The Fern Creek, Kodaikanal - Luxury in an Enchanted Forest
Have you ever desired to live in an enchanted rainy forest? What if you discover a place in such a forest with luxurious tents and all amenities? Wouldn't it be a romantic paradise? Wouldn't time become immaterial taken over by your desire to stay there forever with your partner? This is what we felt during our 2 day stay at Fern Creek in Kodaikanal, India. The Fern Creek is a heavenly abode for those who are looking for lots of fresh air, for those who want to heal their souls and mind wounded by corporate pressure, automated routines and urban noise and pollution, for those who look for untouched, raw beauty and for those who just want to laze around, relax, refresh, revive and be pampered.
The Fern Creek is located in the magical hills of Palani Mountains, in the heart of Kodaikanal, South India. Although it is situated on the Fern Hill road, just 2 km from the bustling Kodai Lake, it is far away from the crowded, noisy and touristy Kodai town. We visited the resort in September 2017. This season was funnily a mix of weathers – it was sunny, rainy with a few showers, misty and cold all at the same time. Though we had mapped the resort on GPS, it was still difficult to locate it while approaching which we later realised is good, as it keeps the touristy people away from this beautiful place. It is a camouflaged hidden gem which blends with the nature in a seamless way. We parked our two-wheeler in the well paved big parking area. The first thing we felt was like arriving in British era with classical exteriors and elaborate interiors, grouped windows, red clay roof tiles and whitewashed walls – all of these tucked in oasis of lush greenery. We were welcomed by Mr. Raj, the receptionist and Mr. Michael, the manager. Our check-in was greeted with the hot cup of coffee. The reception was cosy with ornate chimneys and wooden furniture enriched with climbing bougainvillea all around. The tranquil setting of the resort was a welcoming retreat. We were suddenly aware of the complete silence. We couldn't understand how come this place is so quiet!
After a few check-in formalities, Michael escorted us to our tent. Descending through the paved garden, we felt like roaming in a mystical jungle. We were surrounded by flowering lilies, pine and eucalyptus trees, and a wonderful landscape full of greenery. The way to our tent felt more like stepping into an enchanted forest. The deeper we got, the more beautiful it became. The curving pathway takes you to lower levels through such thick flora that it eclipses the outside world.
We were taken to our Swiss luxury tent and were briefed regarding all the amenities. The tent was indeed huge and luxurious with every small detail taken into account. It comprised of a large bedroom, an enormous washroom and a pleasant sit out area. The bedroom was built on a raised platform, had wooden flooring, a comfortable king size bed, side tables, a big couch, a full length mirror, a large wardrobe, a luggage cum shoe rack, a giant LCD TV and a room heater. The washroom was connected with the bedroom with a tent zip and was even more extravagant with partitioned wet and dry areas, luxurious fittings, clean linens, herbal toiletries, a large mirror, huge basin, a rack, a hair-dryer, a cloth hanger and a pest repeller. All furniture tastefully done using teak wood, gave a very different touch to the room from the regular concrete hotel rooms. The tent was even equipped with weather protection and a power back-up. Being eco-friendly, the tents were lowly lit with yellow lamps giving it a romantic european feel. The tent even had a roll-up window with net in case one needs more light. The sit-out area had a wooden bench and two chairs laid out in the front garden to just sit and relax. The whole set-up was clean and nicely maintained.
As soon as we settled, we were curious to check the surroundings. There are a total of 6 tents spread distantly across a 2 acre area ensuring privacy to all guests. We loved the verandah and separate sit-outs provided for each tent. There’s a separate tent for honeymooners at the distant end of the property which seemed slightly bigger with a wooden bridge entrance, a tiny stream of water and a cozy sit-out area. Each tent is set apart through well lit paved rocks, narrow passages, manicured lawns, lush green gardens, tall trees and varieties of flowers that gave us a taste of nature. The creepers interspersed between the trees at places creating a dense green cover. Hats off to the gardeners, who in spite of the water problems in Kodaikanal, had done a terrific job with the maintenance as well as the pest control. There were no creepy insects or mosquitoes visible throughout.
The gardens had lovely cylindrical wooden seats and hammocks to relax. There is also a fire pit area, a tiny temple, a gazebo with lounges and wooden sculptures placed randomly which gives a decorative touch to the property. The ambience is homely filled with fresh air and aroma of eucalyptus, lilies and pine. The place brought us close to nature without compromising on luxury and comfort. All the natural beauty was enhanced by the lovely weather. It rained heavily on the first day we arrived and we felt like being inside a mystical rainy forest. Sitting on the porch outside the tent, we enjoyed the rain under the vast green canopy. There was a bizarre silence, no sounds except the constant chirping of crickets, croaking of frogs, rustling of leaves, tweeting of playful birds, gurgling of water, thundering of clouds and pitter-patter of raindrops. Strangely, we felt extremely safe like being at home; even the tents had no leakage despite the heavy downpour.
