The perfect place for moments when you feel like getting away from it all - located in the middle of nowhere. You take a turn from the main road and after twenty minutes of negotiating a winding mountain road the width of a largish footpath you are starting to wonder if it was the right turn after all. Not so long ago there was no electricity in the vicinity and the power supply is still erratic from time to time. On the other hand - the place is surrounded by a mountainous landscape to die for. All 13 cottages - authentic Keralan wood buildings - are strategically placed to offer a fabulous view and create an illusion of solitude. The owner (his name is Simon) happens to be one of the most charming Indian gentlemen you will have ever met; he loves to knock back a glass of whiskey at night and share some stories of his adventures. Paradisa Plantation Retreat is the result of a happy coincidence: Simon was previously in the pharmaceutical business but at some point decided to change his lifestyle: he bought a plot in the Keralan mountains, three cows and a coffee plantation. The cows were leading a quite life in their alpine pastures until one day during the monsoon one of them disappeared. The poor animal was found on top of a hill with a broken leg. Simon dispatched his assistants to find something to bandage the leg or at least for some help to get the miserable cow down from the hill. There was no road at the time, so the process had been long and painful. The cow died and Simon decided then and there to build a road - which he did, and gave it the proud name of Paradisa Avenue. He also built a house on top of the hill, and the fantastic view attracted the interest of his friends. That's the way it all started; Simon also has plans to build two more hotels, an Ayurvedic island resort near Cochin and another in Tamil Nadu. Simon is a passionate antiques collector; some of his finds are now part of the décor of Paradisa Plantation Retreat cottages. The pool has been modelled on the silhouette of his wife's foot. Simon is the proud owner of his own drill hole that provides water for the local village. The source of the water is a nearby spring; Simon says it is much better than the bottled sort but most visitors do not believe him anyway. Breakfast at Paradisa Plantation Retreat is a royal affair - the table is literally groaning with abundance of fruit - but dinner is an elaborate ritual since the chef insists on telling you about each and every ingredient. A word of caution: don't go for a massage in the evening. Mountains will be mountains: it does get quite chilly after 5 pm, and the massage room is rustically ascetic.
Murinjapuzha P.O., Idukki District (nearest city is Kumily)
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Keywords: Kerala, hotel