Ayatana Coorg

The air is thick with the high pitched buzz of countless cicadas. The strident chorus dominates the atmosphere and reverberates through the forest. The crescendo is unwavering and it is as if every cicada is contributing its mite and might and striving vociferously to add to the delightful din.

As I stand there thinking that nothing can break into this oxymoronic organised cacophony, I hear a mellifluous whistle valiantly making its way through the clamor, as if flirtatiously beckoning me into the woods.

It is the Malabar Whistling Thrush welcoming me to the paradise where I am eagerly waiting to spend the next 2 days of my life in much needed relaxation. 

The vegetation is lush and sparkling clean, being washed repeatedly by the rains that are now ruling the season. The sprawling green landscape soothes the eyes and the soul and I feel my senses being likewise cleansed even as I enter into the wide gates of Ayatana Coorg, a luxury resort which lies deep within the hilly region of the Coorg district in Karnataka, India.

Come hop onto the buggy with me as we roll along the undulating path, on an exciting ride which is a precursor to the thrill that lies within!

This trip was organised by the Karnataka Tourism Forum, a non profit organization which is committed to promoting tourism in Karnataka.

Map modified from Google

About Coorg –  

Coorg, also known as Kodagu, is one of Karnataka’s greener districts located on the slopes of the mighty Western ghats and its climate and hilly terrain make it a land suitable for growing coffee and spices. Large plantations drape its hillsides, making for scenic views of dense green.

This is the land of the Kodavas, a warrior clan well known for their hospitable and friendly ways and who have maintained their distinct culture and traditions by way of cuisine, customs, attire, festivals etc.

This landscape of this unique district is a tapestry of mountains and hilly regions with their verdant swathes of rainforests, innumerable water bodies and waterfalls, trekking trails, wildlife etc and hence it is but natural (pun intended) for it to draw tourists to it like a magnet.

Coorg shares a border with the state of Kerala and it also has the Karnataka districts of Mysore, Hassan and Dakshin Kannada as its neighbors.

About Ayatana Coorg – 

This 5 year old luxurious resort opened its gates wide to its guests in 2018. An enterprise by the Aratt group, this property is owned and operated by Ayatana Hospitality and promoted by WelcomHeritage.

Ayatana I am told, is Sanskrit for sanctuary and this place is a haven for the senses indeed. This hilly retreat is one of Coorg’s finest luxury resorts and lies enticingly secluded in the depths of Somvarpet which is 50 km away from Madikeri, the district headquarters of Coorg.

Occupying a massive area of 110 acres of densely forested space, this breathtaking getaway offers a host of features with great potential to delight its guests.

The founder and CEO of Ayatana is Vishal Vincent Tony, who is also the architect of this elegant boutique resort. Biologist Paul Blanchflower is the architect who has designed the landscape.

In an attempt to retain the ambience of wilderness, the actual buildings and facilities have been constructed on merely a fifth of the entire premises and apart from these 20 acres, the rest of the estate has been left untouched and retains its natural existence.

In order to minimalize the impact of the construction on the environment, the structures were erected using prefabricated steel constructions and were carefully incorporated into the existing ecosystem by minimally intruding into what was naturally present. The large tree growing through the main reception area, is testimony to this thoughtfulness.

Features and Amenities – 

The large entranceway is accessible from the main road and the gates lead you through to the steep and undulating driveway. It is a 250 meter drive to the parking lot which is enroute and another 600 meters to the main reception. Beyond the parking point, one has to relinquish one’s vehicle and depend on the resort’s olive green buggies for all transport within the rest of the premises.

The reception building is of partially open design, allowing for an initial glimpse of the distant cottages and stunning views of the landscape. Large and comfortable, this is where one pauses to sip their welcome drink of hot, black, jaggery laced Coorg special coffee, before being escorted to the respective cottages.

The resort boasts of 50 tastefully designed and generously large cottages which are studded across the hilly landscape and mostly set in pairs alongside the rolling terrain through which the driveway winds.

The restaurant, bar, spa, conference room, swimming pool, children’s play area, adventure sports area and the indoor games station are strategically situated so as to gain a magnificent view of the majestic in-house waterfall which is the star of the show at this resort.

Apart from what man has created, the estate is blessed to have endless natural greenery, a profusion of flowering shrubs, several little crystal clear streams gushing through from deep within the hills and eventually merging into the main waterfall, birds of many a feather, including the famous Malabar Whistling Thrush and of course the omnipresent cicadas who never let you forget their presence.  

