Home Chennai The great escape

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Sterling Holidays’ latest property is a quaint resort in the midst of  forested land and on a river bank

THERE are two things you must keep in mind when you head to Anaikatti-By The Siruvani — firstly, be ready for really weak reception of mobile networks, and secondly, drive slow if you are making your way to the resort at night. We will get back to the reason behind the second condition a little later; but for now, know that the latest property by Sterling Holidays is not for those who are hoping to send work mails or make calls during their stay here. This is what I would call, the Great Escape. The earlier frustration of not being able to use my phone for anything worthwhile slowly made way for a kind of peace I did not expect during my two-day stay here. Add to that the marvellous view from my room—the beautiful Siruvani River filling the air with the refreshing sound of gushing water coupled with the mighty Western Ghats in all its glory. Not intending to waste even a second of my time there, I immediately check in, have lunch at the in-house restaurant (more about the food later), and step out to explore the property. But before that, a brief introduction is in order.
Inside story
Anaikatti-By The Siruvani is Sterling Holiday’s 31st resort in the country, with other properties including Darjeeling Khush Alaya, Dindi By The Godavari, Ooty Elk Hill, Yercaud Rock Perch and others. Previously Aqua Flow resort (now leased to Sterling), it is located in a village called Kottathara in Wayanad. Its 33 rooms are housed inside fashionable wooden cottages, and are evenly spaced out inside the property, while the pool, restaurant and coffee shop, gym, activity centre and mini-golf arena are all ensconced at a comfortable distance from each
other. There is also a play area for kids (with swings for example), while the benches outdoors provide quick respite to senior citizens. The rooms are equipped with all basic amenities (including a microwave, safety locker, and a mini-bar), and has a rustic feel thanks to wooden interiors.
Plated perfection
On the menu, expect a fine balance of Kerala and Tamil Nadu cuisine, with more variety shown in the former. Regional
specialities like avial, Malabar fish curry and kozhi varutharacha curry will impress any Keralite. As for Tamilians, names like baby corn varuval, vendakkai moru kuzhambu and poriyal are ready to tempt. Breakfast options are aplenty, with a cinnamon French toast sharing space with South Indian staples like idlis, dosas and medu vadas. But, if you take my word, you won’t be disappointed if you wish for fish—the sea food at the restaurant has variety, tastes wonderful and is a must-try.
Pamper station
One of the most sought-after services will be provided at the spa, where Ayurveda takes centrestage. Procedures on offer include abhyamgam, shirodhara (liquids like oils, milk and coconut water are poured on the forehead), marma massage, and a hand/foot
massage called hasta pada abhyanga and podikizhi (medicated powders soaked in oils are applied over specific areas). Besides this, there are also international treatments where fragrant oils are used.
Hit the road
For thrill-seekers, the jeep safari into the inner areas of the nearby forests is a must. If lucky, you will spot native
animals like wild boars, deer and bison, and (on a more cautious note, if I might add) you might spot an elephant or two taking a stroll across the road to the river. During the day, you can visit tourist hotspots like the Silent Valley National Park and Kovai Kutralam, while back at the resort, activities like magic show and traditional games promise to keep guests of all ages occupied through the day. Now, who’s planning a
holiday?
Rs 5,500-Rs 6,500 for two per night (breakfast included). Details: 04924 227100
(The writer was invited by Sterling Holidays)
— Karan Pillai

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