One of the things that amazed me about Kerala was how well they did luxury. Often tucked away from the public past the dirt tracks and in forests; the resorts all had their own personalities.
It’s no wonder that so many celebrities graced these gems dotted around Kerala’s landscape.
Throughout the trip, we were honestly treated like royalty with entertainment entourages greeting us and women placing bindis on our foreheads with a friendly “namaskaram”.
If you have the dosh, why not go posh? Here’s the lowdown on 11 of the places we stayed in on our Kerala adventure:
Xandari Harbour at Fort Kochi was the first resort that we stayed in. The small waterfront compound means that it has perfect access to the pool, restaurant and Kochi itself. I’d highly recommend ordering the Malabar calamari (it’s divine!). Historically the harbour was important for merchants and traders of spices with the Bazar Road just outside the front door. It’s the perfect hub for navigating around Kochi.
I’d highly recommend ordering the Malabar calamari and the watermelon and basil soda concoction (they’re divine!). Historically the harbour was important for merchants and traders of spices with the Bazar Road just outside the front door. It’s the perfect hub for navigating around Kochi.
Right next to the famous Lulu Mall, Kochi Marriott oozes luxury. From the moment we arrived, we knew that we were in good hands.
Perfect for the business traveller or those who would prefer a feeling of familiarity when they’re abroad, the Marriott knows who to treat guests and offers them world-class experience. We ate at their Cassava Restaurant offering the best of Kerala’s dishes headed up by Saji P. Alex, the Chef de Cuisine.
This was probably, I felt, the most luxurious of places on our trip. Our room was decorated with dark wood and our bathroom and shower were outside in a small private enclosure. Not only that but there was also a private pool and jacuzzi for us to laze in!
Weaving in and out of the resort it felt like one of those places that were a little town all in itself.
The former summer palace of the Maharajas of Cochin now houses The River Retreat – a 4 star Heritage Ayurvedic Resort. Here we stayed in an apartment complete with two bedrooms, living room and a kitchen! Minutes from the pool, the whole resort felt quite exclusive, almost as if we were hanging around some celebrity’s home!
Here we stayed in an apartment complete with two bedrooms, living room and a kitchen! Minutes from the pool, the whole resort felt quite exclusive, almost as if we were hanging around some celebrity’s home!
Surrounded by the lush greens of the tea plantations, this hotel retains the charm of a colonial past. We didn’t even need air-conditioning because it was so cool in the evenings and the town was so close by. We got to wander in, enjoy the markets and visit temples and meet real Keralites.
You can read about how I loved Munnar here.
I wish we had more time to spend here. As a hippy at heart, this place spoke to me on so many levels. Spice Village is the essence of a mountain tribal village but re-imagined for the modern traveller. Everything was 100% eco-friendly.
There were spice plants and fruit trees dotted around the grounds, monkeys casually hanging around and you could even make your own paper. Our roofs were made of thatched grass, and you could smell the spices in the air. It was wonderful!
A different kind of luxury, hopping onto a houseboat in the Alleppey Backwaters is a must-do if you visit Kerala. The boats measure up to 120 ft in length and come with your own room (or shared depending) and have chefs on board. You could watch the chefs cook too and join in if you wanted to.
The houseboats generally have one, two and three bedrooms, which can sleep, 1-6 people. Watching the world go by in silence as the wind offers gentle relief from the heat is just magical.
A beautiful getaway in Wayanad surrounded by lush rainforest, Vythiri Village is like something out of a fantasy story. It’s a natural wonderland with flowering plants in every direction and staff that are eager to please.
One of my favourite memories is in Vythiri Village (Thanks, Indra!) and it will always have a place in my heart.
I had an entire room all to myself and for the first time on our trip, I got to have a bath instead of a shower. On the top floor of the resort with a view of the restaurant, my room was HUGE.
Surrounded by river Nombili on three sides in the lap of the Arabian Sea, The LaLiT Resort & Spa Bekal is a serene heaven and incidentally was also the only place where I got to cycle! The resort is spread across 26 acres and while you could walk around it’s actually more fun to cycle.
The landscaped gardens made it feel like a mini paradise and with such close access to the beach, I felt right at home (I love the sea!). Did I mention we had a jacuzzi in our room?
Close to Calicut city, the 9-acre Raviz Kadavu is on the banks of the Chalivar River. Its grounds were landscaped by the celebrated architect Tony Joseph and like all the resorts we visited, the staff were incredibly professional.
I loved the pool there. There was a moment that the power went off and you could see nothing but the sky. Now some may see this as a downside but it was actually magical even though it lasts seconds. The whole place was dark as we floated in the pool and a jet darted across the sky – the light of the stream the only light in the sky.
UDS is located right next to the sea and beaches of Kovalam. It’s an exclusive 5 Star leisure beach hotel and was the final place I stayed in on the Kerala Blog Express. With pools galore, it was the perfect place to just kick back and do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
This is also where I had a delightful experience with a shopkeeper in the surrounding area. Read about my experience with Ish here.
Note: KeralaBlogExpress is an initiative by Kerala Tourism which invites international bloggers to experience the best of Kerala. Our stays at each hotel were complimentary, including our food (but not our drinks). Images courtesy of the resorts themselves, Kerala Tourism and some are my own.