MAhout Kindred Hotel - Shalimar Spice Garden

Shalimar Spice Garden, Thekkady, Kerala

Nestling in a valley in the low hills of the Southern Ghats and surrounded by tropical jungle, this rustic retreat is ideal for visiting nearby Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.

It is the only really comfortable small hotel in the area and comprises a main lodge which houses an airy verandah, a dining room, a snug sitting room and a hall. Sprawling up the hill behind are 22 rooms and cottages which are decorated simply but comfortably, stylishly and in keeping with traditional and local styles.

Most have private verandahs or a small garden sit out which are lovely places to sit and listen to the sounds of the jungle. At the top there are a couple more rooms which are traditional Keralan style (wooden), a pretty swimming pool and a small Ayurvedic massage centre and recreation room.

The entire property abounds with exotic trees and a myriad of different spices - all of which are named – making it fascinating to explore if not out jungle walking, bamboo rafting or spying elephant at Periyar. Due to its dense jungle location, it can be damp but, in the evenings sit by a cosy log fire after a day out walking in the spice plantations or at Periyar. It’s an immensely peaceful place with antiques, artefacts and woodwork, dominating the hotel.

Shalimar Spice Garden is renowned for its delicious food which combines local recipes with western touches. A secluded, peaceful jungle retreat – the perfect entry or departure point for Kerala and one with great charm.

Eco / environmental / responsible tourism policy

The Environment:

  • Effluent treatment plant to process kitchen and other organic waste. Treated water is used for irrigation and dry solids are used for vermiculture.
  • Composted and vermiculture produce is used back in the plantations at the resort.
  • Only Bio-Safe fertilizers and insecticides are used (if necessary) at the plantations. As far as possible, they use home recipes for pest control i.e. Neem Concentrates / Cakes.
  • Kitchen Garden: They grow fresh herbs and vegetables for daily use in the kitchens.

Community development:

  • 70% of the staff employed at Shalimar belongs to villages in a radius of 10 kms from the resort.
  • The resort is involved in the development and implementation of various environment awareness workshops organized by the Tourism Council. The president of the Tourism Council is part of the Shalimar Resorts Management.
  • Capacity Building: Shalimar is setting up a training hub in Coorg where all the staff training will be done. They will be selecting resources from the local community close to the resort who will undergo skill and etiquette development programs at this training hub. Post successful completion of this training program, the staff will move back to their respective resorts which is close to their homes.

Bio-Diversity Management:

  • At Shalimar they follow a policy of not using non-endemic plants for any horticulture of plantation purposes.
  • Rain Water harvesting ponds have been created at 2 locations and water is used for irrigation and plumbing.
  • Underground water usage is limited to potable water only which is piped to rooms post filtration.
  • Laundry chemicals are "organic rated" and safe to introduce post treatment in their effluent treatment plant back as irrigation water.

Way forward:

Shalimar in 2010-11 developed its own handbook of bio-diversity that a guest can experience within the resort itself. Going forward, it will attempt to build a few social awareness programmes to sensitize neighbours on eco-practices.

Education starts at home is what they believe. Shalimar staff will also be constantly undergoing training programs on Eco-Sensitization.

The resort manager will also be developing a program involved with local schools to conduct orientation programmes and industry exposure programmes.

They are also planning on discontinuing the use of or will charge an ‘eco fee" for the use of plastic bottled water at the resort. Good quality sealed glass bottles with filtered water will be made available to guests free of charge BUT if they do decide to order for plastic sealed bottled water an "eco fee" will be levied. This fine will be utilized for the capacity building and environment awareness programmes which guests too can participate.

Party Moments

This small / medium hotel lies deep in the jungle, surrounded by a spice plantation and would be ideal to take over in its entirety for a medium sized group of friends. With cottages scattered around the hillside, party venues are limited to the main lodge or up by the pool / spa area but would be done with style and care. Limited local entertainment possible.

reservations

For reservations please contact your tour operator, your local travel agent,
or the hotel.

must do

Take a fascinating spice walk, or walk in the ‘noisy’ jungle.

Access

By road from Madurai, Munnar, Cochin, Kanam, the 'backwaters' and Phalgat.

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