Recently I had the good fortune to spend a week in central Kerala, mostly in the Marari beach area south of Cochin, and the backwaters near Alleppey. For better or worse the Marari area has really come on in terms of resort developments. It is located 2 hours south of Cochin airport, making it an ideal area for post-tour R&R when on a tour of South India.
The newest resort in the area is Carnoustie Resort, where I spent two nights. All villas have plunge pools and are well spaced through the lush tropical property, which has direct beach access. Excellent food and service, a lovely spa and the location make it a perfect option for upmarket R&R when travelling in India.
In the backwaters there are three properties worth mentioning. Philipkutty’s Farm is a property we have been using for a number of years. It is something between an upmarket homestay, with hosts who live on the property, but rooms are traditional individual cottages, so guest privacy is ensured. This is an ideal property for travellers wanting to experience the food and lifestyle of the backwaters, including interaction with hosts, without losing any comfort or privacy, when on a tour of India.
Continuing on in the homestay vein is Olavipe, a true homestay property. The centuries old home of the Tharakan family has been artfully converted into guest accommodation, with two of the Tharakan brothers staying on the property to welcome guests. Having had careers that have taken them all over the world, but now retired to the comforts of the ancestral home, the brothers and their families lend a sophisticated and worldly air to the property. Outstanding, authentic Syrian Catholic food and great company make this a wonderful experience.
Moving all the way to the other end of the spectrum, Vismaya (pictured) is a luxury boutique villa comprising of only two rooms. With the backwaters surrounding the property on three sides, and views of both sunset and sunrise over the water, this is an ideal property for serious relaxing, especially for two couples or a small family to take the entire property.
A stay at any of these properties can be included in a custom made itinerary to Kerala or South India.