Described by Lonely Planet as a ‘tropical symphony’, our Kerala hotels are in a coastal state in India’s deep south, characterised by its layered landscape and nearly 600km of coastline and beaches
With spice and tea covered hills the area is everything that the storybooks would have you believe – a soul quenching, fantastical part of the world, built for myths, legends and fulfilling travel and discovery. Kerala in particular is known as home to wild elephants, exotic birds and even tigers, while it’s also rich with tradition and temple festivals overflowing with the kind of characterful energy that gives even its smallest villages a palpable buzz.
Key amongst Kerala’s recommended experiences are those showcasing its wildlife and history at their best – the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Mattancherry Palace, Pardesi Synagogue, and the Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary. However, the Kerala hotels that you stay in also have the capacity to shape your experience and really give an insight into the hospitality and culture of the region.
The enticingly named Elephant Court, for example, is an ecological hotel in a 100-acre nature reserve and organic farm. Rather than rooms, guests stay in one of 20 bungalows nestled into the Palni Hills, surrounded by one of the most important biodiversity spots on the planet. As the name suggests, the hotel is close to the town of Kodaikanal, which is famed as an old elephant migration route and now extends into the wildlife sanctuaries of Kerala. Meanwhile, the bungalows themselves are all unique, from the three-bedroom Peninsular Room, to the Tree House which is held aloft by a 100-year old Sizigium Cumini tree. So you can see how this particular hotel is an all encompassing experience in its own right.
Alternatively, Poovar Island Resort is an altogether more luxurious affair – a small village made of 78 land-based and floating villas surrounded by 25 acres of verdant green coconut gardens. The hotel has its own Ayurvedic Village – otherwise known as a wellness centre – that’s a spectacular 6,000 square feet of medicinal herbs and wellbeing based on ancient practices. Meanwhile, there’s also a swimming pool, sunken bar, private beach, and all the trimmings that go with a decadent exotic holiday – one of the range of different Kerala hotels.
Showcasing the romantic diversity of this part of India, other hotels in the Bespoke India Portfolio, range from The Highland Heritage homestay hotel in Goa – featuring its own antique hand-crafted furniture – to the contemporary 14-bedroom boutique hotel The Richmond in the French Quarter of Pondicherry. All are an indication of how you can experience multiple facets of Kerala and its history through its different locations and hotels.
A particular favourite of ours, however, has to be Destiny Farm Stay. Set in the pristine, untouched valley of Avalanchi, this is a real wildlife adventure resort. Here the views are of the hills and lake, while the hotel and farm operate on eco-friendly, self-sufficient methods, while producing their own fruit, coffee, vegetables, herbs, and flowers. It’s a nature lover’s paradise, but without losing that special sense of luxury, thanks to spa treatments, beautiful design, and incredible panoramas. No wonder that it’s a popular hotel for weddings as well as those simply wanting to escape – India, and Kerala in particular, is an impossible place not to fall in love with.
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