SHERLOCK

Tiger Hill Road, Upper Thalayatimund, Ooty

USP: Rambling walks, cosy comfort and a fantastic view

There are fresh flowers in the room they call Six Napoleons. A veranda with two chairs is all mine. I don't have to balance my cup in one hand as I turn a page. I can set it down along with my book on a table near my elbow, and gaze. The view is spectacular. It is of mountain sides, rolling mists, deep valleys and flitting birds. But of course, it would be. I am in the Nilgiris.

When it gets too cold, I know in the room behind me, there is a crackling fire, and a crisply made-up bed, I can snuggle into. Oh yes, there is an electric kettle with tea bags, milk and sugar, just in case.

All my misgivings are gone now. I had driven up that morning, complaining all the way about how Ooty had become intolerable with ugly buildings everywhere. But, a bend in the road, and everything changed.

I have reached Sherlock - a getaway that has many things going for it. Not the least of it its name. Each room is named after one of Mr. Holmes' popular cases. So, there are nine rooms that are variously called Blue Carbuncle, Dancing Men, Copper Beeches, Three Gables, Baskerville, Gloria Scott and Black Peter. The dining room is named after Irene Adler, 'The woman' as Sherlock admiringly refers to (in Scandal in Bohemia, the first of the Holmes short stories). She is the only woman known to have outsmarted Holmes.

Pictures of Sherlock Holmes in his deerstalker cap and pipe dot the resort. There are excerpts from his novels too that have been framed and hung up. The owner evidently is a huge fan and these are probably his favourite passages. There is a fireplace in the parlour with two rocking chairs where you must eat soup as you stare into the fire. You can follow that up with a quick game of chess before you move in for dinner. Or, read the illustrated copy of the Sherlock Holmes cases - simply delightful. There is more than one copy of Holmes' adventures, and you could borrow them to read in your room, or in any of the charming park benches in the lawn outside.

One could go for walks, in any direction. There are treks that Sherlock organises that involve a couple of hours of walking. But, if you want to keep it short and not too taxing, there is a lovely ramble over Tiger Hill to a reservoir and dam. Utter silence and peace is what you get for your efforts - a perfect entrée for a hot meal that awaits you back at Sherlock. There is a choice of cuisine - Indian, Continental and Chinese. The fare is appetising, and as simple or complicated as you want it to be. The apple pie and blueberry cheesecake are made in-house, and quite delicious.

Keywords: Sherlock HomesOoty

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