A room key in recycled newspaper was a signal this was going to be different to the last experience on #keralablogexpress where I stayed in the presidential suite with my own infinity pool. This is an ecostay experience – no show of elephants and drums here at Spice Village.
Spice Village is not grand, just beautifully and simply crafted and set in a garden setting. Thatched roofs, and simple open public spaces.
This is my kind of place, beautiful but simple villas, light cotton robes, an invitation to try the local Kerala coffee and instructions on how to make it. No TV in the room, no rose petals on the bed.
This is also the first hotel I have ever come across that has shampoo and shower gel in reusable small ceramic jars, it always seems such a waste to throw away all that packaging every day.
We are in tea country and as we arrived we were offered four different types of fresh herbal teas, with samples of the herb they are made from there. I had Pepper Mint – very refreshing, but I was tired and keen to get to the room to shower and change for dinner which is only 30 minutes away – we are running a tight timetable at every turn.
There is an interactive kitchen where you can see them cook to order as well as the buffet, on 6.45pm an introduction to spices kitchen demonstration.
The food was some of the best I have had – the spices seemed to be exquistely blended in each dish, and for those who did not like spices, you could watch something made to order for you.
The staff are attentive and very informed, and take very good photos! Tijin kept me up to date with the World Cup Cricket scores – we are hoping for a New Zealand India final and it looks quite possible that will be the case.
I join a tour of the property in which we discover that it is all organically certified and has been for many years. 80% of the electricity is generated on site by solar panels and stores in great banks of batteries for us.
They have a special 50 km Diet restaurant where all the food is sourced within 50 kms, and compost and worm bins feed an extensive vegetable garden. Monkeys jumped out in the trees in front of us as we passed.
Elephant grass is not eaten by elepants, but it is very tall and used to make the thatched roofs that not only look quaint but have the effect of cooling and warming the rooms, so no air conditioning is needed. They are made from elephant grass – the roofs are refreshed every three years with a new layer, and every 15 years replaced.
Lunch at Greenwoods had us celebrating International women’s day (March 8) by planting mahogany trees.
This resort is also part of an ecotourism movement in this part of Kerala, and it is great to see the impact this is having – our trees will form part of this change as they grow and create shelter for future generations.
It is also the gateway to the Periyer Tiger Reserve – a large nature reserve surrounding a man built dam – more on that another time.
Spice Village is my kind of place!