A Few Good Things

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A Few Good Things

Tag: Family Resort Off Mangalore

“Baevu – The Village” Nature Retreat near Bangalore

A few years back I had discovered Shreyas – a lovely nature / Yoga retreat at Neelmangala and called it Bangalore’s best kept secret. This week we discovered another gem ” Baevu Village” on Kanakpura Road – 2 hrs drive from Bangalore.

“Baevu” in Kannada means Neem Tree and this 30 acre property has over 1000 Neem Trees. Its a green eco spot with over 800 Mango Trees and a wide variety of vegetables, herbs, paddy & ragi grown in an organic farm. Set in a scenic landscape surrounded by hills and forests its an oasis of greenery and tranquility.

The property recently opened and is still undergoing expansion. Currently it has 10 cottages ( 12 more are planned shortly). A Cowshed is under construction which will provide fresh milk products with the farm produce. And a Spa + Conference rooms is also in the works.

Baevu Village is in the heart of rustic Kanakpura and designed to melt in with the local ambience. The Cottages are designed with a rustic look using materials that the locals use. The Taps and buckets are brass , switches are the old black round ones, the food is an excellent fare of a wide variety of S Indian dishes, the furniture is homely and blends  in with the rustic look of the houses and the property.

The entire property is run on Solar power with 105 panels generating 30,000 KW. This is a unique property – and if you are a nature lover like me in the quest of quiet places don’t miss this one.

This property scores high on all counts and with a little bit of effort from the owners can make it to the coveted Relais & Châteaux list

  • Design / Architecture / Landscape – 10 / 10
  • Service – 10 / 10
  • Value For Money – 10 /10

Its owned by the Avani group (Shashidhar a Builder and his wife a Landscape architect) – the property has been designed in consultation with a Swiss Architect.

As you walk around the property you can stand below the Neem Tress and hear the buzzing of the bees and numerous birds chirping and singing, watch the squirrel and the chameleon darting away and admire the massive Papiya’s and the freshly grown Bhindi’s & Tomatoes. You can see natures bounty without Urea and pesticides. That is reflected in the quality of the food – which is fresh and tasty.

The property is surrounded by the Karadi Gudda & Banantamari Reserve forests and there are nice short treks ( 2 hrs ). We did a morning trek starting at 7 AM and back by 9 AM. A short ride followed by a 30 min trek to a summit for a great view – we also spotted stones that looked like Menhirs from Asterix. The summit has a small rock cut image of Narasimha and local villagers pay their respects regularly here.

You also have activity in the retreat – TT , Volley Ball , Mud Volley Ball etc. The plunge pool is beautiful and the changing rooms are clean and awesome. Its perfect for a 1 night stay.

The rates are reasonable

  • Couple Cottage – 6722
  • Family Cottage – 8000
  • Extra Adult – 2990

We stayed in a. family cottage – its very spacious and can easily accommodate a family of four.  Comes with a nice sit out and a very large bathroom. Just be careful to not bang your head as the doors are low height like in olden days

Rates are inclusive of Taxes an all 3 meals (Breakfast , Lunch , Dinner , Tea , Coffee etc). If you want to order add ons they are not expensive (Veg Pakoda 90 , Masala Omlette 60 …. ) – the menu consists of Veg & Non Veg . There is no bar but you can carry liquor for consumption in the room.

We went in mid March on a full moon night ( Surprisingly all my travels happen around full moon nights – and I never plan it that way) – days were warm but it was very cool in the evenings. We will definitely plan a trip after the rains when the greenery will be all over and the water from the hills will flow and fill up the ponds.

But do add this place to your must visit weekend getaways in Bangalore.

PS – They also have a day visit program where you can leave Bangalore early have breakfast , lunch , roam around , spend time in the pool – all of this for Rs 905/ person

Other Information

  • Contact Details – Divya Kare – + 91 94482 86415
  • Website – http://www.avanileisure.com/baevu-home.php
  • Avani group has two other properties around Bangalore – Angana a 3 acre property near the Ravishanker ashram and Panchwati a wedding destination again on Kanakpura Road.
  • Google Maps will locate the place – roads are excellent – budget 2 hrs
  • Phone connection is decent you will get Edge connection – No Wi Fi
  • No TV in the rooms , No AC

Suggestions for improvement 

  • Please provide Coffee Tea before 630 – for early risers like me waking up at 430 and waiting till 630 for a cup of coffee was a sore point (Or keep a coffee machine in the room)
  • Keep Yoga Mats in the room
  • You need to plan some more activities so that people can spend at least 2 days – else your traffic will be restricted to Bangalore locals
  • Lunch and dinner was excellent – explore augmenting your breakfast menu with some more options ( the retreat was almost empty when we stayed – 3 / 10 rooms – and that may have been the reason for limited options at breakfast)
  • Please improve your website – the current one is not doing justice to this amazing property

 

 

Wildwoods – Nature Retreat – Off Mangalore

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

Getting There 

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 

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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Weather

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.

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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

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