|Room With a View at Chateau Woods|
Revisiting the ‘Bed Head’ series on my blog to focus on one of the most relaxing stays of 2014 for me. I’ve always found Wayanad difficult to travel to. Even though the intense green of the district is a relief from city life, I find it difficult to get between places (the distance is huge) and always feel like I haven’t done enough. This time, I told myself that I would ditch the idea of packing in too much and stay put and just visit one location.
The choice of Chateau Woods was easy: work combined with the idea of staying in a home like atmosphere of a boutique stay. Chateau Woods lies 31km from Kalpetta, which is just after you cross the Sultan Battery forest if you are driving from Bangalore. Take the Calicut highway, which deviates at Chundal, then Mappadi, leading straight to the property (31km). Or cut the way by 4 kilometers through Mappadi, Chooramala and then hitting the Attamala hills. The 8-10km stretch of forested road is bound to offer encounters with wild rabbits, boars or even elephants.
I arrived early in the morning at about 4 a.m so getting any bearings of topography was impossible with a groggy mind and sight. I’m not a fussy traveller, so the room and its amenities are not the focus (though they are top notch here). The view on the other hand is of utmost importance. And to that, Chateau Woods does not disappoint. As the sun lit up the sky, my floor to ceiling glass window offered a breathtaking view of tea estate carpeted hills as far as my eyes could see. A lazy morning ensued with copious amount of coffee and delicious local flavours for breakfast.
|Bumbling down the Thollayaram hills in a 4 wheel|
I guess sinking into a chair is impossible for me, so I decided to head out the next day. First up was the 9 kms drive towards the Thollayaram hills and into their dense shaded forest. Soon, the narrow paved road started getting bumpy, eventually losing any sign of tar. Large brown muddy rocks and a steep gradient took us to a local viewpoint and further up a hill, with an unassuming café for a peak. And all this in a four-wheel jeep. Never having driven a four-wheel vehicle, this was clearly the highlight for me. While this trumped everything else, only the private waterfall near Chateaus Woods came close. On the way back from the off-roading hill, we hit the private waterfall on the Soochipara River.
Others in the home run inn had also trudged to the famous Soochipara falls, and amped up the itinerary with Pookote Lake, Banasura Dam and Edakkal Caves. I decided to stay true to the ‘Bed Head’ series and curled up in bed with a book, coffee mug close at hand and the green moss-like tea clad hills in front.