Wayanad, a picturesque Ghat district in Kerala; inviting mountain landscape, almost always very green. It has always been a place that I have wanted to visit. I introduced its landscape in my previous post. This post will cover our stay there.
At Wayanad, we stayed at the Vythiri resorts. It is located a good 4 kms from the highway and that makes the resort private and way inside the wooded area. On the 4 km approach road, is a slow drive since it is a bumpy ride. But for that, the whole drive from Bangalore to the town of Vythiri is very good and mostly very scenic, especially when you cut through the Bandipur forests and after you enter Wayanad. Door-to-door, with an extended stop-over for breakfast, it took us 7.5 hrs from our Bangalore home.
On entering the resort, as you approach the reception, there is this little water body that contains many big fish. The resort provides you bread and other eatables to feed the fish; by far my daughter’s favorite activity while at the resort. She absolutely loved hanging around near the fish. My son too. They also found other kids here to hang around with.
As you step out of the reception, you hear this little river that runs through out the resort. The resort is practically developed on its edges. Almost all of the rooms overlook the stream from their balconies. But some of the rooms overlook the brook where it breaks into multiple little water-falls. And it is in those room that you hear the river gurgle loudly. Aaah, for that sound. Now sitting here in the city, it is almost surreal to think of that sound.
We stayed in the room you see in the pic below. It is one of those rooms from where the view is rich; overlooking a very green canopy and the many little water-falls.
To access the restaurant, the coffee bar, and a couple of other areas, you must cross the hanging bridge that runs over the river. This is probably one of nicest little things at Vythiri. Rustic, yet sturdy, it was fun to cross every time. Standing on the bridge and taking in the surrounds was lovely. The kids loved running on it too.
Here are some more pics from the resort. As you can see, everything was green. Sept end is at the end of the monsoon season. While it may still drizzle some, the rains arent keeping you indoors.
This is the restaurant - nice and cozy and we sat at this semi-open part of the restaurant for all our meals. Food was authentic and very nicely presented. A lot of food for all the meals. I am not much of a foodie, so I was simply tasting all the vegetarian spread and that in itself was more than enough. the Kerala spread especially was very authentic and for the food, I give them full marks.
The resort has a very nice spa and ayurvedic center attached to it. Very nicely done up, the massages and the therapies seemed really nice. My husband enjoyed a full body ayurvedic massage. Both of us got a complimentary head massage at the spa. That was good too. More than anything else, that wing is very nicely done up, with a courtyard in the center and the stream running through it.
Overall, the architecture here scores big with very everything staying true to the local architecture. All the elements merged well with each other, and nothing stood out odd. The natural eco-friendly Kerala architectural elements blended in nicely with the surroundings and gave the resort its quaint look.
We drove out of the resort on one of the days. Visited the Pookot lake and took a drive on the Ghat highway towards Calicut. That drive was beautiful - excellent roads, lovely visuals and rains.
Monsoon months - Jun, Jul, Aug, Sept are months to give this place a miss, I would think. End of Sept was alright, but am told that during the monsoons, it is way too damp and one can hardly ever step out of the rooms coz of the incessant rains. I have been to the Ghats a lot and have never come across leeches till now. But that changed with this trip to Wayanad, the leech captial. The resort has managed to keep the leeches out for the most part using natural pesticides. But the minute you step out of the resort gates for a trek in their forests and their tea estates, you come across loads of leeches. The tea estate trek in the evening was alright. A few families managed to go through the conducted trek and complete it in spite of some leech bites here and there. But the scene was very different the next morning, when a few of us gathered for a trek through the forests. We were hardly into the trek path when we saw hoards of leeches. Slowly, one by one, people started dropping out and going back to the resort. Husband and I continued with our little boy perched on hub’s shoulders. Daughter stayed back at the resort, looking at the fish and feeding them at times. She was clear that the leeches were not her thing. I had asked the reception folks to watch her when we were away. We proceeded further and it only got terrible. I mean, terrible is not the word. Every minute, many leeches were …. well, leeching on. The resort guide comes prepared with dettol solutions to help remove them. And they also advice us to wear open chappals to remove the leech the minute you spot them on your feet. After walking a little further, when we saw one on our little boy’s leg, we dropped out too. That was it for us. Really icky - the feel of the leech. While it isnt bad for you, in fact leech bites are considered therapeutic and are used in ayurvedic treatments, it is still a bit much seeing it infest us such. But apparently, leeches start to vanish when the dry winters start setting in from Oct onwards. And Dec and Jan are the recommended months to visit Wayanad - foggy, chilly, green and pretty.
What I found as a con with the resort is that within the resort, there isnt too much of a track for one to take a walk or go for a jog. The landscape and the limited access makes the resort pretty contained. Of course if the leeches werent there outside, then yeah, a nice brisk trek through the forests would have been a good thing. But otherwise, you do tend to feel like there’s nothing much to do.
The service while it was very warm, wasnt very professional and somehow you are left desiring for more. One morning, we called in for morning coffee and milk for the kids t 6.50 am and after 2 more calls managed to have it delivered at 7.40 am. At the restaurant too, the staff was very pleasant and warm, but we sensed a lot of casualness. One maitre de, however was very good at his job and took especial interest in the kids, which pleased the parents a lot.
What worked well tho was the awesome location and for us, our lovely room. The river running right through was a big plus - made it very scenic. The river becomes a shallow pool too at one spot and that is used as a natural pool. I would have loved to use it if I wasnt always thinking of the leeches. The regular swimming pool was very nice too and blended in well with is green surrounds.
The kids found friends easily and managed to keep themselves busy all through. We ran into the same bunch of folks during our entire stay, because of how contained the resort layout is. That had its pluses - familiar smiling faces; we all exchanged loads of stories whenever we met. The camaraderie was wonderful. That was all us family people. The young couples almost always kept to themselves and well we all left them alone too - many were newly weds. And I am told the tree-houses were occupied by a couple of these couples. I would have loved to be at the tree-house, but kids under 12 arent allowed to go to the tree-house. We got a glimpse of a tree house while on our trek to the tea estate; perched atop a tree amidst the trees’ canopy, it was really very very private. It is quite precarious too apparently. One of our friends, stayed at the tree house with his wife. And I believe, their room was flooded with fireflies at night; they were inside the mosquito net. Wonderful, eh? But well, his wife didnt seem to think so. The whole thing apparently freaked her out.
We had considered stopping over at Edakkal caves on our way to Bangalore, but were discouraged by the staff at the resort. They said the climb is steep and that our kids were still too young to climb up. So, we didnt go to the caves. The caves are very beautiful I have been told.
For more things to do in Wayanad, go here - Wayanad Wikitravel
So, this was our experience. Have you stayed at Vythiri? Did you like it?
All pics used here are mine. Please do not use them without first asking me.
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