Buggies are available for traversing from place to place within the property. For those who are fit, it is recommended to enjoy the place on foot because the resort has been designed to be conducive to explore nature, with boards at various locations giving information about the endemic flora, fauna, birds, insects etc.

Of course for those who cannot deal with the terrain, the buggy can be called for during all operational hours. Please note that there may be a 15-20 minute delay before it arrives.

The Stay – 

The 50 luxurious dwellings comprise of 36 standard cottages, 13 suite cottages and one opulent Presidential suite.

The only interconnected cottage pair

Suite cottages

Presidential Suite

All the cottages rest partially on stilts and are the epitome of luxury with large comfortable beds, plush couches, luggage rack and dressing area, ensuite bath areas with showers, toilet, washbasins etc.

The usual amenities like tea/coffee maker, drinking water in glass bottles, large screen TV, mini fridge, bed and bath linen, toiletries, geyser fuelled hot water, mosquito repellants etc, are present.

The décor is muted and most of the elements are fabricated from natural material obtained on site, like the shards of wood which make up the many lamp shades and the artsy wooden wall plaques behind the bed. The lights are dim in keeping with the jungle setting I suppose but personally I would have liked things to be a bit brighter, especially in the mirror areas.

The masterpiece of the cottages is the large sit out which overlooks the forest and offers stunning and soothing views of dense green interspersed with streaks of color from the flowers that burst forth in between.

The constant melody of gushing streams, the songs of various birds and most of all, the seductive whistling of the Malabar Whistling thrush, very well make for an addictive activity (or should I say ‘desirable inactivity’) and one can spend an inordinate amount of time just lolling on the cushy recliner chairs, enveloped in the pristine air which heals the senses and refreshes the soul.

A short video showcasing the features and activities –  Coming soon

The restaurant and dining – 

The Glasshouse, an apt name for the dining space with its transparent walls which allow an unhindered view of the nearby waterfall, is the restaurant where all meals are served. This spacious area has its food stations on one side and ample indoor seating makes up the rest of the space. A verandah and deck provide outdoor seating options and the dining experience is greatly enhanced by the breathtaking vistas that lie ahead in plain view.

Breakfast is open from 7.30 am – 10 am, lunch from 1 pm – 3 pm and dinner timing is 7.30 pm – 10 pm.

Buffets are laid out at breakfast, lunch and dinner, though there is an option of ordering from an a la carte menu too. The spread is vast and offers dishes from a range of cuisines both global and Indian. The live counters dish up a variety of items too.

A few of the local Coorg dishes also make an appearance at every meal and being a ‘locavore’, those were the ones I preferred over the rest of the assortment.

My dining experience was greatly enhanced by the extremely cheerful Santhosh who was manning the live station at breakfast and skillfully twirling out crisp and lacy appams with a big happy grin. A true embodiment of Service with a Smile!

The meals are included based on the booking plans but almost all the guests opt for the American Plan (AP), since the property is quite a distance from any other equivalent eating joint and it is much easier to eat on-site.

Room service is also available for both the food and beverages.

Exclusive dining arrangements can be made to celebrate special occasions, with candle light dinners and private tables on the deck.

The bar – 

The Forest Tavern is the go to place to raise your glasses and your spirits. Serving the finest liquors from both international and domestic brands as well as a collection of wines, one can enjoy from a choice of cocktails and mocktails while gazing out at the wilderness and the picturesque backdrop of the roaring cascade.

This is also the venue for the evening High Tea which is served between 5 – 6 pm every evening.

The bar is open from 11 am – 10.30 pm.

The Spa –

The Wilderness Spa, literally tucked away in the wilderness, offers an indulgent range of therapies and massages in an ambience that is highly conducive for unwinding. The therapists execute wellness practices from various global styles of treatments.

The spa menu is also available in the rooms and one can leisurely go through them and decide what form of pampering they will be opting for. Slots can be booked accordingly.

Spa timings are from 9 am – 8.30 pm.

Conference hall – This hall is adjacent to the restaurant and has a capacity to accommodate up to 100 people, theater style.

Activities – 

Ayatana Coorg offers a plethora of options to entertain its guests. From in-house entertainment to outsourced adventure rides, this place has quite the range of activities to indulge in.

The activities which are included without additional cost are dependant on the booking plan, so please check accordingly. For the rest, there are various tariffs which will be indicated at the time of booking.

Activities within the plantation – 

The waterfall –

This is the superstar of the show here and the resort is truly blessed to have this extravagant gift of nature which is the cynosure of all eyes as it cascades down the rocks, roaring in glory and spraying the air with its milky mist before wending its way into a stream which eventually joins the larger Malallai falls, 5 km down the hills!

