Living in an urban, concrete jungle, I love to take short breaks amidst nature whenever I can. With the kids being in school, short trips and holidays have to be aligned with their school calendar so we try to make the most of long weekends and mid-term breaks. During their recent break, I wanted to take them from the concrete jungle to a real jungle to see the “King of the Jungle” – the lion. Sasan Gir in Gujarat is natural habitat of the Panthera Leo Persica or the Asiatic Lion and the only place where this species is found. The Fern Gir Forest Resort was a highly recommended to us by friends who had visited Gir and after checking it out along with a couple of other properties in Gir, I decided to book us at this resort. And a great decision it was too as you can probably tell from my Instagram pictures and stories. To know more about the wonderful Fern Gir Forest Resort, keep reading…
You are welcomed to the resort by this statue of a leopard, which, at dusk times, looks quite life-like. Very close to the Gir Forest, the Fern Gir Forest Resort is an environmentally sensitive resort inspired by local, ethnic style to give the guests an authentic experience of living amidst nature. It has all the essentials needed for a relaxing getaway – pool, spa, play area – all amidst loads of verdant foliage that instant calm and relax you.
For a city dweller, the kind of peace that the Fern, Gir offers, interrupted only by birds calling out to each other, is a luxury and I loved having my morning coffee on the balcony enjoying the serenity. Throughout the resort, there is a large variety of flora (as you will see in the pictures) with brief descriptions of the kind of tree / plant mentioned.
Despite the large number of trees and plants, the whole resort is very well maintained and clean. The cool shade of the trees is a welcome relief from the scorching heat of the Indian summer – the resort feels pleasantly cool after a hot jungle safari.
Besides the flora, there are a couple of water bodies too, at the resort that add to the ambiance. One is like a little rivulet flowing below a small bridge near the children’s play area. There are lots of small, colourful fish and tadpoles swimming in it and I enjoyed watching these little creatures swim by. The other one is near the Banyan Tree restaurant and is a pond with a small fountain and fish sculptures dotting it. All surrounded by trees, of course, and the cottages and villas on either side.
The Fern, Gir offers three options for accommodations – the Fern Tent, Winter Green Cottages and Fern Villas. Since we were two families travelling together, we opted for two adjacent Winter Green cottages at ground floor level so that the kids could play / watch TV in one room while we adults chatted in the other. The rooms are nice and spacious and have a balcony as well as a little dressing area outside the bathroom. The decor of the room is minimalist and elegant and gives a very homely, cosy vibe. There is a pull-out bed as well in the room, which is handy if you have kids.
To tickle the palate, the Fern Gir Forest Resort has one main multi-cuisine restaurant, The Banyan Tree, which serves a la carte as well as buffet meals. The buffet is quite a decent spread with a good selection of Indian as well as Oriental / Continental cuisines along with Gujarati delicacies. Don’t miss out on the Kathiawari specialities such as Ringna no Oro (a dish prepared with eggplant) and Sev Tamatar nu Shaak (a sweet and sour dish made with sev and tomatoes) as well as the jalebi and gathia during the breakfast buffet.
Adjacent to the Banyan Tree is Zaika, the speciality non-vegetarian restaurant. They also have a pool-side restaurant, River View, that is open for certain hours of the day. This restaurant overlooks the Hiran river on one side and the swimming pool on the other. It’s a great place to relax in the evening to take in the sunset with some refreshing mocktails (no cocktails – Gujarat is a dry state) and yummy snacks.
The Fern Gir Forest Resort has a nixe lawn with village-style cots to laze in while the children play on the swings and slides asks we spent a nice lazy morning there.
However, what we enjoyed best after the heat of the jungle safari was relaxing in the pool sipping on delicious watermelon mocktails. They also have bicycles available for those who want to take a little ride. Above the reception area, there is also a lovely colonial-style library with vintage decor with a nice selection of books for bibliophiles like me.
Coming to what matters most in a resort, the hospitality. Everyone at the Fern Gir Forest Resort, from the housekeeping staff to the reception to the restaurant, is very warm and hospitable. They make you feel welcome and are happy to help out with everything. Of course, they can’t do the safari bookings for you – those have to be done on the Gir safari website in advance – but they will guide you and arrange for things like village trips, visits to temples, nature walks etc.
One of the things I really liked was how they had hot tea, coffee and cookies ready at 5:30 am for the guests going for early morning safari. It’s the little thoughts such as these that make a holiday memorable.
As you can tell from all my pictures and stories on Instagram, we all had a great holiday at the Fern Gir Forest Resort. The lion sightings during the safaris was the icing on the cake. The kids, in fact, had such a good time that they can’t wait to go back for another safari holiday. So if you’re planning a trip to Gir, the Fern Gir Forest Resort is the place I highly recommend.
* Disaimer – NOT a sponsored post. I am not being compensated for this review in any way. These are just my honest and unbiased opinions.