Wayanad, Northern Kerala, India Book from

Reviewed by Sue Carpenter
Authentic plantation homestay in the unspoilt hills of northern Kerala, set on a 400-acre coffee and vanilla estate
If you want a taste of the planter's life, you can't do better than staying as personal guests of plantation director Victor Dey and his wife Jini. From the minute you arrive in the lush gardens, ablaze with scarlet hibiscus, birds of paradise, potted geraniums and busy lizzies, you know you are in good hands. Greeted effusively by the Deys and their 3 dogs, you immediately feel like old friends - and indeed many guests have become just that. You stay in a plantation bungalow (with a deep veranda and comfy chairs) or among the branches in luxurious treetop suites, and take cocktails and fabulous meals on the terrace with your hosts.

There's a sparkling pool, private eyries with hammocks and swing chairs, a games room and well-signed walks through the coffee bushes and up to mountain viewpoints. Tranquil's trump card is the combination of efficient hotel standards with a relaxed and personal house-party ambience.


  • Utter tranquillity and relaxation amongst lovely countryside with great walks and views
  • Spacious rooms and fun 'tree suites' with far reaching views
  • A house-party atmosphere - you'll feel like a personal guest and dine on wonderful feasts
  • A beautiful pool, a garden with scented flowers and hammocks, and swing chairs for lounging around
  • Stimulating conversation and the opportunity to learn about the planter's life with Victor and Jini


  • There's a lack of privacy - it's difficult to be anonymous here
  • Drinks with the Deys and dining at one big table means you have to be sociable
  • Dog-haters will need to avoid the huge (though friendly) Alsatian and 2 other pet dogs
  • The 'tree suites' are not suitable for guests under the age of 12, due to their height

Best time to go

The most pleasant weather lasts from September to March, when it feels like a warm English summer (20-25C). April to May is hotter (up to 30C) but still bearable and the wildlife is good. June, July and August are wet but see less rain than other areas in India, while October’s ‘returning monsoon’ can bring heavy showers.

Our top tips

If you want a challenging hike rewarded with spectacular views, trek up Chembra Peak. At 2,100m above sea level it's the highest mountain in Wayanad and forms part of the Western Ghats. You'll need permission from the forest office in Meppady.

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Homestay Guesthouse
  • 10
  • All meals included
  • All ages welcome (restrictions apply)
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
Room: Tree Villa


The plantation bungalows hold comfortable Garden Suites accessed from a shared terrace, a Suite with its own garden and lounge, and an enormous Deluxe Room originally built for the owners of the plantation, who come up regularly from Bangalore. There are also 2 'tree suites' and a cottage which we are yet to view.

The rooms and suite have gleaming original woodwork, tiled floors, comfortable beds and spacious modern bathrooms. It's all kept very spic and span: the snow-white towels are changed daily, sheets are changed every other day and the terrace and paths are swept every morning and afternoon.

The 'tree suites' make a novel and charming alternative to ground-dwelling. The smaller of the 2, Tree House (jokingly called ‘tranquilitree’), was created at 35ft in the branches of 3 trees and is approached by an easy inclined gangway. It has an insect-screened bedroom, a proper bathroom with a six-point shower and a large terrace with lovely views. The larger Tree Villa (or ‘serenetree’) is vast and stands on stilts among the leaves. Ideal for families with older children or groups of friends, it has 1 double and 2 daybeds, 2 bathrooms and a large terrace overlooking the plantation.

A few minutes’ walk from the main house is 2-bedroom Catimor Cottage, named after a variety of coffee bean; looks great for 2 couples or a family due to its large living area, veranda and private garden make it spacious enough for groups or a family.

Features include:

  • Coffee tea making
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Internet access
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Tv


When staying on a full-board basis you can often tire of the same repertoire of Keralan specialities, but Jini makes each meal original, plentiful and delicious. Everything is homemade, right down to the pickles, and you dine at one big table on the terrace, beautifully laid with crisp linen and hibiscus or jasmine flowers.

A tasty mug of soup heralds the onset of dinner - you might get Jini's deliciously tender coconut, chicken and corn broth, artily served in a green coconut shell. The usually encompasses spicy curries with a modern twist, and mouth-watering puddings such as chocolate torte and fresh mango soufflé, followed by a steaming cup of coffee using the plantation's own beans.

Breakfast is a feast of tropical fruits, fresh juices, local vegetarian dishes, Western-style eggs, home-baked breads and jams. Lunch is a vast buffet of salads, plus a variety of hot dishes - perhaps quiche or pasta, a succulent rogan josh, tasty vegetable concoctions and rice. There's no chance of going hungry here - if you go for an afternoon hike to the mountain viewpoint, tea (accompanied by little onion pakoras and blueberry tartlets) will be served at the top.

Because it's an all-in deal and the food and house-party ambience are so inviting, there's zero incentive to find a restaurant elsewhere. Stay put!

Features include:

  • All meals included
  • Bar
  • Coffee tea making
  • Communal dining
  • Minibar/fridge


  • Head off on one of the many excellently signposted walks ; pitched at all levels, from 'The Teaser' to 'Indiana Jones' and 'Braveheart', they wind through the coffee plantation to a viewpoint rock at approximately 3,000ft, from where you can survey the misty plains
  • If you're feeling adventurous, you can scramble up a trail nicknamed the 'Cliffhanger' to Kuppamudi Peak for a fabulous 360-degree view
  • Arrange a plantation tour to find out how coffee and vanilla are grown and dried (available December-March)
  • Swim in the pool or chill out in the Jacuzzi, then take a siesta on the Treedeck overlooking the gardens. The platform can also be used for yoga and meditation
  • Enjoy some pampering with an Ayurvedic massage or treatment from a qualified practitioner (available on request)
  • This is a great place for bird watching - around 115 species have been identified on the plantation
  • Visit the Eddakal Caves (10 minutes' drive away), home to 5000-year-old etchings and accessible via a steep uphill walk
  • Head to the Muthanga Game Sanctuary (half an hour away), where you might spot elephants, leopards, bison, bears, peacocks and (if you're lucky) the elusive tigers
  • If you fancy taking to the water, Pookate Lake is an hour away in the hills and has boating facilities, as well as sweeping views
  • Visit one of Kerala's beautiful three-tiered waterfalls, Meenmutty and Soochipara, and explore the lush vegetation in the surrounding forests
  • Take a short drive to Sultan's Battery, a former stronghold of the Tippu sultan, to browse its bustling market and visit the 9th-century Jain Temple

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Ayurvedic treatments
  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Trekking
  • Well being
  • Wildlife
  • Yoga


Given the 'tranquil' nature of the place this may not be the best choice for those with young children, but all ages are welcome and extra beds are available.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Catimor Cottage has 2 double bedrooms, and space for 3 extra beds. The Tree House or Tree Villa are not suitable for children under 12 years old, due to their height from the ground.

Kid Friendly:

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