“Cross the wooden bridge into this aromatic mountain garden with stylish cottages, pool and Ayurvedic centre, and leave the world behind”
Designed to offer you peace, pampering and privacy in natural surroundings, the accommodation is a charming mix of old and new, simplicity and stylish comfort. The décor is Malayalam in style, with wooden beams, wide verandas and clean white lines which wouldn't look out of place in a Western interiors magazine.
Since being taken over by the Amritara Group in 2007, the resort has become more luxurious as a whole, but the tranquil ambience is still the same. With a range of treatments and a choice of cosy fireside or breezy poolside lounges, you’ll find your cares simply melt away. Apart from being a lovely place to rest, you can also spot elephants and other wildlife in the nearby Periyar Wildlife Reserve.
- The fresh mountain air is a cooling change from Kerala’s humid plains
- The fragrant garden has a beautiful pool and a long wooden suspension bridge separating it from the outside world
- The Western-style cottages combine comfort, privacy and elegance
- The location is near the Periyar Reserve, one of the best places to observe Kerala's wildlife
- There are many luxury touches: delicious ginger lime or hot cocoa as a welcome drink, a cool face towel on arrival, Ayurvedic bath products and courteous, attentive staff
- Soulful Indian music wafts out from the main building
- Mosquitoes can be a problem, although rooms are thoroughly fumigated every evening
- You’ll probably have to travel at least 3 hours to get here
- The sounds of temple ceremonies carry on the clear mountain air and can wake you as early as 5.30am
- There's a 10% service charge for snacks and drinks served in your room, although bowls of fruit and bottles of water are provided free
- The only safe for valuables is in reception
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Resort
- Restaurant (open daily)
- Over 3s welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
Of the 18 guest suites dotted around the gardens, 10 are standalone cottages and 8 are rooms arranged in units of 2 or 4. All have thatched elephant-grass roofs, ensuite bathrooms and private verandas (with divans and cushions for the cottages). In some cottages the double beds can convert to twins, so state your preference when booking.
The 8 rooms are simple but tastefully decorated, with colourful lamps and cushions, white walls, terracotta-tiled floors and wood panelling dividing the bedroom from a little corridor with a desk.
The cottages have flower and bamboo arrangements, individual colour schemes and mellow, atmospheric lighting throughout. Eight of them are roomier Elegant Cottages, complete with day beds on their verandas and coloured lights to guide you home. There are also 2 extra-secluded and petal-strewn Honeymoon Cottages, one at the bottom of the garden by the lily pond, the other hidden behind the swimming pool with a ladder to its loft bedroom.
Complimentary fruit bowls, water bottles, Ayurvedic bath products, bathrobes and slippers are all provided, with hairdryers available on request. None of the rooms or cottages are air-conditioned, but the mountain climate means nights stay cool throughout the year and heaters and extra blankets are provided.
- Extra beds
Meals are served as a buffet when more than 10 rooms are filled. Otherwise, they can be eaten in the semi open-air restaurant, at one of the stone tables in the garden, by the swimming pool or on your own veranda.
Breakfast can be fresh fruit, a continental spread of eggs, toast and jam or Indian dosas, uppumas, bhajis and parathas, washed down with locally-grown tea and coffee.
Lunch and dinner feature a tasty and light selection of fresh salads, vegetables, meat and fish marinades, grills and bakes. This includes a comprehensive range of local delicacies and North Indian favourites such as Meen Pollichathu (spicy fish wrapped in a banana leaf) and lots of chunky fish, chicken, mutton and paneer curries. During high season, Tandoori dishes using a range of fish, chicken and vegetables are also available. Pasta is another specialty thanks to Shalimar’s Italian co-creator, and our Arrabbiata accompanied by triangles of garlic toast was delicious, as was our super-spicy vegetable soup, fish curry and cardamom soufflé.
With the evenings being so cool – and very wet in the monsoon season – the restaurant is set behind glass walls around the main foyer, giving an intimate feel, with views over the whole property. Pre-dinner drinks are often taken around the fireplace in the lobby.
- Children's meals
- Room service
- Vegetarian menu
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Ayurvedic treatments
- Plantlife / flora
- Private guided tours
- Traditional cultures
- Well being
There are no particular kids facilities here, but the setting is great and it's well located for Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and the nearby lake. Over 3s only.
Those under 6 stay for free and those between the ages of 6 and 10 are charged half price when no extra bed is required and they’re sharing a room with their parents.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Family friendly accommodation:
Elegant Cottages and Elegant Rooms are your best bet: add an extra bed to either. If you have 2 children, you will need to book an extra room, and since the cottages are spaced throughout the resort, it might be best if you're bringing older children. All cottages and rooms have showers, not baths.
Babysitting is available by arrangement
There's a buffet-style set up with largely Indian food, but with pasta, soup and other non-Indian snacks too, so less adventurous kids are catered for
Kids Activities on site:
- Swimming pool
- 5 acres of woods and gardens to explore
- Spice groves and fruit trees
Kids Activities nearby:
- Visit Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, with elephants and activities aplenty
- VIsit tea and spice plantations nearby
- Go hiking in the hills - the resort arranges treks
- Take a day trip to the Cardamom mountains
Families Should Know:
Mosquitoes can be a pest
- Airport 4.5 hours
- Medical facilities: 10 minutes
Shalimar Spice Garden is located in a village called Murikkady, 6km from Thekkady and easily accessible from Cochin (180km/4.5 hours away) and Madurai (140km/3 hours away).
Cochin (Kochi) International Airport (150km away) is the closest. Click on the links below for a list of airlines serving it.
From the Airport
The hotel can arrange taxi transfers in an air-conditioned vehicle - worth the supplement in hot weather (see Rates). The journey by road itself is an experience, passing through bustling towns in the plains, rubber plantations on the foothills and undulating tea gardens on the mountains.
The nearest railway station is Kottayam (100 km/3.5 hours away). Enquire about transfers from the station.
Rickshaws are a cheap and convenient way of travelling around the local area. The hotel can also arrange guided tours and sightseeing trips.
Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.
More on getting to Kerala and getting around
- Cochin International 150.0 km COK
- Beach 80.0 km
- Shops 2.0 km
- Restaurant 2.0 km