Set Your Spirits Free – An Experiential Bloggers Retreat @ The Serai Chikmagalur

Nothing beats the sheer excitement to escape from the mundane chores. To be able to unwind, relax and slip into a tranquil setting is pure magic. To top off, it gets even better if you win such a weekend getaway!
The Serai, in association with Skreem (an influencer-marketing platform) ran a contest to choose bloggers from across India, to attend an “Experiential Bloggers Retreat.” The destination was at one of the prime luxury resort and coffee estate in Chikmagalur.
The retreat aimed to bring liked minded bloggers together. We got to experience the Malnad culture, its cuisine and above all savour the home grown coffee from one of the oldest Coffee Plantations in India.
The estate is an affiliate of Café Coffee Day (CCD). So there was lots in store than sipping fresh brewed coffee! At first when I saw the campaign to apply for the Blogger’s retreat, I brushed it aside, and decided to post my entry for a later date. A little nudge from my sister who noticed this campaign from Poland, had me share my entry at wee hours. I hit submit hoping to win. And voila I was one of the bloggers chosen to their bloggers retreat. Talk about wishes come true.

– Getting There –

Plane – Fly into Bangalore airport, then drive down.
Drive – From Bangalore it is about 240kms, to Chikmagalur. Roughly takes about 5 to 6 hours approximately to drive down.

Transportation was arranged for us. The bloggers from out of town were flown down to Bangalore. We set off bright and early, to get there for lunch time.

Chikmagalur is situated about 3400 feet. The drive is picturesque and breathtaking, and never seizes to amaze. The monsoon adds its own mystery to this place.

– The Hotel –

The Serai – Chickmagalur, spread across sprawling 70 acres of lush green land .The lobby is huge, open air and welcoming. Greeted with a Jasmine garland left me smelling fresh. The ice-cold glass of coffee shake was perfect after a long drive. 
We arrived in time for lunch, and the buffet was all laid out. You can order anything off their ala-carte menu. The lunch was sumptuous although I didn’t eat too much as I was way to excited to see the resort. Soon after, we retired to our private villas for quick rest. I just couldn’t rest and recorded a mini- teaser of my room and surrounding.
We got summoned for high tea to get acquainted with the management of the resort and everyone in the group including the Skreem Team. There was a nip in the air. The monsoon, made the resort look more heavenly. It was drizzling and perfect for being lazy and sip some piping hot coffee and munch on some snacks.

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– The Room –

The Serai, Chikmagalur, has luxurious Villas to suit everyone. From private pools to jacuzzis, take your pick to indulge in a romantic, private or group getaway. Each Villa comes with its private lawn. 
My  humble abode for the duration was the estate villa with jacuzzi. It is spacious and modern with large windows, the lighting gave the room a more cozy look and feel. The bed was the best. I sunk in the first time I sat on it. The mini-fridge and and other essentials were well hidden behind the bed stand. The separate seating area was chic yet rustic. The best part of the villa has to be the spacious bathroom with a bathtub and large windows. Well laid out with two sinks and a separate bathing area and toilet. The entire Villa is chic and stylish, there is nothing to not love about it! (Check video link above for room view)

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– The Pool –

The pool at this resort is a breath of fresh air and very enticing. As you walk into the lobby, the entire layout captures your imagination. The backdrop of the mountains and the clouds passing by. The well manicured lawns, the turquoise blue water was irresistible to not take a dip. The weather was not sporty enough. It rained the whole time we were there. So I chose to unwind in my private Jacuzzi, to make up for the loss of not getting into the pool.

