Nestled in the Nilgiri Mountains at 8,000ft, just below Doddabetta Peak, this self-catering studio apartment with a fully equipped kitchen has a master bedroom and a sleeping loft. Surrounded by reserve forest and tea plantations, the view is stunning.
Guest are welcome to walk through the gardens and explore the property. Hiking trails through forest and tea estates crisscross the land around Bilberry Cottage. A short walk through the forest brings you to a lovely playground for children at a government tea estate called the Tea Park. This is a new government tourist spot, and as yet is not too crowded or well known. A great place for the view, park benches and a 1 kilometer concrete path loop for hiking.
Owners often travel and are away from the house. However we have a staff of 4, two housekeepers, a gardener and a manager. House staff work between 9:30am and 5:00pm, and can offer assistance when needed. Guest should be fairly self-reliant and independent, since hosts will not necessarily be around for your arrival or departure.
We live in the wilderness, completely secluded with no other houses around, except Stumpfields and Ivy. At the end of our drive, along a main road is a small village where the local tea-pickers reside. You can catch a glimpse of this village from the balcony of the cottage. We are in the middle of a totally undeveloped 10 acre piece of land that is surrounded by and overlooks government reserve forest. Our access to trails, extraordinary views, glimpses of wild animals and wide variety of birds in this high altitude rain forset and peace and solitude make our place unique among the overly commercialized, over crowded tourist hotels and inns in and around Ooty. We take pride in our efforts to protect the environment around our house. We keep our grounds and the surrounding forest and pastures around us clean with absolutely zero litter. We ask that you help us keep it pristine. Look for our kitchen compost site near the stairs in the garden and our trash containers located in the garage.
There are government buses that stop every half hour at the Tea Park on the Kotaghiri Rd, a short walk through the woods from our house. This is a very cheap way to get to town and back. Just Rs. 10 each way. To return, go to the bus stop on the Kotaghiri Rd next to the petrol bunk near Charing Cross. Of course you can take rickshaws from Charing Cross to Bilberry Cottage as well. It costs Rs. 250 to go one way to Tea Park, then walk your way through the woods to Bilberry Cottage. Two wheelers can make it up our drive, as can cars. Otherwise, be prepared for a short, but exhilarating hike.
Other things to note
1. We have a wood stove in the cottage! It really warms up the space in a short amount of time and makes it nice and cozy on even the coldest nights. However do bring warm socks and a sweater and a rain coat as the evenings get chilly. We have plenty of extra throws and blankets, and feather duvets.
2. The property has a steep, long, unpaved drive that leads to the main house and cottage. The drive is rocky and narrow and winding. All cars can drive all the way up to the cottage if you go slowly and carefully! However, it is not an easy driveway. In fact, our drive shocks most of our guests. We have spent many months and significant resources to improve the drive, but it is still, well, challenging. Your car will get dusty if the weather is dry and muddy if it is wet. You can drive up to the cottage and unload your things, but please park down by the horse barn. We suggest you do not book with us unless you are up for a challenge with a daunting driveway.
4. This property is not suitable for people who have trouble walking on uneven surfaces, or climbing stairs. It is not the ideal location for elderly folks, unless they are very fit and energetic. The whole property is on a 45 degree slope, so almost everything is either up or down!
5. Wild bison and other animals frequent the area around the cottage outside of the boundaries of Stumpfields. If you are lucky you may get to see one or even a whole herd.
6. We have 1 Labrador Retriever and a German Shepherd. These are watch dogs that will bark at newcomers, but are friendly. They love to go for walks, so if you hike, you are welcome to take them along for company! Please remember our dogs are not tied up and are allowed to roam around the property freely. If you are afraid of dogs, this may not be the right place for you to spend your vacation.
6. We do not have any facilities for a driver on the property, no outside toilet and washroom, no extra bed. Our place is not set up to host drivers.
