Feb 10, 2017
From luxury resorts to rustic houseboats, there’s something for everyone on the backwaters of Alleppey and Kumarakom in Kerala, India.
Kumarakom Lake Resort
While Kumarakom Lake stretches out in front of the resort, the villas are set in the midst of meandering water pools. The architecture here is typical of the region – each villa is designed to reflect the style of traditional Kerala homes known as mana. It’s perfect for a weekend away from urban chaos.
This luxury resort has everything you can expect from a backwater experience in Kerala: Think shimmering water canals crisscrossing between villas, Vembanad Lake stretching out infinitely ahead and miniature paddy fields inside the property. The highlight is authentic Kerala food laced with fresh coconut and black pepper.
Cherai Beach Resorts
Don’t be fooled by its name – this resort is located right between the beach and backwaters of Kochi. With swaying coconut trees, winding canals and lush paddy fields surrounding the property, it is perfect for beach bums who want to swim in the shallow waters in the evening and wake up to views of serene backwaters in the morning.
This eco-friendly resort by the backwaters of Alleppey is best for Ayurvedic and rejuvenation packages. From slimming therapies to yoga retreats for the fitness-oriented, there is a wide range of wellness options. The resort promises personalised service, with four types of villas to choose from, as well as overnight stays on its houseboats.
A 100-year-old mansion that has been in the family for six generations has now been converted into a warm and welcoming homestay, set in the middle of an organic spice farm. The decor has not changed much over the years – the pillared verandah invites you to lounge in a roomy planter’s chair and smell the vanilla.
This award-winning homestay is situated on an island in the middle of the Alleppey backwaters, at the edge of the Pampa River. The 150-year-old house, including the erstwhile granary, has been converted into accommodation. From walks in lush paddy fields to cooking classes in Kerala cuisine, a variety of activities are on offer. Otherwise, there is always the option of a relaxing Ayurvedic massage.
One of the most popular stay options in the region, Philipkutty’s home is located on a working farm spread over 14ha. This island is part of reclaimed land, completely surrounded by the backwaters of Vembanad Lake. Each villa has several doors opening out to the farm and water, and a verandah running around it. The property is also known for its cooking classes with the hosts.
Aquatic Floating Resort
Calling itself a “floatel”, the property consists of only five units built on water. Each villa has two rooms and three floors, including a bedroom below water level. This place is all about expansive views of water on all sides, and is perfect for do-nothing holidays spent in the floating infinity pool or on the upper deck of your villa.
Abad Luxury Houseboats
This is a journey on a traditional kettuvelam (rice boat) made mostly of eco-friendly materials such as bamboo, coir and wood. This is a great way to get a peek at local life on the banks of the backwaters. The list of activities along the route includes fishing, bird-watching, visits to spice plantations and village walks. Choose your boat according to the number of bedrooms – one to three – you need.
Oberoi MV Vrinda
Hop onboard Oberoi MV Vrinda for a complete backwater experience on the sprawling Vembanad Lake. On the second day of the itinerary, get into a smaller rice boat to navigate the narrower canals for a view of life along the waters. From masked kathakali dances to a traditional sadya (dishes served on banana leaf) meal, this is a complete Kerala experience.
Singapore Airlines’ regional wing SilkAir flies 10 times weekly from Singapore to Kochi.
– BY CHARUKESI RAMADURAI