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“A Luxury Eco-Lodge”

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Orange County Resorts Kabini
Certificate of Excellence
Malmesbury, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“A Luxury Eco-Lodge”
Reviewed 6 February 2014

There is an interesting fact about the Orange County Resort on the Kabini River: it is included on the National Geographic’s List of the World’s 25 Best Eco Lodges and it is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World. These organizations have stringent but quite different criteria for their hotels and to be included on either of these two lists would be an honour, but to be included on both makes Orange County Kabini one of the most unique places to stay in the world.

Those who would peruse the National Geographic List would probably say that a luxury hotel could not possibly be eco-friendly or provide them with a satisfactory place to see animals and immerse themselves in nature. Equally, those who frequent small and independent luxury hotels around the world would say that an eco-lodge would never be able to meet their expectations in terms of accommodation, food, or service. However, they would both be wrong because Orange County Kabini does all that and more.

We stayed for eight nights, looking for an opportunity to see animals as well as relax and unwind. We were not disappointed in either regard. Each day we went on either a boat or vehicle safari with one of the hotels own naturalists as guide. Orange County Kabini’s team of naturalists was fantastic—they were enthusiastic, knowledgeable and astoundingly good at spotting animals from the largest to the smallest, whether it was an owl tucked inside a hole in a tree or a tiger in the distance, making his way through the morning mist.

We were in a Jacuzzi Hut which was delightful. We had a sitting room, a bedroom, a bathroom, a private courtyard with a jacuzzi pool and an outdoor porch. The rooms were large, scrupulously clean and beautifully decorated, supplied every day with non-alcoholic beverages, fresh fruit and cookies, and a choice of various snacks. All the water at the resort is purified using reverse osmosis filters on the taps, which is just one of the many ways the management has sought to reduce their impact on the environment.

The resort also has a special relationship with the local community, a tribe known as the Kuruba. On alternate evenings, members of the tribe come to perform traditional music and dances before dinner. Guests also have the opportunity to visit one of the nearby villages to learn about their way of life. The resort has made huge efforts to act as partners with their neighbours in preserving both the natural beauty of the area and a unique way of life.

Although our room did not have a view of the river, there were plenty of places we could go to enjoy one. The reading room has an excellent view. It is a delightful, open air hut where you can go for a cappuccino and a quiet read in a comfy chair. The infinity pool for adults also faces the river. Most of the time, we were the only two people using that facility even though the resort was full. If you have children, there is a separate large pool equipped with a wonderful slide and surrounded by game rooms with everything from ping pong to board games available.

If the safaris and tranquil views of the river haven’t provided sufficient opportunity to de-stress, there is also an Ayurvedic Spa on the grounds. They have a full menu of massages and treatments, all at reasonable prices. We tried the basic massage and it was every bit as good as the most luxurious spa in the UK.

No luxury hotel would be complete without exquisite food and attentive service. No eco lodge would be worthy of its name if it did not use food that was fresh and locally sourced. Once again, Orange County Kabini exceeds both of these requirements. The resort has two restaurants—a buffet where vegetarian and non-vegetarian, Western and Indian food is on offer in abundance or a sit down restaurant which serves a five course meal, ordered from a menu earlier in the day.

As this was our first visit to India and having only ever experienced typical UK Indian restaurant fare, the buffet was a real eye-opener. Although, all the dishes were labelled, we were mystified when it came to putting food on our plates. The staff, including the chef, immediately came to our aid and went up and down the tables describing what was in each fragrant dish. The buffet food was always hot, well cooked and delicious. The sit down restaurant served us one delectable course after another at just the right pace to savour every one. On our final night, we booked their special candlelit gazebo overlooking the river. Ordinarily this involves choosing from the same menu as the sit down restaurant, but in this case, our server brought the chef to us and he cooked exactly what we wanted. It was a meal to remember.

Everything said in this review should be enough to tell you this hotel is worth every penny you might spend on it. However, what can never be described adequately is the warmth, generosity and kindness of the people who work at Orange County Kabini. Nothing was too much trouble, every effort was made to make our stay pleasant and enjoyable and it was all done as though we were members of a family and they were simply trying to make us feel at home.

This hotel sets the benchmark for both eco-friendliness and luxury. Hotel accommodation simply doesn’t get better than this.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank CosmosMariner726
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
OrangeCountyResorts, General Manager at Orange County Resorts Kabini, responded to this review, 8 February 2014
Dear Guest,

Greetings to you!

Thank you for your detailed review. I think even we could not have done a better job :).

Responsible tourism lies at the heart of our operations. Orange County is committed to conservation, giving back to society and keeping its ecological footprints small. We’re privileged that our efforts in this direction have gained national and international acclaim, being recognized by institutions such as the National Tourism Awards, Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India (Best Responsible Tourism Project in India 2010) and The National Geographic Traveller (25 World’s Best Eco Lodges 2013).

We’re very happy to know you thoroughly enjoyed your accommodation and the activities at the resort. We consider it truly an achievement if we were able to make you feel that you were part of our family :).

We’d love to welcome you back!

