Earlier in the year I spent a very pleasant week in Cochin, Kerala and the area around the beaches south of Cochin. Cochin has become the focal point of Kerala due to good air connectivity and a wide range of activities and sightseeing.
There are some fabulous heritage hotels here such as Tea Bungalow, Old Harbour and the mid-range Tower House. Several of the better hotels have fine dining restaurants and there are a number of great cafes and lots of hassle-free shopping, so something for everyone.
The Fort Kochi area of the city, where the interesting hotels are located, is relatively traffic-free and thus a good place for arriving visitors to find their feet and ease into India. It’s also a good place to wind down at the end of a trip, and to catch up with last minute shopping.
As for the beaches, there are three standout properties within 2 hours of Cochin – the simple luxury of cgh Marari Beach, and two wonderful boutique options: A Beach Symphony and Marari Villas (pictured, where I ate/drank/swam for three days).