. I would call this experiential travel.
I was part of a Bloggers’ Meet where I mixed with bloggers from different genres like fashion, lifestyle, food and travel. It’s always good to hobnob with like-minded people and it was truly an enriching and fun-filled experience for a couple of days.
Day 1 at Sterling Resort – The Holiday Differently Experience
We had taken an overnight bus from Bangalore and reached early morning of the next day. The temperature in Bangalore is quite salubrious this time of the year, however, on reaching Ooty, it was literally a whiff of fresh air in the lovely Nilgiri Hills.
The Arrival at Sterling Ooty Fern Hill
A minibus was waiting to pick us up at the bus stop in Ooty. Sterling Resorts’ team never made us wait anywhere. Our first destination was Sterling Ooty Fern Hill. Our check-in time was 11 a.m. but still, they welcomed us with morning tea and keys to our splendid room. The view was breathtaking and I could see the property’s lawn and hills from my window.
Sterling Resort, Ooty has a buffet breakfast every day with a variety of food from South & North Indian cuisines. They have a live counter too for Dosa & Omelette where you could customise to your taste buds.
The Resort Tour
Post breakfast, we headed to a briefing of the itinerary and resort unique proposition. The Sterling Holidays team made us understand how different are they from other resorts and the activities we woul partake in these two days. They have a lot of activities like indoor games, outdoor activities, etc and a rejuvenating spa in the resort itself. Unfortunately, the time didn’t permit me to enjoy the spa experience.
The Toda Village Tour
After having the resort tour we had lunch at Sterling Ooty Fern Hill. Post lunch we proceeded for the holiday differently experience to a Toda Village. If you want to see the culture and tribal art form of Ooty, it’s a must-visit place.
The village is about 15 Kms away from Ooty earmarked by diminutive temples for men and women. Basically, they are not even temples, they are small huts. If you want to enter those huts, you need to go crawling.
People over there still follow centuries-old rules and live on farming and dairy business. There is a big stone lying over there which a man has to lift as a show of strength and right of passage to getting married. Buffaloes are given as gifts during weddings.
Their tribal art includes hand knitted products like cushion covers, table cover, shawl etc. This isn’t a big place where you can spend hours but surely a different experience to know more about the locale and their indigenous arts.
The Tea Factory Tour
Later, we took a tour of tea manufacturing unit. We also got to see the chocolate making process and tasted freshly made chocolates too. This experience wasn’t new to me, though I loved the presentation to make us understand the difference between myriad varieties of teas. I got myself white tea from there as it’s good for detox.
High Tea at Tall Tails – Sterling Ooty Fern Hil
After this, we came back to our resort. We were welcomed to Tall Tail- Sterling Ooty Fern Hill. High tea was arranged beautifully. I just loved delectable snacks with the breathtaking view. Ah, it was a fun-filled and tiring day so I just wanted to relax for sometime. I sat on the lawn with a cuppa and relaxed with light music.
Traditional Dinner at Fern Hill Lawn
We met the Toda folks again around dinner time. The Sterling holiday team has arranged for a bonfire night with delicious food and beverages. We could witness the toda dance and later we joined them. Learning toda dance was so much fun.
Day 2 at Sterling Resort- The Holiday Differently Experience
I woke up to an amazing view out of my windows. And my day was made. After freshening up we had an amazing buffet breakfast at fern hill and rushed to visit another property of Sterling, The Elk Hill Resort which has a quaint heritage feeling to it with sloping roofs and terracotta tiles.
Sterling Elk Hill Resort
I still relish the warm traditional welcome at the resort and a quick tour of the resort. Once we were done, we were taken to a hall where we could see all the fresh fruits and vegetables grown organically in their garden. We had light snacks over their made up of those veggies and fruits.
Believe me, everything tasted so yum and can’t forget the halwa I had there. If I have to give one best reason to stay in this property apart from the interiors and hilltop view, it would be the food. Sterling Holidays is known for a different holiday experience, here, we had a unique culinary experience too.
Heritage Train Tour – Ooty to Coonoor
After munching on light snacks we headed towards the Ooty Toy Train Station. Oh, it’s the famous one and you would recollect the vista from Chaiya Chaiya song in Dil Se. So the train was scheduled at 12:15 noon to Conoor and we had reached there by 10:30 a.m.
So we got enough time for fun and fimly sohts. Pleasantly surprised, had to form a queue at the station along with other passengers and boarded the train in a disciplined manner. I was amazed to see this at an Indian railway station. We crossed beautiful hills, tunnels and saw a white horse running along as well – just as in fairy tales! I was totally lost in the view of this dreamy train ride.
Light Trek & Lunch in the Tea Garden – Adventure
Here comes the best part of my trip. Once we arrived at Coonoor station, cars were waiting to ferry us to our next destination. We were taken to a hilltop tea garden and we had our picnic lunch in the middle of the breathtaking views of Nilgiri hills.
Looking back, I wanted to stay there forever. It felt like heaven. We stayed there for a few hours with other bloggers and sterling holidays team. Post this we came back to resort had a relaxed evening and dinner with co-bloggers.
The Overall Experience
It was a mix of hectic (at times) and a relaxing, laid-back short vacation. We did not go to the famous cafes or any highly commercial places. But, I saw a different Ooty all together which I never experienced in my previous three visits to Ooty. I can’t thank enough to team Sterling Holidays for arranging a visit to a private tea garden and grandiose properties.
If you are looking for a relaxed vacation and want to holiday differently, you must check Sterlings Resorts. You get the taste of local flavours and traditions at a minimal cost beyond the room charges.
Do let me know if you have any questions in the comment section below.