Always on the lookout for offbeat locations I was lucky to find Wildwood’s Spa on the internet . Most folks in Bangalore wait for long weekends to plan a getaway – and after a few years having covered Coorg, Ooty, Kodai, Bandipur, Chickmagalur, Waynad, Hampi & Badami – I was happy to find another great location in Karnataka. We are lucky that Karnataka has so much to see
Located 130 Km from Mangalore (3 hr Drive) its north of Mangalore on the Mangalore – Goa highway. We took a flight to Mangalore and then drove to the resort – Roads are single track but decent for 90% of the route . There is however a more convenient option of taking a night Train from Bangalore 16523/24 Karwar / Kannur Express that leaves bangalore at 8 PM and reaches Byndoor at 11 AM. Byndoor is a 15 min drive from the Resort. I recommend you take this – don’t get confused by the name – the train that leaves Bangalore splits into two at Mangalore – one half goes to Kannur and the other to Karwar.
About the Resort
Its a new resort – 18 months old with 9 Cottages and 16 Villas. Spread across two tracts of land 4 Acres & 16 acres separated by a village road. The Cottages are in the 4 Acre property and the Villas in the 16 Acre. The Resort is in the last stage of completion and the Villa section is 90% done. Its a botanical resort with over 7000 species of plants set at the border of the jungle with a nice small river encircling it. The greenery attracts a lot of birds and butterflies – a rarety for city dwellers today.
3 Things that make the Resort appealing
1. Lovely Location – Lots of greenery – Gurgling River less than 50 feet from your room
2. Nice Rooms , Great Service , Homely food
3. Lots to see – Beaches / Temples / Treks
The rooms are nice & spacious. We had booked the largest room (Room – 1) that came with 2 Bedrooms – 2 Baths. The Bathrooms are well designed , with all modern amenities. Rooms are designed with Thatched roofs and well covered – so even during day you need the lights on.
A TV in both rooms with Cable connection , AC , Fan and Coffee Machine makes it effective and functional with all the amenities you need. The rooms has a small sit out with a bench that overlooks the river.The Cottage section of the Resort spread across 4 acres is small – the Restaurant and Spa are a stones throw from the room.
We Paid 15 K / Night for the two Bed Room – that included all meals.
Food is homely and tasty , mainly Veg. Spread is decent but not as expansive as a 5 star hotel. The Chef is open to suggestions from guests. One day he even served us “Brahmi Spinach Curry” – thats the leaf that helps with your memory. The morning juice was also exotic – on day 2 we were served a drink that looked like it was full go fish eggs – on enquiry we were told that its a local drink called ” Tampina Beeja” which is supposedly good for keeping the body cool.
Liquor is not served – but you are welcome to get some from home and have in your room. If you came here thinking of Mangalorean fish – then you may be disappointed (We were happy not to get the Fish smell)
The best activity
While there are many things to do the best activity we liked was the trek up the Kosalli Falls. Its about 6 Km – and takes 2 hr one way. A tough trek ( by my standards) its thru thick jungles and some parts are on the edge of the hill. I just made it puffing and panting – but the kids had great fun and beat us hollow.
The other attractions nearby are the beautiful beaches.
We visited 3 beaches of which 2 were outstanding.
The Someshwara beach is the closest – 15 Km , 30 min drive from the Resort. Its also the beach where a river meets the Arabian Sea. Empty , neat and clean its rare to find a beach like this in India. No hawkers, No shanties, Nobody ogling at women – its a great beach. The other beach I would recommend is the Marawanthe beach – a 1 hr drive from the resort its on the way back to Mangalore. The temple town of Murudeshwar also has a beach – but that is very commercial. Water in this part of the country is rough and swimming is not advised.
For the religious minded there are some famous temples to visit. Udupi – 85 Km , Kolur Mookambika – 40 Kms, Gokarna – 120 Km , Murudeshwar – 37 Km. And for some more fun Jog Falls is 120 Km ( 3 hrs drive) and Goa is just 4 hrs away.
This is also Cashew land – you can see forests of Cashew trees on both sides of the road as you drive. We visited a cashew factory and saw the laborious process of how Cashew Kernels are boiled/burnt and then the nut is cracked open. Post that they are manually scraped and cleaned and then graded by size. At the end of it you get amazingly tasty cashews at a price thats almost 50% of what you get in Bangalore – Rs 500/- Kg.
Other activities - Long Walks , TT & Badminton, Non Monsoon season they arrange for River activities, and even Snorkelling. Many of the activities are seasonal. We enjoyed our morning walks along lush green paddy fields every day. But Kids can get bored – so plan to come in a group.
Its humid – even in end Sep the Temp was 30 +. The best season as always is Nov to Feb. Summers can be very hot and Monsoon is clearly avoidable.
In Conclusion – we loved the place. Yes getting there was a bit of a challenge and the 5 K for the Innova from Mangalore to the Resort was a bit too expensive. Food was good, service was great and we had enough to do for 3 days. It did help a lot that were two families – I strongly recommend that you go as a group. It takes a lot of passion and energy to run a resort like this – hats off to the owner and his team for doing a super job. I don’t think they make any profit out of this venture.
If I were to make 3 suggestions to the Hotel management – they would be
1. Decide your positioning – Spa Centric or Nature Centric , The name Wildwoods Spa – gives it a feeling that its Spa Centric , but in reality its a Nature Resort
2. Package your activities – 1/2 day modules , and sell that package , as of now you decide where to go and the hotel helps you with local transport.
3. Create more activities for Kids – if in Monsoon river activities are not possible , create something like Cooking , gardening etc – Kids need activity – The Cashew burring activity we did one day was excellent and well appreciated by the kids.
Yes the place does not have Internet/Wifi – I think thats a blessing in disguise.
As we wrap up one holiday we are already set for the next one in Dec – as we head to the Himalayas, our bookings are done and we are looking forward to some mountain fun and snow time at Soulitude in the Himalayas. Look out for that Blog in Dec