Villa Retreat, Kodaikanal- The Gift of the Forest

Waking up to the sounds of numerous bird songs and a strange serenity in the first sun rays that fill your room is not something that one gets to experience everyday. Well, mornings like these are extremely common in the beautiful hill station of Kodaikanal.

Gently cradled by the Palani Hills, Kodaikanal is a small sleepy town, first set up by American Missionaries in the late 1800’s. The quaint lovely time-tested bungalows are a reminder of the past, which are being carefully restored to their former glory.

Quite apart from all the houses in Kodai is this lovely villa called Villa Retreat, a villa which gives the best of Kodaikanal, a view to die for, a staff to forever remember and above all, a serenity to come back for. Formerly resided by the British Governors, the main building dates back to 150 years. The stone walls with creepers, fences surrounding blooming gardens and the cloud walk in the lawn, all create a magical, not to mention, quite a fantasy world.

With its extremely strategic location just below the legendary Coaker’s Walk, Villa Retreat is one of those “non hotel hotels” which aptly stands out to be the true boutique hotel of Kodai. It is far from the lake and hence away from the hustle and bustle of the crowd. It is, indeed, meant for a moment of introspection, the quiet happiness of sipping a hot cup of coffee overlooking the hills or quietly enjoying a bottle of champagne while your glass room is lit up with the countless stars above or the lights from the valley below.

Choose the family suite or the Classic Valley view rooms. The valley view rooms offer the best views and are covered with glass panes on both sides along with a magnificent balcony overlooking the valleys. One can enjoy a magnificent sunrise right from one's bed. Apart from that the lawn adjoining the dining hall will take your entire day as you gaze out to the hills.

Food is simple and homely. The regular south Indian fare with beautiful continental cuisine makes up for your hard day trekking up the hills. Coakers walk is just a minute away giving you a higher vantage point to view the hills.

The entire property is beautifully designed with its quaint stone pathways, a cosy lounge and reading room. Beautiful and minimalist artefacts and furniture adore your rooms as you sit near the spacious windows and breathe in the mountain air. The windows are attached to a small cushioned seat, something that I adored very much.

If you have not been to Kodaikanal, you should. It is one of those few places left in India where one can spend days gazing out at the rolling hills, watching and listening to birds and just doing nothing but rejuvenating oneself. If Kodai is the Princess of Hills, Villa Retreat is truly the crown on her head!

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