4. SERENITY, KANAM ESTATE (Kerala)
This converted 1920s estate house is always peaceful and there's little to disturb you except for the sounds of nature. A sister hotel to the stylish Malabar House, Purity and Trinity, Serenity is a 2-hour drive from Cochin and halfway to the wildlife reserve of Periyar, near Thekkady, making it the ideal stopover on this otherwise rather long journey. Sitting on a small hilltop, the views over the Blue Mountains of the Western Ghats are breathtaking and the surrounding rubber plantation, along with the shady pool, papaya trees, pepper vines and the resident elephant, create a thoroughly tropical feel. There are wonderful, guided walks to be had through the rubber plantations, an Ayurvedic spa on site, and Kottayam, with its profusion of churches, is close by. Serenity exudes charm, peace and style.
Take me to India recommends: Spend your day with Lakshmi, the estate's Elephant