(this review was from a stay in 2009, before the Homestay was added to TA; my original review is in the TA forum)
Staying here was quite by chance, but turned out to be a highlight of my trip. I was cycling in kerala and the journey between Kumily and Kumarakom is around 120km - too much to do in a day.
The mid point is the town of Mundakayam, but a search didn't throw up any suggestions of places to stay in or around this town.
An enquiry on another forum produced a lead - Evergreen Estates Bungalow, in the small village of Kootickal. Booking was done on line via Mahindra Homestays - very efficient and fast. The supplied directions were hopelessly inadequate though, and finding the Homestay was quite a challenge - asking lots of local people for directions.
In fairness I discovered the map on a website after, better late than never!
There are no signs for the Bungalow anywhere, and in the end, seeing a building that looked like the picture off the website, I struck gold.
I was already aware that the owner, Mr George Abraham, was away at a family wedding but was assured via him via Mahindra Homestays that I would be well looked after by "his Boy or Baby (!). 'Baby' turned out to be the lovely Mr Baby, who welcomed, and looked after me superbly. As the only person staying at the bungalow, it was a little like having a personal butler for an evening.
The Homestay is superbly located; it's a little out of Kootickal which is a quiet place anyway, so there's no sound but insects. The Bungalow looks up to the mountains and the jungle. It's a lovely 1950s building, quirky architecture, lots of unusual features. The veranda provides a perfect spot to relax. Although it wasn't expected (as I arrived earlier than planned) Mr Baby served up a lovely afternoon pot of tea with some banana fritters and a toasted spiced egg sandwich.
Unfortunately the weather wasn't on my side, and there was a sudden and spectacular thunder storm and deluge which put paid to exploring the locality. However, there is much local walking and exploring to be done.
Mr George Abraham phoned in the afternoon to check that I was OK, to apologise for not being there in person, and to warn me that there was a day of "strike action" the next day which would see all shops and stalls shut and little for me to eat on route. Concerned, he offered me the room for a second night free of charge to avoid the inconvenience. I was quite dumbstruck.
The evening meal was served in the dining room, at the elegant horseshoe table. A beautiful Muttar panneer, paratha, salad, and lentil cakes - perfect quantities and absolutely delicious.
Afterwards retire to my spacious, and quite grand room; no air con but the fan provided enough cool air. The bathroom is very nice - more modern than the rest of the room.
Evergreen Estate Bungalow managed to do something very special: it made me very welcome and was utterly personal service. I felt much more than a guest and was treated with a level of courtesy and attention that never stepped over in to fawning. Any other hotel I stay at will have to work very hard to make me feel this much of a valued guest.
When I return to Kerala, which I will do at some point, I'll stay here for a week. There's more than enough to do in the surrounding area, and I want to enjoy this level of hospitality in this beautiful environment again. Utterly unique and enchanting.
- Also Known As:
- Evergreen Estate Bungalow Kottayam, Kerala, India