Orange County Resorts, Hampi-Service at Par Excellence
I have been an avid traveller since my early adulthood, and primarily stayed at the best hotels and resorts to every location visited. It is needless to mention, I know the difference between just service, good service and Exceptional Service. Never had I experienced anywhere, service like at the Orange County Resorts, Hampi. And I am pretty sure this is a uniform practice they follow through at their other 2 resorts as well-Kabini and Coorg.
I will start at the beginning with my morning. The larger than life and the highly overrated –My Morning Cuppa Coffee. I cannot function without it simply-friends and family who know me well Are quite aware of this fact. I make it a point to sip my very first cup of coffee before stepping out for breakfast to make sure my mind can function right. I carry my own Coffee brand. So it’s the Dairy Whitener, Sugar Sachet and Electric Kettle that complete this ritual for me. However, every where I have stayed it has been a mess, rather a disgusting one to tear open the wonderful sachet of Dairy Whitener only to have more than two-thirds of it on my feet or on the floor. I have to make a call to In-room dining for a pair of scissors to cut the sachet without spilling the powder over. But here in Orange County, you do not need to make that call. The thoughtful staff has already placed a miniature Scissor to help you with your every-day tit bits and emergencies mentioned above. This changes the whole perspective as I do not need to wait for the damn tool to show up, by when the water has lost its warmth. Now, let me tell you this is just the beginning.
As you walk inside Tuluva, their all-day dining restaurant where breakfast is served, you will find a plethora of options to choose from. The traditional South Indian breakfast and the Continental options are on either side of the well-placed tables and provide ample options for the hungry traveller. They also have a fully functional live kitchen taking fresh orders for Omelettes, Dosa and other savouries. The turn-around time between placing the order and its arrival is usually less than 10 minutes which I think is commendable especially with the high volume of guests. During my stay, I balanced my breakfast with equal options from South and North Indian delicacies as well as the customary Brown Bread, Spanish Omelette, Bacon and Chicken Sausages.
Tuluva also serves Buffet Lunch and Dinner on weekends and Ala Carte on weekdays. The Menu encompasses traditional South Indian Delicacies to Continental Favourites including comfort and soul food catering to one and every. Named after the dynasty that ruled ancient Vijayanagara, the décor and ambience of this masterpiece of modern architecture reminds one of the lavish dining royal halls. Their sheer flamboyance and Grandeur tickle your senses. Surrounded by the Infinity Pool on one side and the courtyard on the other, the circulation of air creates a calm and pleasant experience reminiscent of natural air-conditioning. As we arrived a bit later on in the day on the first night of my stay, I preferred a couple of Seafood Appetisers followed by Penne in Carbonara and some white rice and a Spicy Prawn Curry cooked in Chettinad style. Its flavours aptly balanced and taste authentic with essential spices and condiments is an ultimate pleasure for an ardent foodie like me.
I also tasted the Seafood Risotto, Chicken Sliders and Tiramisu on the last day of my stay and they were delectable to say the least. The folks at Orange County greet you with a traditional Namaskara every time you bump into them and is always ready and eager to attend to every ask. Even a room service will not take longer than 20 minutes to be delivered- A service quality that is unmatched by any other five or seven star properties I have stayed with till date.
No review will be complete without a mention of their Ayurveda Spa in the Lotus Mahal section of the building named after the historical site. It offers many services in the genre of ancient Indian Ayurveda in lavish chambers reminiscent of the Queen’s inner quarters from the bygone era. I chose Abhyanga which is a 60-minute long massage provided by two experienced therapists with the application of aromatic oils for rejuvenation. This is followed by a ten minute seating in the wooden steamer box with your head out. A cleansing shower at the very end of the ritual is the ultimate bliss to a stressful day. My therapists showed me around and I was able to capture every nook and corner of this lavish property in my lens.
I have tried to save the best for the last. Hampi’s best kept secret-Bahmani Restaurant at the first floor of the Lotus Mahal serving Awadhi Cuisine and operational only for dinner. This is Fine Dining beyond luxury. As you experience a specially curated meal by Chef Mumtaz under a starry sky in a candlelit setup devoid of artificial lighting, you are pampered with sheer royalty and flamboyance. The essential flavours of the cuisine, interspersed with the choice of cutlery and crockery in this one of a kind restaurant is something to experience first-hand. I tried various dishes over my stay from the menu, but it was the Barra Kebab and Kacchi Ghost ki Biryani, both delicacies in tender Lamb which took my breath away. The service again is prompt and you end up feeling pampered like a Maharaja at the end of your dinner.
To sum up in a few words, Orange County Resorts, Hampi leaves no stone unturned to make sure that every guest is treated with utmost care and attention. Service is not only an offering here, but one that is excelled from time immemorial reminiscent of the palaces of the ancient dynasties. You end up feeling like a Royal and I must say is a very addictive habit to free yourself off upon your departure. Albeit something everyone deserves to experience first-hand.