Munnar is part of Idukki, a district of Kerala, one of the most special states in South India. There is plenty to offer starting from the backwaters and the ayurvedic ancient knowledge to the long beaches and the High hill stations full of tea plantations and spice gardens.
Perched on the Western Ghats, now listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Munnar is a little hill town that literally means “three rivers”. This is the setting of the Windermere Estate, a very special family run resort surrounded by their own cardamom and tea Plantations. The space is like no other, truly authentic and where to just enjoy a real wild environment.
Enjoy the View, Live Within Kerala’s Nature
The Estate vibe is kind of rustic and classic, very welcoming and perfectly adapted to the environment in itself. Windermere is divided by different houses like the Residence, the Dining areas, the Glenn, The view Point and the Garden along with a recently built swimming pool. The three types of rooms; Garden, Estate and Planters are all English Cottage style with incredible views to the property and the hills. Apart from all the lovely features, the View Point is a must see, being the highest point of the whole estate, set on a rock. The views from there cannot be explained with words. Every time the sky is changing and you can see the different colour tones that the Ghats have depending on the time of the day. Some guests might feel this view as a Thinking point, where to be connected with your inner self and the nature that is fully surrounding you. Another lovely relaxing area is The Glenn, a space with hammocks where you can read any of the interesting book range that you can find on The Library.
The Barn and the Hut: A Keralan Gastronomic Adventure
One of the strongest characteristics of the Windermere Estate, is their Gastronomic Experience. They not only cultivate some of the products you can find on the table of the Barn or the Hut, they also can teach you how to cook them. The Barn is the dining room where you can enjoy all of your meals providing delicious Continental, Oriental or Indian food. Their specialty is the Keralan food, as the fish curry or special boiled rice with other local delicatessens. All the food is freshly prepared and the team at the Kitchen always adapts their cuisine to every guest in the Resort.
There you do not need service room, because it is just an adventure by itself to leave the room and follow the little path to the Barn. The top moment of the day is The “Afternoon Tea”, that you can find on The Hut where they brew as the old fashioned way, the tea. You can choose from Cardamom, Masala, ginger or Lemon Tea with a homemade typical snack as Bajji or Pakoda. For those who want to keep the line stay away from the appetizers, once you try one, you cannot stop and with the tea they even taste better. This is such a moment when on a warm rainy day, you can have your cup of tea while observing the green Plantations.
Trekking Through Tea Plantations and Mountain Ridges
As part of the activities that you can do while in Munnar, a must try is a trekking through tea plantations and mountain ridges. Kestrel Adventures offer a very professional and curated trekking experience through Lakshmi Hills. All of their staff are very well trained and the trekking is not just walking and going up peaks, it is also about having interesting conversations about the tea plantations, the life in Munnar or any other local curiosities, you might have. First thing you will learn is about the different types of tea plants: Chinese, Assam and Hybrid and how they can go through different kinds of processes to produce White, Green or Black tea. It is beautiful to learn about all of this, while you can really touch the plants and sea the Women tea pickers handling the leaves like masters. This is also a very simple trek, very approachable for families or large groups.
Follow the Periyar River and Discover: Windermere River-House
After having explored and relaxing up on the hills at Windermere Estate, Dr. Simon and his son John, who now manages the entire business, have just opened this Season, Windermere River-House. Just a two-hour car ride down from Munnar, in Neriamangalam, is sitting down the new luxury cottage house laying down on the river. Following the Western Ghats, the scenery changes from up the hills. Neriamangalam is a fertile land known for its agriculture and rich rainfall dominated by Periyar, Kerala´s arterial river. It is a mesmerizing isolated property ideal for continuing this relaxation journey through the Windermere properties.
The Main House features five wonderful spacious rooms, four of them facing the river views. After the major building, the property main dining area, swimming pool and yoga pavilion are practically sitting on the water shore. The food still delicious and offering even more a kind of pescatarian diet. The swimming pool is a really cool one and it gives you the sensation that you are enjoying a bath on the river, but more comfortably. You can also do kayaking on the river, cycling through the charming road behind the River or walk to the local village. It is a very tranquil area with a pretty little pink church and an impressive bridge, where you can see the local kids jumping to the water. For those bird watching lovers, you are close to the Thattekad Forest Sanctuary, apparently one of the top places in India to spot birds.
Embrace the Windermere Retreat Experience
After Munnar and Neriamangalam, you can follow your route through the rest of Kerala, but these two places are essential while in that State. It is not just about the incredible settings of Windermere Retreats, it is also about the hospitality you can find on them. The service is one of the best ones you can find in the whole country, they make you feel welcoming and comfortable every single second. They always smile to you genuinely and are there to answer all of your questions regarding the properties or even their own culture. You won´t forget the whole experience, as they will make you feel you are family to them, especially if you have the opportunity to meet Dr Simon and John. Sometimes we choose some places among others because of the combination of the localisation and the luxury experience. In the Windermere Retreats this comes all together as the perfect pack. Embrace the nature and local culture in a breathtaking simple experience.
Do you like nature or city escapes better when traveling? Have you been to India before? What about Kerala? What did you think?