When life around us is so fast-paced, a plantation stay is a must to decelerate and appreciate the beauty of nature around us that we usually take for granted. Tyndis has shortlisted here seven best plantation stays in South India. Tea and Coffee plantations grow in cooler climates. These plantations are usually spread over a huge area ringed by the mountains and rivulets. If your idea of a holiday is to immerse in the lap of nature and experience solitude at its best, overlook those touristy accommodations and opt for one among this list of best plantation stays in South India.
What grows in a plantation?
South India accounts for 60 per cent of the plantation industry in the country. Growing of cash crops such as tea, coffee, rubber, and spices like cardamom, pepper, clove and nutmeg, plays an integral role in the economy of Kerala and its neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Climatic conditions, production cost, labour issues are factors that are affecting the smooth functioning of this sector. The price that these commodities fetch in the market fluctuates drastically as it is impacted by global price movement. In addition to the economy, these plantations are highly preferred tourist places for vacation. Plantation Stays in South India provide excellent retreats far from the madding crowds.
Known as ‘black gold’, pepper was the largest export earner for traders and rulers in this part of the world in medieval times. The power struggles waged by the Portuguese, Dutch and the British in the Malabar region was done with the intention to monopolize pepper trade.
In 1800s Coffee was introduced to Malabar by the East India Company. By 1870s coffee overtook pepper in export earnings. Tea was introduced at the end of the 19th century by the British in the Wayanad and Munnar region. Both coffee and tea became major commodities that fetched a good price in the market. With the intention to do something different, rubber cultivation began in the early decades of the 20th century.
If you are keen to know more about plantation industry and see how these crops reach you finally as finished products; stay for few days in one of these Plantation Stays in South India, and familiarize with the life of a planter, watching the daily activities of your host.
1.Pepper Trail, Wayanad
Pepper Trail Plantation Stay in Wayanad is a charming 140-year-old colonial bungalow tucked away deep in the coffee, spice and aromatic plantation that is spread over 200 acres of the Mangalam Carp Estate in Wayanad, Kerala. Relive the essence of a bygone era at Pepper Trail that is lovingly restored with a beautiful garden. The bungalow is a perfect place to sit back and enjoy the plantation life. It has been furnished with antiques, family heirlooms and hand-picked colonial furniture.
If a stay in a bungalow is not adventurous enough, go for a uniquely exhilarating experience where luxury blends with nature by staying in one of the treehouses here that are built on giant jackfruit trees, 40 feet above the ground. Accessibility to these tree houses is through elevated walkways meandering through coffee plantations.
When you look around, greenery stretches as far as the eye can see. In the heart of the estate, there is an acre-wide water body, fed by natural springs, that forms the focal point for the local flora and fauna. You can watch wildlife and varieties of birds in their natural habitat of tropical rainforests of Wayanad, or explore the prehistoric caves here. This Plantation Stay in Wayanad can easily be regarded as one among the best plantation stays in South India. At this plantation, you can learn the traditional methods of cultivating coffee, tea and pepper, right from the time when these crops are grown, processed and consumed. Go for long treks or just relax after a soothing Ayurveda massage.
2. School Thota, Coorg
School Thota, situated in Coorg, Karnataka exudes colonial charm in its lush lawns, gardens, wooden floors, fireplaces and antique furniture. This Bungalow Plantation Stay in Coorg is surrounded by coffee plantation and is tastefully decorated with a mix of traditional and modern furnishings. During your stay here, take in a dose of unpolluted, fresh air in the mornings, meditate or do yoga in the garden, with the background music of chirping birds and a gurgling brook flowing nearby. School Thota Plantation Stay in Coorg is a must-visit member among the list of best plantation stays in South India.
Guests can meander through the silent, serene coffee plantations during the day and at night, grill the food of your choice and relax by the bonfire arranged near the river. Learn all about coffee from Saraswathi K. Aiyappa, the matriarch of the family and her son Mr K.A.Kushalappa who runs the place.
3. Rajakkad Estate Dindigul, Tamil Nadu
Rajakkad Plantation is located amidst the grandeur of the Palani Hills and lush forests. The view you get from your bedroom is mesmerizing. A serene intimate setting nestled within acres of plantations and forests, in the heart of this beautiful picturesque plantation is Pallam Palace – an 18th-century heritage house. It is a small garden hotel with 7 unique bedrooms. One of the best things about this property is the hospitality of the staff here. If the weather is pleasant, breakfast is served in the terraced gardens. It is one of the oldest operational Plantation Stays in South India.
