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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in India

G&Ts, afternoon tea and a slice of nostalgia at Ooty’s Taj Savoy

The atmosphere is so authentic you could easily believe you’ve stepped back in time almost 200 years…

By Khyati Umrao
Sales Manager at the Indian Hotels Company Ltd

The Taj Savoy is nearly as old as Ooty itself. It began life in 1829 as a school before becoming a hotel, so all the buildings are either colonial-style or genuinely colonial, from the white-painted cottages, where you’ll find most of the 40 guest rooms, to the clubby bar. It helps to create an atmosphere that’s so authentic you could easily believe you’ve stepped back in time almost 200 years.

The hotel is set on a hillside on the western fringes of Ooty, and it’s very peaceful – in fact, sometimes the silence is almost deafening. The rest of the time, the loudest sound is birdsong; the six-acre grounds are densely planted with pine trees, eucalyptus and close to 250 different types of plants, and the birds love it and chirp all day. In some parts of the garden, you feel as if you’re wrapped in greenery and totally private; in others, on a clear day, there are breathtaking ‘infinity’ views out over the hills. 

The restaurant, Dining Room, has lots of old-world charm and a menu that includes regional Indian and international cuisines. You’ll find several Anglo-Indian dishes on there, along with the local traditional Badaga cuisine, which is new to most of our guests, even the Indian ones. Naturally, we also have afternoon tea in the Tea Lounge overlooking the croquet lawn, and you can arrange a guided tea-tasting session to discover some of the amazing teas from the plantations you’ll see all around you in the Nilgiris.       

I don’t know if you know, but gin-and-tonic as a combination is said to have been invented in Ooty, so in honour of that we have a huge selection of gins from around the world, including India, that we serve in our bar. We’ll add in botanicals such as fruit and herbs, maybe sage, maybe rosemary,and talk about the invention of this drink, so it gives a very holistic experience. And by having that, you’re not just having a gin-and-tonic, you’re becoming part of the history.

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Alfred & Khyati Umrao

Khyati Umrao grew up in Kanpur, before moving to Mumbai where she acquired a BSc in hospitality and hotel administration from the Institute of Hotel Management, Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition. She began her career in sales and marketing with Accor in 2012, before moving to Indian Hotels Company Limited (Taj Hotels) in 2018 where she has had various roles and responsibilities in sales and marketing.