Serenity at Kanam Estate

Vazhoor, The Hill Country, India Book from Eur130

Truly delightful, fully staffed 5-bedroom hotel or private villa on a rubber plantation midway between Cochin, the backwaters and Thekkady (sleeps 2-12)
A sister hotel to the stylish Malabar House, Purity and Trinity, Serenity is a 2-hour drive from Cochin and halfway to the wildlife reserve of Periyar, near Thekkady, making it the ideal stopover on this otherwise rather long journey. Sitting on a small hilltop, the views over the Blue Mountains of the Western Ghats are breathtaking and the surrounding rubber plantation, along with the shady pool, papaya trees, pepper vines and the resident elephant, create a thoroughly tropical feel.

With just 5/6 guest rooms, this converted 1920s estate house is always peaceful and there's little to disturb you except for the sounds of nature. It can be hired in its entirety as a fully-staffed private villa and would make a great destination for a group of friends travelling together. Alternatively, individual rooms can be taken, with guests dining together on the freshest local produce. There are wonderful, guided walks to be had through the rubber plantations, an Ayurvedic spa on site, and Kottayam, with its profusion of churches, is close by. Serenity exudes charm, peace and style.

Highs

  • This is one of the only hotels in India small enough to be rented out as a ‘villa’
  • It's been decorated with superb taste
  • The staff are incredibly friendly and helpful
  • The food is deliciously fresh; all vegetables are homegrown
  • It's a great option for families; kids have their own playroom and will love spending the day with Laxmi, the resident elephant
  • The swimming pool has 2 surrounding pool decks, encircled by jungle, and a state-of-the-art filtration plant

Lows

  • It could be considered to be too close and yet too far from Cochin and Thekkady, so why bother stopping there?
  • The more active may find that there isn't enough to do in the surrounding area
  • It can be difficult to find, so make sure your driver has directions

Best time to go

There are no particular seasonal weather changes in this part of Kerala as it benefits from a tropical climate and is warm and humid all year round. Being in the low hills, it cools down at night and a jersey may be required for the evenings and early morning. It tends to rain in June and July and there can be sporadic showers in October. The best time to visit is from August until Easter. April to May gets hotter with pre-monsoon showers.

Our top tips

Serenity is the perfect place to break a journey between Thekkady and the Malabar Coast / Trivandrum. With little to do other than relax in the lush surroundings, it provides a welcome, quiet break in a hectic schedule.

Great for...

Family
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Villa
  • 6
  • Breakfast (+ other meals on request)
  • Over 2s welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

This wonderful 1920s plantation estate bungalow has been beautifully restored and is decorated entirely in keeping with its colonial past. The dark timber and panelling throughout the property are exquisite and the warm terracotta and turquoise colours that dominate the interiors blend perfectly with the profusion of colonial furniture and with the local environment.

The Deluxe Rooms (3 doubles and 2 twins) each have an attached shower room and air conditioning. Those on the ground floor have polished stone floors and there is coir carpeting in the first-floor rooms. The house is replete with stunning artefacts and paintings that have been collected over the years by the owner. The linen and fabrics used throughout are fine, natural Indian cotton and canvas, adding a cool, crisp feel.

If you choose to book the Whole House, an additional twin room is made available, allowing the house to accommodate 12 people in total. It has lovely views as it sits over the porch and has 3 walls of windows. Although it does not have its own attached bathroom, it does have a small shower room at the end of the corridor.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Internet access
  • Terrace
  • Tv

Eating

Serenity has a trained, resident chef who will prepare delicious meals based on the recipes of Malabar House. The dishes blend local Travancore Indian and Mediterranean cuisine, with fresh ingredients grown on site, and meals are taken either in the dining room or on the patio.

There is a daily gourmet theme menu with plenty of choice. Unlike a restaurant kitchen, the cook will discuss the meals directly with you and make sure to accommodate whatever preferences you have with respect to spiciness, style etc. We reckon that the pasta with either fish or shellfish is the best we had in Kerala, and the fish curry is to-die-for too.

Breakfast is included in the daily room rate and is a choice (or a combination of) a continental or a South Indian spread. We loved the idli (steamed rice cake), vada (fritters) and dosa (rice and lentil pancakes) with sambar, coconut cutney and steamed banana.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Communal dining
  • Cooking classes
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Chill out at the on-site Ayurvedic spa, PureSpa, which offers individual treatments and longer programmes (find out more about Ayurveda here). The latter can be split between here and sister property Purity if you want a 2-centre spa holiday
  • Spend the day with the resident elephant, Laxmi, and his Mahout: feed him bananas, go for a ride through the jungle to visit some of the surrounding plantations, watch him at work pulling and carrying large logs of wood and finally share in his delightful bathtime at day's end
  • Take undisturbed walks (a rarity in India!) in the surrounding rubber plantation, finding out how rubber is produced. The area is also home to cocoa, pepper, coffee, cardamom, pineapple, tapioca, papaya and banana plantations
  • Explore local village life on one of the mountain bikes
  • Brush up on your culinary skills with a cooking class with the resident chef
  • Visit the Aranmula cultural centre on the River Pamba for performances of classical music and Kathakali dances, as well as courses in astrology and natural medicine
  • Take a day trip to Ettumanur, a Shiva temple with stunning frescoes
  • Head to Kerala’s main Christian centre, Kottayam, which is the site of the fascinating 16th-century churches of Cherai Palli and Valia Palli
  • Visit orchid nurseries, where hundreds of colourful varieties are grown
  • Voyage further afield on the Discovery houseboat and explore the Keralan backawaters

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Ayurvedic treatments
  • Cooking classes
  • Elephant rides
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Mountain biking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Trekking
  • Wildlife

Kids

Serenity is ideal for families who want to escape to a retreat in the low hills and children will relish the opportunity to meet Laxmi the elephant. Children over 2 are welcome but, being a small and peaceful place, guests are asked to be aware that noise carries here!

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Each bedroom can hold an extra bed and baby cot. Alternatively a large family or group travelling together could book the entire property, which would include 3 double rooms and 2 twin rooms

Babysitting:

The property’s manager can arrange for child care if required

Kids Activities on site:

  • Laxmi the elephant
  • Plantation walks
  • Mountain biking
  • Cooking classes
  • Day trips

Distances:

  • Airport: 2.5 hrs
Kid Friendly:

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