The tea-cloaked terraces around Munnar, Kerala’s scenery-spoiled hill station and town, hide authentic Indian homestays, upscale Ayurvedic retreats and age-old estates with expansive views of the Western Ghats. Here’s our pick of the best hotels in the area – bookable with Culture Trip.
The jade-green tea plantations, cloud-veiled peaks, misty shola forests and high-altitude viewpoints of Munnar make this unbelievably beautiful Indian destination one of the most popular escapes in Kerala. Whether you’re a wellness-loving wanderer looking for a remote Ayurvedic retreat, an avid hiker keen to hit the spice-fringed mountain trails from a cosy homestay or an adventuring family seeking a relaxing hideaway with all the frills in the Western Ghats, you’ll find it in and around Munnar.
Set among organic spice, fruit and flower plantations 12km (7mi) southwest of Munnar, this prize-winning, sustainability-focussed homestay is one of the most delightful escapes in Kerala. The bungalow-style home, fuelled by solar and biogas power, dates from 1920 and has five cosy rooms – ideal for conscientious travellers to experience day-to-day Keralan family life and channel resources into the local community. Linger over breakfast on the veranda before hiking through tea plantations or joining a home-cooking class. The Keralan meals packed with garden-fresh produce are unmissable.
The most magical upscale escape in Munnar is the Windermere Estate: a centuries-old cardamom plantation that overlooks lush, tea-growing terraces. Luxuries aside, the family-owned property keeps things deliciously mellow and intimate, with just 18 elegantly updated rooms dotted around its wild-feeling grounds. Expect red-cedar beams, terracotta floors, hand-embroidered linen, bunches of flowers and oversize furniture crafted by local artisans. Stop for a traditionally brewed chai, take an evening plantation trek and spot butterflies and birds darting around the infinity pool before savouring home-cooked meals, powered by market-fresh ingredients.
Lost in thick forests around 9km (6mi) southeast of Munnar, this secluded hideaway feels more like a snug Kerala-style homestay. Most of the wood-beamed, plantation-style rooms overlook the surrounding cardamom crops; the top picks have private balconies for lazing away the afternoon with a book and a steaming pot of locally grown chai. In the intimate restaurant, which sources its ingredients from nearby farms, lightly spiced central Keralan dishes are the speciality. The Bracknell Forest Resort is one for adventurous travellers keen to soak up the serenity of the Western Ghats.
It’s all about Ayurveda, respect for the environment and eerily beautiful views at the blissfully quiet Blackberry Hills Munnar, where fruit trees are planted with mountain wildlife in mind. The restaurant, built from reusable materials, evokes all that’s wonderful about Keralan cuisine (from banana-leaf thalis to home-made passion-fruit jam), while the cottage-like rooms – some with whirlpool baths – are built into the hillside. Stretch into the day with outdoor yoga, or grab a mountain bike to explore. Afterwards, hit the spa for rose-milk baths in a cosseting copper tub.
Towards the southern end of town, you’ll find the Grand Plaza Munnar, a smart, modern, good-value hotel with a green focus. Rooms are comfortably set up, complete with wood-panelled decor and tea-and-coffee kits; the best ones enjoy views of the river and valley from private balconies. Hiking, cycling and boating can be arranged, along with visits to working tea plantations, and there are board games, badminton, cooking demos and an Indian-international restaurant to keep you busy on rainy days.
Plunge about 15km (9mi) down the twisting, turning valley south of Munnar, towards Anachal village, to find this glossy, secluded, plantation-inspired resort above the twinkling Chengulam Reservoir. The gable-roofed, cottage-like rooms cascade down the hillside past landscaped gardens. Palms bob by the infinity pool, beyond which you’ll spot oodles of tea and spice fields, or splash out on a honeymoon villa, which comes with a private pool. Hill hikes past waterfalls, jeep adventures to viewpoints and visits to tea factories are all on the doorstep.
Drink in the sprawling mountain views across electric-green tea plantations over a steaming Munnar brew from your balcony at this glossily contemporary address on the southern outskirts of town. An on-the-ball team arranges everything from nature hikes, cycling excursions and tea-plantation trips to off-road jeep safaris. After a day exploring South India’s prime tea-growing region, the personal spa is perfect for traditional Ayurvedic treatments, such as abhyanga massages and shirodhara, a healing technique where oil is poured on the forehead. The Madhura suite has a private hot tub set into the window.
Overlooking the cascading Attukad waterfalls and surrounding glinting tea plantations, Blanket Hotel and Spa, 8km (5mi) south of Munnar, is a place for travellers looking for a touch of contemporary comfort in the hills. In-house naturalists lead you out on walks, while other perks include Keralan cooking classes, evening campfires, yoga sessions, a pool gazing across the valley and traditional Ayurvedic treatments, including shirodhara and nasya (a nasal treatment). Rooms are washed in golds and creams, with floor-to-ceiling windows, while the top-tier pads also have private hot tubs.
A dense forest, rolling tea and spice plantations, and vibrant terraced gardens surround the super-scenic Munnar outpost of this reliable Kerala-born chain. It’s a smartly styled retreat, just south of Munnar town, from which to venture out on after-dark wildlife-spotting safaris, hikes through tea-growing fields and off-road sunrise jeep rides. Go for a room with a private balcony – you’ll inevitably spend half your time drinking in the dazzling views. That’s if you can drag yourself away from the guided meditation, open-air yoga and Ayurvedic spa.
Head 5km (3mi) south from central Munnar to uncover this small-chain resort basking in misty-hill views. The boutique-hotel-inspired rooms flaunt lime-green, duck-egg-blue or mango-yellow styling, and there are cleverly interconnected pads created with travelling families in mind. Our top pick? The swish royal suite, complete with a four-poster bed, crackling fireplaces and a whirlpool bath. The restaurants showcase recipes from across the subcontinent, and the staff happily organise everything from expert-guided treks to visits to local farms.
Rivulet Resort’s wonderfully scenic location overlooking the Muthirapuzha River truly wows. Deep in the valley, 14km (9mi) south of Munnar, this unpretentious resort sits within 8ha (20 acres) of avocado, peach, jackfruit and oak trees and meandering spice gardens. The best of the up-to-date, spice-named rooms have private balconies with views across the rushing river. There’s also an Ayurvedic spa, not to mention bikes for pedalling out into the hills and guided hikes for enjoying the dazzling Western Ghats.