One seriously needs nothing else for entertainment and just hanging around on the bridge and shooting torrid Bollywood’esque videos in front of the torrential background 😬, quickly develops into an addiction which is difficult to tear away from. Yes we even forgot our mealtimes and that is quite an achievement!


Nature walk – 

Embark on a guided nature walk at sharp 7 am every morning, where the in-house naturalist will take you through hill and dale while you explore the flora, fauna, birds and other exciting aspects that the property holds. This is not a very easy walk for those who are not in the best of fitness, so decide accordingly but for those who are willing, this is an educational and entertaining experience. Also, during the rains one might need umbrellas (which are provided) and gumboots (which are not provided). The duration of the walk is an hour.

Swimming pool – 

The water of the infinity pool is a striking cobalt blue, thanks to the brilliant hue of the tiles that lie beneath. Set amidst a contrasting buff colored floor, this infinity pool with its backdrop of the gushing waterfalls, presents an enchanting and picturesque sight.

This is open to the guests from 9 am – 7 pm.

Children’s play area – 

Located in the same vicinity, is an array of equipment designed to entertain children while their chaperones can watch from any of the nearby seating areas.

Adventure sports – 

Zip lining and rope walking are the activities available here which are guaranteed to stimulate your adrenalin into gushing into your bloodstream. The stunning locale certainly adds to the thrill. Whizzing past the thundering waterfall on the zip line, is an adventure not to be missed!

The timings for zip lining are from 10 am – 12.30 pm and again from 3 pm – 5.30 pm but these activities are dependant on the cooperation of the weather, failing which they could be cancelled.

The guest is fitted out with the necessary equipment and gear and the team manages the arrangements with all safety protocols in place.

Indoor games station –

The indoor games room offers options like air hockey, table tennis, carrom board, billiards etc and is a good alternative for entertainment when it is pouring outside.

This is operational from 9 am – 9 pm.

Bonfires – are lit every evening in the designated area near the bar, other than when it rains.

Chilling out –

Yes that is an activity too 😎

For those who prefer a quiet time, just walking about in the premises or unwinding on the cozy recliners on the chalet balconies, are ideal ways to spend a dreamy Do-nothing vacation.

Of course the various species of birds will flutter around, trying to distract you with their song but you can either choose to ignore them or succumb like me, by darting hither and thither across the balcony, trying to capture them on your lens, even as they play hide and seek to torment you 😏😎

My hard work paid off though, when I finally caught the elusive Malabar Whistling Thrush which is mostly heard but hardly seen!

Likewise, I also was fortunate to have the equally visually elusive cicada visiting me and doing the cat-walk (or cicada-walk) for my camera.

Activities in the surroundings –

The resort also offers a few opportunities for adventure outside of the property.

Malalli falls –

The resultant stream from in-house waterfall, surges through the hilly slopes to eventually merge with the massive Malalli falls whose main water supply is the Kumaradhara river. The falls are barely 4 km down the road from the resort. This place can be accessed by car and is a spot that is worth visiting during the stay at Ayatana Coorg. The timings are from 9 am – 5 pm everyday. The access gate is locked beyond these times. While the falls are visible from the entry area, there are a set of 600 steps which one can descend to get a clearer and more spectacular view.

Off Roading and trek to Doddabetta peak –

This drive is of a 3 hour duration and the 9 km is covered partially by jeep, with the final 4 km on foot. This expedition is weather dependant and on clear days the sunrise and view are said to be spectacular from the peak.

The jeep can be pre booked and is available from 8 am – 6 pm every day.

Off Roading to Merana Kotte Betta –

At 5000 ft above msl (mean sea level), Merana Kotte Betta is the third highest peak in Coorg, It it resembles a fort and hence the name Kotte.

Off roading jeep rides take you right to the top and there is no necessity of trekking. Atop the hill is a Shiva temple and of course a stunning panorama of the world below.

The 8 km ride takes 2 hours to cover and can be pre booked at the reception.  Again, this is weather dependant.

Things to do in general in Coorg – 

Coorg is tourist land which means it obviously has plenty to interest the average traveller. Being a hill station, it naturally offers opportunities for trekking, hiking, visiting waterfalls etc. There are innumerable places scattered across the district both popular and lesser known and I will just name a few here for information.

Raja’s Seat

Abbey falls

Madikeri Fort

The Tibetan settlement and Buddhist Monastery at Bylakuppe.

Dubare elephant camp

Nisargadhama Gardens.


… and many other places.

Visitor Profile – 

Guests of all ages are permitted. There are no restrictions of any kind, on the category of visitors.

