The people in Kerala are perhaps the greatest pleasure of all: warm, hospitable, and kind to visitors. All these attributes make this Indian state a well-known and well-loved holiday destination.
The Indian South is a land of myths, mysteries and magnificent structures. It is a colourful delight of soft sensual pleasures, from the palm fringed beaches and steamy backwaters of the Keralan coast, to the temples of Tamil Nadu and the sandalwood forests of Karnataka. But most of all, with its exquisite hotels and delicious cuisine, it is a perfect place for a truly relaxing holiday.
The cultural portrait of Kerala is made up of several foreign influences: Arabic, Dutch, European, and Chinese. Known for its delicious aromatic spices, Kerala is a region that uses coconut generously in its cuisine. Health and wellness enthusiasts travel here for the Ayurvedic spas and detox programs based on a holistic system dating back 5000 years.
To the south, the popular Backwaters are best explored by ketuvallam (Kerala houseboat) although it can be incredibly crowded. Talk to us about ways to avoid the crowds. For a pristine beach experience without the throngs of tourists, try Bekal in the north instead. The ancient port and fishing village of Cochin has a charming Jewish, Portugese, and Hindu flair. In the rolling Cardamom Hills, Munnar features lush tea plantations and thriving national parklands. Marari is a quiet fishing village where you can enjoy the simple pleasure of Keralan hospitality and gorgeous beaches. For an unspoilt northern experience, venture into Wayanad where misty mountains are home to spices and flora in abundance. Take a boat or an elephant ride in picturesque Periyar National Park.
So whether you wish to sample the long and varied history of the old Cochin Port or the ancient and intricate temples at Hassan and Madurai; the spice gardens and fish markets of the Malabar Coast; and the breathtaking scenery of the hills and tea plantations of Ooty and Munnar. South India encompasses scenic beauty, exquisite architecture, excellent cuisine and a dense and magical culture. Talk to a travel consultant today to plan your trip to Kerala in great and exciting detail.
One of the most memorable experiences of India is to take a rice barge journey on the backwaters of Kerala. The area known as Kuttanad stretches for 75km from Kollam in the south to Kochi in the north, sandwiched between the sea and the hills. This bewildering labyrinth of shimmering waterways, made up of lakes, canals, rivers and rivulets, is lined with dense tropical greenery, and hides rural Kerala life. The barges have all been tastefully converted – or build specially – and offer a comfortable and relaxing way to experience this centuries old way of life.
Be transported back in time when the Dutch were making way into Fort Kochi and the port was a buzzing jumble of boats coming in, markets being swamped with people and aromatic spices filling the air – it feels like 19th century. Located in the centre of Fort Cochin, close to the Chinese fishing nets, this exceptional Heritage property is one of Cochin’s premier hotels. Beautifully recapturing something of the city’s nautical traditions and its colonial heritage, all 22 of the hotel’s rooms and suites overlook the sea, including the lavishly appointed en suite bathrooms.
The traditional Malabar house is not just a hotel, but also a showcase of contemporary and traditional South Indian art, culture and heritage. Located in the heart of the historical Fort Cochin, the house dates back to 1755 and was home to spice traders and bankers before being turned into Cochin’s first boutique hotel. It has 17 rooms and suites all decorated and furnished with carefully selected antiques and art and fitted with modern amenities. There is an Ayurvedic spa and swimming pool in which to relax and the restaurant offers Mediterranean fine dining and the traditional.
There are plenty of hotels along the Kovalam coastline, but what makes the Leela really stand out is its fabulous location on the cliff tops overlooking the shores. There is an abundance of green palm-fringed space and no shortage of luxury facilities. There are 183 rooms and suites here, and all of them are equipped with the standard luxury amenities you’d expect from a Leela hotel. The rooms have a spacious and elegant feel about them, and they feature private balconies or sun decks.
This isolated resort is accessible only by boat from the banks of stunning Lake Vembanad in the Kuttanad district of Kerala. The accommodation consists of old mansions, sourced from the local surroundings, transported piece by piece to the resort location, and then beautifully restored in painstaking detail by local craftsmen. The rooms are all unique – choose from heritage bungalows, private luxury pool villas or grand and glorious heritage mansions.
Awarded India’s leading resort four years in a row, the 5 star Kumarakom Resort is set on 25 acres of lush vegetation on the banks of the Vembanad Lake in the district of Kottayam. Inspired by traditional Kerala homesteads, the 64 rooms, villas and suites are a blend of contemporary style & local workmanship, with doors & furniture crafted from local wood, offering a truly luxurious experience. Kumarakom Lake Resort is a great choice for those seeking luxury standards in beautiful Kumarakom.
Amidst the palm groves, the tropical climate, the stunning backwaters and the photogenic shorelines of Kerala, lies Carnousite Ayurveda & Wellness resort. But it isn’t only its languid setting that makes this retreat such a destination. In its lavishly appointed spa, outfitted with traditional architectural touches and lovely fountains, guests have access to experts in yoga, Ayurveda.
Traditionally styled cottages with an earthy ambience of shady trees and expansive lawns, the Marari Beach Resort lies at the edge of the sea on Marari beach. Sway in a hammock surrounded by wild birds and flowers or enjoy a cocktail at the beach bar. Villas are large, characterful, and cool with locally sourced natural materials throughout. A pleasant and relaxing experience.
Set amongst 70 acres of coffee, cardamom and pepper plantations, this lovely farm stay exudes character and old world appeal. The estate’s 6 large and airy rooms all offer high ceilings, jungle views and a wonderful sense of colonial charm, whilst the Amady’s dining facilities offer up a rich choice of local and international cuisine that are accompanied by fresh organic vegetables grown on the estate.
The first thing you’ll notice when you arrive at Windermere Estate is the view – a wondrous 360-degree span of majestic mountains stretching all the way to the western ghats. This is an intimate and comfortable homestay experience on a cardamom plantation in Munnar with lovely rooms and cottages nestled in the mountainous countryside.
Spice village is set in 14 acres of forest covered hills on the border of Periyar Tiger Reserve. There are 47 thatched cottages with a tribal village theme, surrounded by fruit trees and spice plantations. The eco village has comfortable clean rooms with en suite bathrooms and a veranda outside, where you can sit and relax in the evening.
Located on a seven acre estate, the Anavilasam Plantation House is set in a spice plantation growing pepper and cardamom. The two suites & the deluxe room are comfortably fitted with king-sized beds, a separate shared living area, a veranda and en suite bathrooms, and the two pool villas boast access to a small outdoor pool.
In remote northern Kerala, Tranquil Resort is nestled on a sprawling coffee and vanilla plantation in Wayanad. The intimate resort is run much like an upmarket homestay, with lovely rooms and particularly charming tree houses that are perfect for families. There are eight rooms and suites inspired by Colonial style planter’s bungalows, and two tree houses towering ten metres off the ground. All are spacious, airy, and well equipped.
Spread across either bank of a delightful mountain stream that runs through the 150 acre property, the Vythiri Resort is a delightful jungle hideaway and a naturalist’s treasure trove. Stone lined pathways, canopied by majestic trees, lead to brick coloured cottages built in the style native to the region. Built of brick with wooden rafters and furnished in cane, wood and fabrics the cottages are equipped with all modern amenities.
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