This place was a retreat in every sense of the word. I stumbled upon it when I was walking down the road past the tea estate and I veered off the road down a track and found this place. It was like finding a pot of gold at the bottom of a rainbow for me after 3 weeks of staying in hostels/home stays. The stay began with a trek through coffee and cardamon down to the reception area (there is a road, but the manager led me off road through all the undergrowth which was a fascinating start). The couple who own it are lovely. The woman met me and was so kind and interested and interesting and passionate about food and her place. The rooms were immaculate, boutique hotel like, without the prices with the most incredible floor to ceiling windows overlooking a dense valley of cardamon plantation. The Beds were huge and not damp as I found in a few other places up in the Western Ghats as a result of the humidity.
The woman who runs it (I'm sorry I didn't ever get her name) is a fantastic cook and I had the best food there that I had in my whole stay in India. She recommended different things for me to try every night to make sure I tasted a huge variety of typical food both from the South and from further North.
One of the highlights for me was following the gardener down through this dense jungle, picking pepper and cardamon on the way, ducking under huge webs spun by taranjula's and pushing the undergrowth back as we went to come out to the most remote and stunning waterfall down at the bottom of the valley. It was such an incredible experience. En route, I thought I could hear voices, but the undergrowth was so dense, then all of a sudden I heard a shout and thought it odd that there could possibly be another person there as it felt so remote. It was the foreman of this plantation shouting that it was time to take a break, and seeminlgly out of nowhere came 10 or 15 tiny smiling women, from as close as a meter or two away from me with their baskets of cardamon.
During the day if you don't feel like just sitting/practising yoga, exploring the cardamon plantation and walking down to the waterfall, you can walk up the steep track to explore palivassal. The scenery surrounding it stunning, the people super friendly and there is a lovely man, at the top of the hill, selling great Chai and he was great to chat to. There are very few tourists around which for me was great, but as in some other places, you shouldn't want to be in a rush either making your way up to Palivassal or from it as the transport is erratic.
I'd have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending this place, I hope to go back one day and I wish the couple who own it and there incredibly friendly staff every success.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Set amidst a calm and scenic surroundings, the retreat provides a destination for visitors to indulge in learning experience of holistic lifestyle with traditional Yoga and organic way of living and dining. The place is a fusion of rustic external with smooth internal space creating luxurious facilities and natural environment to enjoy and pamper. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Kaivalyam Retreat Munnar, Kerala