Our travel agent did not recommend Ooty but we insisted on visiting largely on the basis that so many other South India tours include Ooty on their itineraries and the ‘toy train’.
We had initially booked the Taj Savoy but the hotel contacted us later to advise that all the other rooms had been booked by an Indian wedding party and hence it might be advisable to stay elsewhere – what a shame as King’s Cliff was a disaster.
I like to get up around 7 am and have a hot shower before dressing for breakfast. Not an unreasonable expectation I would have thought but that was not the case here. On neither of the cold January mornings that I stayed there did I manage to have a hot shower. On the second occasion I strongly complained to the duty manager only to be told that the hot water was now available as if now that after I had a freezing cold shower, was dressed and had breakfast, I should now go back to my room and have a hot shower. I shook my head in disbelief.
Unfortunately the denial mentality was as ubiquitous as the power supply was erratic. After one of the numerous ‘brown outs’, our TV (and apparently all the others) stopped functioning. I later discovered that neither my camera battery charger nor my electric toothbrush charger would function and both have had to be replaced.
Our ‘deluxe’ room was not particularly attractive with a bare very high roof that clearly was not going to be quick to heat. There was a fireplace but very little firewood is supplied and there is no other heating with the result that apart from about only two hours, our room was freezing cold.
Breakfast was served in a conservatory which is apparently some distance from the kitchen and the only attempt to keep the “hot” breakfast actually hot are inadequate tea lights. The food was lukewarm at best and a very poor variety was offered.
In fact the only favourable comments I can make about King’s Cliff are the decor in the common areas and the garden which were both tasteful and well maintained.
However our biggest mistake was even going to Ooty. Lonely Planet describes Conoor (at the other end of the ‘toy train’ ride) as “a bustling, honking mess”. It then goes on to describe Ooty as “a pine-clad retreat” and as ‘Snooty Ooty’ conjuring images of some sort of Indian version of an English Cotswold village. I can only assume that the authors consumed coffee in Conoor and something probably illegal in Ooty. Ooty is every bit as bad as Conoor. Yes, the grounds of some the resorts are attractive (as was King’s Cliff) but you don’t really get to appreciate them unless you are staying there.
The road from Mysore to Ooty is atrocious and on our trip whilst the road to Cochin is better, the views were mostly always obscured by cloud/mist/fog. The botanical gardens etc. were a total disappointment and don’t even start me on the waste of time of the ‘toy train’. Suffice it to say that it does not even belong in the same category as, say, the Flam railway in Norway as one might expect given its ‘world heritage’ status and it does not even have a steam loco. – just old, crowded carriages.
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- Also Known As:
- Kings Cliff Ootacamund
- Kings Cliff Hotel Ootacamund