We’re at the Spice Tree Hotel near Munnar on day 11 of our Indian adventure. We arrived last night as it was getting dark, and after a royal welcome we enjoyed a lovely meal in their restaurant.
The Spice Tree clearly prides itself on its service, and we are cossetted as we dine. We are given a choice of water options, a serving of hot cinnamon tea, and an appetizer as we choose from the extensive menu. There are Keralan specialities on offer together with more familiar continental dishes including pasta. Our food is delicious and cooked to a high standard. Given our arduous journey just to reach this place and it’s location down a steep hillside, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, it’s a standard that seems remarkable to us.
We retire to our spacious room with its large bed in the centre. There is a full size window with drape curtains hiding a private balcony, but our excursion outside yields little in the darkness other than some lights far away in the distance.
Morning tells a different story. We open the curtains to a magnificent view over the Bison Valley, green and lush before us. Breakfast is good too, with a wide choice including tasty coffee.
We ask about activities on offer, and there’s plenty to do with walking tours as well as trips to the local tea and cardamom plantations. We can’t face another drive after yesterday and opt to stay on site. We elect to join a cookery demonstration later, and before that a reflexology session in the hotel Spa.
First though, we go off to explore the grounds. The Spice Tree comprises the main hotel building with it’s reception and restaurant areas, and a series of rooms spread throughout the grounds. Those grounds tumble down the hillside, with paths taking us to lower levels. We come across the Spa nestled into its own space, then further down a library and gym underneath, with a coffee shop and bakery in a separate building a few yards away. The library has a magnificent view right along the valley to the hills far in the distance, the emerald green rice paddy fields on the valley floor complementing the darker greens of the forest trees. We sit for a long time enjoying the scenery and the peace of it all.
Later, after our activities, we return to this spot. The air is full with a million dragonflies, and as the sun sinks the evening light picks out each one below. The view into the hills could have come straight out of a travel brochure, one of those scenes that makes you question whether it truly exists.
This place is quite magical, and our only regret is that we aren’t staying longer. We could quite happily remain and soak up the tranquillity for longer. Tomorrow, though, we’re off again and this time we’re heading for the coast!