Munnar, Kerala and Karnataka, India
At a Glance
Perched 1600m above sea level does mean that clouds and rain are more common than the rest of India
Surrounded by beautiful scenery
Warmly greeted by Dr Simon and his wife who bought the 60-acre cardamom plantation in 1990s and live on the estate
Ideal retreat for walkers and nature-lovers
A lovely swimming pool
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
Isolated from much of India by the Western Ghats, the climate of Kerala & Karnataka is tropical and as a result of the mountain ranges the area isn’t as dry as much of India. The best time to visit is from January through to April. While there can be the occasional light showers these are just a prelude of the wet weather to come. The weather is generally hot and humid during this early summer. The monsoon season arrives in early June and thus can wash out July and August. September is much more humid as a result of the rainy season, and the fall can be dry but with the humidity this makes it feel quite warm. There can be a little rain in the night in October and November. The temperatures cool down and the humidity lets up as winter comes in around December, with this season lasting until February when the dry spring returns. Winter can be a pleasant time to visit, especially if you’re looking to head off the beach and explore the rest of this Indian land of mystery.
To start planning your holiday to Windermere Estate
Located in the Western Ghats, Windermere Estate is a perfect retreat to explore the beautiful green tea hills of Munnar. This 18-room boutique hotel is well positioned for fabulous views of the surrounding countryside.
Sitting on Observatory Hill, high in the Palni Hills, Windermere Estate is perched on a hilltop, surrounded by a cardamom estate. The 360 degree views from this wonderful little retreat are truly awe-inspiring and you often find yourself looking down on the clouds below you, but when the clouds disperse, the Western Ghats open up before you.
Windermere, famous for its unique ambience and charm was established in the 19th Century. With rooms in the farmhouse and separate cottages which look over the valley below, Windermere Estate consciously avoids anything hotel-like. There is no reception, and home-cooked meals are served in a dining room with kitchen at the far end. The owning family live in the old planters bungalow and their friendly staff will take you off on long walks in the hills or private cardamom estate. It is very much a place to experience the hills at their best as the peace and solitude up here is second to none.
Local sites and attractions include the Eravikulam National Park which is home to the endangered Nilgiri Tahr and the Anamudi peak located in the southern region of the park. There is also the Tea Museum in Munnar where you can experience the art of tea making and Marayoor where you can visit the caves (muniyaras) with murals and relics from the New Stone Age. Thoovanam waterfall and Rajiv Gandhi National Park are also nearby.
Windermere Estate offers guests 18 rooms including three cottages. There are four Garden rooms set in verdant gardens with a typical plantation home interior and a spacious verandah offering stunning views of the Chithirapuram valley below. The Estate Rooms accommodate a further six rooms with king size beds and spacious bathrooms. Finally the Planter's Villa Rooms with their gorgeous French windows feature private balconies, sitting and dining areas, and a bathroom which opens into a courtyard.
Children are welcome to come and stay at Windermere Estate. However, there are no specific facilities available for them at the hotel.
There is no reception and home-cooked meals are served in a dining room with kitchen at the far end. There is also a bright, airy library, a beautiful swimming pool and yoga space as well as an open-sided thatched tea hut and an Alpine restaurant for private dining.
There is plenty of walking to be done around the hotel and beyond however guided walks of tea and spice estates and golf will be charged additionally. Local sites and attractions include the Eravikulam National Park, the Tea Museum in Munnar and the Thoovanam waterfall to name a few. The Rajiv Gandhi National Park is also nearby. With its rich forest cover, small streams, valleys, and waterfalls, the park is home to a healthy population of tiger, Indian bison, and elephant.
Julie Geyton (Staff)
Windermere Estate Munnar is a home stay rather than a hotel set amongst cardamom fields and tea plantations. Every room has amazing views and are spacious with large bathrooms and simple furnishings. This property is ideal for those that love nature, want complete relaxation and enjoy exploring the local areas. There is no a la carte restaurant but on arrival your food likes/dislikes are taken down and each day a menu is prepared with local dishes fresh from the property and local farms. A new infinity pool also now overlooks the tea plantations.
Charlotte Winter (Staff)
The Windermere Estate is a charming property set in a tea, cardamom and coffee plantation. The rooms here are basic but very comfortable and offer guests the chance to relax in the countryside away from the cities. It's well worth exploring the plantations on a walk with a local guide, or simply relax on your own private balcony. A new infinity pool is being built for October 2016 which will offer incredible views across the tea plantations.
Sophie Jones (Staff)
Staying at Windermere Estate is very much about the location and experience rather than the luxuries. Having said that my stay here was very comfortable and the rooms had the most spectacular views. From Windermere Estate you can be taken on numerous guided walks through the spice plantations. Also, a visit to the local town of Munnar is a highlight. While I was staying I was lucky enough to have drinks in the classic Keralan home of the Windermere Estate owners. The highlight of a visit to Munnar is the tea plantations, they really are a spectacle.
Backwaters - Experience Kumarakom
Kumarakom is a village based on the edge of Lake Vembanadu. The village is beautifully laid out over a number of different picturesque islands and is a wonderful example of how people live in the backwaters.
Periyar - Boating at Lake Periyar
Boating in the splendid artificial lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam across the Periyar river adds to the charm of the park. Spot some fascinating wildlife from the boat including animals coming to drink on the lake.
Periyar - Jungle Walk in Periyar National Park
Take a jungle walk in Periyar National Park. You will see a variety of bird life and small mammals, including Nilgiri Black Langurs (a type of monkey), deer, giant squirrels and if you are lucky wild elephants.
Periyar - Spice Plantation
Visit a spice plantation and discover where many of the spices you have in your kitchen at home are grown naturally. This is a lovely experience for couples or families of all ages to enjoy.
Windermere Plantation Walk
Perfect after an afternoon of tea tasting you will enjoy an evening walk with the Windermere’s staff and learn about the importance of this spice in Indian cuisine as well as its health benefits.
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Location & directions
Munnar, Kerala and Karnataka, India
Windemere Estate is set in Munnar, part of the Kerala Hill Country in southern India, situated at the confluence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathani and Kundala in the Western Ghats.
How to get there
13-hour flight (1 change) to Cochin International Airport. The drive to Windermere Estate from the airport takes around 3-hours.
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