Taj Savoy Hotel is as beautiful as it can get. It is an old heritage hotel and the management has done its best by any standards to maintain its rich heritage. The beautiful and self contained cottages are neatly nestled amidst the beautiful and manicured hotel gardens. Very English type. All rooms have a fire-place, the staff will light it up for you as and when you request them. A well lit-up fire place lasts for an hour and its warmth can last for an entire night. The staff is very cordial and friendly as with any other Taj property staff, food is just exquisite with a sumptuous buffet offering over breakfast, lunch and dinner.
So after a heavy and delicious breakfast, I headed off to Ooty railway station, in time to catch the 9.15 narrow gauge train to Coonor. This is a must-do in Ooty. But even though as recommended by the Taj reception to reach the hotel by 8.30 am to stand in the ticket queue (tickets are given on a first-cum-first-served basis), I was way behind in the queue. It has to be God's intervention I firmly believe that I still managed to not only get tickets, but I also got one of the best window seats, despite a mad rush and scrambling to get in the train. Thankfully, station masters were present at the station and there was a queue to get inside the train. The views that you get from the train are breathtaking, especially as you approach Lovedale station (2nd stop, right after we leave Ooty). The train was on time, the speed was just right and numerous photo opportunities. Remember, take II class ticket (only Rs 4/-), avoid I class as the I class compartments' windows do not open fully. And take a seat to the right side, going towards Coonor, left-side while going from Coonor to Ooty.
Coonor is a beautiful hill station, though I found both Ooty and Coonor very commercialised. Tea estates (picture 1) , Sim's Park are a must-see there. I had lunch at the Taj Garden Retreat at Coonor since my package included lunch too. Taj has a good system, they have synchronised their Ooty and Coonor properties so that we can lunch at either of the two places even if our package covers only one of the two hotels.
After a sumptuous and yet again delicious lunch, we headed back to Ooty, this time by car. Ooty's botanical gardens is a beautiful place, but then again, if you've seen one garden at these places you've seen them all. But Doddabetta peak was different and a good experience. You get fantastic views of Ooty from here, the highest point in the Nilgiri mountains. My last stop was a boat ride at the beautiful Ooty lake (picture 2) before we checked in back at our hotel, had a nice cup of tea in the lawns outside the hotel's tea lounge amidst the cool winter breeze.