We left Kakkanad early morning (5:40AM) hoping to reach Coonoor around lunchtime. As it turned out, the stretch till Thrissur on the 4-lane highway went really quick but the following 20KM was a drag - single lane with bumpy roads. We reached Coimbatore town area around 9:30AM. It took a little while to find a decent restaurant for breakfast before ending up at Annapoorna on the Ooty route after Salem turning. We left Coimbatore around 10:45AM - the Coimbatore-Ooty route is 100KM and the road is OK but the 14 hair-pin bends slow you down. All told, we managed to reach Coonoor around 1PM.
Going by the glowing reviews on TripAdvisor, we reserved an overnight stay at Sunvalley Homestay in Coonoor well in advance - went by their quoted special rate of Rs 3200/- including breakfast for the four of us in a twin-queen-bedded room. They require a Rs 2000/- deposit to confirm reservation which we arranged using Net Banking. The check-in time was 2PM and so our timing worked perfectly. They had mentioned to call them up so as to arrange an escort to the homestay from town center. We did not consider this a big deal as the directions at their site seemed straight-forward. A person at the resort called us up well before we reached Coonoor and said they will wait for us in the road in front of the railway station. Later, we realized the reason this is done is because it will be almost impossible to locate the place otherwise - it is around 3-4KM uphill from the first junction before railway station & the way is not paved in the final stretch. It is a secluded spot overlooking a tea estate. The view from the balcony is fantastic and every room has a view of the tea estate that surrounds the place. The highlight of the facility is the food on offer: we ordered special thali and some Chinese dishes for dinner and they were excellent. The Kesari dessert was however below par. For breakfast, they asked in advance what we wanted - we went with Dosa, Upma, Appam and Curries and they were again excellent. The staff is all from Palghat and they try to please as best as they can. Overall, we found the place a little underwhelming. Although the information in the Trip Advisor reviews were generally accurate, the place has a long way to go before it can be termed a “resort” by any stretch of imagination:
- There is absolutely nothing to do there: “Tea Estate walk straight from resort” is listed as an activity but hiking in the area without a trail-guide is discouraged as venomous snakes are common. Despite the warnings, we still went for a long walk amidst the tea plantations and that was a very soothing experience. Also, keep in mind that you are essentially trespassing on private property as the tea-estate is not part of the “resort”.
- Carroms/chess/shuttle/sands are also listed as activities offered at the resort but none of this is really a viable option: the car parking area was shown as the place for shuttle and the dingy basement area for the other activities - equipment was also lacking.
- “Ayurvedic massage therapies for gents & ladies” is mentioned although none was on offer when we inquired.
- We were the only guests for the night and the place is very small with only a handful of rooms. Overall, during our stay, the place appeared deserted.
- No proper restaurant - there is an eatery area in the basement were breakfast is served. Other meals are delivered to the room.
- The rooms are new and tidy but none of the windows and doors can be kept open as flies get in as soon as you open.
- No refrigerator, locker, etc. in the rooms.
- The state of Tamilnadu is notorious for regular power cuts and there are no backup facilities. When we were there, power was scheduled to be out from 8-10AM and 2-4PM.
We checked out around 9AM in the morning - the staff had advised that we leave around that time as there is construction going on and the roads may get blocked. As luck might have it, we got stuck for over half an hour as a municipality trucker decided unwisely to pass by the narrow approach road despite the fact that there was no way for it to go through as a a giant roller was parked on the way.
Overall, we recommend this place if your idea of taking a break is complete solitude with good food whenever you please! This is not your place, if you are on the lookout for a resort with facilities such as nice restaurant, games, hiking, natural therapeutic options, and swimming pool.
- Ooty Toy Train - Nilgiri Mountain Railway - Trip Report.
- Coonoor Sunvalley Homestay Review.
- Ooty Trip Report.
Last Updated: 01/2013.