Misty Mountain Plantation Resort
USP: Immerse yourself in Nature
When the manager informs us that the decade-old resort built inside a century-old heritage bungalow remains packed through the year without any publicity, two possibilities strike me. One, there is no other accommodation available in the area. Or, the property is too good to be missed.
But Misty Mountain does have half-a-dozen other competitors around. What sets it apart is its location – amidst 600 acres of plantation. This is one place where remaining indoors even if you are on a holiday makes no sense. Name it and the property has it – from jungle to grassland; from rocky terrain to thick tropical vegetation. The unique landscaping intersperses coffee, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, pepper, tea, vanilla, a range of spices, herbal trees, 20 kinds of fruits and organically grown vegetables.
When I reach there, I find most guests out in the open, taking invigorating walks. A group of foreigners is fascinated to learn how cardamom is grown; each plant is labelled with its botanical name and a walk through the winding tracks is a lesson in botany. Some guests are climbing up the tree house for the thrill, while a few others are sitting on wrought-iron benches amidst colourful blooms and charting out their to-do list with the staff.
I feel invigorated by the swirling mist, twittering of birds, scent of flowers, and the nip in the air as dusk sets in. I am lucky to enjoy the comforts of the erstwhile Travancore Dewan's residence — a colonial style bungalow built in 1930 — where I wake up to the rooster's crow. By the time the morning cuppa arrives, mild sunlight begins to filter in through the window.
I can't stop myself from taking a walk to the small Mekkunnam waterfalls, which offers a visual feast. Another 6-km trek leads to a bigger waterfall called the Downrock. En route, I get to see the Travancore queen's palace. A plan to build five new cottages around it is in the pipeline.
The breakfast served is either Continental or simple South Indian. If you have a taste for Kerala food, simple red rice with chicken or fish curry cooked the traditional way or appam with vegetable stew is just the right choice for lunch. It's the perfect meal at 3,500 feet above sea level.
(The writer was at Misty Mountain Plantation Resort at the invitation of the hotel.)
How to get there
Kuttikkanam is 140 km from Madurai, 130 km from Kochi international airport, 80 km from Kottayam railway station and 35 km from Thekkady. The property is visible from the Kumily-Kottayam road. It lies half-a-km from Kuttikkanam junction.
Things to do
Go trekking, fishing or canoeing.
Visit the plantation and nearby waterfalls.
The prices are Rs. 5,500 for a cottage, Rs. 2,000 for a room. Taxes and meals are extra. For details, call 04869-233265, 232065 or 094478-48123