Relaxation is more important to entrepreneurs than anyone else. With Valentine’s Day around the weekend, here are eight eco-friendly resorts where you can pack your bags and head to. Unwind, soak up some sun, and indulge in some exotic activities – while reducing your carbon footprint! After all, these are those getaways that are blending sustainability and well-being perfectly.
Banasura Hill Resort
Tucked away at an altitude of 3,500 feet above sea level, touted to be ‘Kerala’s Marvellous Mud Haven’ and ‘Earth Resort’, this nature resort is built on a sprawling 35-acre land, right amidst the mist-laden peaks of Wayanad – the state’s green paradise.
Banasura offers more than just a stay in one of their naturally cooled huts or cottages built using the rammed-earth technique. Part of the Western Ghats’ UNESCO World Heritage Site, there are innumerable rippling streams, few thunderous waterfalls, verdant tea gardens and birdwatching spots, jungle trails, flourishing tribal communities, and the Banasura hill to scale.
Open throughout the year, Banasura is a feast to nature lovers and adventurers! Their earth rooms start at Rs 7,000 and their twin villas go up to Rs 17,000 per night.
Chorla Ghats, Goa
Part of the Sahyadri mountain range in the Western Ghats, what’s unique about Chorla Ghats is its location. On the intersection of the borders of Goa, Karnataka, and Maharashtra, this area boasts of rare wildlife such as the sloth bear, barred wolf snake, and few endangered vultures.
The dream project of Captain Nitin Dhond, a nature aficionado, Wildernest is a hidden paradise that is built from acacia wood, relies on solar electricity, and has local naturalists who accompany the tourists deep in to the forests. As part of their ongoing conservation efforts, this dedicated team has planted over 30,000 saplings and have created a space that inhabits a wide variety of insects and birds. The resort also invites experts time and again who host talks on subjects such as dance, art in natural settings, and snakes to name a few.
Food is healthy ethnic cuisine with ‘Hurrak’, a local cashew extract, being their most popular drink. But these are not just the reasons why one should plan a trip to Wildernest. A few years ago when the forest was opened up for mining, Captain Dhond’s efforts in securing 450 acres of this crucial wildlife corridor and setting up Wildernest is why this resort must be on every nature lover’s list!
Rooms are priced over Rs 6,000, including food and activities, per night.
A colonial plantation accommodation on the north bank of the mighty Brahmaputra River, Wild Mahseer promises ‘the trip of a lifetime’. And why not? Where else can you immerse yourself in the mystique of tea plantations, have early morning jeep safaris in to the famed Kaziranga National Park, watch dolphins in the Brahmaputra, dine on an island and visit a tribal village – all at one place, in one vacation!
For those who prefer relaxing at the resort, they offer tennis and golf at the nearby Misa Polo Club, which was established in 1888 for the British. Wild Mahseer has a delectable range of Assamese and Anglo-Indian cuisine on their menu – which if you love, you can learn too. So pamper yourself in the pristine nature, discover the wildlife, and meet the people who you would otherwise never have a chance to.
Khem Villas was set up by India’s leading Tiger experts in the heart of Ranthambore, about 200 km from Jaipur. The environmentally sensitive jungle camp has eight cottages and seven tents and is perhaps the greenest patch in Ranthambore, which was once arid standing as a testimony to the resort’s conservation efforts.
The safari to spot the tiger and the Black Buck, the forest’s most magnificent gazelle, are the highlight activities. The nature walks, camel rides, and river safari are the icing on the cake. If you are seeking a less stressful holiday, sit by the Chambal River savouring Rajasthani cuisine, watch the sunset, and a variety of desert bird species coming home to roost.
Prices start from Rs 11,000 and go up to Rs 25,000 per night and include all meals.
The Dune Hotel
Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu
Wake up to the tune of the sea waves in an accommodation that’s built with reclaimed materials of South India’s heritage properties and splashed with modernity. Start your day with yoga, indulge in an ayurvedic spa treatment, soak yourself on the Coromandel coastline, play some volleyball or tennis. The best part about Dune is that there’s so much to do and it gives its customers both – a chance for luxury indulgences and a choice to enjoy life’s simple pleasures!
Dune also has its own farm full of cows, chickens, turkeys and rabbits, art and pottery lessons, horse-riding, and boating. But if you are not interested in any of these, they boast a DVD library of over 1,500 titles and a cozy lounge too. They also have a fascinating ‘Artists in Residence’ programme, where they provide work studios to artists from all over the world!
If you’re still not convinced about a weekend at Dune, here’s a piece of delight – they are pet-friendly.
Prices start from Rs 6, 000 including breakfast with their luxury offerings going above Rs 20, 000.
Shaam-E-Sarhad Village Resort
Translating to ‘Sunset at the Border’, this village resort in the Rann of Kutch is an endogenous tourism initiative started by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, and UNDP to build livelihood opportunities for local communities through tourism. Yes, the entire resort is managed by the locals of the Hodka village.
Shaam-E-Sarhad offers that rare chance to live in the traditional Bhungas, made of mud and painted with earth colours, amidst the Hindu Meghwal and Muslim Hallepotra communities, eat their local cuisine and experience their culture. Close by is Chhari Dhand – a bird-watcher’s paradise which during winters has reported over 30,000 birds, Flamingo Island – one of the largest in the sub-continent and of course, the Great Rann!
The best thing about this resort? There’s no television.
Prices start from Rs 3,200 and go up to Rs 5,000, including all meals.
Ananda – in the Himalayas
Ananda is the spiritual pathway to rejuvenation. Based on three pillars – yoga, ayurveda, and vedanta (a philosophy of life), Ananda’s aim for every customer is holistic wellness. On the foothills of Himalayas, with the Ganga and Sal forests in the backdrop, this spa resort offers a range of healing experiences for the body, mind, and soul. For the adventurous souls, Rishikesh is a jeep ride away and there are a plethora of activities to do – kayaking, white water rafting, bungee jumping, and trekking.
You can also go on afforestation drives – an effort by Ananda to increase the forest cover in the Himalayas.
Tree houses which are 100 per cent off the grid and run sustainably is what The Machan has to offer. An hour and a half drive from Pune, a highlight of this eco-friendly resort is star-gazing from your private deck while lounging on the hammocks! Easily accessible are the Koraigad Fort, Lohagad Fort and the Karla and Bhaja caves – a group of 22 rock-cut caves which date back to 200 BC.
Prices start from Rs 8,000 and go up to Rs 25,000 for double occupancy, including breakfast.