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“Almost a time machine”

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Sans Souci Bungalow
Kolkata
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Almost a time machine”
Reviewed January 2, 2014

I spent the Christmas holidays of 2013 at Sans Souci Bungalow. I had read about colonial bungalows in the Nilgiris and the tea estates but never had the opportunity to experience one. Fortunately, I had the good judgement to stay in San Souci and not the usual lot that advertise a 'true' colonial experience but only end up being the run-of-the-mill touristy place devoid of any character. At San Souci, things have almost not changed in the last 150 years. I am sure there have been renovations and retrofits, but extreme care has been taken to preserve the air. The doors, the door knobs, the wardrobes, the flooring, the roof beams, the beds, the chairs, the books, the cutlery, the kitchen ware and the fireplace are virtually from the time the property was built. Everything oozes with character and it seems everything has a story. It was so nice not to see modern appliances and modern touches ruin the experience. There was kitchenware that can safely be called extinct and book cases full of very interesting books. I have never stayed at a place that has retained so much of character. We weren't planning a touristy vacation so spent most of the time in and around the bungalow. The walks in the tea gardens, the long chats over cold tea(in December tea is cold almost as soon as it is poured into a cup) staring at the mist float over the valley and engulf the veranda and the bungalow and the brilliant green grass on clear sunny mornings. The nights were crisp and silent ideal of reading a book or watching a movie or just chatting over a cognac. I so want to be back in San Souci...
The food is awesome. We stuck to traditional Tamil food and Rani (caretaker and cook) did an amazing job of churning out delicacies 3 times a day. The amazing dosas with (possibly the best chatni I have ever had), the chetinnad chicken curry, the pepper chicken, the fish fry, the fish curry and there was egg plant too. I would have deeply regretted the decision if I had given a wide berth to the egg plants. Even the little vegetables in every meal were delicious.
We were travelling with our dog and there couldn't have been a place better suited for pets. The open lawn is an amazing place for dogs to play and the rooms are large enough for pets to walk around and not feel claustrophobic. It was a great detox for the soul...

Room Tip: There are 3 rooms and all are great... the one in the corner with the fireplace has a little study a...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank kc3981
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ShibaniGhosh, Owner at Sans Souci Bungalow, responded to this review, January 3, 2014
Dear Kuldip and Paulomi

Your review of Sans Souci has made my New Year! Thank you for one of the nicest, most heart felt reviews.
I have deliberately kept the old world charm intact. And like you said it's the old world charm that is missing from most places. Sans Souci has to remain faithful to its name a place " without worries".

Rani says a big thank you to both of you. She says you were wonderful guests and your dog was a pet ( pun intended!)

Please do come to Sans Souci again and again.

Thank you and have a wonderful 2014!
Shibani Ghosh.
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40 reviews from our community

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English first
Navi Mumbai, India
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed January 2, 2014

Tucked away at an amazing location right in the middle of a tea estate. Sans Souci is by no yardstick conventional.The front porch opens to a beautiful flowerbed and tea plants. Down below a superb vista of the valley which gives you glimpses of the slightest change in weather if you could sit for a few moments and just savour it. Mist hangs around in the valley sometimes till noon..just wafting lazily. Hiking in and around the estate that surrounds you is a good way to start your morning. So on location a perfect 10.
A very small settlement of people in the estate areas..barring a few nonchalant locals. So no noisy neighbours. If a quiet relaxed holiday is what you want..this is the place to be.
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The rooms: Your first impression might be of a dull place. The owner has retained a lot of the old world charm of the place as possible. You might be reminded of your old ancestral properties that you always loved going just because it was a change from the drab lifeless architecture you are exposed to in the city. The bedding/furnishings are modest
What might interest you is the eclectic collection of books stacked in a huge shelf in the central room where i stayed. There is a fireplace in 2 rooms and one uses a electric heater
If shining marble floors and coffee makers is what you expect,then you will feel definitely out of place.

There is a dvd player in the central room with a collection of good music and cinema(the cinema section needs some updating though)

The hospitality is at its very best..Not obtrusive nor ignorant. Rani, the caretaker is like this superwoman who does the cooking, caters to your innumerable hot cups of nilgiri tea and stuff like that the entire day with relentless dedication. Ask her the ingredients she uses in a dish she prepares and you will be boggled at the effort she puts into making baingan ki subzi :). There are two other people in the house who assist her in the job at hand.
The meals are served accommodating special requests you have and are charged per person per meal and you will mostly be having breakfast and dinner at the house as the whole of coonoor hardly has many places to eat except a hotel or two(which wont offer anything diverse) and those are pretty far from the property anyways.

In terms of room rent expenses, this place had a definite advantage over many other similar professionally managed places i had inquired who mostly also apply a significant 20 percent luxury tax coupled with a peak season tariff.

