Situated at an altitude of 4000ft and on the windward side of the mountain within 180 acres of subtropical rainforest, Vivanta by Taj in Coorg is a sanctuary for nature lovers and sybarites. The hotel offers its guests the luxury of privacy and space – the 63 rooms are spread over a soul enhancing 30 acres. The panoramic views add to this feeling of space.
Just 7kms from Madikeri town, yet supremely isolated and densely canopied as far as the eye can see, the hotel is spread across a 180 acre living, breathing rainforest with more than 350 species of flora and fauna. The resort was designed to merge into its surroundings and become an integral part of the rainforest. The key theme is “to let the forest in……….”. “The design is deliberately minimalistic. The interiors are muted and uncluttered in order not to compete with or distract from views and the nature outside” said Pramod Ranjan, Director of Taj Group of Hotels.
Wood and stone have been used extensively through the property keeping in line with the natural theme. The numerous traversing rivulets and streams in Coorg are brought to life through the extensive use of natural river stones . They add to the rustic feel of the hotel.
The architectural design elements of the cottages like the elevated rock bases have been inspired by the Madikeri Fort. Built on a virgin terrain, the resort has a light footprint. The hotel was built around the existing green areas. Compressed, unbaked bricks made on site from displaced soil were used. Natural building material is used extensively. Bulk of the stone used is granite, sourced within a radius of 200 miles. These granite stones have been either bush hammered or honed. They are unpolished chipped blocks and are therefore environment friendly. The cottages are painted with mud paint made on site. The roof tiles are hand-made and brought from dismantled houses in Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry and Andhra Pradesh. Wooden ceilings and floors bring in an element of warmth to the ambience. Lighting used in the hotel is eco-friendly and low energy consuming Light Emitting Diode’s (LED). Coorg’s indigenous tribes’ building customs were encouraged by the creative use of fish traps design for lighting, thus providing employment to the local community.
The indigenous tribes have inspired varying design elements that subtly bring in the local influences. The lighting fixtures in the guest rooms have been designed around their fish traps used in brooks and rivulets. Most of the cane artifacts used in the hotel have been crafted by the local tribes. These elements of Coorg design have been incorporated into all the furniture which was crafted with care on site. Old restored and recycled wood has been used in the Spa as well as other areas. Fern Tree, the all day dining restaurant has woodwork and millwork that has very charming lines. It has been inspired by the big wooden slats in typical Coorg homes. The rafters in the ceiling follow the same design principles. Design elements include the tribal lineage of Coorg such as a contemporary rendition of a weapon like spear. The custom made crockery has the Fern Tree etched on it. The dining arrival experience is enhanced by a resting area open to the sky with a courtyard around it and chunky pillars which are inspired by a traditional Coorg home. The “Deepasthamba” is found in front of Coorg Temples. The slender chains from the roof let the water drop gently.
Shivabalan, a talented artist was persuaded to create art for the hotel. He visited the hotel in different seasons; saw the changing colours of the rainforest and the mist rolling in. He was invited to several Coorg festivals and social functions to understand the story behind its people. His artworks now bring these stories alive for the guests. The area records approximately 200 inches of rainfall during the monsoon. Rainwater is harvested and 40,000 indigenous forest fruiting saplings have been planted to add to the cycle of nature.