Luxury (over US$35/Rsl000 per room night)
There is a choice of deluxe rooms or cottages with verandah, from US$50 single, US$55 double at Taj Group’s reputable Hotel Savoy, 77 Sylks Road (tel 4142, telex 8504-207) which also arranges golf and horse-riding. The Taj have also recently taken over the Fernhill Palace (tel 3910), built in 1842 by the Maharajahs of Mysore and set in a large estate. When renovation is complete this will be a superb property.
Mid-range (US$10-35/Rs250-1000 per room night)
Quality Inn Southern Star Havelock Road (tel 3601, tix 850-4213) has rooms from Rs450 single, Rs850 double. Hotel Lake View, West Lake Rd (tel 3904, 3580) has a nice location, many useful facilities, double rooms only at Rs340. As with all Ooty’s hotels, rates are heavily discounted in the low season but charge 25% more during the Christmas-New Year period and in the May–June holidays.
Budget (under US$1O/Rs250 per room night)
The best value in the budget range is Nahar Hotel, Charing Cross (tel 2173), run by jolly Babuji. A well-run, well-located place this, with a bakery, a vegetarian restaurant, and cosy, livable rooms at Rs150 single, Rs175 double. Hotel Tamil Nadu (tel 2543) up on the hill is comfortable, with communal dining hall, and rooms from Rs150 single, Rs250 double. The dormitory beds in the attached Youth Hostel are a good deal but are nearly always taken.
YWCA (tel 2218) on Anandagiri Ettines Rd near the bus-stand takes men and women and has a few charming cottage rooms at Rs100 . Vishu Lodge in the bazaar has nice clean rooms, with bath, at Rs75.
For a real taste of the Raj, try to get invited to lunch or dine at the Ooty Club. If this is not possible dine out at Fernhill Palace. The palatial ‘restaurant’ features elegant but painfully slow service, romantic lighting, and well-priced Mughlai/continental cuisine. Eat well for around Rs150 a head, and have a chuckle over the menu. Punjabi food is good at Paradise Restaurant in Commercial Rd, and the nearby Tandoor is reliable for non-vegetarian fare. Both cost from Rs60 per head. Nahar Tourist Home has a cheap vegetarian restaurant, popular with thou-lovers . Shinkows in Commissioner’s Rd (near Collectorate) is best for Chinese food, while town residents favour Kurungi (near the tourist office) for local-style Indian meals. Of Ooty’s many bakeries, V.K. Bakery, 148 Commercial Rd, still makes just about the best piping-hot fresh bread, mutton puffs, coconut balls, pies and cakes in India!
The tourist office at the Super Market building, Charing Cross (tel 3964) organises tours. There’s far better information (and good sightseeing tours) at King Travels (tel 3137) across the road, and Blue Mountain Tours, Nahar Shopping Centre, Charing Cross. The post office is near the Collectorate, and State Bank of India overlooks Commercial St. Higginbotham’s bookshop is opposite Chellaram’s department store in Charing Cross area.