March 15, 2013

Coffee Scrubs, Poolside Dinners and lots of Good Conversation

Women's day came with quite a surprise this year. Thanks to a few friends who read my blog, I was invited to spend two days at the beautiful Serai resorts in the coffee estates in Chikmagalur along with 8 other bloggers.

Although initially reluctant, the offer was quite tempting especially once I invited my aunt, a great cook who recently started her own blog.

Coffee and Introductions

The trip began at Coffee Day Square in Bangalore with introductions over breakfast. There was no holding back and the chatter grew louder as we boarded the vehicle. It was almost surprising that most were meeting each other for the first time. 

Villas, Hospitality and High Tea

Five hours later and we were welcomed with jasmine and cold coffee and escorted to our villas. Our own private pool, the beds that beckon you to fall into them and a bathtub by a bay window in a bathroom I could live in! I could get used to this. 

Our tour of the resort only made me love the place more. Designed by Architects, Gayathri Shetty and Namith Verma of GNA in 2008, the resort is nestled in the middle of 70 acres of coffee plantation. The main building sits at the top of the hill and the cottages terraced on the slope on either side of a water feature acting as an axis.

The bright open spaces with light and landscape seeping in, the lotus' blooming in basins of shallow water, the splashes of colour in the interiors, the staircases connecting the villas and the distant views of Chikmagalur town. 

The tour culminated with high tea on the helipad. Despite only eating lunch two hours earlier, the food was not something to skip. 

Candles, Barbecue and Chocolate Making

The chef at the Odyssey restaurant treated us to a lesson in chocolate making. His skill seemed so effortless and once they were done, they were wolfed down quite quickly. 

As we toured the resort, we couldn't help but notice a table being laid out by the pool. Once evening set in, our table was lit by pretty lanterns. Once seated, we served ourselves from the live barbecue. I think we assumed that it was our main course and didn't leave enough space for the courses that followed. Roasted zucchinis and corn on the cob were the highlight. The main course was a spread of typical Malnad food of kai kadabu, akki rottis, potato palya and some sort of curried brinjals and more. Unfortunately, my food pictures didn't come out that well because of the dim lighting. But it was barely something to be upset about. The night was perfect in all respects- the food, the setting, the company and conversation all ended with a warm lava cake and ice cream for dessert. I fell asleep barely a few seconds after sinking into the pillows.

Cycling, Swimming and Early Mornings

With the excitement of this trip (and with trips in general), I woke up early anxious to do something and make use of every amenity. Three other early risers and I went cycling. Unfortunately the pedals were really stiff and we only managed a couple of rounds before we collapsed on the stairs. Thankfully a dip in the pool after, required a lot less energy, once the initial cold was overcome.

Breakfast was this enormous spread. Everything from croissants and doughnuts to idlis and uthapam to omelettes and baked beans. I, of course ate as much as I could from all cuisines.

Tractors, Coffee and Coconut Water

Riding in the back of a tractor was something I've always wanted to do! And that's exactly what we got to do. A bit hard on the coccyx, but enjoyable nonetheless, we meandered through coffee estates shaded by the silver birches with pepper creepers adding more greenery to the landscape. Our parched throats were quickly quenched by refreshing coconut water. Next we had a demonstration on the process of coffee bean to cup. The roasting, grinding, addition of milk and chicory and finally strained to make the perfect cup of coffee. 

Coffee Scrub, Bubble Baths and Live Music

The one hour at the Oma Spa was probably one of the highlights of the trip. The uneasiness after being a bit travel sick were quickly dissipated once I got to the spa. A few minutes in the steam room seemed like hours with furnace temperatures and opaque steam but it did it's job and opened every pore on my skin. For the next 40 minutes, a scrub made from aromatic freshly ground coffee was massaged into my skin by gentle, but quite firm hands. My skin has never felt so polished and yet, despite the abrasive scrub, I may have dozed off for a few of those minutes. A hot bath finished off my spa therapy.

The main pool was the most picturesque at the resort. The staggered roofs of the villas against the plantation backdrop and the faint lights of Chikmagalur town.
In continuation of my relaxed afternoon, I soaked in the bathtub of sandalwood and vetiver bubbles. Bliss.

Dinner was another event. All of us dressed up for the night, a spread of umpteen dishes and to top it all off, a live singer and guitarist.

We gorged on pasta, soup, rotis and curry, and idli paddu (fried idli batter) with coconut chutney (at least a few platefuls) while the likes of 'Woman in Red', 'No woman, no cry' and many more completed our dinner setting. 

The decadent desserts were hard to resist. Our stomachs beyond capacity still manged to accommodate just a little bit more and maybe even seconds.  :P Too full to walk comfortably, we strolled back to our villas and sunk into the softest pillows ever. 

Yoga, Photo-shoots and Farewells

I was lucky enough to start the day with a half hour yoga session. 5 of us girls in the morning- one, as the instructor, 2 of us as the students, and the other 2 as onlookers trying hard (and failing) to keep the laughter in. Aside from our shaky balance, stiff muscles and far from flexible bodies, the session was surprisingly rejuvenating.

Breakfast followed a photo-shoot by our talented photographer. It was fun posing although I am slightly embarrassed to share those pictures. After packing and group pictures, we were back on the road and back to our boring, non-pampered lives away from private pools, gourmet food and spas.

Big thanks to The Serai Resorts and Cafe Coffee Day and the organisers and staff. It was a truly wonderful trip!

I didn't take any pictures of the lovely ladies I got to meet.
But here are their blogs. Do check them out.


Shivonne Sampson said...

These look amazing!

Tanisha Christo said...

Thanks Shivonne. :)

1-THE-NA said...

Nice one Tanisha! U made me feel good, excited, proud of u and jealous at the same time! :D Keep it up!

Tanisha Christo said...

Much thanks Vandana!