The only downside i found, the estate being a good 7-8 kms away from coonoor town, a trip outside the estate will cost you no less than 500 bucks in a hired cab
That can be a bummer if you are solo or a couple. but this observation is general all across ooty and coonoor..So sort of comes with the territory

Still a lot more to say.. let me end by saying this place is definitely worth trying once in your life. Do go .. Take your friends..take your kids..they will definitely appreciate:)

Room Tip: Go for the central room with the huge collection of books if you are a book/cinema/photography buff...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank VishakhVenugopal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ShibaniGhosh, Owner at Sans Souci Bungalow, responded to this review, January 3, 2014
Dear Vishakh

Thank you for your observations and a wonderful review of Sans Souci.
I remember how you were so insistent upon staying at Sans Souci I am glad that your insistence paid off! That the holiday with your parents was a worthy experience.

I'm glad you enjoyed the eclectic selection of books and music. DVDs of world cinema and a bigger Television set are what I intend to add this month. When you go next you will be happier:)

Rani is a wonderful asset and she thoroughly enjoys her work. She is generous and warm and remembers everyone of her guests.

Please do come back again and spread the word amongst good people like yourself.

Thank you for choosing Sans Souci and have a wonderful 2014!

Best wishes
Shibani Ghosh.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mumbai (Bombay), India
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed December 14, 2013

it was a beautiful experience of a very beautiful place. the house exceptionally beauty antique very well maintained for a antique house as if you are old golden times and its position on top of hill over seeing the tea garden valley as if you living in middle of green paradise .its like you refreshing your body and mind its that good.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank suryakant s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ShibaniGhosh, Owner at Sans Souci Bungalow, responded to this review, December 16, 2013
Dear Surya

Thanks for your lovely review of Sans Souci. I am so glad that you and your family enjoyed your stay.

Your compliments about the house and it's surroundings are heartwarming. Thank you.
You promised to come again. Please do, whenever you feel like a break from the humdrum of Mumbai city life. Looking forward to that.

Best wishes
Shibani
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bengaluru, India
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed October 19, 2013

Along with my family I visited Sans Souci for a few days during the Durga Puja / Dussehra time. We had a wonderful time. The bungalow, with a history, makes one think of how it was some 100 years back. How the residents used to come when the train was not there or the bus but Sans Souci was there.

I enjoyed the mornings - when the birds come. The garden with so many trees and plants was a perfect place to laze around. The quiet walk to the nearby tea plantation and the small streams along the road was very new for us.

Rani took very good care of us and prepares great food. She is very polite.

Shibani is always helpful be it when I lost my way to the bungalow or enquiring on how comfortable we are or sharing some little history on the bungalow.

If you like to stay in a homely place and just relax, visit the place. The last night it rained and we enjoyed the sounds of rain and the lightning flashes coming through the transperant portion of the roof - it was a different experience altogether.

I would have liked to spend some more time sitting in the sun and reading a few poems of Tagore or sit in the east side sitting room but time did not permit.

Thanks,

Abhijit and family.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank hijbijbij
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ShibaniGhosh, Owner at Sans Souci Bungalow, responded to this review, October 21, 2013
Dear Abhijit

Thank you for such a heart felt review of Sans Souci. Bungalow Coonoor.
It gives me great pleasure to know that your family enjoyed their holiday.

You are so right. Sans Souci is a place to relax,to forget your worldly cares, and to just soak in the beauty of Nature. To read Tagore and gaze at the passing clouds!

Rani says a big thank you to you too. She says she enjoyed looking after your family.
Looking forward to hosting you and your family again. You are always welcome to Sans Souci.

Best wishes
Shibani
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed September 8, 2013

We selected Sans scouci as our vacation home in Coonoor based on the reviews of Tripadvisor and it turned out to be a very good choice. We were basically looking for a quite and peaceful getaway and Shivani's Bungalow ideally suited our requirements. We had the whole bungalow to ourselves had a nice time.The best thing about it was that it felt like being at home.The location of the house is simply superb; surrounded by tea estates the house offers a panoramic view of the valley. We were also charmed by the old world feel of the house. Coonoor has a colonial air about it and Shivani's house typifies this atmosphere.
The interior's are not plush, the furnitures are antique and the collection of books, paintings and artifacts speak of an ecletic taste.
Rani, the caretakers hospitality also needs special mention.She is a very unassuming person but a very caring host.We did not meet Shivani but through telephonic conversation she came out as a very warm person. The food was excellent and as i already said very homely.My four year old con thoroughly enjoyed this stay and we will always have fond memories about this place.

I would also request Shivani to enlighten me on the history of the house as i am planning to make a write-up on it.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank ek_musaffir
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ShibaniGhosh, Owner at Sans Souci Bungalow, responded to this review, September 11, 2013
Dear Tapan

I am so glad that you enjoyed your stay. I miss meeting all of you and do hope we can meet sometime in the future at Sans Souci.

