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“Still a gem- but clearly not so secret any more!”

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Shalimar Spice Garden - An Amritara Private Hideaway
Ranked #10 of 43 Hotels in Thekkady
Certificate of Excellence
Berkshire, UK
Level Contributor
194 reviews
110 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 311 helpful votes
“Still a gem- but clearly not so secret any more!”
Reviewed April 16, 2011

Wrote the first ever review of this in 2005 - revisited in 2011. Great to see bathrooms updated- so they are spending money and v tastefully done. Staff as charming as ever- and food very good for dinner- superb pickles and some to take home as well! Only downside is pool no larger- and when we were there a few families so not enough sunbeds and had lost its tranquility of yesteryear. That's progress I guess. Anyway glad to see it's done deservedly well, and nice to escape the touristy side of Thekaddy.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank fussy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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399 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (104)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Maldon, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
112 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 193 helpful votes
Reviewed April 3, 2011

Shalimar Spice Garden Resort, Periyar
Three nights passed and John began the slow, winding descent down mountains and through valleys, which, as soon as the early morning mist lifted, a verdant green of lush flora and meticulously clipped tea plantations glistened and shimmered. The hours just went-by uncounted until we reached the lower altitude of 2500 feet, where the town of Thekkady is perched on the side of its own mountain. A short drive away, is the area known as Periyar. With the descent had come an increase in temperature to 26 C.

John eventually braked to a stop at the arched entrance to the Shalimar Spice Garden Resort. This place really was a surprise. A salute from the uniformed 'gateman' coincided with the seemingly miraculous appearance of a porter. Together with John, they hoisted my cases and led me under the arch and onto a bamboo bridge that spanned the fifty metre wide valley and onwards to the hotel entrance.

I was met by Betty Solomon, the resort manager, offered a cooling and welcome ice-cold fruit drink and a scent-infused flannel.

We talked a little and agreed to meet again after I'd been escorted to my accommodation and had 'freshened-up', when she would then escort me around the public areas and facilities.

Once that had taken place and photographs taken, I changed into swimming trunks and let the cool water of the pool turn my thoughts to what I'd been shown.

The whole estate was surrounded by trees of many genus. Spices and fruits grew in their natural habitats, the accommodation (bungalows) just seemed part of the mix. Wherever one walked, the feeling was of 'being in the middle of a private jungle'.

My bungalow's large balcony, was furnished with cane chairs plus a large, full length, sofa bed. Lying prone, neck supported, G&T within arms reach, I could 'cat-nap' to my heart's content and let the sounds of mynahs, woodpeckers and other birds, mix harmoniously with the calls of cicadas.

All the expected accommodation amenities were evident and working perfectly. It would be difficult to fault any of them.

Whilst here, I sampled the Resort's Ayurvedic Centre. This one is about as good as it gets. Spotlessly clean and staffed (in my case) by a very experienced practitioner of the art indeed. He found tiny knots of tense muscle that I had long since forgotten about. The hot oils worked into most parts of my body, doing their work in concert with appropriate and soothing Indian chants.

Guests were few in number (season overlap...remember), so the pace was even slower than usual, allowing the staff to devote more time and attention to those who were present.

The restaurant did not quite match the standard displayed by all other features of the hotel. Although the menu was extensive enough, the actual dishes lacked the taste expected. Of course, I cannot say whether, because of the entry into the 'Low' season, chefs had been changed.

However, all the food was acceptable and properly cooked. It did not spoil my overall pleasure of staying at the resort.
My rating...7/10

Room Tip: A Great 'Chill-out' place
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  • Stayed February 2011, traveled on business
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Helpful?
2 Thank Cumbrian25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
264 reviews
129 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 180 helpful votes
Reviewed March 27, 2011

This is a delightful and quite intimate place. We were given a very nice friendly welcome and our room with its outside terrace and relaxing sofa was charming. The accommodation is set in very pretty, well-maintained jungle-like surroundings but, as others have pointed out, there are quite a lot of steps which may not suit everyone. There is a very nice and immaculate swimming pool.

We arrived back late one morning from a walk round the wild life sancuary but the staff were totally relaxed about serving us breakfast even though it was outside the normal hours. They also made my husband an omelette one evening for dinner when he wasn't feeling well enough for a full meal.

