This isn’t the place where the great Sherlock Holmes once lived. Or ever lived. Boy! he was fiction. But, I’m sure he would have given an arm and leg to buy this eponymous mansion as his post-retirement home. After all, even an eccentric detective like him covets this kind of haven to rest his deerstalking hat, stretch his legs and puff his calabash pipe.
So captivating is the charm of Sherlock, a century old mansion that hasn’t aged a day since it’s birth in the Raaj era.
Driving uphill the narrow winding road and no trace of the hotel, Oniel blurts out his anxiety, “wonder how the place is gonna be”. I pretend to have not heard, rather ignore, thinking to myself, “it better be good. After all that micro-research, it has to be”.
All those apprehensions rest in peace the moment we enter the gates of Sherlock. It’s heaven up there. It is.
Cocooned within the soothing confines of Pine dotted hills, the property shares its neighborhood with a terraced farmland splashed with the greens and aroma of the seasonal cabbages.
We are received by Mr. Sanjay and Ms. Shabnam, two wonderful people who manage the property. It’s 3.15 by the time we complete the check-in. Kitchen is about to close. The three hour long journey has us aching and famished. Michael and Godwin are accommodating enough to cook us some creamy Chettinad Chicken Curry and rice after which we are escorted to the Honeymoon Suite named Gloria Scott.
Honeymoon? you ask. Well, i know, we are way past that …like, more than a decade past. But, for a five day stay laced with comfort, tranquility, spectacular views and most importantly…memories, why not?
The room is large and painted in happy warm hues. It’s adorned with the same century old furniture, sepia toned photographs of Mr. Holmes grace the walls, a walk-in wardrobe, a fireplace and an extremely spacious bathroom. That jar plonked atop the fireplace is filled and refilled with melt-in-your-mouth buttery Shrewsburry Biscuits.
Can this get more English!!!
Thaw yourself in this charming patio, dunking those buttery biscuits in your steaming hot coffee and catching up with some reading, while the bone-chilling winds blow outside.
And, when the sun comes out, go sit in your private little, flower dotted garden, breathing in the fragrant mountain air. Lend your ears to the faint birdsong that’s emerging from somewhere in the woods.
Then again, hold your breath as you witness the dark rainy clouds push the sun behind and the eerie mist comes undulating down the hills, accompanied by strong gushing winds, straight at you. Let out a terrified scream and run back to the room.
Apart from the Honeymoon Suite, there are nine other spacious rooms named after some or character the other from the Holmes diaries.
Taking a walk around the property is something you must not miss. Impeccably manicured lawns peppered with most beautiful flowers are all worthy of appreciation. Two really old uncles are the ones who pamper these babies with their tender love and care.
The kitchen prides itself in various cuisines and equally delicious food. Buffet breakfast is wholesome with South Indian fare like Idlis, Dosas, Uttappam and a touch of Continental like pancakes with maple syrup. Lunch and dinner are served a la carte with host of options to choose from.
If you wish to stay warm, there’s the Adler dining room, named after Mr. Holmes’ muse, the beautiful Irene Adler,
Then there’s the Sunroom, where you can get a little chilly while devouring your food and the stunning views of the piney peaks, both at the same time.
Evenings will never be the same once you are here. Ours were mostly in the lounge area, warming by the fireplace as soft music played on. Conversations just flowed with Sanjay, his unforgettable anecdotes, his giggles and the lip-smacking Onion Pakoras, yummy Chicken Satay and piping hot Masala Chai… unbeknownst to any of us, when the burning wood turned to ember.
Service is extraordinary, whether it’s the reception, the housekeeping or the cheerful kitchen team. It was incredibly kind of them to pack us some yummy mayonnaisey sandwiches at 7 in the morning for our journey back to the airport.
After all this in-house pampering, when you decide on going about Ooty, which you should, because it has plethora of insanely gorgeous sights to offer; dial Sanjay. He’ll help you plan your day and make all the necessary arrangements to get you going. If it wasn’t for him, our plans of doing the Mudumulai Tiger Safari would have gone for a toss.
After soaking in the stunning views of the Kamraj Lake, clicking countless pictures in the Rose Garden, sampling numerous teas and homemade chocolates, walking up the windy Doddabetta Peak and various other captivating sights, you are sure to work up an appetite for dinner. So, loosen your belts and let Adler serve you some of her most delectable dishes.
Later, ask Yuvraj to light up the fireplace in your room and sink in the warm cozy bed, looking forward to yet another wonderful Ooty day.
Sanjay, Shabnam, Marshall, Michael, Godwin, Andrew, Sabri, Yuvraj, Carlton, Thangaraj aren’t just names. They are memories we brought back home. These are real good friends we made during those five days at Sherlock…
How To Get There –
By Air: Coimbatore International Airport is about 95 kms, around 3 hours drive. Airport taxis charge fixed rate of Rs. 2500. The hotel too can arrange a pickup and drop at the same cost.
By Rail: The Udhagamandalam Railway Station is only fifteen minutes drive away. It’s linked with the major cities like New Delhi, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Chennai, Kochi, Mysore, Lucknow, Chennai, Kanyakumari, Puri, Ahmedabad and Jaipur.
Autos charge Rs. 250/- from the hotel till the station.
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