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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Monica Estate-Woodbriar Group Tea Bungalow at Valparai


Woodbriar group reportedly owns 2300 acres of plantations (across Kerala and Tamilnadu). In Valparai, they have many bungalows. Some of them are for exclusive use of the company (corporate guest house, chairman’s bungalow etc) while few others are open for tourists.
We stayed in one such Bungalow for 2 days and this post shares the feedback.

At 5000+ per room per day, the rates might be on the higher side. But in these hills, there’re not many alternatives. The facilities and ambience considerably justify the rates, plus the demand is greater than supply, hence they may not have any motive to lower the price.
Because we were 10 people, we took about 3 rooms, one having 5 beds. (Practically that was entire bungalow. There were no other guests other than us.) Our bill came to 39000+, for 2 days (after some discount and after including few extras, tips given to staff extra)

Food was excellent. Everyone loved the food and ate to their heart’s content. Staff were friendly.

What is good:
1. The bathroom is bigger than a budget hotel room
2. Each room has a sub room (with dressing table, beeru etc)
3. Wide open able doors are nice
4. Lot of birds visit the campus
5. Provisions for setting up fire for additional warmth.
6. Caretaker accompanied us while visiting tea estates, falls etc, serving as navigator and guide.
7. Located in an elevated ground, offers cooler weather and view.
8. Good connecting roads and bus connectivity (Once an hour or so).
9. An orange like fruit tree in the campus was nice to see (not nice to taste though) and attracted birds

Additional services, as per their website (extra charge). We didn't try these. 
  • Jeep safari across the plantation to see animals – Rs 1000 per room
  • Tea factory visit – Complimentary
  • Bonfire and BBQ dinner – Rs 1000 per room
  • Picnic below near the stream – Rs 800 per room
What is not good:
1. The staff didn’t segregate vegetarian and non-vegetarian food properly. Some food items with eggs were passed off as vegetarian items. If you’re pure vegetarian be extra careful.
2. Gardens could have been maintained professionally
3. No proper signage giving directions to the bungalow.
4. Bungalow is very old and its gigantic doors and windows are not physically strong. No proper fencing/protection in case wild animals (or wild people/thieves) chose to strike. This kind of incidents are unlikely to happen though.
5. Tata Sky in living room wasn’t working. But no complaints because we didn’t go there to watch Tatasky J
6. Staff doesn’t know Hindi and other languages. You’ll have to manage with sign language and few English words that he knows, in case no one in your group knows tamil
Disclaimer: All information as experienced by blogger during mid-august. Rates, user experience and other factors may change over time.

More info: teabungalows.com (simple website, don’t expect any exciting info/experience) Below: another bungalow that belongs to Woodbriar group
Alternate places to stay in Valparai: There’s a Krisha Logde near Valparai bus stand- should be ideal for budget travelers. Few other budget hotels exist and some home stays are emerging, contact number of one such home stay, as per display ad near bus stand is 9443101120 (I’ve not called or tried this home stay-book at your own risk)

Tata Coffee and many tea companies have their plantations in Valparai and all of them will have bungalows, figure out if you can access them.

4 comments:

Indrani said...

Useful info. Thanks!

Shrinidhi Hande said...

welcome

vinu said...

Hi thanks for the Info.
Woodbriar Group owns actually 23,000 acres and not 2300 acres.Please also visit the new website for hospitality
www.teabungalows.com

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Good to know

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