An 18th century palace retreat
Luxury Boutique Hotel From USD $235
Ooty, Tamil Nadu , India
1 Bedroom, sleeps 2
From USD $235
Enjoy a true blue royal experience at this red and white Shangri-La situated in the blue Nilgiri Hills of Ooty, in Tamil Nadu. Once a palatial abode of the Royals of Mysore … now a retreat for the rich and famous. A place to reflect and relax, an oasis of calm in a frenzied world.
Erected in 1844 by Captain F. Cotton during the days of the British raj, the Fernhills Palace served as a vibrant summer abode for Maharajas of Mysore. The red and white gallant structure is set against the backdrop of the misty Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu’s most popular hill station Ooty (also called Udhagamandalam).
The ownership of this 40 acre estate was claimed by many until the mid-1860s, when it was temporarily christened Moonesami; in an attempt to become one of Ooty’s earliest hotels. However, in a curious twist of fate this estate was bought over in 1873 for a mere Rs. 10,000; an amount so little, even a room at the hotel is more expensive than that.
The owner, Prince Chamarajendra Wadiyar X, was not only the first Indian from a royal lineage, but also he was only 12 years old at the time. His ambitious purchase managed to keep the palace with the Wadiyar Dynasty that till today continues to remain under the supervision of Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wadiyar.
Made with Burmese teak, the décor consists of elements with subtle accents of English country style living such as the use of yellow and green known to represent English country gardens, and sturdy wooden cabinets made of red mahogany. The 50 acres house a series of well-maintained lawns and gardens, lush forests, undulating hills, and tea gardens. The most resplendent room at the hotel is its ballroom with an ornate, and unusual, ceiling made from papier mache.
The 19 rooms are divided into six Junior Suites, five Executive Suites, four Superior Suites, three Deluxe Suites, two Luxury Suites, and one Super Luxury Suite. Most of the furniture is reminiscent of the Victorian era with a combination of architectural styles like gothic and neo-classical renaissance.
Welcomed by snazzy chandeliers, the rooms come with royal trimmings like king-sized beds, life-size mirrors embellished in gold in a private dressing room, and options of sit-outs, verandas, courtyards, and private gardens all with nature views by the window sills.
Among the modern amenities, you can expect Jacuzzis, LCD TVs with DVD players and VCD on request, mini bars, tea/coffee makers, electronic safes, fire extinguishers, and even a fax machine. Internet access is complimentary, but for a limited period; charges apply thereafter. Newspapers and magazines are also provided.
With a restaurant called Curry & Rice, chances are you think your food choices are limited. On the contrary, it specializes in Anglo-Indian, Continental, Chinese and local Nilgiri cuisine. In addition, the chefs also prepare low calorie meals for health food fanatics.
The restaurant gets its name from George Francklin Atkinson’s book ‘Curry and Rice on Forty Plates’ based on the British’s arrival in India, published in 1859. They can whip up an authentic Badaga (the original tribes of the Nilgiris) meal upon request.
For a pint of beer, there is an English-pub style bar called Fox Hunt enveloped in a décor dominated by saddles, harness, and hunting horns. However, if you hope to enjoy a royal banquet, they’d be happy to help set one up.
While indoors, your options range from nature walks, horse riding, fishing, cycling, a game of billiards or a hand at tennis. Alternatively, you can enjoy a book at the library, a spa treatment, or special culinary classes that vary with seasons.
Heading out, hop on the toy train to Coonoor, or explore the Botanical Garden, Ooty Lake, Madumalai Wildlife Sanctuary or Sim’s Park.
"It was a delightful surprise. We booked this property as couldn’t find any interesting hotels in Ooty while searching online. The hotel rooms were an absolute delight; our suite had a great living room with generous woodwork, a lobby, a covered verandah with glass doors and windows, a bedroom and a very luxurious bathroom with a Jacuzzi. There were LCD screens in both, the living room and bedroom with cable. Heaters were in the process of being installed in all rooms/bathroom and the lobby. Food options were limited, but whatever was on the menu was well made. Staff was very friendly and warm. Room service was great too. The overall feel of the place is wonderful; it’s a true delight and has unbelievable value for money." Azimuthal, Mumbai.
"The premises of a former Maharaja’s Palace way past its prime. The heat is not turned on until December, so you are relegated to a small space heater and hot water bottles in the room. In the absence of a liquor license, you could get only room temperature beers. The dining staff tried hard to please and the staff allowed us to use our laptop near the front desk, which had the only internet service. The place needs better service." Caren, Greenwich.
"The place is beautiful. The only things that seem out of place are the average staff and average food. I wish they up the standards." Koushik, India.
USD $235 to USD $530, per night (including breakfast)