Snuggled into a tropical hillside, Shalimar Spice is one of few boutique properties in this area. It sits peacefully away from Periyar National Park and works well as a base if visiting the park, but otherwise as a relaxing retreat in a luminous tropical jungle. The entire property abounds with exotic trees, endemic birds as well as a plethora of different spices. Owners Maria Angela, an Italian, and her India partner Shaji, have finished the simple property beautifully; it has a strong Malayalam style with rich wooden beams and wide verandas. There are 18 idyllic yet simple rooms; think thatched roofs, colourful cushions, terracotta tiled floors and polished white walls. Shalimar Spice arguably provides some of the best food in the Periyar area too, and despite being fairly simple, we feel this is one of best properties in this part of Kerala.