Ooty: Without tourism, this hill town of Ooty would have lost its sheen, significance and economy long ago. As the mountains and tourism are inseparable, so is tourism and the hospitality industry in the hills.
As tourism is the back-bone of the hill economy in the Nilgiris, in this year when the bicentenary of the modern Nilgiris is being celebrated, history shows that the genesis of the hospitality industry too made its appearance in the early 1800s. The elegant Savoy Hotel here which functions in a building built 190 years ago in 1829, speaks volume about the connection between tourism and the growth of hotel culture in the Nilgiris.
Savoy Hotel is also a legacy of serenity and beauty. It is a connecting link between the 19th and 21st century hotel tradition that carries the legacy of colonial charm. The Savoy environs makes one revisit the ambience of hotel culture in the British era in the 1800s.
Ritesh Choudhary, general manager of Savoy Hotel here, said that the main building of the hotel was constructed in 1829 and functioned as a school initially. The massive beams came from Tipu Sultan’s palace at Sriranga pattanam.
These beams were dragged all the way from Srirangapattanam up the Segur Ghat by elephants, he noted.
The present Savoy Hotel was opened in this building in 1841 by H. Royal Dawson and was then called Dawson’s Hotel and also “The Union”. It was built around the site of a cottage called Woodwille and is one of the oldest buildings in Ooty today. This cottage now forms the “Garden Cottage’ of the hotel, he noted.
In 1868, the name of the hotel was changed to Sylk’s Hotel, and later, to Savoy Hotel. The Savoy has been a hotel continuously from 1841. It underwent extensive renovation in the latter half of 2018, but, without compromising on its heritage infrastructure. Now it is an example of a unique blend of heritage and modernity. The restaurant is renowned for its country house style cooking, he pointed.
The Savoy has been functionally renewed and at the same time, guests get to turn back the clock and soak in bygone times as they toast to the past with a slice of heritage as an overall offering. Associates of the hotel and the city of Ooty take pride in calling it a 190-year “young” institution with an iconic status and a distinct charm coupled with exemplary warmth and hospitality, Mr.Choudhary added.
Savoy also has three signature suites which are named as “SeleQtions Suites” that reflect the old world Victorian charm with antique artifacts and props which take guests back in time. All rooms in the hotel have fireplaces which help guests stay warm in the good old fashioned way.
Tea mixology and ethnicity in the Savoy
Savoy Hotel and its environs have been ruling the town’s and visiting tourists’ hearts from the last 190 years, and has now become part of a new portfolio of Indian Hotels Company Limited with a newly launched hand-picked collection of hotels, termed “SeleQtions”. As a brand philosophy, “SeleQtions” offers “Hyper-Local” experiences and allows its guests to soak themselves in local hues and flavours.
With the “SeleQtions” credence, the food and beverage team of the Savoy has introduced the concept of “Tea Mixology” which allows its patrons to experience the globally acclaimed Nilgiri teas in its most versatile and innovative form.
Mixology is a colourful combination of exceptional taste, creative energy and suave flair of mixing different ingredients, that includes fruit pulps, to produce harmony on the palate. It is the art of respectfully combining nature’s most indulgent beverage, meticulously blending different flavours of Nilgiri tea with other ingredients to produce tea inspired cocktails and mocktails.
This concept was created by F&B leaders of the Savoy trio of Omprakash, Dhananjay Yadav and Akshay. Glendale Estate Tea Group manager Mr R. Rajkumar also worked closely with the Savoy team to perfect the balance of taste and flavours of these innovative tea cocktails.
The introduction of Badaga cuisine also gives the ethnic touch. Welcoming the guests with a garland of eucalyptus leaves, Toda women sell Toda embroidery in the campus to make it a real “hyper local’ experience....