Birthdays are special occasions not just for the person celebrating it but also for their near and dear ones. So, in February, when Vidur was celebrating his birthday, we decided to go out for a family vacation. That included us, his parents, and our two cutie pie pets.
Finding pet-friendly accommodations is in itself a challenging process and getting one on a weekend for a place like Ooty can be a daunting task. After 3 days of frantic calling to hundreds of properties, we chanced upon Hinodes Ooty who were open to taking in pets! The property was brand new having launched operations just a month ago!
So, without thinking much we booked two rooms and I planned something special for Vidur on his birthday!
The drive to Ooty from Bangalore
From Bangalore, the best way to get to Ooty is through the Bangalore Mysore highway. However, during the time of our trip in February 2021, there was a lot of construction work going on. You will face many traffic bottlenecks during peak hours due to numerous diversions. Therefore, it’s advisable to start early to avoid the rush hour traffic.
Alternatively, you could also drive through Kanakpura road but we usually avoid it as it has no good breakfast points and the road conditions aren’t that great! Both the Mysore road route and the Kanakpura road route converge in Mysore from where you will head to Nanjangud, Gundlupet, Bandipur, Masinagudi, and then Ooty.
If you tend to get car sick, then from the Bandipur-Mudumalai border, we recommend you to take the Gudalur route. This has a lesser number of hairpin bends as compared to the Kalhatty route which has 36 hairpin bends. However, the Gudalur route is longer (about 30-40 mins more) but is definitely much more scenic than the Kalhatty route.
At the border, we were diverted towards the Gudalur due to maintainence work in the Kalhatty road. We covered a distance of 280 kms in about 8 hours since we stopped couple of times to take breakfast and loo breaks.
The rooms at Hinodes Ooty
Don’t judge a book by its cover is a phrase that fits Hinodes Ooty. The design elements used on the exterior of the building are quite simplistic yet functional. But once you step into the rooms, a sense of lavishness takes over!
The luxury of space is something most of us do not get to enjoy in our cramped-up flats in the cities. However, at Hinodes Ooty space is something that has been provided in leaps and bounds!
The rooms are very spacious across all categories and the ones on the first floor had good-sized sit-outs with views of the verdant tea estates and grasslands.
At the time we were in Ooty, the daytime temperatures hovered around 13 degrees with winds coming in from over the hills. The sit-outs were an excellent place for us to soak us the morning sun and to have our first cup of hot tea!
The room above is one of the two rooms we had booked since our parents and pets were also with us on the trip. Wooden flooring, massive washrooms, cable TV, coffee maker, a small living room setup with sofas, and ambient lighting are some of the features of the rooms at Hinodes Ooty. Surprisingly, even in the cold weather, the rooms were quite cozy!
The spacious beds are quite nice to sleep in; however, we would like Hinodes Ooty to give options for softer pillows. All rooms have similar facilities. However, the ones on the ground floor don’t come with a sit out.
Hinodes Ooty Cuisine
We have traveled to Ooty numerous times before but the funny thing is that we had never known if Ooty had a local cuisine! So, this time at Hinodes Ooty we requested the chef to prepare something local.
We were surprised as the chef rolled out a 7-course elaborate menu for us! Everything looked absolutely stunning and the way the food was plated showed how much care had gone into the process!
Some of the dishes that were served included a local fish curry prepared with Seer fish, mushrooms, and cottage cheese starters, Chicken biryani, Chilli chicken Chettinad style, Tomato soup with cream, Nilgiri chicken, and Prawns Masala.
What really got us licking our fingers were the Prawns Masala, the Nilgiri chicken, and the tomato soup. Everything was delicious but those were the dishes that stood out prominently from the rest of the food served.
The menu is quite elaborate and you should find cuisines from the south and north India available. However, we loved their Southern preparations so each day for breakfast we had them prepare fresh plain dosas, soft idlis, onion uthappams, and freshly brewed tea with locally sourced leaves!
Even if you don’t stay at Hinodes Ooty, you must stopover for lunch or dinner at least once! You won’t regret it.
Things to do at Hinodes Ooty
Right next to Hinodes Ooty you will find plenty of hiking trails. There is one which we tried located on the right-hand side of the hotel. Gorgeous yellow flowers, lush green grass, and a panoramic view of the Nilgiri hills can be enjoyed from this place.
To reach there, you just have to walk about 2 minutes from Hinodes Ooty. Great place even for a picnic. As long as you clean up afterward! You can also go hiking around Lovedale, Ketti Valley, Coonoor, and Manjoor and the distances from Hinodes Ooty aren’t that much.
Perched on a small hillock, Hinodes Ooty lies right in front of the sunrise point in the Nilgiris. One of our most loved activities was waking up every day to view the gorgeous sunrise, visible clearly through our sit out.
