Our thoughtful experts are ready with ideas, inspiration and advice for your next journey.
Tranquil by name, tranquil by nature – this home stay is housed in an authentic plantation up in the lush Northern Kerala hills.
Accommodation is comprised of a bungalow that has six guest rooms (five of which share a long wrap-around veranda) as well as one suite with a private garden and a huge deluxe room that is reserved for the owners when they are up from Bangalore. Original woodwork, tiled floors and plush beds make for a suitably comfortable stay but if you're after something slightly more quirky, there are two tree suites perched in the branches in the garden. Aptly named 'Tranquil-i-tree' (ideal for couples) and 'Serene-tree' (easily able to accommodate a family of four), both have proper bathrooms, electricity, tellys, DVD players and phones, not to mention beautiful views over the coffee plantation. These really are grown up tree houses.
When the owners are away, the director of the 400-acre coffee and vanilla estate Victor Dey runs the show along with his wife Jini and their dogs. They expertly combine the high standards of a hotel with the feeling that you are at a private house. The rooms are kept as clean as a whistle, and meals are enjoyed in a communal flower-laiden dining room table on the terrace where guests can learn all about the life of a planter. Food is mainly homemade and cooked by Jini, specialities include coconut and chicken broth, spicy curries, and coffee from the plantation, so there is something a little different from the often-repetitive repertoire of Keralan specialities. One won't go hungry here that's for sure.
The hotel's facilities include a swimming pool and Jacuzzi, spa treatments and Ayurvedic massages upon request, and a tree deck in the garden frequently used for siestas and bird watching as well as yoga and meditation sessions.
There is plenty to occupy yourself with in the area with must-dos including a guided plantation tour as well as one of the many signposted walks that will take you to a viewpoint rock at 3,000 ft high. The more adventurous who undertake the scramble up the 'Cliffhanger' trail leading to Kuppamudi Peak will be rewarded with fabulous 360-degree views. Trips can also be made to the Muthanga Game Sanctuary and Pookate Lake, as well the stunning three-tiered waterfalls and nearby Sultan's Battery, a former stronghold of the Tippu sultan and now home to a 9th century Jain temple and market.
Communal dining means there is a house party atmosphere, and one that we love. Try and get a spot next to Victor to learn all about the plantation.
Frances, Original Traveller