For a sustainable good life

For a sustainable good life

Tamara Resorts preserves the pristine surroundings while carrying the theme of being a luxury resort. Its goal is to ensure that the visitors have good time while communing with nature 

S. MEERA

When you enter the Tamara Coorg website, the first notice that strikes is a caution stating that children below 12 years do not have access to the resort because of the steep gradient. There is curiosity and a visible increase in interest to know more about a place, which looks serene and scenic and yet cannot accommodate the young ones.

This resort is a culmination of the ideas of the promoters, the Shibulal family (S.D. Shibulal is of course co-founder of Infosys), and Mahesh Iyer, an architect with several years of experience. “We created this resort with a specific ambience in mind. So when we did a safety audit and were given a number of inputs to make this more child-friendly, we decided that it would be against our vision. So instead, we decided to focus on couples and groups traveling without children,” says Senthil Kumar, CEO and Director, candidly.

Their decision is vindicated by the fact that it is today popular among honeymoon couples, couples celebrating anniversaries and wanting to spend time with each other, and photographers, who, by and large, travel alone or with like-minded people. Small wonder then that Tamara Coorg has won the Most Romantic Resort from CNBC travel for 2013.

The experience

The Tamara Coorg is a luxury 56-room resort and located in an estate of 170 acres producing Coffee, Cardamom, Pepper and Honey in Coorg, near Madikeri. It is surrounded by hills and waterfalls and offers experiences such as nature walks, plantation tour, bird watching and Rudraksh trail.

The promoters had bought the plantation for personal use. But the calm surroundings and the growing tourism industry seemed to be a perfect fit and the resort was built keeping aesthetics and luxury in mind. The resort has been operational since 2012 and has seen near 100 per cent occupancy last year.

Solar energy will not be available during monsoons, and hydel energy could be difficult rest of the year. We are exploring hybrid options with the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, but given the formidable investment needed, we are going slow on this.

It is a place of surplus rainfall and landslides because of which work could not go on for four to five months a year. But that has added to its advantage today as many, especially from the Middle East, come to the resort just to enjoy the rains and see the gushing waterfalls. Weekends see the place full, with people from Bengaluru and Mysore making a beeline for the place.

The land was virgin and Tamara Coorg got involved in the laying of the road to access the resort, its electrification and getting the telecommunication cables to the place. The company is also exploring options for sustainable power solutions but there is no single source available. “Solar energy will not be available during monsoons, and hydel energy could be difficult rest of the year. We are exploring hybrid options with the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, but given the formidable investment needed, we are going slow on this,” he adds. The resort itself has waste management solutions being implemented.

Sourcing of materials for the resort is another challenge where Tamara is trying sustainable solutions. “The nearest town is 26 km, Madikeri is 38 km and Mysore 138 km. Sometimes we have to source materials from Bengaluru to ensure the kind of experience we promise. But, where we can, we try to source locally,” Senthil assures.

Grand plans

The current property is funded entirely by the promoters. It has already achieved its first milestone of breaking even and is in the process of establishing the brand.

Going forward, Tamara brand will acquire and develop more resorts and expects to raise funds from the market.

A hotel in Trivandrum is already underway, though this being in the city, is not a part of the Tamara brand. In Kodaikanal, Tamara has already identified the property and work is on. “The process of getting clearance in hills is very slow as many stakeholders are involved. So in the next three to five years, we will have both these properties functioning,” explains Senthil. In the Kodai property, there is a 150-year-old church, which the company is trying to strengthen using a chemical process for the first time in the country.

The company also explored the option of acquiring existing resorts but has abandoned the idea, as existing properties do not match its requirements. And so it has decided to go solo and build resorts from scratch to recreate the Tamara Coorg experience.

Expectations of not only international tourists, but also even Indians have been increasing. From a basic roof over the head, people look for experiences where they can unwind, relax and enjoy their vacation in a refined atmosphere. Tamara aims to cater to the luxury tourism segment and going by the success at its debut property, it seems to have got its act right. Now it is aiming to ensure the good reputation and build on it.


Snapshot

Venture: Tamara Coorg

Funded: Self, S.D. Shibulal family

Focus: Luxury Resort