If you want to experience this, you should book the rooms on the first floor, to the right side. Or you could go to the terrace and enjoy the dazzling views of the sun coming up from behind the mountains.
As part of their offering, Hinodes Ooty will be arranging professionally conducted birding tours near their property. In fact, we were lucky to be part of a tour conducted by a professional group during our stay there. Within a radius of 500 meters from Hinodes Ooty, we were able to spot at least 7-10 species of birds such as the Nilgiri Flycatcher, Black & Orange Flycatcher, Drongo, etc.
Located out of the Ooty town has its advantages and to make the most of the serene, lesser crowded settings, you can explore the place on cycles. Many small arterial roads are located near Hinodes Ooty and are excellent places to cycle around it. You can also cycle to Doddabetta peak and the Tea Park located closeby.
Verdict - Should you stay at Hinodes Ooty?
Before we give you the verdict, let us share what parameters we based our review on. These ratings for each factor are included below
Location/view – 9/10
Ease of Access – 10/10
Parking – 9/10
Room quality – 10/10
Food quality – 8/10
Service quality – 10/10
Distance from tourist spots – 9/10
Value for money – 10/10
On every front, Hinodes Ooty delivered exceptionally and we just loved our time spent there. The property looks very simple from the outside but the room quality matches those found in luxury resorts.
During the time of our visit, Hinodes Ooty had one local chef, so the menu was had a carefully selected list of items. However, they are in the process of expanding their team and the menu as well. But even with one chef, the food was delectable and we loved the local preparations they served us!
Overall, we were highly impressed with the service and the facilities Hinodes Ooty provided. If you are looking for a hotel in Ooty that delivers absolute value for money, then you should check out Hinodes Ooty.
Ooty or Udhamangalam or Udhagai is a small town located in the pristine Nilgiri hills near Coimbatore/Mysore. It serves as the headquarters of the Nilgiri district and is an immensely popular hill station in South India.
Since then Ooty became the summer capital of the Madras Presidency, became a popular hill resort destination, and eventually became a prominent tea-growing region as well.
Places to visit near Hinodes Ooty
Stone House Ooty
This was the first bungalow to be constructed in Ooty and the work started in 1822! Originally called the Kal Bangla (Kal means stone in local language), the land cost 1 rupee per acre at the time!! Now it is said to be the residence of the principal of the Government Arts College.
St. Stephen’s Church
One of the oldest churches in the Nilgiris, the St. Stephen’s Church dates back to the 19thcentury. It is said that the main beam of the church was brought there from Tipu Sultan’s palace in Srirangapatnam. The church is located at the entrance of the main Ooty market and is a must-visit place.
Standing tall at 8,652 feet, the Doddabetta peak is the highest place in the Nilgiris. The road leading to the peak goes right past Hinodes Ooty and it takes about 10 minutes to reach the peak from the entrance down below.
You will need to take a ticket depending on the type of vehicle you are traveling. The best time to visit Doddabetta is just before sunset as you will be able to see the entire range of the Western Ghats from there.
St. Thomas Church
Ferrnhills Royal Palace
Still managed and run by the royal family of Mysore, Ferrnhills Royal Palace is one of the best heritage hotels in the country. Many years after its construction, the palace came under the control of the Wadiyar’s in 1873 who converted it into a heritage property. Located on 50 acres of land, the hotel is a must-visit for those of you interested in colonial art and architecture.
One of our favorite spots to drive around is Lovedale, a small village nestled between Ooty and Coonoor. Sprawling tea estates, cute little houses, and their serenity is what pleases us the most. There isn’t any single place to visit in Lovedale but a drive through it will surely leave you mesmerized.
How to reach Ooty
By Air: The nearest airport to Ooty is the Coimbatore international airport located just 90 kms away. From there, you can take a taxi or a bus to Ooty. If you are coming via Bangalore, then the distance from Bangalore airport to Ooty is about 300 kms.
By Rail: A visit to Ooty isn’t complete without a ride on the Nilgiris toy train that operates from Mettupalayam to Ooty. Mettupalayam is located right next to Coimbatore.
By Road: Ooty is well connected by road with all major cities in Karnataka. From Bangalore, you can take the Mysore road and reach Ooty in about 7-8 hours. Coimbatore is very close to Ooty and the distance of 80 kms can be covered in just 2-3 hours.
Best time to visit Ooty
Ooty is an evergreen destination and that is what makes it an immensely popular tourist spot in Southern India. You can visit it any time of the year as the weather is always pleasant allowing you to spend maximum time outdoors.
However, if you love cold weather, I mean bone-rattling weather, then visit Ooty from November to February when winter is at its peak! However, if you want to do some sight-seeing in comfortable pleasant weather then travel there from March to June and then September to mid-November. However, if you want to avoid the crowds travel either during weekdays or during the off-season months.
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