We have tried to keep Sans Souci simple and elegant and maintain that Homestay feel as opposed to a hotel or guest house. As you noticed, the books, paintings and the artefacts are things we love ,ourselves and need to be shared with like minded people. Thank you for your appreciation it means a lot to us.

Rani is a gem! And like you said, a perfect ,unobtrusive ,hostess. She loves having people around and is very generous and helpful.

Please do come again and stay. Yes I will mail you the history of Sans Souci for your write up.

And I must mention a thank you to Tripadvisor for bringing you and your lovely family to Sans Souci!

Best wishes
Shibani
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
India
Level Contributor
137 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
Reviewed June 9, 2013

Sans Souci is a gem of a bungalow tucked away in Coonoor. The owner is Shibani Ghosh (onlyshibani@gmail.com), who is based out of Mumbai. The place is managed by an ultra-efficient caretaker, Ms. Rani.

Shibani is full of information about Coonoor, where to go, what to buy, all the activities that can be done in the area - an experienced guide just a phone call away. The peace and quiet is what you immediately begin to appreciate at Sans Souci. Add to it the great food from Rani's kitchen, and the scene is perfect. You can also go on long walks to the NonSuch Tea Estate close by. A library with a great collection is available to you, should you wish to indulge yourself while comfortably stretched on a hammock in the garden. You might like to tear your eyes away from the book and look at the surroundings - tea plantations around you, Coonoor town on the distant hill, the mist rolling in once in a while, the sun playing hide-and-seek among the clouds, a very friendly dog that comes over once in a while (and that Rani shoos away if you don't like dogs). Rani is very unobtrusive and leaves you to focus on soaking in the atmosphere. She is a great cook and is always ready to make that 5th cup of Nilgiri tea or coffee, should you need it. On the day of our departure, we were leaving for Bangalore very early in the morning, and sure enough, Rani was getting our breakfast ready at 5:30 AM. Exemplary service. Great place. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank PipBhaai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ShibaniGhosh, Owner at Sans Souci Bungalow, responded to this review, June 16, 2013
Many thanks for such a heartfelt review Pipson. It was unfortunate that we didn't meet. I hope to meet Uma and you sometime. When I leave the humdrum and big city blues!
I have conveyed your comments to Rani and she has thanked you too. She says you were exemplary guests.
Rani is precious I completely agree. She single handedly maintains Sans Souci so well. And she is an amazing cook! Rani has been in Sans Souci even longer than we have! She came with the house when we bought it and we gladly adopted her and her family. Rani is the Anchor the Mainstay of Sans Souci Coonoor.
Please do make Sans Souci your regular destination. Come and stay longer. Bring other members of your family too.
Thank you again :)
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Bengaluru, India
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviewed June 9, 2013

We had the exquisite pleasure of spending two days at Sans Souci, Coonoor, earlier this week. The beautiful colonial bungalow evokes the charm of another era - the high walls, spacious interiors, teak furniture, items of decor, and a bookcase with some rare books.

The views are truly spectacular - you can see the valley clothed in several shades of green gleaming in clear sunshine or shrouded by a mist covering it and drifting into the house.

If you're looking for some quiet time, this is it. The only person we saw in two days was Rani, the caretaker-cum-cook, who has a way of staying unnoticed unless you look for her or when she announces the delicious meals.

A must-visit for those who want to get away from the maddening clatter and clutter of city life.

Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank UmaMampilli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ShibaniGhosh, Owner at Sans Souci Bungalow, responded to this review, June 16, 2013
Uma who I know through Pipson! Uma who wanted to buy enamel crockery. Who decided against shopping and preferred to relax and read a book instead! I saw a picture of you on Facebook and wished we had met. I hope we do. I shall then show you some exquisite places to source enamel utensils, spices, fabulous teas and homemade Jams and Marmalade.
I am so glad you enjoyed Sans Souci. Rani has sent Pipson and you her regards. She was mighty pleased with your praise and she said you were wonderful guests.
Do come again whenever your heart desires.
Thank you again.
Shibani
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Additional Information about Sans Souci Bungalow

Property: Sans Souci Bungalow
Address: Sans Souci Estate. Below Non Such Post Office | Glendale Tea Factory, Non Such Road, Katteri Junction, Coonoor 643238, India
Location: India > Tamil Nadu > The Nilgiris District > Coonoor
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Room Service Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 29 Specialty Lodging in Coonoor
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sans Souci Bungalow is nestled in Sans Souci Tea Estate overlooking the beautiful Nilgiri Blue Mountain range.The house is more than a 100 years old and is full of character. Go for long treks, watch the clouds play, hear the wind sing, drink cups of flavorful tea and lose yourself to nature.We are known for our tasty homecooked meals. We serve both Indian and Continental food. Pure Vegetarian, and Non Vegetarian. Sans Souci which means without worries in French lives upto it's name. Relax, Read, Dream, Sleep and go home refreshed!! ... more   less 

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