Warm Regards,

General Manager – Operations
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English first
Bengaluru, India
Level Contributor
43 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 February 2014

The Orange County product offering on the whole is simply brilliant. The details that go into the quality of service and presentation is very superior and unmatched in this market segment.
The staff are well informed, friendly and helpful. The GM is very knowledgeable and loves what he does (keeping his guests happy, up to date with local matters of interest, interspersed with tit bits and engaging information).
The Ayurveda spa was very relaxing and is required to de stress and detox..
The Kabini property cannot be compared to the Coorg property simply because these are two very different segments with very different offerings.
Hats off to the Orange County Team at Kabini for creating an out of world experience..... in the jungle.

Room Tip: The pool rooms in the summer are ooooolala
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  • Stayed November 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank MartinRebeiro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
OrangeCountyResorts, General Manager at Orange County Resorts Kabini, responded to this review, 8 February 2014
Dear Guest,

Greetings to you!

We’re happy to know you enjoyed the Orange County experience. And we couldn’t agree with you more that the Orange County, Kabini experience is distinct from the Orange County, Coorg experience. Our philosophy is to theme each resort on its local nature and culture so that each of these is a completely unique experience.

We really look forward to your next visit.

Warm Regards,

General Manager – Operations
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Namakkal, India
1 review
Reviewed 4 February 2014

When we booked the honeymoon package on the hotel website, we were expecting good service and activities while having time for ourselves. What we experienced was excellent service, great atmosphere, good activities and an amazing cuisine. This was without a doubt the best service we have experienced. Be it our hotel guide, Ashmita or the house keeping Nagakumar, everybody made us very comfortable and gave us a very memorable honeymoon with their attention to minute details. All in all this is a property I would highly recommend to anybody who would like to have a great relaxing time. We would love to experience the same hospitality again. Thank you, Orange County.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank EppudiCouple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
150 reviews
61 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 115 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 February 2014 via mobile

Very well organised and confortable lodge. Charming staff always available to assist you. The 'Tiger' capucino at the Reading Lounge is not only the best we had in India but is also an Art piece ! The morning boat Safari is fantastic and it is fascinating to see the wildlife waking up .... Whist the Jeep Safari was unfortunately rather disappointing since far too busy with many locals walking around the Reserve giving us no chances to see any predators.

Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Courche
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
OrangeCountyResorts, General Manager at Orange County Resorts Kabini, responded to this review, 7 February 2014
Dear Guest,

Greetings to you!

Thank you for your feedback and compliments.

Immediately after the monsoons, roughly 50 - 100 ft on both sides of the safari tracks are cleared of all small shrubs. This area serves as a view line, so that guests on safari can easily see wild animals as long as they are on the road side. This also serves as a fire line to prevent forest fire in case someone carelessly throws a match or a cigarette butt. The people you noticed were local tribals employed by the forest department to keep this View line / fire line clear of dry fallen leaves. This is a control measure that the forest department undertakes annually to prevent forest fires. Even though this may cause a bit of temporary inconvenience to guests on safari, we feel that this is very important to protect our forests and wildlife.

We hope you will appreciate the goodness behind this work. We really look forward to having you visit us again.

Warm Regards,

General Manager – Operations
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London
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 February 2014

This is an amazing lodge which stands alone on the opposite side of the lake to all the other lodges. We stayed 5 nights which I think allowed to really get into the relaxed feel of the lodge. The view, the peacefulness and fresh clean air and the resident elephant all add up to it being one of the best lodges we have been in worldwide. We had an excellent villa overlooking the lake with our own swimming pool. The staff were all charming, the choice and quality of food very good. The boat trips were our favourite, but it was on the jeep trip that we saw a magnificent tigress stretched out on the lake shore with deer wandering nearby, they knew she had already eaten or maybe they liked living dangerously! The naturalists were great at spotting the wildlife - big and small, each one had his own interesting way of describing the animals and beauty. The library is beautifully positioned to overlook the lake and has many interesting books. You must have a cup of coffee, the tiger face on top is great. This is a must to stay place to stay.

Room Tip: The pool rooms are best view overlooking the lake and better for bird watching.
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank DoctorBobandBadger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bengaluru, India
Level Contributor
10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 February 2014

We stayed at the orange county Kabini in Nov 13 for two nights.I find it quite impossible to impartially review this resort without comparing it to orange county at Coorg and Coorg wins hands down. Kabini seems a little drier,smaller,harried after Coorg. Anyway enough with comparisions.
Nice resort.Stayed in the pool villa for a night and the hut with the jacuzzi the other night, both of which were quite spacious.Pool was well maintained.Staff very helpful,courteous.Tried out a massage at the ayurvedic centre which was heavenly and came away with hands full of their products which were very resonably priced.
The resort organizes elephant rides,sunset boat rides,bullock cart rides and safari. Kids would love the elephant ride and bullock cart ride.All these are of course charged seperatly.
food was excellent.and must make a special mention of the chef who went out of his way to fulfill any demands.
Only complaint if any would be that around meal times I found the dining area quite crowded ,waiters harrased looking and running around,not very pleasent.
overall very good but not as good as the coorg one

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank sandyps77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
OrangeCountyResorts, General Manager at Orange County Resorts Kabini, responded to this review, 5 February 2014
Dear Guest,

Greetings to you!

