When you are traveling you have some inhibitions to be away from the comfort of your home. We even had when we were searching for resorts in Thekkady. But what if you are made to feel at home in the lap of nature and luxury?? Yes, that’s what we felt during our sojourn at Greenwoods Resort, Thekkady in Kerala.
The big gates open into a steep road that leads your way into this tranquil beauty. You are welcomed by the staff into what feels like a traditional Kerala home. The courtyard is lit with the traditional brass Diya called ‘Kuthu Vilakku’, decorated with flowers around it. One thing that catches your eye is the wooden swing called ‘oonjal’ that is synonymous with South Indian homes.
We were greeted with a garland made of cardamom and the Kumkum tilak (a tiny red colored mark worn on the forehead). Refreshing drinks are offered to freshen you up. We were offered black ginger coffee which I had never tasted before and was perfect to recharge me after a long drive to Thekkady.
As we were enjoying the greenery and place, the first thing that caught my kids’ eyes was a tree house next to the reception. They even inquired from the staff if they could climb it. Unfortunately, it was closed for maintenance which really disappointed them. We hope to be back again to climb our way up on the treehouse.
Our Room at Thekkady
After a quick introduction with the staff and getting acquainted with the facilities, we were escorted to our poolside suite. Entering the door, the stairs lead our way into a huge living area. The living space with high ceiling is artistically divided into two levels.
The mezzanine level overlooking the main sitting space has a bench and is one cozy spot. This seemed to be the hiding spot for my kids while playing hide and seek.
The main sitting space is simply done in wood which gives you a warm feeling. The best thing is the use of fresh plants and flowers inside the room. They know how to beautifully reuse the abundantly available coconut shells. It was naturally turned into a vase which had the aromatic white jasmine flowers in it.
There was a cute little corner by the window where you could sit with your book or cup of coffee and watch the greenery.
Next to the living room was our cozy bedroom attached to the big bathroom. The room had a balcony overlooking the swimming pool.
This was our best corner where we would sit and sip our coffee and read the book. The kids would do their coloring and watch the birds flying past.
There were amenities like the coffee maker and a fridge in the room. The fridge was loaded with chocolates and other stuff which was paid. The room had complimentary bottles of water.
The bathroom was full of all necessary amenities from Biotique – the 100% organic and ayurvedic products. Other basic need items along with the dental kit, shaving kit, first-aid kit, and even a pocket-size sewing kit were available.
One thing that we love is natural light in the house, and all the rooms including the bathroom here were filled with sunlight.
We could see small yet powerful steps being taken to avoid the use of plastic and conserve the environment. The choice of using glass bottles for water instead of plastic was the first and foremost. The trash cans did not have a plastic trash bag, instead of a bag made of fiber.
We also carry our steel insulated water bottles and refill and use, trying to reduce plastic impact. You can also buy them.
Rooms in the resort
There are 6 categories of rooms in the resort each thought of and named accordingly.
1.Aranya (meaning forest) or the Superior room: It is the one bedroom attached to a dressing area and a modern bathroom. It has all the amenities to make the stay comfortable.
2. Kanana (meaning forest) or the Deluxe room: This is similar to Aranya but bigger in size, perfect for a small family.
3. Rithika (meaning flowing water) or the Honeymoon villa: This is a perfect retreat for the couples who yearn for their privacy. This gated villa even has a plunge pool and a courtyard outside all to yourself.
4. Amaravathy (meaning flowing river) or the Premium suite: This spacious duplex suite has the luxury of a separate living area and a pool facing balcony. The stairs climb into the living space which is in 2 levels. A big sitting space with beautiful use of wood also includes a desk, a coffee machine and the mini fridge loaded with goodies.
5. Indeevaram (meaning lotus) or the Premium pool suite: To experience luxury, this is the suite to be in. The suite has a living space attached to a big bedroom and a pool having its entrance from the living area and the bathroom.
6. Indraprastham (meaning the city of Lord Indra) or the Presidential pool suite: The first thing that I said when I saw this suite was ‘WOW’. You would truly feel like a royalty when you stay here. The huge bedroom has steps leading to a sitting area and balcony at the top that overlooks the pool.
The suite has a big pool having its entrance from the living area and the bathroom. This was a smart way to keep the suite mess free by connecting the pool from the bathroom as well.
The pool extends into a green space where you can sit and see the birds flying or count the stars in the night. There is only 1 presidential suite maintaining the complete privacy of the guests.
In all the rooms, fresh flowers adorn the space adding color and freshness. The rooms are tastefully done, all needs are taken care of, yet mindful of the environment.
Taking care of the Environment at Greenwoods
When nature gives us, it also becomes our duty to protect it and give back in whatever ways we can. At Greenwoods, we could see their bit of efforts in preserving.
- Small things to notice are the reuse of coconut shells as a flower vase.
- The rooms use glass bottles for water, non-plastic trash bags and other small and big efforts to avoid the use of plastic.
- The resort had a compost treatment plant and a biogas plant in the premises to reduce and reuse the organic waste.
There is one multi-cuisine restaurant right next to the reception area to enjoy your meals. The place has no windows is a great way to have your food with lush greenery surrounding you. The chefs and the staff are very friendly and would make every attempt to cater to your tastes.