Food at Stumpfields
We do not have a restaurant at Stumpfields. The house has a fully equipped luxury kitchen with all the necessary equipment. We stock the kitchen with salt, pepper, tea, coffee, biscuits, a variety of spices including cumin, chili powder, coriander, and turmeric powder and oil, sugar and flour. * There is a dry goods shop in the village of Buttercombai at the bottom of our drive, which has rice, sugar, tea, lentils, onions and eggs. * For greater variety be sure to shop for food in Ooty town before arriving at Stumpfields. Since Ooty is 7 km from Bilberry Cottage, its best to buy your food in the market in Ooty before arriving at the cottage. So, if you are planning to cook, please bring your fresh veggies and or meat and fruit and grains or avail of our grocery service.
If you'd rather not shop for food, we do have a grocery service available for cost of items plus 20% service charge. Give our manager a list and some cash upon arrival and he will bring it for you. *
If you'd rather not cook, you can book a cook: our staff can make a meal if you bring the groceries Rs 500 per meal. We prepare only South Indian vegetarian simple food, boiled rice, porriayal, sambar, chapathi, idly.
The nearest restaurants are 1.5 km away, Highland hotel has a nice North Indian buffet for a reasonable price, breakfast, lunch and dinner. And just 7 kilometers away in Ooty are over 30 restaurants ranging from pizzerias to Chinese.
Since we live at the top of the mountain, we have a freshwater well, and you can drink straight from the tap, no boiling needed, so don't plan on buying water.
Weather in Ooty
The weather in Ooty tends to be quite cool and even rainy depending on the time of year. Bring warm clothes and socks so you can bundle up. There are slippers you can borrow during your stay. Feel free to borrow jackets and raincoats in the front cupboard. We do have feather duvets on the beds, hot water bottles and plenty of extra warm throws on the beds and couches in the living room. * We have a wood stove to keep you warm at night. If you don't know how to light it then one of our staff will light it for you at 4:30pm. Help yourself to more wood if you need it.
The property has a steep, 300 meter unpaved drive that leads to the main house and cottage. The drive is rocky and narrow and winding. All cars can drive all the way up to the cottage if you go slowly and carefully! However, it is not an easy driveway. We have spent many months and significant resources to improve the drive, but it is still, well, challenging. Your car will get dusty if the weather is dry and muddy if it is wet. You can drive up to the cottage and unload your things, but please park down by the horse barn. We suggest you do not book with us unless you are up for a challenge with a daunting driveway. During the monsoon season (June 1st to mid December) our mud driveway can be slippery with heavy rain. Please be in touch with our manager about your arrival plans, especially if the rain is heavy. If you are unable to drive up, you can always park down on the side of the road near our driveway (its perfectly safe), and walk up the 300 meters to our house. If your group needs more help, if you call in advance we can arrange for our jeep to drive you up to the house. We urge you to arrive before dark, preferably before 5pm, so that our staff will be able to assist you, and quite honestly, its easier to come up our drive in daylight.
We have two large dogs that we do not keep tied up. They are perfectly friendly towards guests, are gentle with children and have all their shots. Our lab Waza has worked as a therapy dog with disabled children for many years! Because we have our own pets, guests cannot bring pets along with them during their stay.
We have three horses that often roam the 10 acres around us. They are not allowed up on the lawn near the house, but you may encounter them anywhere along the drive. They are also available for trail rides.
If you go out hiking around the property be alert for wild bison as they often graze near the house. If you encounter them, keep a respectful distance and back away until they pass. They are not dangerous unless they feel threatened.
Housecleaning is available for Rs. 300 per day
Laundry service is available for Rs 300 per 6kg load (cleaned, dried and folded).
Trail riding is available! Book in advance or ask Solomon when you arrive. Rs. 800 per horse/ hour. Tea and biscuits provided on ride.
This property is not suitable for people who have trouble walking on uneven surfaces, or climbing stairs. It is not the ideal location for elderly folks, unless they are fit and energetic. The whole property is on a 45 degree slope, so almost everything is either up or down!
We do not have any facilities for a driver on the property, no outside toilet and washroom, no extra bed. Our place is not set up to host drivers.