Kumarakom Lake Resort – Lake Vembanad
Located on the banks of emerald-hued Lake Vembanad, India’s longest lake, Kumarakom Lake Resort is a tranquil spot to take stock of your peaceful surroundings. Encircling the lake are mangrove forests, coconut groves and paddy fields, and channels to explore the backwaters, so you feel totally immersed in the watery world of Kerala.
A heritage property, Kumarakom Lake Resort is big on authenticity, rebuilt from traditional homesteads and furnished in teak and the restaurant is a salvaged mansion house, which now serves traditional Kerala dishes, alongside a seafood restaurant and a traditional tea shop, allowing you to sample a range of time-honoured dishes. It also has two pools – one infinity pool overlooking the lake, another which meanders past the villas, ideal for a long morning swim.
Villas are spacious; some with outdoor bathrooms and plunge pools. While at Kumarakom Lake Resort, visit the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary to glimpse cormorants, egrets or herons or take a sunset cruise on the mirror-like waters of Lake Vembanad.
Ameya – Varanad
As an alternative to one of the larger Keralan resorts, Ameya is an idyllic, small hotel with just four suites, set in a tropical garden dotted with soaring coconut palms.
Positioned in the picturesque backwater village of Varanad, Ameya is proud to play its part in responsible tourism which in turn helps protect the backwaters – Ameya is powered by solar panels, employs from the local village and maintains an organic garden. Because of its commitment to the community, Ameya’s activities have a more authentic feel and tend to be slow-paced allowing you to feel connected to the surroundings.
You might peacefully canoe the backwaters spotting birds on the verdant riverbank, take a tuk-tuk through the countryside or board a traditional riverboat for a day, with an authentic meal served on board. Back at Ameya, enjoy the seclusion of your own private cottage, simply furnished with polished teak furniture and bright fabrics, some with stilted terraces over the water or outdoor showers.
Marari Beach Resort – Mararikulam
Although the backwaters of Kerala are its main draw, the wild beaches and coastline are a great place to base yourself, which still gives you day-trip access to the backwaters. Marari Beach Resort is located in the coastal village of Mararikulam, a traditional fishing village. The beach is a gorgeous sweep of golden sand, backed by swaying palm trees and the resort sits alongside this, cradled by 30 acres of coconut groves, lily ponds, fruit trees and a large organic farm.
It feels very green and nicely untamed, and the hotel makes the most of the natural environment – a morning walk with the on-site naturalist will introduce you to its inhabitants including more than 90 species of butterflies, hundreds of endemic plants, turtles, frogs and birds. The cottages, thatched with coconut palms, are spacious and cool – the garden suites have flower-filled outdoor spaces and a plunge pool to beat the heat.
Xandari Pearl Beach Resort – Marari Beach
Similarly located as Marari Resort, Xandari Pearl also sits on the tropical sands of Marari Beach and is set within its own verdant-filled garden dotted with coconut, mango and cashew trees. It’s a very laid-back place – to help even further with relaxation book in to see the Ayurvedic doctor, have a massage with oil made from home-grown herbs or take a meditative yoga class on the beach at sunrise.
The cuisine at Xandari is wholesome with vegetables coming from their own organic garden and the day’s catch cooked simply for dinner. The thatched accommodation feels a little more modern than the traditional décor at many Keralan properties. Inside, the cottages have smooth, polished concrete flooring, white bed linen, bi-folding doors and grassy outdoor spaces usually with a hammock, outdoor shower or a plunge pool.
Kerala A Relaxing Retreat
With a new direct flight to Cochin, Kerala is easily accessible for a relaxing winter sun holiday. Read on for our property recommendations, whether you choose the peaceful backwaters or the golden-sand beaches of Kerala’s coastline.