With a stash of coveted awards that would make anyone proud, Kumarakom Lake Resort is an overachiever among luxury hotels. Sprawling across 25 acres of coconut groves, among a vision of green and turquoise swirls, sit 50 careful reconstructions of 16th-century manas (Keralan houses), expertly blending tradition with technology. In fact, everything at the Kumarakom draws on Kerala's rich heritage. It pulsates through every wooden beam and Krishna mural, transporting you to the 15th century only to be whipped back to the present by the speed of the wifi and cool breeze of the air conditioning. To top off all things regal, the Kumarakom was given the royal stamp of approval when Prince Charles chose to spend his 65th birthday in the presidential suite. If he can unwind here we certainly can - and the staff are so attentive they will make you feel like royalty too.
Bordering the meandering turquoise pool sit the luxurious villas, each with a personal alcove so you can roll straight out of bed and into the water. For a more hidden location choose from an cluster of the luxury pavilion rooms with their own jacuzzis nestled into a maze of lush greenery and lotus-strewn canals. The lavish heritage villas are each a reconstruction of a traditional Kerala homestead, with the original regal interior still in place but with the added bonus of a private pool and courtyard. For a larger version with panoramic views of the lake, opt for one of the heritage lake villas - or the ultimate indulgence with a presidential suite. For truly unique stay, embark on a journey in an ornate houseboat, equally as majestic as it's stationary counterparts and equipped with its own personal chef.
What's for breakfast?
In Ettukettu, the hotel's grand restaurant, you will find a gourmet buffet-style breakfast with platters of fresh fruit and made-to-order hot options to suit all tastes.
How about lunch and dinner?
Lunch and dinner is served at both Ettukettu and the lakeside Vembanand. A broad mix of cuisines means there is no risk of getting bored by repetitive meals at Ettukettu, though local specialties such as the fragrant karimeen pollichathu (fish marinated in hot spices and baked in a banana leaf) are so delightful you may well find yourself ordering it daily. We recommend at least one trip to the Vembanand, with a spectacular setting and a flexible menu that is centred on the day's catch, the Vembanand on the banks of the lake is truly unmissable at sunset. Or finally, if you're a more intimate experience, reserve the secluded dining at the pool pavilion, with the lake as a backdrop this is the perfect place to soak up nature in peace.
Is there a bar?
Yes, snacks, drinks, cocktails and coconuts are served all day from the pool pavilion bar.
Your trip will not be complete without a trip to the Ayurveda treatment spa. The 200-year-old mansion was home to a family of renowned Ayurvedic practitioners whose legacy lives on with a team of expert Ayurvedic physicians and trained masseurs. Other amenities include airport transportation service, free breakfast, an infinity pool, speedboats available for a variety of water sports, as well as fishing trips, pottery and weaving classes.
Things you should know
- High season is between November and March, temperatures increase from February onwards, and the wetter monsoon season runs from April to October.
- Keep hunger at bay and head to the Thattaukada tea shop in the shade of the palm trees that serves traditional brews and complimentary snacks.
- Yoga and meditation sessions take place in the tranquil setting by the infinity pool at 7AM.
- Though super speedy, the wifi is not free - take it as an opportunity to escape.
Within a short walk you can find…
- Done every kind of therapy at the Ayurveda? Hop on the hotel's speedboat for a bit of retail therapy and sightseeing in the bustling Cochin.
- Nearby Kumarakom bird sanctuary a flutter of exquisite birds pass through on migration to Syria.
- Visit ancient temples and powerful waterfalls on a sightseeing trip to Kottayam organised by the friendly and knowledgable staff.