Thank you for your feedback and compliments on Orange County, Kabini.

As you have experienced, the theme at Orange County, Kabini differs from that of Orange County, Coorg; Orange County, Kabini is inspired by the ethnic Kadu Kuruba Hadis (local tribal villages). Orange County, Coorg on the other hand, is inspired by the traditional homes of the more prosperous Kodava community.

The forests of Kabini are ‘Dry Deciduous’ in comparison to the forests of Coorg that are ‘Moist Deciduous’. This being the ‘wintering’ season – the natural cycle where the deciduous trees annually shed their leaves, the locally sourced wild trees that form the landscape within the resort premises appear a bit dry. This lasts for 30-40 days at the most. This is part of the nature of the ‘Dry Deciduous’ forests.

During high occupancy periods, especially for breakfast, as the morning safaris end at a particular time, the restaurants are usually crowded immediately after the return of the guests from the safari.

We look forward to welcoming you again at our resort.

Warm Regards,

General Manager – Operations
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Richmond, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 February 2014

I have recently returned from a trip to kabini, last year I visited Orange County in coorg and feel I need to write a review making comparison . First impression of kabini was not as impressive as Coorg the area was not as well attended and a loittle untidy. Welcome by staff was excellent, however when we we were booking a boat and a jeep safari we were informed that as Europeans we would be charged at a rate of one third more than our Indian counterparts. I feel this is unacceptable and discriminatory, we were informed that this was government policy. I questioned as to why the resort did not pick up this extra charge as a good will gesture but did not receive a satisfactory reply. We decided therefore only to take the jeep safari, which I must say was quite enjoyable and the guide was a great guy and knowledgable .
When shown to our room again making comparison to Coorg I was quite disappointed as it was quite a bit smaller and our view was poor. We were subsequently moved to a room with a better view the following day.
The pool area was quite small and a little shabby and the pool was quite a bit smaller than the Coorg pool. You could not swim in the pool due to its size.
The food and restaurant was very good and the service was of a high standard. Particular note was the chef who was extremely helpful and accommodating .
In conclusion I feel that if anyone is thinking of visiting Orange County resorts I would certainly recommend that you visit Coorg in preference to kabini as the standard is higher in all areas..

Room Tip: You certainly need a room that over looks lake in order to have privacy as other rooms look onto pub...
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Brian M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
OrangeCountyResorts, General Manager at Orange County Resorts Kabini, responded to this review, 5 February 2014
Dear Guest,

Greetings to you!

Thank you for your feedback on Orange County, Kabini.

We have examined your feedback forms and have our perspective to offer you in this regard.
The Kabini region of Karnataka has dry deciduous forest while the Coorg region has moist deciduous forest. As the name implies, the forests of Kabini get progressively drier after the monsoon season. As the term ‘deciduous’ implies, the leaves on the trees here dry up and continuously fall throughout the day and night during the Dec - Feb season. This is part of nature. We increase our cleaning frequency during this season and try our very best to keep the area clean and green.

As you were informed, the safaris are controlled by the government. The differential safari pricing is also part of the government’s policy. We have no control over them. We have published the safari rates on our website so that our guests are well aware of them in advance. However, we will surely share your thoughts with the concerned government department.

The private pool that is part of your suite is 25 feet long. In fact, most of the private pools in Coorg are of the same size or smaller. However, we do have a large and spectacular infinity pool at the edge of the Kabini River for serious swimmers.

Our Pool Hut at Kabini features a private 2405 sq. ft area. As you’re aware, the themes at both resorts are different. In fact, the only common features according to us should be the luxury and the high standards of service.

Local architecture is the inspiration for our resorts. Our resort at Kabini is more rustic in design in comparison to the one in Coorg and rightly so because of the Kadu Kuruba tribal architecture that has inspired the resort. It is such locally inspired design and theme that have won Orange County, Kabini a place in the ‘25 World’s Best Ecolodges 2013’ by National Geographic Traveler.

We look forward to having you visit us again.

Warm Regards,

General Manager – Operations
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Orange County Resorts Kabini

Property: Orange County Resorts Kabini
Address: Bheeramballi Village and Post | HD Kote Taluk, Mysore District, Nagarhole National Park 571116, India
Phone Number:
Region: India > Karnataka > Nagarhole National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Nagarhole National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Orange County Resorts Kabini 5*
Number of rooms: 37
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Orange County’s 'Spirit of the Land' philosophy finds its most intimate expression at Kabini. While you are cradled in the lap of luxury, the resort gives you a wildlife experience like no other, and enjoins you to be part of the vibrant social tapestry of the local Kadu Kuruba tribe. Steeped in local culture, and inspired in design by the Hadis (tribal villages), this picturesque resort is bordered on two sides by Kabini River. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Orange County, Kabini Hotel Nagarhole
Orange County Kabini Mysore

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