Spice Village Hotel, Periyar National Park
Distant Journeys rating
A truly unique place to stay, the Spice Village Periyar is a tribal village set in a real spice garden, in the town of Thekkady on the edge of the spectacular Periyar National Park. One of our stops on our guided tours of India, it’s a real escape from urban life – nestled in the Kumily hills, the Spice Village hotel is an eco-friendly retreat where the meals take a garden-to-table approach, the soil is made up of composted food waste, the power is provided by solar panels, and the furniture is built from the wood of old packing crates.
A whole host of brilliant experiences can be enjoyed from the Spice Village hotel and in the surrounding Periyar National Park: the perfect excuse to get back to nature. Periyar’s top attractions include the Periyar Tiger Reserve and tea plantations in the Kumily hills, but there’s also a chance to see a whole host of other wildlife during your stay.
Accommodation and services
The accommodation at the Spice Village Periyar hotel takes the form of beautiful cottages, which again display a close connection to nature. Handmade rugs rather than carpets decorate the floors, and furniture comes from local woodcraft. Rather than using air conditioning, a comfortable temperature is maintained in the cottages year-round with the thatched roofs, made from elephant grass, and airy private porches, where you can enjoy sitting out in the cooler evenings. Each cottage features a small living area, a spacious bedroom and an en-suite bathroom, which is fitted out with modern amenities, including a shower, hairdryer, dental and shaving kits, bathrobes and slippers. Two complimentary bottles of drinking water are provided each day, along with tea and coffee facilities. Drinks from the mini-bar are also available at an extra charge, along with 24-hour room service. In the cottage you can also make use of the free Wi-Fi, and a laundry service is available for an extra charge.
Amongst the trees you’ll find the beautiful and cool outdoor swimming pool: a wonderful place to relax after a day’s exploring, with sun lounges to dry off on. You can also enjoy unwinding at the Spice Village’s Ayurveda centre, offering a range of traditional Indian herbal massages and therapies. If you’re looking to pick up some souvenirs from your time in Kerala, there’s a gift shop selling a whole host of unique and locally made crafts.
For more active guests, there are facilities for playing basketball, tennis and badminton, and you can also get out and explore the surrounding reserve on a trek, accompanied by an expert guide from the indigenous tribal community. The Spice Village naturalists are also on hand to guide you through the flora and fauna of the village itself. Other unique experiences offered at the Spice Village Periyar include a paper-making workshop and a masterclass in Indian spices.
The Spice Village Periyar is also environmentally friendly in its culinary approach, with all of the ingredients used sourced from within a 50 mile radius of the resort. Many of the vegetables and spices are grown at the village’s organic farms, while fresh fish are caught from the rivers nearby. Choose to dine at either the 50 Mile Restaurant, featuring a small menu of seasonal and hyper-locally sourced dishes, or the Tamarind Restaurant, which offers both local and international dishes in its delicious buffet. Be sure to try one of the herbal teas with breakfast or as an afternoon pick-me-up; each is freshly brewed, with rare spice blends. At the Woodhouse Bar, you can unwind with a drink and choose from the fine wine selection. You can also enjoy a round of billiards here at the billiards table, with tuition available from the veteran billiards trainer.