“Charming cardamom plantation retreat for walkers and nature-lovers, high on the emerald slopes of the Western Ghats”
All 18 bedrooms, spread across villas and cottages with names such as Coffee, Vanilla, Cardamom and Tea, are clean, comfortable and remarkably spacious, with twin beds pushed together as doubles, terracotta-tiled or varnished wood floors and big picture windows.
The 8 ground-floor Garden Rooms are plainer than the rest but are still warmly furnished and have verandas looking out over the garden and valley. The 8 larger Estate Rooms on the upper floors offer balconies or sitting areas, with views across the valley or the tea plantations, and some have bare stone feature walls. Two of the Garden Rooms and two of the Estate Rooms interconnect, providing a good option for families.
The 2 Planter’s Villa Suites have a double bedroom, a sitting and dining room, a balcony, French windows and a bathroom which opens onto a private courtyard. Decorated in classic cream and white with polished wooden floorboards, they offer the best views and the most privacy, as well as having the added benefit of telephones, TVs and DVD players.
A team of in-house chefs whip up traditional Malayali, oriental and continental meals, often using Dr Simon’s own family recipes. The menu features more meat dishes than you’ll usually find in Kerala, including bacon, sausages and locally-raised beef, pork and mutton. Plantains, spinach, spices and honey all come from the estate.
Breakfasts start with papaya or mussambi (tangy yellow orange) juice, followed by a spicy south Indian kick-starter or Western comforts such as cereals, toast and jam and fry-ups.
Dinner, served in the wooden-raftered Barn Restaurant, is table d’hote rather than à la carte, with a variety of tasty meat and vegetable curries or continental dishes. Specialties include mollie, a Syrian-Christian delicacy of fish cooked in fresh coconut milk, and a knock-out pork vindaloo.
Lunch of sandwiches, Keralan curries and desserts is available at any time of the day. There is also a thatched tea hut for afternoon snacks, plus a barbecue space under the massive garden boulder for feasting on flame-grilled meats, fish and vegetables.
Children of all ages are welcome, although there are no additional facilities for younger visitors. There are two sets of interconnecting rooms which are ideal for families and there are plenty of activities in the surrounding area to amuse children, although there are no beaches or pools nearby.
Teens (over 12)