Instagram ID- thefanatictraveller
I have been to Kerala countless times, yet I don’t get tired of it. The reason is simple- its natural beauty and impeccable hospitality! I have been to Cherai, Wayanad, Munnar, Kovalam, Cochin, Fort Cochin, Calicut, Malappuram, Trivandrum, and Poovar. And all have been very memorable trips. In October of 2017, I will be going to Varkala. An off-beat beach destination with sunsets to die for. After that the only thing pending on my list will be the Backwater of Kumarakom and Thekkady.
In May 2017, we wanted to go to a place within driving distance from Bangalore (about 5-6hrs max). So our options were – Kabini, Chikmagalur, BR Hills, Wayanad, Bandipur, Coorg, Masingudi, Hampi and Mysore. We narrowed it down to Wayanad because all other places were either too warm, or too expensive or sold out.
As you must have figured by now, I do not like staying in big hotels. The search is always on for a cozy little place which makes your stay very personal and has a story to tell about itself. So, the hunt for the perfect stay in Wayanad, began. There were the usual suspects like Vythiri Resorts and Windflower. But they were too far and too expensive. As I researched more, Parisons Plantations caught my eye. It looked warm and luxurious at the same time. The rate was roughly INR 8000 per night per room (full board). Kabini was coming to that much per head per night!
The place is relatively new for tourists so the reviews were not too many. But whoever did contribute, gave the place a 9 or above. I also read that alcohol is not served or permitted on the premises. Now, because we were taking parents along, we were not too concerned about that. We just wanted a beautiful, relaxing stay with great food at an affordable price. Perhaps, I am biased towards tea garden bungalows, considering I come from Assam (the tea capital of India) but this really seemed like a good gamble for our weekend getaway. So I booked 2 classic double rooms.
This is what happened…
We took the route via Kabini to get to this place. However, Parisons is a 4000 acre plantation and google maps made life a little difficult for us in the last 10-15kms. We were being taken from the narrowest of streets with no sign boards at all. At one point we decided to ditch the maps (mostly bcoz there was no signal) and ask locals about Parisons. They directed us in all directions because we were surrounded by Parisons gardens 🙂 Nobody specifically knew the tourist bungalows. So it got a bit tense. The hotel staff was not reachable and we were just going round and round in circles. Finally, we got mobile connection and managed to reach the property with the help of an auto guy who was kind enough to take instructions from the hotel and escort us till the gates.
So please put Malabar Road or Mananthavady or Talapoya as the location on the Maps. Even when you ask locals, ask for Mananthavady or Parisons Talapoya gate.
At the time of booking, I was not aware that there are 2 bungalows in the gardens. Talapoya and Cherakara. Booking.com did not specify this anywhere. When we reached the property after the 5.5hr drive, we saw Talapoya first. The former is the larger one of the two with a swimming pool and gymnasium etc. It is 200 yr old British bungalow with massive rooms and halls. This is also where they have the spa, sauna and steam rooms. We were totally blown away! But then we were told that our bungalow was in Cherakara- 2 kms from there. It is the smaller bungalow with only 4 rooms. We were immediately filled with regret. I felt I made a mistake. And that we should have booked in Talapoya. But how was I to know?
The staff told us that as residents of Cherakara, we were allowed to use the pool and the gym at Talapoya. We saw that as some consolation and drove to our bungalow. Cherakara was a cute little property with a large lawn and a swing. The rooms were big and well done. All our regret just vanished because we soon realized that this was a far more personal space and the entire staff was at our beck and call.
We got the peace and quiet we were looking for. The lawns were just marvelous and the view of the tea gardens from Cherakara was far superior. Plus we got to use the pool and the gym at Talapoya, so essentially we had the best of both worlds 🙂 There was nobody to stop us from dancing in the rain, playing music, hogging the swing 🙂 We had the place entirely to ourselves.
Since I am married into a Bengali family, food is the primary factor to decide the success and failure of a property/holiday. So I was under tremendous pressure for that to hit bull’s eye. And believe me when I say that Parisons just knocked it out of the park! Daisy, the chef just single-handedly took the holiday to the next level with her cooking. If for nothing else, book this resort for the food. It will be totally worth it. It was truly the highlight of our stay. I would like to make a special mention for Balakrishna, who took care of all our needs through the weekend.
There are several walking trails around the property and they even have a recreation centre. We played TT while we were there. But they also have tennis, badminton, billiards etc. So do carry your sports/walking shoes along. The tea gardens are just beautiful and are very well maintained. We drove to the top of the Brahmagiri hills and saw a fantastic 360 view of the estate.
My verdict: Overall Parisons Plantation was just the perfect choice for us. We loved every bit of it. Stay in Cherakara if you want privacy and a homely feel.
My rating: 4.5/5 There is absolutely nothing for me to criticize. But yes, a glass of wine would have been nice in that setting 🙂