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Munnar, South India’s largest tea-growing region, is a verdant little gem in the state of Kerala, which itself is often dubbed as God’s Own Country. Munnar contributes to the moniker to a great extent – there’s the dazzling greenery of tea plantations everywhere you look, terraced prettily into rolling hills that are often shrouded in mist. Charming, colonial-era plantation bungalows now converted into B&Bs or boutique hotels beckon you to visit a bygone era. It’s little wonder then that the British made it their summer capital in southern India, and now thousands of tourists (Indians and foreigners alike) flock to it every year. Below, we've rounded up the most inviting stays Munnar has to offer.
Best Overall: SpiceTree Munnar
Located just 14 miles outside of Munnar proper, SpiceTree is a mountain retreat ensconced between the Kannan Devan Hills and Bison Valley Hills. The resort offers 14 rooms and suites and two pool villas in a chalet-style property. Classic Rooms are fitted with a Victorian Jacuzzi overlooking the valley; Honeymoon Suites come with private spa beds and a handcrafted copper tub; Pool Villas have a private pool and deck overlooking the surrounding greenery. In addition, the resort has a common outdoor swimming pool that is solar heated and shallow enough for kids.
Meals are served in the family dining hall and both buffet and à la carte options are available. The resort offers plenty of activities – go on a walk through neighboring tea and cardamom plantations, visit nearby Bison Valley village, or go on a nature photography stroll with an expert guide. If you’d rather stay in, try the complimentary tea tasting session at 300 BC café, take yoga lessons with an experienced practitioner, or indulge at The Bliss Mountain Spa, which offers Ayurvedic therapies.
Best Budget: Hillview Munnar
Hotel Hillview is on the outskirts of Munnar, located near Blossom Park and a short distance from the Munnar bus stand making it a convenient budget option. Its 50 rooms are clean, spacious, and come with king-size beds, en-suite bathrooms, LCD TVs, tea/coffee-making facilities, and free Wi-Fi. The rooms are not air-conditioned, but a ceiling fan is provided and proves sufficient even in the summer months. Deluxe rooms overlook the plantations, while all others have views over the tea plantations and the Muthirappuzhayar River.
The hotel’s Samrudhi multi-cuisine restaurant serves a generous buffet at breakfast (included in the nightly rate) and dinner, featuring local specialties and international fare. There’s free parking on site and laundry services are available at an extra cost. Service is top-notch and the front desk can help with everything from sightseeing and taxi services to trekking suggestions and safaris in the nearby Rajamalai National Park; head there to try your luck spotting the Nilgiri Tahr, an endangered species of mountain goat.
Best Boutique: The Fog Resort & Spa
Surrounded by the greenery of the Western Ghats, the Fog Resort & Spa lives up to its name, especially during winter and monsoon season when it’s gently enveloped in mist. The hotel offers 40 rooms, suites, and villas that are clean, spacious, and well appointed. Entry-level rooms look out over the valley while the Fog Villas come with two bedrooms, a dining room, balconies, and access to a private garden. The hotel also has honeymoon cottages (which stand on stilts) done up in delicate pastels with uninterrupted views of tea and spice plantations.
Dine at Alaska Restaurant, which has both indoor and al fresco seating, and serves a mix of Indian, Italian, and Arabic cuisines. Try the Kerala Traditional Chai Experience where you can taste different types of teas and learn about tea processing in Munnar. Other activities include a nature trail, tea and spice plantation visits, trekking, cycling, and a cooking demonstration by the executive chef. The hotel has a large outdoor swimming pool with a separate kids’ pool, as well as many games like pool, table tennis, foosball, and chess to keep you occupied.
Best for Romance: The Tall Trees
The Tall Trees gets its name from the 600 trees that stand watch over its 66 acres of land — part of the shola forest (tropical forest found in valleys) in the Western Ghats. Here, 26 cottages are hidden away in a green canopy, all of them standing on stilts and built in the traditional Kerala architectural style. Inside, they are thoroughly modern with spacious, wood-paneled interiors, private bathrooms with nature-based toiletries, and a balcony. The cottages are spread around the property in order to offer ample privacy.
Hill Spice is the resort’s glass-roofed restaurant which allows you the feel of dining in nature. Savor Kerala specialties like idiyappam (string hoppers) with vegetable stew or try their north Indian and continental fare. The rooftop restaurant Café Elaichi is great for snacks and tea/coffee, and the resort can even arrange a campfire and barbecue there. Go on a self-guided trail through the shola forest, hit the open-to-air O2 Green Gym, or choose from the extensive menu of Ayurvedic therapies at the Tree of Life Spa. The resort offers a tea-tasting session every evening and can also arrange live music and local dance performances upon request.
