When you drive through mundane Hassan you'd never know that a place like Hoysala Village sits just down the road. Hoysala is Hassan's secret garden. People are drawn to it because of its easy proximity to Belur, Halebid and Sravanabelagola, three masterpieces of Indian art and history, but Hoysala is the kind of place that feels homey enough for you to hang out by the kidney-shaped pool all day, surrounded by palms. Nothing about Hoysala feels modern or overly posh, but that's just its charm.
My greatest accolades go to the landscaping. Slate pathways between the 33 cottages curve around great flowering trees and bushes. It's likely you'll come nose to nose with a blistering purple hyacinth before you bump into another person. That feeling that you don't know what vibrant flower you're going to meet on the garden path brings a rich magic to your stay.
In fact, the landscaping is so well manicured that it mitigates some of Hoysala's weak points. Each cottage is luxuriously spacious, and the bed is backed by a simple rosewood headboard that doubles as a nightstand and complements the high sloping ceiling. However, the rattan chairs seem a little dusty and a tad bit rickety. But on every other front Hoysala soars.
The thatch roof of the activities centre and the adorable rosewood chess tables entice you to slow down and unwind at Hoysala. The other impressive building on the five acres of land is the dining room, where all meals are served buffet style. Great stone columns hold the enormously high roof but the great opening at its centre allows copious sunlight to pour onto a small solarium. During the day, the sunroof lights the dining room and keeps the room cool. Meanwhile all the open space has the lovely effect of joining meals to that all pitch perfect garden.
Where: Belur Road, Hassan, Karnataka
Accommodation: 29 rooms and 4 suites
Tariff: Rs 4,400 (room), Rs 5,000 (suite), inclusive of all meals
Contact: 080-25325302, 25582525, www.trailsindia.com