Wayanad Hotels and Resorts
Accommodation options in Vythiri and Kalpetta fall in two categories: beautiful resorts and plantation stays in far-flung locations in the surrounding hills; and more run-of-the-mill hotels, motels and lodges dotted along the mains street in town.
The forest slopes of Southern Wayanad harbour some of the loveliest places to stay in Kerala, they're all well off the beaten track and require a taxi or jeep to reach. If you're not travelling with a car and driver who knows his way around, ask for advice on how to reach to your chosen homestay when you book.
There are only two places to stay in this remote western corner of Wayanad. Both make the most of the stupendous mountain and lake views, but the less expensive Banasura Island Resort is better placed for early-morning departures up the hill.
Northern Wayanad has a few good places to stay, especially near Tholpetty reserve.
Luxury Hotels in Wayanad
View from the balcony-Vyhtiri resort
Set in a lovely seven-acre woodland plot with three boulder-strewn mountain streams flowing through it, Vythiri was the first forest resort in this area, and remains the benchmark.
Accommodation comes in three forms: chalets with private verandas facing the stream and jungle; beautifully refurbished plantation workers' rooms, with stone-lined plunge pools; and spacious luxury houses with sunken jacuszzis, chic, earthy interiors and wooden decks. They also have a couple of amazing treehouses nestled 45m off the ground under the forest canopy.
Guide walks and early-morning sessions number among the complimentary extras, and there is pool, ayurveda centre, spa and restaurant serving delicious south Indian buffets.
Kappamudi Coffee Estate
The cream of Wayanad's homestays, set amid 400 acres of rambling coffee, cardamom and vanilla plantations. Arrive in the late afternoon and you'll be whisked by jeep to the top of the estate for tea and samosas- and a view to die for.
The planter's bungalow itself holds 8 comfy rooms, all opening on to a glorious veranda wrapped in manicured gardens, and there are two palatial treehouses perched above the void, as well as a large pool. The cooking is terrific, and the Dey family perfect hosts. Minimum two nights, but you'll want to stay longer.
A 3km track takes you from the main road to secluded pocket of greenery overlooking the Lakkidi valley, where nine simply furnished, Kerala style cottages with traditional gabled roofs are scattered over a clearing in the forest, centred on a spring-fed pond.
Four of the chalets are beautifully reconstructed antique wooden tharavadukal, relocated from around the state and each housing two or three rooms, with semi-open-air bathrooms; the other five cottages have less character. Views are somewhat restricted by a natural balcony, but there are plenty of walks in the immediate surroundings-staff are happy to accompany you.
Near Edakkal Caves
Eight pleasantly furnished cottages, with old floor boards and quality bathrooms, well spaced on small rock platform overlooking the valley, with breathtaking views down to the plains. Pick of the bunch is "Chauvet", closely followed by "Lascaux". The candle-lit restaurant occupies a man-made cave.
Banasura Hill Resort
Banasura Hill Resort-Asia's largest 'earth' resort
Set in 35 acres of greenery, this impressive eco-resort (formerly known as Juggu's) comprises 31 twin villas and suites in double storey blocks, made entirely from rammed earth, red laterite, bamboo and coconut palm roots. The architecture is romantic, and views of the mountains magnificent.
Banasura Island Resort
Banasura island resort
One of the most remote properties in the region, set on a low hilltop overlooking Banasura reservoir. They offer standard rooms in an unsightly laterite block, or more appealing Kerala style villas whose balconies make the most of the lake vista. Most people come for the superb trekking, but it is a top spot for bird watching too.
Near Thirunelli Temple
A campus of tidy little chalets with red-tiled roofs and verandas, set amid neatly cropped lawns, is not what you expect to find in such a remote spot, but this is a welcoming place that makes tranquil base of visiting the adjacent Thirunelli Temple and for forays on foot into the surrounding woods and hills.
Blissfully remote Fringe Ford, in the far northwest of Wayanad, takes the plantation stay experience to a new level. The low-slung 1950's bungalow isn't pretty as some, but the location, at the head of a richly forested valley looking across the treetops to the high peaks of the Karnataka border, is sublime. As you lounge in your snug, chunkily furnished room, elephants and bison routinely plod past the window, and there are bonfires each evening on the terrace.
500m from the Tholpetty Forest Check Post
The most comfortable option within easy walking distance of the Tholpetty park gate. Its recently built laterite, red-tiled "cottages", set in steeply sloping gardens just off the main road, are bland, and a bit overpriced, but well furnished and with private sitouts.
Mid-ranges Hotels in Wayanad
Room in a handsome Kerala style bungalow, with wood floors and verandas on both sides, the rear ones just a few metres from the coffee bushes. They're very simple furnished, and don't expect to be pampered-the staff are plantation workers who don't speak English, but everyone is eager to help, the traditional Malabari food is excellent and the location magnificent.
Best options are the two huts that look across a spectacular wilderness of pristine forest and mountain. If coming by public transport, take the bus from Kalpetta to Vaduvanchal, get down at Rippon Junction on the main road, then catch an auto-rickshaw for the last couple of kilometres.
A charmingly dishevelled little resort, hidden deep in the countryside, a twenty minute ride off the highway beyond Karapuzha Lake. Rates are affordable, and the location, looking across the expanse of open paddy to a beautiful mountain, is wonderful.
Smothered in coffee bushes, the accommodation ranges from mouldy tents to comfortable en-suite brick chalets. Best is the wonderful "deluxe treehouse", which has oiled teak floors and a glorious view from its balcony.
Green gates hotel
Modern three-star hotel, tucked away in its own lush grounds 300m north of the tourist office, offering variety of room in the main multistorey block, or move private cottages to its rear. There's a pool, plenty of chill-out space in the gardens, and an ayurveda centre, but nearly as pleasant a location as the other resorts and homestays reviewed here.
One of the few-mid scale options in this area with very pleasant chalets, some on stilts, set in extensive landscaped grounds. The most romantic space is a cosy treehouse looking across the valley, fitted with its own bathroom and windows. The staff are unfailingly helpful.
Pachyderm palace-Guest house
Near the Tholpetty Forest Check Post
Traditional Kerala bungalow with five simple rooms and garden hut on stilts rented on an all-inclusive basis. On arrival, many guests are surprised by how basic their room is for the price, but are invariably won over by the authentic Kerala cuisine and friendly welcome of host Mr Venu. Jeeps for wildlife drives can be arranged, along with guides for treks into the nearby Brahmagiri range.
3.5km from the Tholpetty Forest check Post
On a coffee plantation high in the hills overlooking the Tholpetty reserve, these two Kerala-style chalets boast magnificent views from their traditional slatted verandas. The interiors are a touch chintzy, but the location can't be beaten-great for lazing or as a base for forest and plantation walks.
Budget Hotels in Wayanad
Multistory budget motel in the centre of town. Its en-suite rooms are clean, and the town's best Udupi joint sits on the ground floor, but book ahead on weekends when it gets swamped by visiting students.
The best cheapie in town, in a modern block in centre. It has three kinds of room, varying in size from tiny to small, but they're well scrubbed and well aired.
Tel: 04936 2022547
Dependable place on the main drag at the north end of town. Its rooms are a little worn, but comfortable enough for a night and the staff are unfailingly courteous; there is secure parking, and separate veg and non-veg restaurants on the ground floor.
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