One of my favorite things about traveling in Asia are the amazing luxurious hotels at reasonable rates. During our years in India, the country in general was often behind the game when it came to boutique hotels, which meant most of the time we were trained to look for the international chain 5 star hotels if we wanted some luxury. However, Kerala was a different story. The southern most state of India always seemed to have a leg up on the rest of the country with an abundance of cute, inspiring boutique hotels. On our last visit, we had the opportunity to stay at several that we think are well worth checking out.
Niraamaya Retreats Cardamom Club
With several locations scattered throughout the state of Kerala, you can’t go wrong staying at Niraamaya. One of our favorites is the Cardamom Club retreat outside of Periyar Tiger Reserve in Thekady. A small private hotel with 6 cottages spread out over a hillside offers an amazing retreat from the hustle and bustle of Thekady. Enjoy relaxing in your cottage, on hammocks in the garden or hiking in the nearby jungle with hotel guides.
Everything about this place is picture perfect – beautiful well manicured gardens, adorable cottages with thoughtful touches, and delicious gourmet food for every meal. But the best thing about this hotel are the people who work here. The staff make every guest feel as if they are the only ones who matter. They go above and beyond every step of the way to make sure you have a wonderful stay. To find out more, read about our stay here.
Fort Cochin’s first and longest surviving boutique heritage hotel is the Malabar House. Malabar House is a renovated 18th century Dutch mansion, bringing together colonial & Indian architecture. Throughout the property there is a beautiful collection of art from the Malabar coast providing a upscale artist vibe. Unlike many boutique hotels, this hotel is also family friendly with a small pool in the courtyard where you will hear kids playing and see adults relaxing throughout the day. Malabar House and Serenity at Kanam Estate (below) are owned by the same people, along with several other fantastic properties throughout the state. But these both deserve a mention here as they are very unique properties!
Serenity at Kanam Estate
Serenity at Kanam Estate is a truly delightful, 5-bedroom hotel (or private villa) on a rubber plantation midway between Cochin, the backwaters and Thekkady. It’s an absolute dream place to stay with a pool, swing, beautiful courtyard and various nooks and crannies to relax in. It is quite secluded with very little nearby in terms of the tourist trail, but offers a retreat from the chaos of India, while simultaneously immersing you into rural Indian life. Relax at the hotel, bathe Lakshmi the local elephant and take walks through the various spice and rubber plantations in the area. Meals are lovingly cooked to perfection and to order. You will not regret getting off the beaten path for this gorgeous hotel.
Bonus: Philipkutty’s Farm
I know, I said 3 best and this is number 4! However, another favorite place to stay in Kerala is at Philipkutty’s Farm. It is technically a home-stay, but could also be classified as a boutique hotel by some, hence why it didn’t make the top 3!
This idyllic farm on a man made island in the Kumarakom lake is the ideal retreat from the craziness of the backwaters. Anu and her family run this upmarket hotel with 6 beautiful traditional villas. They provide excellent home cooked meals and lots of kindness. You can spend your days rowing around the lake or relaxing at your villa. A beautiful, relaxing way to experience Kerala’s life on the water.
Have you been to Kerala? Do you have a favorite hotel?
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