Windermere Riverhouse
Windermere Riverhouse

A colonial bungalow in Neriamangalam, Kerala

On the banks of mighty Periyar in the evergreen land that is Neriamangalam is a stately colonial bungalow, the Windermere Riverhouse. Set in two acres of sprawling gardens and enveloped by lush forests and rubber plantations on three sides and the river on one, the Riverhouse is idea for a nature getaway.

Neriamangalam is located on the border of the urban Ernakulam and the forested-and-mountainous Idukki districts and is rightly considered the gateway to the high ranges of Kerala. The Riverhouse is located in an erstwhile rubber plantation right at the foothills of the Western Ghats.

In keeping with the surrounding solitude, the Riverhouse is a small hotel with just five guest rooms, all large and spacious. The rooms include a duplex with a study room on the upper floor, a bedroom on the lower floor and a living room. The dining area is a large and semi-open area right next to the river and here you will enjoy well made traditional Keralan dishes made with ingredients grown on the resort’s farms or procured from local farmers. The catch-of-the-day finds prominent place on the daily menu.

The spacious property amidst nature ensures there are many quiet and beautiful spots for guests to relax in and enjoy the peace of the place. You can spend days on the riverbank, for instance, gazing at the waters. Or you could do a spot of fishing or go on a canoe ride. The garden, which was earlier rubber plantation, is filled with native trees, flowering plants, spice trees and attracts many birds and small animals. A semi-open yoga studio and a small pool round up the outdoor areas and both boast of great views.

Neriamangalam is known for its scenic beauty. It is also close to the Thattekad Bird Sanctuary. There’s much to do here, like forests walks, guided birding hikes, cycle rides in the jungles and plantations, boat and kayak rides or explore the hamlets here.

But, it is the river that will capture your heart. 

Price: Rs15,000 in season and Rs11,000 off-season; includes breakfast and lunch or dinner

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<h3>Slow Travel</h3>

Slow Travel

The Windermere Riverhouse is located in an arstwhile rubber plantation. The management moved away from the mono-cropping and has planted over 50 native and tropical fruiting plants and is now rich in birds and butterflies. The property is located in a small hamlet that has about 50 to 60 families, most of whom are engaged in farming. To ensure there is as little social as well as environmental impact, the owner decided to keep the property small. The hotel participates and supports community initiatives such as a local school for children below the age of 12. The hotel curates daily menus depending on what’s freshly available in the kitchen garden and in the local markets. This ensures lesser wastage of food. The hotel has a bio-digester for treating food waste and converting it to biogas for cooking and also to generate manure. Guests are offered RO purified natural well water.