The chef was seen talking and mingling with guests and sharing his knowledge about authentic cuisine. He did not shy away from sharing the recipes with you.
We wanted to try authentic Kerala dish but the menu boasted of non-vegetarian Kerala dishes. The chef asked about our likings and cooked a special vegetarian Kerala style dish with brinjal/eggplant just for us.
My kids generally don’t eat brinjal, but they were licking their fingers. And you can imagine how yummy the food would be that we forgot to take any pictures and we just have pics of our empty plates.
Special Recommendation: Do try the Kerala parotta as bread. It is a soft and layered bread that goes well with all the dishes. If you are a non-vegetarian, do try Kerala Chicken curry and of course Kerala style fish.
The most refreshing drink that we ever had was an allspice drink. Thinking that they must have mixed up all the spices to make it. But nature has its way to surprise you. There is a tree called the Allspice tree and the leaves of that tree are used to make this drink.
Not to mention the elaborate breakfast buffet. It is said “Eat Breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Prince, and Dinner like a Pauper”. With the wide tempting spread, it was hard to resist not to eat like a king.
The breakfast was a perfect mix of South Indian dishes with American including fresh fruit and fresh juices.
For people with a sweet tooth, there is a wide variety of cakes, muffins, and pastries. If you love watching the chef cook live there are live dosa and egg counters.
While having your dosas, don’t forget to dip in the variety of chutneys and sambhar. The best part is the menu keeps changing daily, so you get to taste and try new traditional dishes every day.
Note: The restaurant has a common tip box that can be used and it is equally divided amongst the staff at the end of the month. We really liked this concept of equality and appreciating everyone for their efforts.
Activities for Adults
1.There is no dearth of activities in the resort to keep yourself engaged and entertained.
2. The resort itself is beautiful and worthy to be explored at your own pace. With a variety of flowers, spice plants, fruits all growing in the resort, you will always feel connected with nature
3. Do you like to be a part of the culture where you travel? If yes, then you can get dressed up in traditional Kerala saree and dhoti which the staff helps you with. We even tried this traditional ensemble. It surely helped my husband during our visit to Padmanabhaswamy temple in Trivandrum where men can only enter in a dhoti.
4. For the fitness freaks, there is a full gymnasium where you can sweat out.
5. There is a 24-hour open activity room with table tennis, chess, carrom, and other games to engage.
6. And how can we miss the swimming pool surrounded by pine trees to beat the Kerala heat? It opens from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
7. Evenings can be enjoyed with zeal as a plethora of events are lined up.
8. There is a live cooking demonstration by the chef where you can learn to cook dishes from Kerala cuisine and even get the recipe emailed to you.
9. Thekkady is house to the Periyar Tiger Reserve and spice plantations. The Thekkady show is a 30-minute video presentation that gets you acquainted with the place and the activities.
10. Kerala or that matter India is incomplete without its rich cultural dance forms. So every day there is a 30-minute classical dance performance. In our 2 nights, we were able to witness 4 classical dance forms of South India which we really loved. The artists depict a scene from Indian mythology.
Although language forms a barrier, the facial expressions and hand gestures (called ‘mudras’) along with the rhythm makes you so engrossed that nothing else matters. Its truly said that “Dance is a universal language that transcends beyond cultures.”
How can the Kids be left behind at Greenwoods?
1.This place is a treasure for kids with so many activities to do. Knowing the kids need to run around and release their energies, ample stuff is provided to care of.
2. Right next to the cafeteria, on the grassy area, there are a few sports equipment like badminton racquet, frisbee, football kept on a makeshift table from a big rock.
3. There is a play area with sea saw, swing and trampoline for the kids to run around.
4. And how can we miss the beautiful swimming pool right next to the cafeteria? Perfect place to beat the heat and sip your refreshing coconut water. For the safety of the kids, there are puddle jumper floaties, swim boards, etc. available at the pool.
5. If you don’t want your kids to be running out in the heat, don’t worry. You got it covered with a 24-hour activity room and gym. With games like chess, carrom, table tennis, and ample card games they can’t get bored.
6. Within the complex, they have a small animal shelter with cows, bunnies, turkey and white geese. You can see the geese and turkey meandering around as if welcoming you. One of the turkeys had a fascination to sit under the cars in the parking, I found it there all the times.
7. Go feed the cows and watch them kiss the caretaker. It’s a fun way to enthrall the kids and see the spark in their eyes.
8. There is a bonfire in the night for a perfect end to the day.
How to Reach Thekkady
The best way to reach is to take a cab or drive to Thekkady. The nearest railway station is Kottayam about 107 km away while Madurai airport and Cochin International Airport are the closest around 144 km.
Thekkady, Kerala, India.
Verdict – This is the ideal place for a perfect relaxing vacation in Thekkady in the lap of nature. The calm and serene atmosphere with welcoming staff and ample activities makes your stay memorable. The biggest advantage is its central location and proximity to Periyar Tiger Reserve. Located in the heart of Thekkady, it is in walking distance to Kadathanadan Kalari Center and other attractions. So when looking for hotels in Thekkady, look no further.
Disclosure: We had a complimentary stay at Greenwoods Resort, Thekkady. But as always, all opinions are my own and shared with true intention to recommend something that will benefit other travelers.
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