Staycation During The Pandemic | Evolve Back Resort -Coorg
"I want to be a responsible traveller, see more places in India and visit offbeat places around the world" - My diary entry on 31st of Dec 2019.
The world obviously had different plans for me. We had a beautifully laid out itinerary for 2 countries, a trip we had planned by spending much time building a perfect itinerary. We had told ourselves that we'll book tickets by end of February. Thanks to a few friends who were being extra cautious about this vague news they read on Twitter about a virus called COVID19, we held ourselves back. Who knew this deadly Pandemic was going to take over our lives and crush all the plans for the whole year?
Cut to post lockdown and we were looking so forward to stepping out of our home. It was our anniversary and we were choosing to go to a nice place with a private pool so we can just remain put inside a beautiful room and room service all our meals. We picked Evolve Back Resorts Coorg.
That was amazing and not so amazing for multiple reasons. Read on to know why.
Before you go further, this is not a sponsored post. This was our experience and thoughts.
-Why was it amazing?
1) The room was very well sanitized and was very clean when we checked in. (One of the most important things to check before you go anywhere now)
2) The pool and the view from the room made us feel like we were in fact very close to nature and jumping into a pool has never felt this good. Oh also, it was a temperature-controlled pool.
3) The folks at Evolveback provided us with a link for food menu options . We could room service the food by looking at the dishes and their descriptions from our phones.
4) They had multiple places to sit and chill: A pair of easy chairs, an outdoor dining table set up, indoor dining table set up, a window sill, another comfortable place just outside our bedroom, a gazebo, a table and a chair and a pair of pool chairs so we never felt like we were chilling inside a room.
5) The coffee plantation tour on a 4*4 with their naturalist was one of our most favourite parts about our stay. They took us on a beautiful drive, spoke to us about the wild wild plantation at Evolve back, told us some fascinating stories about Coffee and surprised us by taking us to a deck with a 360-degree view of the plantation where we were served delicious coffee wine and rose apple juice made by the family who owned the estate. We had such a good time that morning! :)
Why was it not so amazing?
This is going to be a long list because this isn't about bad-mouthing any brand but my personal view and it has to be explained.
1) They have 62 rooms and all of them were fully booked that weekend. When we checked-in 1 hour later than the scheduled time, the lobby was full of anxious people waiting for their rooms. The sanitization was taking longer than usual which is okay. BUT most people weren't wearing their masks while waiting for the rooms and the resort management was not firmly insisting on people to have their masks on as well. We told them we were uncomfortable and were taken to their library where we waited till we got our room completely sanitized. We did not hurry them for our rooms. We wanted them to take their time to clean the rooms. It was our safety at play.
2) They had appointed a customer service person for us and she was reachable on whatsapp and on call in-case we had any issues. This was a good idea. She encouraged us to step out for our anniversary dinner at their exclusive restaurant and said that it would be empty around 7 pm. We took her advice and went for dinner. It was empty and we were so excited to be eating out after so long. Within 20 mins of us starting our meals (which was pre-ordered), the restaurant was packed. The tables weren't distanced and we got up mid-meal and asked them to pack it to our room. No. We are not being paranoid. We are being practical.
3) A friend of mine messaged me about another friend who was also in Evolve back and I happened to see that friend's Instagram story. They had THE EXACT experience which we did. The same bouquet which was given to us, the same coffee plantation tour, the same fancy dinner (Which we walked out of) and it hit me. I didn't like an impersonalized experience and realised there's nothing they could do about it. They are a big resort with 60+ rooms and if they wanted to delight their guests, they had to standardise it. But It didn't hit the sweet spot. I wanted to believe I had a unique experience, I want something smaller, personal, quaint and more exclusive. So I told myself that it's time I become more conscious about where I go, the places I choose to stay in, the story it has to say and not let my holidays be corporatized. I may sometimes crave for that 5-star hotel stay with room service, spa, buffet breakfast (Post corona) etc but I will visit fully knowing what I am getting into :)
In general, I noticed that when people visiting a place as exotic as evolve back, they assumed they didn't need the mask, they didn't have to be so careful. But that's not true. There are people in 60 other rooms and you need to be just as much careful for everyone's safety.
So until the pandemic is over, we decided to stay away from big resorts as much as we can and pick places that has a story, more experiential, smaller and quieter in a corner somewhere. Not only is it good for you, you'd be supporting a struggling family, may be. :)