Guests can indulge in trekking along the beautiful trails of coffee plantations. If it happens to be the flowering season then the fragrance of coffee flowers is out of this world. The floral notes of coffee beans highlight the fragrance of its flowers. There is a farm within the plantation where you can watch a few animals or see the huge coffee drying yard. A short walk outside the property will take you to a village nearby. One can also search and book accommodation at the rustic plantation stays in Ooty as well as the “offbeat” plantation stays in Coonoor.
4. Kalaketty Estate, Kottayam
Kalaketty in Kottayam has majorly rubber estate spread across 150 acres of land. Besides rubber, there is cocoa, tapioca, pepper, vanilla, rice, coconuts, bananas and pineapples and lush green paddy fields. Built amongst the trees of Mahogany, Teak, Mangosteen, Nutmeg and Clove is a century-old estate home.
The guests staying at this Plantation Stays in South India will get a wonderful experience to live the life of planters, see how various crops are cultivated and harvested, feel refreshed walking through the farm down to the brooks and streams or take a jeep ride through the estate. You have to wake up early in the morning to watch the rubber tappers at work, see how they take the collected latex (rubber sap) for processing and turn into rubber sheets in their processing unit. Just like Rajakkad Plantation, Kalakketty Estate is also one of the heritage Plantation Stays in South India.
Outside the estate, you can explore the local village and the market on a bicycle or visit the St. Benedictine Monastery very close to the estate to experience an interesting blend of various religions. If you wish to relax and rejuvenate with an ayurvedic therapy, they recommend Sukhodaya Ayurveda Center at Kanjirapally that is close by.
5. Talayar Valley Bungalow, Munnar
You can experience each stage of tea manufacturing right from plucking tea leaves to making your own tea, staying in this beautiful tea planter bungalow that is today converted into a delightful boutique hotel with just four rooms. This Plantation Stay in Munnar is situated 18 km outside Munnar town in the midst of tea plantations, with a fantastic panoramic view of the mountains.
Talaylar Bungalows offer many trekking activities, both short distance through the tea plantations and long-distance up into the mountains. In the evenings, have some fun time with family warming up near a campfire, grilling delicious bites and sipping a drink. Choose this Plantation Stay in Munnar and experience the ‘Tea Manufacturing Workshop’, where you are taken through the entire tea cultivation process, meet the tea pickers and pluck tea leaves with them, and finally taste the tea.
6. Sinna Dorai Bungalow, Valparai
Tucked in the mountain range of Anamalai hills, Sinna Dorai Bungalow was built in 1940s clearing 50 acres of forest land to cultivate cinchona, tea, cardamom and rubber. This is yet another classic member of our list of best plantation stays in South India! As the owner found tea suited the area best, they fell more trees and now have 555 acres of organic tea garden and 1215 acres of conventional tea. The weather in Valparai is always pleasant and the view of the surrounding tea garden is just breathtaking!
The natural surroundings attract a lot of birds here, so you can do some bird watching and the mountain range is home to an abundance of wildlife. To pass time, you can leaf through the books in the library, go on a long drive or chat with the local people. Tourists can also opt for beautiful Plantation Stay in Ooty and Kodaikanal as well.
7. Aanavilasam Luxury Plantation, Thekkady
Aanavilasam is one of the luxurious plantation stays in South India, spread over seven acres of land in Thekkady. The suite rooms offer views of lush green cardamom plantation. Guests are offered a guided cardamom and pepper plantation with information on the cultivation and harvesting of these spices. You get to use these spices and cook one Kerala dish in the cooking demonstration class organized by the Chef. In their kitchen, they use only fresh local produce from seasonal harvest and personalize their offerings to your individual tastes. Aanavilasam is one of the best tourist places in Kerala for Honeymoon Couples.
Enjoy the wildlife sanctuary, fishing at the nearby ponds, exploring the village on a bullock cart, taking an elephant ride, a boat ride on Periyar River or bamboo rafting experiences guests can indulge in outside the property.
Go for that Zesty Holiday Now!
Planning for a Family Tour, Honeymoon Trip or to simply discover you in absolute peace? A plantation stay during your holiday with fresh aromas of cardamom, pepper and clove surrounding you, for sure will be a unique experience. Just fill in this Enquiry Form and our Tyndis representative will get back to you with a personalized package for your chosen destination.