I am a 42 year old professor from Canada of Indian origin. A group and I stayed at Kadambavanam Resort for a workshop in May 2011. Kadambavanam is THE BEST place I have stayed at in India on my 10 trips there over the last 20 years.
It is not in the city of Madurai itself (which is a bonus) but at least 30-45 minutes away in the remote countryside. The resort is on a hilltop overlooking lush beautiful mountains and countryside as far as the eye can see.
The place consists of villas, each with 4 units. The interior design of the rooms are spectacular. The bathrooms are spotless, which is a sad rarity in India. The bathrooms are also huge and beautiful and could be featured in a magazine. The hot water supply, air conditioning and electricity are reliable, and the hotel is served by its own well. I recommend requesting a second floor room (if you are mobile) as the views and the breezes from there are beautiful -- some rooms have better views than others so you might want to request one of these rooms, or switch once you're there if possible.
I could have spent the whole day just staring out the large windows looking at the views, and then looking inside at the beautiful rooms. Given the noise, pollution and terrible smells of any city in India, this place is a true refuge.
At the same time, this is not some artificial Western-type Hilton where you become disconnected from the local culture and people -- quite the opposite. The whole concept of the owners is to reconnect their visitors with the local culture -- they have spent considerable money on building a cultural center where they support local artists and performers. At night, we were treated to the most authentic and beautiful night of dance performances and story telling. Meals were authentically South Indian served in a traditional way. The resort was still being completed when we were there -- and so everything was brand new and spotless. The dining hall was on the hilltop, with huge windows overlooking the valley.
The prices were very reasonable, compared to other 5-star resorts, which is what I consider this place to be.
Having said that, I have two complaints, one of which is a major one. Several members of our group had diarrhea, no doubt because of the lack of hygiene by one or more people in the kitchen. To be fair, they were just opening up and so perhaps the staff were still being trained. Hopefully, this problem has been solved. The other issue at the time was lack of a good internet connection in the rooms -- again, hopefully that problem has been solved.
I don't recall much Western-type food, but we were an "Indian" conference so perhaps that wasn't requested. If you don't like Indian food, you might want to check on this, but I suspect they will cater to your needs. This is a highly sophisticated place.
The staff were wonderful, generous, even sweet and genuine. If you want to watch TV, there is a full compliment of stations from around the world. There is excellent laundry service and any convenience you could ask for.
The owners represent the best in India -- they are kind, generous, cultured, sophisticated, worldly and giving. I want this place to succeed because they also really help the local community and are trying to keep ancient traditions alive and to share them with both Indians and the rest of the world. When my wife visit India later this year, I'm going to try to take her there.
They have an excellent conference facility -- our group was 50+ and we were there for 4 nights.
If you're vacationers, I would recommend spending 1-2 nights in Madurai to visit the spectacular temple complex there, but then spend at least 2-3 nights at Kadambavanam Resort either before or at the end of a long journey, to relax, unwind, feel the gentle breezes and be pampered, and experience what India may have been like generations ago.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Kadambavanam is an ethnic village resort and cultural centre that workd on sn endogenous tourism model. It is a unique property situated in the countryside of madurai surrounded by a sea of greenery .Rewind and unwind at this beautiful property for an experience of a lifetime. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Kadambavanam Ethnic Resort Madurai, Tamil Nadu