Deep in the woods, where a river runs through it – Vythiri resort

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.

Chitra Aiyer - Going toward the reception, Vythiri resort

Chitra Aiyer - Feeding fish, Vythiri resorts

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.

Chitra Aiyer - Room with a view - Vythiri resort

Chitra Aiyer - From the room, Vythiri resort

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.

Chitra Aiyer - The kids getting on to the bridge, Vythiri resorts

Chitra Aiyer - Kids on the hanging bridge, Vythiri resort

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.

Chitra Aiyer - Going to the rooms, Vythiri resort

Chitra Aiyer - Kids running up to the restaurant, Vythiri resort

Chitra Aiyer - Restaurant, Vythiri resort

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?

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All pics used here are mine. Please do not use them without first asking me.


18 Responses to “Deep in the woods, where a river runs through it – Vythiri resort”

  1. Awesome writeup Chitra. I always wanted to go to these resorts but invariably somebody would say that it would be too boring for kids. Well, I will put it on my list and hopefully we get there some time. Lovely pictures.

  2. Lovely narration Chitra. Makes me wanna go there.

  3. You brought back my memories of Vythiri, Chitra!! I loved the place and the hanging bridge. We went there in the first week of Sept a couple of years ago and it was raining continuously. Although I loved to hang out in the resort, hubby felt very bored. We ended up playing a lot of TT and carroms. Overall, a very memorable trip!!

  4. u took me virtually to wynad thats wonderful

  5. A nice travlogue …..
    FYI : IRCTC too had some conducted tours thru Wythiri & Wayanad.

  6. Thanks My3. The idea is to write from a family-outing point-of-view, especially from a mom’s perspective. What kids do anywhere we go will be covered in all my trip write-ups. And so far, we have done multiple trips, never have the children been bored. But that is also coz my children are 6 and 4 – they may be too young to be bored. :) And they may right now be finding everything exciting.

    Thanks Arvind.

    Thanks Anu. I am glad you had a good trip. But, I am afraid, what happened to your husband can happen to a lot of people. Would I call Vythiri resrt a “resort” – most likely not.

    Thanks Rajesh.

    Thanks Ram. Thanks for the tip too.

  7. lovely post and pix chitra!

  8. Chitra: A very informative post as usual. Great pictures too. Brings back vivid memories of my trip to Vythri too.

    Vythri has done a good job of preseving the “foresty” feeling around the resort. The place is very tastefully done and it seems to blend with the surroundings and the local culture. Items like the bridge, and the fish pond (can I call it that?) definitely adds to the charm of the place.

    I also agree with your observations about the service. While they are good indeed, it appears to me that there are a lot of loose ends. When I was there I noticed that they are also building additional rooms/cabins to accomodate the growing number of visitors. With the current level of service I really doubt if they will be able to scale up and maintain the service levels during peak season.

    Overall – I would still recommend this place.

    -Ganapathy

  9. Hi chitra,
    I am Lakshmi Arvind,(flickr)hope you recognize.it was nice that you had linked to the flickr image,otheriwse i couldnt have found your blog.Have lots to read on yours.anyway i liked the first article on wayanad.fun and quite informative reading it from the moms perspective. i liked the article.hope u enjoyed the stage.we shall plan our trips to vythiri too.great pictures too.bye enjoy

  10. Thanks for sharing. Added to To-Do list. :-)

  11. Hi chitra,

    I found your blog through your flickr profile. I am a big FAN of your flickr stream…especially ur EXPLOREd set.

    My take on wayanad…Its a MUST SEE place for every nature lover. Seeing your pictures I have defenitely missed Vythri. I stayed in Green Gates resort, its good and economical.

    I had been to wayanad last year. This place is awesome for its scenic beauty and serenity.

    The place has a lot to offer visitors with its pristine natural beauty. I liked Pookod Lake, an excellent drive to Thirunelli Temple, untamed Soochippara Waterfall and the best place for any couple to be is “Kuruva Island”.

    Eagerly looking for our son to grow up, to go for another visit to this exotic location.

    Waiting for new posts from you chitra.

    Rgds,
    Bhanu Prakash

  12. Thanks chox.

    Thanks Ganapathy. Yeah, not completely satisfying, rt? :) Yet, very beautiful a place.

    Thanks Lakshmi. Thanks for stopping by. :)

    You are welcome, Sudhakar. :)

    BhanuPrakash, thanks for sharing your experiences at Wayanad. We didnt “see” much there. So, I guess we will go back. :)

  13. Lovely reading about your stay there. I love the tropical feel of the resort, but yes, the leeches would be awful to deal with. Winter would be a great time to visit, but the sound of the water would be much less, I suppose.

  14. Nice objective review Chitra, I’m with you when you talk about how stifling it is to stay only at the resort. I’m not for those resort holidays (although I like to stay at them because of the conveniences they offer to me as a mom!) but would also love to go around and get the feel of the local attractions however miniscule they may be.

    Have you considered booking Club Mahindra vacations -we’re members and we really enjoy the vacations we have with them !

  15. Shalini, yes, the tropical feel is really nice. The resort stays true to its surrounds – its greatest plus. Apparently winter months are really lovely there. Water – should pretty much be ok I would think.

    Poppins, we have come to prefer home-stays over other form of place of stay during our outings. Resorts are nice once in a while. The Taj resorts in Goa are really nice since their campuses are pretty big and by the beach. However, we went away to Panjim for a couple of days too and saw a lot more of Goa while we were there.
    I am wary of timeshare vacations. I have heard many discouraging stories about Club Mahindra.
    Recently, we were at a lovely homestay in the western ghats. Will blog soon about the place.

  16. See you really dont miss the west coast !!! Do you ?

  17. Your blog brought bag memories from our trip. Nice…..

  18. Yes, Wayanad is really wonderful place …

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