Stay in Real Comfort, Feel the Luxury of Silence

Thiruvananthapuram: Michalle Galiot travels thousands of miles every year to ‘‘soak in serenity and reinvent silence’’ as he puts it. And, when you watch the scarlet sun spreading umpteen shades of red over the tranquil waters of Chittar, you realise what the well-travelled French tourist means. Anantya Resorts, the green retreat nestled amidst 1000 acres of rubber plantations on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border near Thiruvananthapuram, is a perfect destination for the urban nomad to relax and rejuvenate. Stay in cosy cottages, lose yourself in the romantic ambiance, indulge in good food and embark on a trek to nearby hills – it promises an irresistible package. “I first came here four years back and since then I have been a regular,” adds Galiot.

We enter the Siddhi villa through its padippura entrance, a tastefully furnished cottage that offers complete privacy. Next to the private garden facing the lake are a cute lily pond and gazebo where you can sit and enjoy the scenery relishing special savories from the chef. The room has all the amenities, including mini bar and tea/coffee maker.

“There are three more categories – Chakra Veranda cottages, Veda Jacuzzi villas and Sadhana pool villas. It is the private pool and sun lounge, and a beautifully crafted outdoor-indoor bath space that set the Sadhana villas on a higher scale of lavishness,” informs Sunil Kumar, the manager.

Once you are settled in the resort, you can go on a leisurely plantation walk or enjoy the services at Astitva, the Ayurvedic spa. Inside the estate is a variety of native flora ranging from huge teaks and mahoganies to routine shrubs and flowering plants, which also make it ideal for cycling, bird watching and outdoor sports. “You can also go for elephant rides or bathe them in the lake. Then for those who want a taste of ethnic culture we arrange classical dance and music forms of Kerala and Tamil Nadu,” adds Sunil.

Go for a romantic dinner at the specially-set table by the lakeside or amidst the lillies around the floating deck of Swaad, Anantya’s multi-cuisine restaurant. As you dine, watch the sky and the lake below assume a myriad of beautiful colours as night rolls in. For adventurous guests looking for an unusual experience, take a night walk. Walk through the area with torches in hand, listen to the hooting owls, and enjoy the magical experience in complete safety. Visit Anantya at the right season, and your path will be lined with fireflies that glow like pixies and fairies in a fantastical land.

To keep the kids busy are an array of indoor and outdoor sports – chess, dhayam, pallamkuzhi, volleyball, badminton, cricket, football and frisbee. Take your kids fishing in the lake or for the young ones looking for a fun time, try fishing in the lily ponds around the restaurant!

Anantya’s art gallery, VarnaLokha, is a space enjoyable for both adults and children. Anantya teams up with Bhavageetham from Thiruvananthapuram to promote art and artists. Another USP of Anantya is the base camp of the plantation that offers a bevy of activities. Take the 10-minute jeep ride to reach the rock top, a perfect spot for partying and campfire. You can enjoy a camping experience complete with rock climbing, high rope activities, night trek and mountain biking. “We set up live barbecue stations and bring in fairy lights and music for night parties,” says the manager.

In the evenings just sit by the lakeside or go swimming in the pool. The wide expanse of the lakeside can be transformed into a venue for a spectacular destination wedding, says Sunil.

While taking off from the resort do not forget to visit the store to buy a piece of art sourced from all over India. Anantya is connected to the State Highway 45 and is easily accessible from both Kanayakumari and Thiruvananthapuram.

For Lavanya Ramachandran and Lakshmy Ashok, the directors of the resort, Anantya is a dream carved out of nostalgia; memories of their summer vacations spent on the property. “The estate has been in the possession of our family for generations. My grandfather and his brothers bought it from the original British owners. With my generation stepping into the family business, we brainstormed different possibilities for expansion. The desire to open up our quiet unknown vacation spot to others was the genesis of the idea of a boutique resort,” says Lavanya.

All the members of her family were actively involved in the construction and there were a lot of improvisations. “My dad, who is a civil engineer, had his own ideas. My sister, Lakshmy used her aesthetic sense to work closely with the architect to design and construct Anantya. Anantya is mostly her brainchild. I love to travel internationally and within India, and each place I travel to, I look for interesting concepts to add to Anantya,” she says.

The best part of Anantya is the way it is constructed, without disturbing the contours of the landscape. Lavanya says much care was taken while zeroing in on an environment-friendly architecture. “Landscaping of Anantya’s tropical garden was done by my mom using plants from the region. You will find locally known plants and flowers, including varieties of ‘Chembarati’ (Hibiscus) that my mother sourced. We did not have any botanical consultant or fancy plants shipped from other states or big nurseries.” She planted in tropical garden style, picking spots that suit the natural growth of plants. “So it is not the ever-same designer garden, but looks different in each season. It will dry out during summer and will turn emerald as monsoon picks up,” she adds.