Review: Orange County Luxury Resort, Hampi, Karnataka in South India
Words by Kishore and Smita Iyengar
This unique property is a living regal tribute to UNESCO World Heritage site Hampi – the capital of the world famous 14th century South Indian Vijayanagara Empire ruled by Krishnadevaraya. The five star Orange County Luxury Resort Hampi – from the House of Ramapuram recreates the magnificence of the ancient, prosperous kingdom with stylized contemporary flair and discreet decadence.
ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN
The resort blends south Indian temple and secular architectural styles of the Vijayanagara Empire. The stunning interiors are redolent with Indo – Islamic style arches, unique aqueduct -fed temple tanks and an open-to-sky central courtyard. Arches rule the design paradigm at this grand resort complex. The lavish suites and common guest areas have more expressive arches while the corridors are graced with more masculine accented, Islamic military style arches.
The interiors complement the evocative aesthetics of the resort. Lotus motif wood paneling juxtaposed with artistic cutwork chandeliers create a romantic mood. Giant geometric floor patterns and the Atrium complex’s calming aqua flooring character highlight keen designing sensitivity. Matching legacy, the ancient Vijayanagara style is evident in dressed, rough textured granite as building material with matt finish.
Ample brass, crafted and moulded metal studs and strips enhance the period feel. Exclusive bespoke ‘Mashaal’- shaped wall lights (ancient hand-held flaming torches) and hanging copper lamps cast a mystical glow. The rich, opulent drapes have a rough texture in buff muted tones adding understated and discreet class to the interiors and overall ambiance. It’s a refreshing contrast from the usual slew of heritage-converted palace hotels in northern India.
The grand five star resort boasts 37 luxurious living spaces and private pool villas, all created for the royal living experience. There are 23 Nivasa –Deluxe suites, 8 Nilaya –Terrace sites with large private balconies, 6 splendid Zenana –Palace suites with exclusive private balconies and the jewels among them all, -6 Jal Mahal –Private Pool villas with gazebos and lush courtyards.
The Jal Mahal villas are the ultimate in opulent luxury with dedicated spaces that allow exciting discoveries of its interiors, décor, ambience, amenities, open areas like the inviting pool and gazebo for intimate sundowners or a goblet of Shiraz. Discreet privacy has been woven into each villa precincts as couples can laze on pool decks and take in the chirpy company of petite avian visitors.
The spacious thirty seven suites and six gorgeous Jal Mahal villas offer a royal lifestyle experience ensconced in rich cotton and cotton-polyester fabrics with a sheen. Customized furniture and art representative of the glorious era bring alive strikingly different royal environs in the various suites and villas. In all living areas grandeur and opulence permeate your senses, highlighted by flowing, signature maroon hand woven king bed canopies.
In the sprawling resort spaces, mind-stilling indoor water bodies are welcome leit motif, lush matt wall drapes, sheers, liberal ‘Simhasanas’ (luxurious lounge sofas), giant custom-crafted urns with cutout patterns and magnificent curved and engraved wooden posts lend sophistication with a modern sheen.
FOOD AND CUISINE
The imposing Lotus Mahal is the address for their specialty fine dining restaurant – Bahmani serving exotic Nawabi (regal) specialty grills and northwestern frontier cuisine. The all-day dining, multi-cuisine restaurant Tuluva opening out to a stunning pool, a vast courtyard and a bracing Queen’s Pavillion for romantic dinners, also recreates its one-of-its-kind Heritage Vijayanagara signature cuisine with authentic age-old delicacies stirred up with passion and dedication.
Besides sumptuous breakfasts and international spreads, it’s a golden chance to tuck into unforgettable delicacies you can never hope to savor anywhere else on earth. Inaugurate your appetite with ‘Kori Ulva Chaaru’ –traditional pureed horse gram soup with chicken, asafetida and curry leaves. Tickle your palate with the myriad tastes of ‘Royyala Kura’ –marinated prawns cooked in local style with flavorful masalas, tamarind and onions. The excitement of imperial south Indian 14th century feats continues with ‘Bale Hoovu Palya’ –Banana flower cooked with coconut, organic south Indian spices, tamarind, curry leaves and mustard. Salute the gourmet experience with ‘Hesara Bele Payaasa’ –milk and jiggery based moong beans porridge. Your tribute to the royal kitchens of Vijayanagara!
The adjoining spacious bar Howdah linked to Tuluva by a cool, stepped water body is graced by majestic, curved and intricately engraved wooden posts. Premium Indian and select world wines grace a wall display, a range of cocktails and spirits light up the nocturnal expectations. A multi-dimensional white elephant projecting out behind the bar counter as an exceptional thematic rendition, creates a fascinatingly princely aura.
SPA AND ACTIVITIES
The Vaidyasala is the thematic Ayurvedic Spa here, offering centuries-old specialized holistic Indian natural therapies, elaborate treatments and rejuvenation packages.
The resort packs in exciting heritage trails to the historic sites and monuments, themed walks and tours as part of their package. The Tungabhadra Trek, The Vithalapura Trek, The Virupaksha Trail and The Raya Trail are must dos for all guests, -a close up of the spectacular Heritage legacy of this part of South India.
Orange County Luxury Resort – Hampi
Hallikere Village, Kamalapura Post,
P. K. Halli Road, Hospet Taluk,
Kamalapura, Bellary District 583221