Though the steep and undulating terrain is not really easy for guests who are differently abled, it is possible to be mobile with the help of the buggies which can be called for from early morning to late night. However, there still are a few stairs and slopes to be navigated to get to the restaurant and hence one should be aware accordingly before booking.

This is also a pet friendly property with additional charges for the animals. And of course the guest is expected to supervise the pets at all times to ensure their safety and that of the surroundings and of other people’s on the premises.

The resort is vast and luxurious and is ideal for any type of occasion. It offers a rejuvenating break from the mundane to get away from it all.

The venue can be used for celebrations and personal events, weddings, family gatherings etc.

It is a perfect place for artists, photographers, adventure enthusiasts and also those who want some really quiet time to just hang around in the lap of nature.

This is also an ideal Honeymooners destination and there are special packages to indulge newlywed couples, which include couple spa sessions, candlelight dinners, breakfast in bed and other romantic forms of pampering!

Best time to visit – 

Coorg is a year round destination. The weather especially within the forests and  plantations, is pleasant even in summers. Rainy season has its own charms, though outdoor activities may be restricted. Winters are cold but actually quite lovely and are also a great time to visit.

Pro tip – Coorg is always crowded during the Indian school summer holidays of April and May. This period is considered the peak season. If one is not bound by school schedules, then going there during non peak seasons will ensure a better experience. During the rains and other off season periods, one might also be able to avail of a discounted tariff.

Phone and internet connectivity –

Signals from service providers other than Jio, are poor in most patches of the property, including the cottages. My Airtel was pretty much of no use and worked in burst and spurts only by miracle. Jio users had a quite a stable connection.

However, the resort provides a free and open Wi-Fi connection in all the operational areas, which is fast and steadfast for the most part.

There were outages at times during my stay though and one has to be prepared to be bereft of all signals until the system is restored.

Fortunately they have intercom connections in all the rooms and this is a reasonably reliable method of communicating with the staff or with your companions in other cottages.

What is available and what you should carry –

There is a generator for power back up, in case of a power failure and the down time is minimal.

Considering the terrain and possible activities, carry a pair of walking shoes, a cap, sunglasses, sunscreen, a backpack, a camera etc. In the rains, gum boots are a very essential item as also are umbrellas and/or raincoats. The resort does provide umbrellas but it does not harm to carry one’s own too.

The location is remote and access to emergency supplies may be difficult. Carry your  medication and other important personal items which may not be easily available.

The type of clothing you need, is weather dependent but being in the midst of a plantation, it is cool throughout the year especially between sunset and early morning, so it is always a good idea to carry at least 1 coat even if it is summer. Winters and monsoons are quite chill, hence equip yourself accordingly.

Daytime is warm in the summer months, so carry light, cotton wear.

And as always, carry your ID card with you.

Additional Information –

A very spacious open air parking is available.

Paid laundry service is provided, which is outsourced.

CCTV cameras are installed in outdoor areas for security.

Accommodation is provided for the personal staff of their guests, depending on availability. The alternate option is a homestay which is around 3 km from the resort.

Getting there – 

The Kannur International airport is 145 km away and likewise the Mysore airport too is around the same distance from Ayatana Coorg.

Mangalore airport is 150 km away.

Kempegowda International Airport, Bangalore, which is the best connected one in comparison with the above airports, is around 300 km away.

Driving down by taxi or private car from Kannur, Mysore, Mangalore or Bangalore, is the most convenient way to get to the place.

The resort organises airport pick up and drop facility if needed.

Booking and contact – 

Address –

Ayatana Coorg, Mallalli Water Falls Road,

Kumaralli, Coorg, Karnataka – 573123

Email – reservations@Ayatanacoorg.com

Phone +91 9945502000

Website of Ayatana Coorg

Instagram of Ayatana Coorg 

Facebook Page of Ayatana Coorg

Please Note –

This trip was in collaboration with Ayatana Coorg and Karnataka Tourism Forum (KTF) and I thank them for the hospitality. My narration is based on the inputs I received from various sources as well as my personal experiences.

I would really appreciate your feedback and comments in the comment box below.

For more pictures see My Facebook –  Ayatana Coorg (Coming soon)

Also catch me on My FacebookMy Facebook pageMy Twitter and My Instagram

This itinerary was specially curated hence some of the features might have been personalized accordingly. Before booking, please check the facilities offered in your package.

July 31st – Aug 2nd, 2023


About Currylines

A food and travel enthusiast who plays with words
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1 Response to Ayatana Coorg

  1. Meenakshi says:

    Nice place and very good details on the place.

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