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– The Spa –

Any weekend getaway, has to have a spa, to complete the rejuvenation process. The Serai, Chikmagalur has one called Oma Spa which means “life giver”. You can unwind and take your pick of the various holistic treatments. I had their signature spa, and it was a whole 90 minutes of pure bliss. After travelling for about 5 hours this was just what the doctor ordered.
The treatment is coffee cure. The coffee beans, handpicked from the plantation are an antioxidant and is terrific for your skin. A light massage with oil followed by a scrub with coffee to tingle your senses and leaves your skin supple.
They do have a mini salon, where you can avail basic mani-pedi and hair setting, if required. You can chose a couples massage as this is available at the property.
Come follow me …Oma Spa, @ The Serai, Chikmagalur

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– Food & Drinks –

Ah! where do I even begin. The main restaurant “The Odyssey” is a traveler’s restaurant. The Malnad cuisine is a must try if you are in this part of the woods! Although they do cater to various palates and cuisines – pan asian and continental. We were in for a delight as the preparation, was lip smacking. I have no complaints at all with the food. Again they have a buffet but you can opt for ala-carte and chose from the multi-cuisine menu.
The first evening, we gathered at the Blue Sky Lounge. This has to be the sweet spot at the resort. The open bar/ lounge gives breathtaking views of the mountains, picturesque and enchanting. The clouds floating, felt like I was on cloud 9 (minus the drinks) <wink> 
We had a special night planned out for us, as we got to meet and interact with Dr Pradeep Kenjige, head of R&D, Café Coffee Day. It was intriguing to learn and digest so much about coffee. Especially the world’s most expensive coffee – Kopi luwak, or Civet coffee, comes from cat’s (Civet) poop. I am not sure I will be trying out that coffee so soon!
Nothing to beat the cool monsoon with some lovely company. I chose to stick to wine. You can take your pick and the bartender is ready to conjure up any drink you fancy.

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– Activities – 

  • Coffee Walk – It’s all about Coffee – Chikmagalur is the birthplace of coffee. When you are at the resort you can enjoy a hot cuppa coffee, in this dreamy destination. The most popular variant that grows here is Arabica and Robusta. To learn and enjoy where and how your coffee goes from bean to cup, you must indulge in this activity. It lasts about 40 mins.Wandering around a coffee plantation is a breath of fresh air, all the bloggers were busy clicking away at every chance we got. We were lucky to also get a tour of the R&D center for Cafe Coffee Day, the following day. This is not part of the tour and was a lovely addition to the day. It was interesting to see how the beans evolve and the various stages its processed, packed and ready to sip!
  • Cycling  – For the fitness fanatics, you can go ahead and cycle around the property.
  • Trekker’s Trail – Adventure enthusiasts there is something for you as well. The mountain ranges offer enthralling trekking routes.
  • Recreation Room – This room allows you to enjoy the company of family and friends. You can play Billiards, Chess, Table Tennis or for the readers they do have a wide selection of books to chose from.

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– My Final Thoughts –

I have to say meeting and spending time with a bunch of bloggers was so much fun. We bonded and by the end of the trip we were like one big happy family. I got to make some cool friends.
A massive shout out to the ladies of the community who went all out to ensure we had such a lavish spread of the traditional Malnad cuisine. The service at the resort was impeccable. The staff were friendly and ready to help out with anything, even holding my umbrella.  The amenities are spot on at the resort. My best part would be the coffee walk and relishing the delicious Malnad Cuisine. 
The property is spread across with Villas at a distance from the lobby and dining area. In case you require assistance there are Buggies readily available to drive you to your door step.

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The drive back was epic as I recall, we had a flat tyre. All the more memorable, as we got off the bus to sip on some chai in the rain and munch on some berries, that we plucked out of the tree we stood under. I got back rejuvenated and pampered to bits!
Have you already been The Serai Resort & Spa? Would love to hear your experience if you have, and if you have enjoyed this post do leave your comment below.
About The Serai – For those seeking a luxury and adventure, then The Serai Chickmagalur offers you just that. To know more about The Serai and its properties –>> Click here
About Skreem – Is an online marketing platform that generates and distributes engaging social media content. To know more –>> Click here
About Cafe Coffee Day –>> Click here

‘Drink Responsibly’

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Deena Pinto
© 2017, All rights reserved. Do not copy and reproduce text or images without permission.

**Disclaimer: Even though the invite was complimentary, all views expressed are my own.

Deena Pinto

I would describe myself as someone who loves to eat good food and travel, am polished and classy, yet have that little girl spirit in me and my fashion sense is chic which has to be accompanied with bold statement pieces and fresh accessories. I love to get pampered, totally spoil myself, and why not? xoxo Deena Pinto #skinnygirldiairez

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