The only negative which has to be mentioned is be prepared for the very loud early morning music from the local temple from 5.30-5.50 each morning.

This is a lovely sanctuary but being a few miles outside Kumily you do need to have transport to get into town and explore the shops as well as to get to Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Jinty27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
62 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
Reviewed March 1, 2011

This is a wonderful place to stay. The setting is magical. Our room was really beautiful. The public areas were delightful and the service was as genuinely hospitable as other reviewers have noticed. It must help that many of the staff have been there for more than ten years. But as well as the maturity of a well established hotel, it's also kept up immaculately and with as much focus as if it had just opened. It's really, really good.
The hotel is located a couple of kilometres away from the bustle of Periyar, but the hotel will organise all transport into town, to the wildlife park, to the elephant spice garden, and to your next location. (they have really good and knowledgeable drivers).
Best for us: the staff, the accommodation, the location, the pool.
What might have been better? the choice of wines, internet access (free) was from reception area only. But these are minor quibbles.
The hotel organised a three hour night walk and a nine hour hike both in the Tiger reserve. Both with sympathetic and knowledgeable guides. When in wildlife reserves the sensible attitude is "Expect nothing, enjoy everything." Our two treks were quite stunning.
The hotel also suggested we take a walk through a nearby spice garden on an elephant, and though it was touristic, it was delightful to bath and be bathed by the elephant afterwards.
We had lovely food and really look forward to returning.

Note, however, that the location, on a hillside would not be easy for people with reduced mobility

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Quentar_people
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed February 12, 2011

A beautifully fitted out hotel in a real working spice garden (ask for the tour, and for their home-grown coffee - you can eat the beans off the trees too). Lovely rooms, with a simple bedroom and impeccable slate wet-rooms. The pool is crystal clear.

The staff are the other highlight. We met some wonderful people and will stay in touch. Thanks again to them!

Only thing - the restaurant is not great value (for India), and lots of European food, so we just made sure we stocked up in meals restaurants before we got back. Lovely breakfasts though!

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank timruffles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Wales, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
102 reviews
90 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 101 helpful votes
Reviewed February 8, 2011

A very relaxed laid back place with comfortable rooms. Very attentive friendly staff and excellent food. Enjoyed the local walks and visit to nearby Periyar wildlife sanctuary, but keep your expectation of wildlife spotting low. Disabled visitors beware of numerous steep steps and loud "music" from nearby temple early every morning.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank walterWales
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed December 2, 2010

Me and my parents stayed in this hotel in Nov 2010. It's beautifully situated in the spice hills of Kerala, and they've set it up with a jungle theme. It's a bit out of town, but they were very obliging with cars and drivers to get where we wanted to go. The restaurant is good, but pretty pricey for what you get. In general, it's a nice spot, but the lack of competition in the area has made the owners a bit unrealistic in terms of the prices they can charge for what you get. There is no TV in the rooms, the power is intermittently on and the rooms themselves are very basic. To pay 250-300$ CAN a night for a bed is a bit out of the ordinary. I imagine once there are more high end hotels in town this place's prices will come down quickly.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank GillianVancouver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Shalimar Spice Garden - An Amritara Private Hideaway

Property: Shalimar Spice Garden - An Amritara Private Hideaway
Address: Murikkady | Periyar, Thekkady 685535, India
Location: India > Kerala > Idukki District > Thekkady
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Thekkady
#4 Family Hotel in Thekkady
#4 Romantic Hotel in Thekkady
#7 Spa Hotel in Thekkady
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Shalimar Spice Garden - An Amritara Private Hideaway 3.5*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The bridge to Shalimar, over a mountain stream meandering through the resort, transcends you to another world, seemingly untouched by man. Shalimar Spice Garden is a celebration of scents and colours. Pepper vines snake through your room balconies, butterflies dance to the sound of silence and orchids smile into your windows every morning. This Sublime Journey through waterfalls, tea estates, spice & vegetable plantations, and Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary only enhances the invitation to live the Shalimar experience. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Shalimar Spice Garden Hotel Kumily
Shalimar Spice Garden Thekkady
Shalimar Spice Garden - An Amritara Private Hideaway Thekkady, Kerala

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