Paradise Resort

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RELIVE RUSTIC CHARM Revel in Tamilnadu’s rich craftsmanship

PARADISE RESORT KUMBAKONAM

If you thought heritage hotels were only about converting more than 100 years old forts, mansions and palaces into luxury outings while retaining the old world charm, then simply check out the "Paradise Resort" on the Tanjore-Kumbakonam highway. Not only will you experience the feel of a time fast fading from our memory but you will also know the difference that sets 'this heritage hotel' apart from the other "classified" heritage hotels.

It will not take you long to realize how a husband and wife team has "reconstructed heritage dwellings" to perfection after a painstaking study of history and research and assembled a marvelous assortment of antique stuff.

And till you have met the young and enterprising Latha Raman, you will not believe what it takes to reconnect to the past and history. An MBA graduate full of energy, enthusiasm, ideas and patience, Latha along with her Chartered Accountant husband, Ganapathy Raman, strongly believes in "showcasing real India" to the guests. And quite handsomely, the duo along with a co-partner has recreated traditional South Indian homes, where you can not only have a comfortable stay but also learn amply about our tradition and culture.

In a belt rich with international and domestic tourists but sans any decent accommodation, the couple came up with the idea of building cottages with all antique furniture and interiors that would evoke memories of an era bygone. What started with 25 cottages on 15 acres lying waste on this busy main road two years ago is today set for adding another 35 cottages by the year end. What adds to the beauty of the plot is all its environment-friendly practices and an expanding in-house organic farmland.

What strikes the most is that the hotel is brand new but it evokes the typical olden day ambience and charm.

"For us success is when people ask us when and from whom we bought this property or when our visitors exclaim that the hutment they stayed in was exactly like their grandfather's or their ancestral house in the village!" says a vivacious Latha.

From the resort's front office itself, you feel the place is a perfect getaway for vacation.

It is an open reception lobby right under the sky and surrounded with lotus pond and a water filled moat where ducks waddle by.

A beautifully lit fountain in the centre and an exquisitely carved reception desk completes the picture.

From the lobby to the rooms, it is like walking on a lush green carpet with a variety of small and big trees arching along the way.

Turkeys and rabbits play around and it doesn't take long to feel the magic and establish contact with inner peace.

The rooms are a treat here. The main door of every room is 150 year old antique piece with amazing carvings and each narrating a different mythological story. The teak wood pillars, the intricate woodwork speak of Tamil Nadu's rich culture of craftsmanship. Furniture style and interiors is authentic with four poster beds and mosquito nets, cloth racks and almirahs, dressing and study table, old paintings, pictures and artifacts.

If you love the room for transporting you into a time machine, the bathroom will surprise you even more. Each bathroom is bigger than the room - almost double in size and complete with modern fittings like bathtubs and glass shower cubicles, polished tiles, granite slabs, wall to wall mirror and hot water supply.

In other words, the place is a perfect combination of a clean and comfortable stay, a lovely blend of the old and the modern. The owners have drawn inspiration from the rustic, colourful, vibrant Indian village ambience and combined it with traditional culture of South Indian homes of olden times.

Every block done in the form of a big tiled hut holds six rooms (three each on ground and first floor) with a thinnai in the front and a tulsi plant and rangoli in the front pathway. From every room you can catch a glimpse of the entire resort.

Food is another perfect way of recreating the magic of olden day home cooking and the chef strives for a varied but carefully chosen menu each day which suits all palates. The woodwork in the restaurant too is baffling. Every dining table and chair made from Burmese teak boasts of some intricate carving revealing how each item has been scouted for and hand-picked.

Apart from eating in the main dining hall, you can also experience a unique dining ambience inside jungle huts on teak tree tops. It is the couple's endeavour to keep learning and updating themselves and remain focused on their primary goal of giving every guest a comfortable and down-toearth experience. "We don't want our guests to feel as if they are in an American or European five star hotel in India. When they are here, they should feel, understand and get to see our incredible country," they assert.

The idea is to walk in and lose yourself to peace and rustic charm here.

Adjoining the hotel is a village where visitors are taken for a bullock cart ride, to the local Iyyanar Temple, for an interaction with the locals or simply for a walk through the fields. A tributary of Cauvery, the Arasalar river also meanders briefly through this land adding to the charm of the place.

How to get there

Very close to the Swamimalai Temple in Darasuram. 35 km from Thanjavur, 91 km from Tiruchirapalli, 211 km from Madurai and 275 km from Chennai.

Things to do

Most popular is the Navagraha Temple circuit. Or visit to other important temples and UNESCO recognized heritage monuments in Tanjore and Gangai Konda Cholapuram. Or go for village walk or iconography industry visit. Settle for the hotel's ayurvedic and health packages or stay afloat in the swimming pool

Tariff

There are five categories of rooms. Exclusive of 12.5 per cent luxury tax, single rooms are charged Rs.3,600 per night and double come for Rs.4,400. There are pool and river view rooms named superior villa and suites which cost from Rs.4,600 to Rs.6,600 for single and Rs.5,500 to Rs.7,500 for double accommodation. For reservations and enquiries contact 0435-3291354, 9943311354