Coorg is home to some of the finest resorts not just in India but globally. Given its close proximity to Bangalore we end up going every 3 years and our past stay at Evolve (Earlier Orange County), Taj and Tamara was wonderful. This trip we discovered IBNII – a wonderful luxury Eco Resort, and I feel it may just pip the others to win the Jewel in the Crown tag.
So what makes IBNII unique?
Blending with nature
120 Acres of dense evergreen foliage and only 34 cottages that are almost camouflaged. The structures at IBNII seem to disappear into the landscape or flow into the contours. The design is aesthetically done. IBNII means a dew drop – and the creators of this property have treasured every drop of nature in their premise. I believe the brief given to the architect was that no tree was to be chopped while building the property, so the designers found niches and built the structures around them. You will see this design philosophy across the entire property – from the flying coffee shop, cascading pools to the hidden Spa.
The spirit of IBNII is Eco Consciousness. Even if it threatens commercial viability. One of the first things constructed was a check dam to store all the water from the rains and make IBNII self sufficient. The water body created is so large it feels like a large lake with a wide variety of fishes.
They have some very interesting concepts. Firstly to avoid radiation there are no cell towers – all of you have is good strong Wi Fi. Food wastage at the restaurant is penalised – so please be careful and fill your plate only with what you can eat.
A Healthy Lifestyle
Fresh air, greenery, lovely cool climate – add to that a healthy lifestyle. Cooking does not include Sugar and even for tea/coffee you are given sugar cubes only if you insist (Normal is jaggery syrup). Maida is sparingly used, white bread is not recommended. No preservatives, no colours and no baking soda. Thats why you will not find Chinese food in the menu here. They have a small organic farm from where ~ 50% of their daily needs are met, and efforts are on to expand the farm.
One rate that’s all inclusive
Many resorts fleece you on dining costs. At IBNII that rate you pay includes all meals – breakfast, lunch & dinner. And the evening tea/ coffee at the coffee shop is also free. Now thats a deal. The restaurant serves an excellent variety of multicusine food across all meals. And most importantly service is fast and efficient.
A lot to keep you busy
On our 2 night trip we did not feel the need to step out of the property. ( although we did find time to visit an ancient Shiva temple built by sage Agastya at Guhya on the banks of the Cauvery). From morning to evening there is a lot happening to keep you busy. I missed the trekking and fishing – but those I was told are getting added soon. It would be nice to have some cultural entertainment during dinner – music / dance performance etc, probably because of COVID that was not possible.
How do I choose my room?
There are only 35 rooms here. 22 are pool villas (Kopi Luwak), 12 are wooden cottages (Arnetta) and the exclusive royal Presidential Suite (Poinsettia). Rooms are beautifully done up with excellent views. the bathrooms are large and spacious and built with separate doors for all sub units
Point to note there are only 2 family rooms, these are two adjacent Wooden Cottages with a connecting door. While individual Wooden Cottages are Couples only the Pool Villas can accommodate an additional adult or children. The family units are not listed on the website so when you call ask for them (The rooms we stayed was 210 – 211)
A few more points to help travellers
- Location – Its bang on the highway. So no last mile problems. The drive from Mysore is 2 1/2 hrs. Good roads all through
- The electrical buggy drops you and picks you up during check out. the rest of the time you walk. The walk ways are cemented and broad and run almost 9 kms thru the property. A walk to the restaurant / coffee shop etc is 5 – 10 min and not steep.
- Morning coffee is served only at 7 AM – but you have a complicated high end coffee machine in the room. If you can figure out how to use it then problem solved.
- I did not use the Spa but it seemed well equipped – in addition a wellness centre is coming up.
- You can pick up pure organic Turmeric / Coffee / Pepper / Honey ( seasonal) that they grow at IBNII. Its very reasonably priced
- The service at IBNII is efficient and subtle. Food menu consists of Veg & Non Veg
- Drivers stay for free and the food is charged very nominally – I think it was less than 250 Rs / day for all 3 meals.
- For more details https://www.ibnii.com
And finally some inputs / critical appreciation to the founders of IBNII and resort owners at Coorg…..
While we enjoyed the trip my daughter mentioned on the return journey ” All the resorts we have visited in Coorg look and feel the same”
IBNII is a an example of a great product that is missing a distinct positioning and packaging. Thats the same with most of the amazing resorts at Coorg. The owners have spent upwards of 500 – 1000 Crores in building up these fabulous properties, but they all seem to be almost 90% same. The unique branding opportunity is missing. Ananda in Rishikesh has a clear positioning – Ananda Spa, Swaswara in Gokarna has a unique positioning – healthy food and wellness , Shreyas in Bangalore is about Self Discovery & wellness targeted at the solo traveller. IBNII needs to find a positioning like this and build services to deliver the promise. Its an opportunity to make the property unique and sought after in India.
Coorg is such an amazing place it can establish itself like Bali or the French Riveria on the global tourism map. This requires working with the local authorities to create more experience led activities. If you don’t want Coorg to become an Ooty or Simla price it accordingly.
Experiencing nature – Trekking (not the run of the mill tracks but offbeat), experiencing the beauty of the Cauvery river, Bird watching, building a mini botanical garden …. there is a lot that can be explored to attract serious tourists from across the globe who will come and spend a week or more.