Best for Singles: Elixir Hills
Spread out over 120 acres of dense rainforest and cardamom plantations, Elixir Hills is the ideal getaway for the solo traveler. This is an all-suite resort with 45 lodgings, all of which are substantially larger than those offered by most Munnar resorts. Large bay windows look out over the pool and the surrounding rainforest. Rooms have very modern, almost minimalistic interiors and come with elegant wood furnishings, including a four-poster bed, a day bed, a carved armoire, and glazed glass bathrooms; some suites have a Jacuzzi bathtub as well. Wi-Fi is free and reasonably fast given the property’s remote location.
Go on a nature walk in the rainforest (trails are marked), take a dip in the heated outdoor pool overlooking the rainforest, or simply lounge about with a book and a cup of local tea in the fully glass-enclosed lobby. Indian, Continental, Chinese, and Arabic cuisine is served in the hotel's onsite restaurant; dine indoors or out on the open-air terrace.
Best for Luxury: Parakkat Nature Hotels & Resorts
Occupying 12 acres of terraced tea plantations just outside Munnar, Parakkat Nature Hotels & Resorts is built on a grand scale with an opulent, gold-accented lobby, soaring ceilings, and expansive living spaces. Fifty rooms span 5 categories, including a Club Suite and a Presidential Suite. All rooms come with a separate living area, a balcony, and elegant parquet floors, while suites range between 287 and 275 square feet, and are done up in a plush (if ostentatious) manner.
The resort’s Spice Merchant restaurant serves a range of cuisines that you can savor while looking out over the surrounding hills and tea plantations; both the breakfast and dinner buffets are plentiful and include local Kerala specialties. Coffee Land is a cozy café to relax in with a cup of locally sourced tea or coffee. Other facilities at the resort include a large swimming pool, a spa and Ayurveda center, a children’s play area with board games and PlayStation, and a stage where the resort can organize live music, theater, and dance performances.
Best for Families: Chandys Windy Woods
Cascading down a hill slope just a short distance from Munnar town, Chandys Windy Woods’ white and gray stone façade stands out in the surrounding mountainous landscape. Each of the 48 rooms and suites comes with a balcony and there are common terraces on every floor to enjoy the view. The nature theme continues in the rooms which are done up in soothing colors, fresh flowers, and sport floor-to-ceiling windows that bring the outside in.
Enjoy Kerala’s vast culinary repertoire at the resort’s restaurant, which also serves cuisines from other parts of India. The hotel has a swimming pool as well as a small spa. Kids will love taking a tour of the Enchanting Forest (hosted each morning and afternoon) — a part-wild, part-faux landscape that meanders through the resort, past gnarled vines, bamboo pillars, and an artificial waterfall. The hotel can organize a jeep to take you around for local sightseeing, but the surrounding hills are great for trekking, bird watching (there are more than 250 indigenous bird species in the area), and mountain biking on your own.
Best for Business: Sterling Munnar
With 135 rooms, Sterling Munnar is one of the largest hotels in the region and just 11 miles from central Munnar. It has been recently refurbished and all the rooms and suites received a modern update. All rooms have valley or mountain views and come with a TV, mini refrigerator, tea/coffee-making facilities, and a safe. The resort is part of a timeshare, so it also offers apartments and studios to members.
The hotel’s restaurant offers a mix of authentic Kerala cuisine and north Indian fare as well as Chinese and continental meals. There’s no pool but the hotel does have a spa where you can relax at the end of a long day. While the hotel doesn’t have a fitness center, its clubhouse is equipped with several games including table tennis, badminton, and pool, as well as cricket nets that can be set up outdoors. There’s a separate play area for children as well as a video game room. The in-house gift shop is a great place to pick up local handicrafts and souvenirs before you head home.
Best Homestay: Royal Mist
Located in a modern, charming home, Royal Mist is one the most popular B&Bs in Munnar. The two-story house is built in the traditional Kerala style and has three elegantly furnished guestrooms all of which are on the top floor. The rooms have basic amenities and come with a large double bed, TV, attached toilet, and free Wi-Fi. The rooftop terrace is a great place to relax and meet other guests or chat with the owner and his family who are very warm and hospitable.
Freshly cooked breakfast is included in the rate and they can also rustle up lunch or dinner on request (at an extra cost). A welcome drink and a complimentary fruit platter or cookies are also included. There are plenty of nature walks and treks in the vicinity; Munnar town is a 30-minute drive away and other attractions such as Mattupetty Dam, Tea Museum, and Eravikulam National Park are nearby. The B&B offers a three-night, four-day ‘Splendors of Munnar’ package that includes pick-up and drop from Kochi airport, local sightseeing, plantation walk, and an optional guided trek.
Our writers spent 2 hours researching the most popular hotels in Munnar. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 25 different hotels overall, read over 60 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 2 of the hotels themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.