Lyrics by Bindu Gopal Rao
Tranquil Resort, a plantation resort at Wayanad in Kerala is the perfect way to spend a relaxing holiday surrounded by nature.
As my car cruised the 1.3 mile stretch to Tranquil Resort, the first thing I saw was Tickell’s magnificent Blue Flycatcher which perched on a nearby branch and posed for that I happily clicked on several images. For the birder in me, there couldn’t have been a better precursor to this trip than this one.
This 126-year-old heritage property located in the Kuppamudi Estate was originally owned and managed by the British plantation pioneers, then sold to Dutch entrepreneurs after independence and finally sold to Aswati Plantations Pvt. Ltd in 1994.
I was received by my hosts Ajay and Nisha Mathulla, who have their home on the estate, and served fresh lime which was instant refreshment. Ajay explained that the property spans a 400-acre coffee estate and is also home to exotic fruit trees like lychee, mangosteen, imported strains of jackfruit, rambutan and avocado as well as spices like walnut. of nutmeg and mace. Incidentally, they also grow their own vegetables, and every meal here has at least one locally harvested vegetable that is on the menu.
The property itself is expansive and apart from the coffee trees also has all sorts of shade trees and beautiful landscaping which makes it the perfect nature getaway.
The best part about accommodation at Tranquil Resort is that there are only ten units and they all come with plenty of variety. The Tree Villa I stayed in is a spacious 1080 square foot family-style treehouse that has a king-size bed, two single beds, and two bathrooms. There is a large balcony which overlooks the beautiful estate and has outdoor seating which allows you to take in the natural views. The villa is built on a jackfruit and is large and ideal for a family. The eco-friendly decor includes coffee tree wood fencing which adds a nice touch to the aesthetics of the space.
Another option that proves popular is the tree house built on a Gul Mohar tree (mayflower tree) and is ideal for honeymoon couples or even solo travellers. The room has a beautiful library and a cozy corner that beautifully frames the exterior. The 550 square foot Deluxe Suite features a large living room with a king-size bed, plenty of seating, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a private garden with patio. The President’s Suite with a classic colonial jardiniere theme spans 500 square feet with rosewood flooring, wall and ceiling paneling, carefully selected antique furnishings, two bathrooms and a private walk-in closet.
There are also five Planters Garden Rooms which have twin beds and a spacious shared veranda overlooking a manicured tropical garden. The two-bedroom Catimor Cottage is a detached villa which must be booked as a single unit and allows complete privacy.
Food and drink
All meals at the property are at the on-site restaurant which is adjacent to the owner’s house. A buffet is offered for breakfast, lunch and dinner and is a mix of local, Indian and continental dishes. Afternoon tea and snacks are also served every evening in the restaurant annex.
On my first night here, a special dinner with flowers and candles was prepared for a magical meal and I also tasted traditional Kerala Sadhya (a wide variety of vegetarian dishes served on a banana leaf) for lunch one day. Meals are simple and the staff, led by manager Swamy, makes sure you are well taken care of.
One of the cool things you can do here is pre-book a cooking class led by Nisha, herself a hotel management graduate who understands the importance of connecting around food. With her long-time head chef, Sivadas, she tailors the session and chooses to demonstrate or cook based on guest interest. Many ingredients are grown in the gardens, and the team bakes their own bread and the freshest coffee is served from their plantation. When here, experience authentic dishes like Kerala Parota, Syrian Christian Beef Fried, and Malabar Fish Curry.
The property is large and you can enjoy it best on foot. There are several walking trails and their associated color coded maps are in the bedroom. If you enjoy bird watching like me, you can request a guided birding walk (at an additional cost) which takes place in the morning and later in the afternoon. Being in Kerala, you have to book a body massage yourself, especially the traditional Ayurvedic Abhyangana massage which is a full body massage.
The property also organizes a trek to the top of the estate which is a two hour journey of walking up and down and relaxing at the top of the rock. I did it in a jeep from the outer road and reached the top after a short hike to see outstanding views of Wayanad.
You can also choose to cool off in the swimming pool (a children’s pool is also available) or play board games on the tree-lined terrace which overlooks the pool, do some yoga or read your favorite book. The family has three dogs who are friendly and make your stay memorable.
In a word
A stay at the Tranquil Resort is an ideal way to get away from the urban chaos and come away refreshed.
Getting There : The retreat is a five and a half to six hour drive from Bengaluru.
Rooms can be booked from £105 per couple per night (plus tax).
Address: 16 Kolagappara-Ambalavayal Road, Kolagapaara, Kerala 673591, India
Such : +91 99475 88507
Images courtesy of Tranquil Resort