As the evening approached, hunger pangs started striking us. We walked to the reception to check if we could get some light snacks to munch on. Mr. Parthiban, the chef, offered us personalized service ensuring that he will cook whatever we wanted to eat. While our snacks were being prepared, we visited the recreation room which is opposite the reception area. It was equipped with a home theatre, a great collection of movie DVD’s and a lot of books. There was a fireplace and a few extremely comfortable sofas for one to just relax, watch movie or read books. It also had carrom and badminton as a few games to enjoy. They also have badminton racquets which can be used to play in the huge parking area. The moment we went back to our tent, our snacks were brought right there hot and properly covered. The French fries were crispy and finger-licking good. Parthiban also took our order for dinner where we had a menu of own choice and everything was to be prepared based on our inputs.
We had our dinner in the dining hall located in the same house as reception. The dining hall was warm and very nicely decorated with large mirrors, paintings and wooden artifacts. The food served was fresh, homely and very tasty with the right amount of spices. Michael and Parthiban were around all time to ensure that we got what we needed and to enquire if we liked the food. Their hospitality made us overstuff ourselves. Parthiban prepared us the best Veg. Manchurian that we had ever had; it was so tasty that we ordered it again the next day. Michael also clicked us a few lovely photographs.
After dinner, we sat for a while with Michael discussing about the resort, Kodaikanal and its life. We got to know that the resort was once a holiday home to the owners of this place; who then converted it into a boutique hotel. Also the food is always freshly prepared using bottled water and is free of any processed fat, artificial color, ajinomoto, MSG, or preservatives. We talked about Kodai people, their laid-back life and the weather. Michael was quite a generous, polite and knowledgeable person. He suggested us best shops to buy chocolates and essential oils. The night view of the resort was awesome. We did get some night photos of this place which had already captured our imaginations. The low yellow street lights lighted up our enchanted forest. We missed the campfire that night as it was too damp and rainy. While returning back to our tent, the security guard accompanied us with a torch which was very kind. The infectious smile, neat mannerisms and friendly and helpful nature of the staff touched our heart. The heater kept us warm throughout the night and we had a good sleep.
We woke up to chirping birds in the morning. The sun had made its way out of the clouds and we sat on the chairs in our private garden enjoying the warmth of sun rays and lending our ears to the birdsongs that emerged from among the woods. The time and place felt ideal for one to introspect or to relax and bond with the nature as the time felt still. The hot water bath with fragrant herbal soap was quite refreshing. It was a lovely day to explore the green flora of fern creek. With dew still present on leaves, sun rays sneaking through the thick trees and flowers blooming, it felt simply magical.
We soon left for sight-seeing trip for the day. In the evening on returning, we were surprised to find a lovely flower decoration on the bed. We felt great at this warm and sweet gesture. We ordered those great veg manchurian again, this time in our rooms itself as we relaxed while watching a movie in our room.
The staff gave us royal treatment for the two nights we spent there and we were pampered to the highest level. Right from the manager to the gardener to the maintenance staff; everyone was so professional, friendly and kind enough to help us with all requirements be it food or other amenities. Everyone met us with a warm smile. The chef, Mr. Parthiban even suggested us a secret ingredient to prepare soft and crispy dosas and pooris. Mr.Raj for being present whenever needed and Mr.Michael for being so courteous & helpful deserves a special mention. Also Mrs. Aarthy who promptly changed our booking dates at the last minute upon our request.
The only area of improvement we could identify was a minor inconvenience we felt while looking for plug points to charge our mobiles. We realized they were hidden on the floor as walls are tented. It was also difficult to reach them behind the furnitures and an extension cable would be very useful given everyone carries many electronics that need charging.
We would like to thank the creators of Fern Creek for their wonderful vision, attention to detail, thoughtfulness, and top notch service. They all have worked hard to maintain the sanctity of the resort and have prevented it from becoming a commercial hotspot. We never felt an urge to kill time behind our mobiles or social media during our stay. We would recommend this mystical jungle to all those who happen to look out for tranquility, intimacy and natural setting. While leaving, we felt like leaving our hearts behind.
Would you love to experience the luxuries of the enchanted forest we discovered? Do let us know your thoughts in the comment section below. You can book them through any of the online travel portals or through their official site here.
Note: All opinions expressed in this blog are our own and not influenced by The Fern Creek in any manner.
The dress in the pictures is by SHEIN. Click below to check out their collection.