Idukki 685536, India
“Spice Village is the essence of a mountain tribal village, re-imagined for the modern independent traveller. A tribute to ancient ways of life. And to one man's patience and passion.” CGH Earth
At the South Indian resort Spice Village a natural and comfortable mountain village expects the guests. Walking on the 35 acres property feels like visiting a botanical garden. On trekking tours with local guides one can discover buffalos and elephants.
The rain forest is the native country for more than 69 different mammalian types, 320 bird species, 27 amphibian species, 45 reptile's species and 38 fish types.
The check in at the hotel takes place outside in the garden. Herbal drinks are served as welcome drink. Spice Village offers not only traditional amenities, but also modern facilities like a swimming pool, badminton places and tennis courts as well as a yoga and meditation centre.
- No car horns or any sounds except nature for a healthy sleep
- Lovely sojourn amidst spice and forest
- Bufett with a wide choice of cuisine styles, local and international
- Almost all used energy comes from solar panels
- Bird watching and fishing enthusiasts will find new experiences to take home
“There are a thousand ways to give back more than we take from the earth.”
being local - authentic experiences
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Rooms & Amenities
Kerala Cuisine flavoured with fresh spices
Mini bar (chargeable)
24 hrs hot & cold running water
Packaged drinking water
Yoga and Meditation Centre
- Things to do
Boat safari on Lake Periyar
Spice plantation visit and learn to cook with spices
The Story of a vision, CGH Earth
The family enterprise CGH Earth was founded in 1954 with the casino hotel on Wellington Island, Cochin’s first hotel. At that time the today’s Managing Director, Jose Dominic, did not plan to stay in the hotel branch. Rather he wanted to do to his father a favor and return after two years in his original occupation.
However, when it was time to leave, he was so persuaded of the ideas and the concept that he remained. In 2004 the first Casino hotel made the beginning of the enterprise CGH Earth in India. The meaning of “CGH” is “Casino Group of Hotels”. Nevertheless, CGH stands for the main values of the enterprise – “Clean, Green, Healthy”.
“When we started Spice Village in 1991, we felt that we must closely follow CGH Earth’s core philosophies here. Set in the Periyar forest region, with its great biological and ethnographic cultural diversity, this would be the testing ground for our ‘responsible tourism’ practices. In the last 15 years, we have tried to create an identity that blends in with the ambience of the region, while being distinctive.“
“The cottages are built with local material and local knowledge: thatching with elephant grass was a dying practice, but we revived it through our structures. We hope it is a skill that will be passed on to the coming generations.”
Spice Village and its Green Initiatives
The three R’s of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle have been put to use effectively and have helped in operation of the resorts.
- Conserve nature
- Do not let the presence of the hotel impact adversely on nature and its goodness
- Use locally sourced materials as much as possible
- Reduce dependency on fossil fuels as much as possible
- The presence of the resort has to benefit the local community as much as possible
In order to achieve the above, the resort is realizing the following steps
- Energy Consumption
- Water Conservation
- Waste Management
- Vermi Compost
- Engagement in sustainable tourism initiatives
Spice Village cottages are constructed not only keeping aesthetics in mind, but also with the aim of using local material, which is suited to the climate and ambience of the region, and preserving local knowledge of building, which the tribals have honed down the centuries.
The art of thatching using dry elephant grass (Themeda cymbaria) was almost lost, but the skill has been given new lease with the construction of the resort’s cottages. The top two layers of the cottages are reattached every year with the help of tribes, who will now continue to pass on the knowledge of this once dying art through the generations.
The thatching helps to keep the rooms cool in summer, even without air conditioning. The grass is harvested with the help of tribal eco-development committees, and the operation is co-coordinated by the forest department.
Alternative Energy Use: Solar Panels
Spice Village is the first resort in India to fully obtain its energy for power and lighting from solar energy.
- Solar panels are installed for the boilers so that all the hot water requirements are met with the help of these panels
- Normally the temperature is around 85-88 degrees, which is mixed with fresh water for supplying it to the room side.
- Spice Village is on the process of converting the 52 room resort with three F&B outlets to total photovoltaic energy
Energy Efficient Bulbs
- the energy consumption is reduced by using low energy light bulbs
The goal of water conservation is to provide sustainability, or in other words ensure the availability of potable water in the years to come and to future generations. This translates to the principle that the withdrawal of fresh water from an eco system should not exceed its natural replacement rate. The solutions include:
- Generate awareness on the impact in case of water scarcity.
- Educate the staff on the various ways of conserving water during their work. The staff have an organization within them named the CGH CELL who takes the responsibility of such activities
- Educate the hotel guest on the various ways of conserving water during their stay by means of informative leaflets and tent cards
- Waste water recycling through sewage treatment plant
- Waste water is recycled for use at the vegetable garden and coconut farm
- Wells are placed sufficiently away from the high tide zone
- In CGH Earth all units have rain water harvesting including guest rooms and staff accommodation. The collected rainwater is used for cooking and drinking purposes for all staff.
The hotel generates the following kinds of waste:
- Food waste forms the major chunk and includes cooked and uncooked vegetables/non vegetables waste from kitchens, restaurants and staff cafeteria
- Sewage includes the waste from toilets, drain water from the dish washer
- Plastic waste which includes pet bottles, film papers and packaging material
- Ceramic / concrete / broken tiles
- Paper waste like newspapers, cartons etc
- Organic / agriculture waste
- Metal waste like soft drink cans
- All the paper waste is collected and sent to Spice Village where a paper recycling unit is used which converts all the paper waste to the stationeries, greeting cards, menu folders etc.
CGH Earth has taken steps to recycle all such waste in different mediums for better results.
- 1.Bio digester
- 2.Vermi composting.
- Slurry/compost used in veg/fruit cultivation.
- Gas used in staff kitchen
- Waste paper/linen used for making re-cycled paper which is also a guest activity
In Spice Village 78 tanks are used to recycle the food waste, using cow dung, dry leaves and earth worms.
Not only does the kitchen indulge guests with garden fresh vegetables that come from the Lacon-certified organic garden of Spice Village, but the resort is also known for its unique and large selection of pickles and preserves made from local produce, such as Indian gooseberry, mangoes, beetroot, hog plum, carrot, rose apple, black pepper.
Of course, priority is given to ethnic food. From the organic garden to your plate: Cabbage, beans, carrots, pumpkin. In fact, in July the organic garden produced 36kg of cauliflower and in August it got a good crop of cabbage, 24 kg. All materials and products are sourced from a 50 mile radius – benefitting the community and reducing the carbon foot print.
Engagement in sustainable tourism initiatives
Spice Village undertakes various activities for the engagement in sustainable tourism initiatives development of the local community. These are as listed below:
Visitors, especially children, can learn from the experts at the Nature Interpretation Centre/Tiger Club about the flora and fauna of the Periyar region, and the activities that they can take part in. The in-house `naturalists’ are well informed on the wildlife, the region’s history and the conservation measures undertaken today.
They can guide visitors through books, cassettes, CDs, posters and maps, apart from slide shows they put on every evening, which is a good study on the biodiversity of the regions. The Tiger club has 385 books, 40 wildlife documentaries and subscribes to four leading periodicals.
A well-planned tour of the 14-acre Spice Village property helps guests to learn about the native flora and its importance in the local ecology and culture. Spice Village has so far conserved 140 species of plants, most of which are native to the region or as has been introduced over centuries during cultural expansion.
Guest participation in local bullock cart rides (by local guides to appreciate and understand a region called palm land [Cumbum Valley), day treks, and bamboo rafting was 156, 189, 85 respectively.