“Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land.” Aldo Le
Set in a tropical forest setting, Greenwoods Resort is a large eco-friendly property in the busy market town of Kumily, Thekkady that’s entered via a large gate and a palm tree lined driveway. We were greeted warmly with a ‘tilak’ on our foreheads, a cardamon seed garland placed around our necks and we sipped sweet complimentary coffee while the check-in process was completed.
Surprisingly there were only twenty-seven rooms on this six-acre nature reserve that is home to a wide variety of trees, spice plants, flowers and birds. Traditional lanterns lined the pathways at night and the interior was decorated in traditional Keralan style. The resident naturalist takes guests on nature walks in the grounds explaining the resort’s ecosystem but due to time limitations we did not participate. The resort has its own bio energy plant (waste management) and a shed housing the rare breed of ‘Vechur’ cows. There was a gym and a small shop in the lobby selling spices and trinkets. The wifi was free and had a good connection in the main building but not so much in our room.
We arrived in time for lunch and as there was only one restaurant, Amrutham we ate there. The large multi cuisine restaurant was next to the lobby and decorated with traditional Indian artifacts, one side was open to the lush manicured gardens where wildlife roamed free. While the setting was nice, the food was generally disappointing and the staff uninterested. Things were better in the evening when the efficient restaurant manager got involved and we had the Keralan buffet. Breakfast was equally disappointing in my opinion, but the other half enjoyed the Indian selections.
My favourite part of this hotel was Ambara, an open sided treehouse coffee shop high in the tree canopy. Accessed via ladder-style stairs and over a rope bridge, this small rustic wooden cafe is built in the manner of a ‘machan’ (traditionally a platform built on a tree top used for hunting large animals and nowadays for watching animals in wildlife reserves) on long stilts with a thatched roof decorated in the style of an ancient Keralan tea house. Wooden and bamboo furniture added to the authenticity as did the counter plastered with cinema posters and Indian magazines hanging on a rope above. We enjoyed fresh Green Tea and sticky and sweet Keralan rice cakes, coconut with sugar and cardamom served in banana leaves. The cafe served a small selection of tea, coffee, fresh fruit juices and Indian snacks.
We stayed in a two-storey ‘Amaravathy’ room, a Premium Suite near the outdoor pool and main building. It had a spacious living room area furnished with dark wood, a separate large bedroom with a balcony which was surrounded by trees and greenery. The ensuite bathroom was clean but had a unpleasant aroma that was not great but bearable for a one night stay. Our evening entertainment was off site but when we returned we watched some of the documentary being shown on the local area and Peryivar Wildlife Reserve which showed shots of the elusive tigers, which in reality are rarely spotted.
This hotel embraces conservation and it had a lovely setting, the treehouse coffee shop was great but the main restaurant and food options let it down in my opinion. The aforementioned restaurant manager Sijith did his best to rectify our dining experience and as a parting gesture presented us with a lovely wooden Indian spice box at check out.
The Nitty Gritty
KK Road, Kumily, Thekkady
Telephone: +91 4869 222752/224382/222753
Quiet location good for relaxing
Ambara treehouse coffee shop
The Not so Good……
All views are my own. Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2015. All rights reserved. Treehouse interior counter photo (bottom right) used courtesy go booking.com
Read my seven previous Kerala posts In Pictures: A Postcard From Kerala, India, Discover Kerala: Faces of India, Discover Kerala: Cochin , Review: Vivanta by Taj-Malabar, Cochin, Discover Kerala: Munnar, Review: The Fog Resort & Spa, Munnar and Discover Kerala: Thekkady