Visiting the Backwaters ranks high among the things to do in Kerala. Akin to American bayous, the Kerala Backwaters are made up of more than 900 kilometres of interconnected lakes, lagoons, canals, rivers and inlets. Many take in the Backwaters by staying on a houseboat, however, you can also immerse this serene and picturesque setting by staying at the award wining Kumarakom Lake Resort. Sitting on the banks of Lake Vembanad, the longest lake in India and the largest in Kerala, and featuring traditional Kerala architecture, enchanting grounds and fabulous amenities, the one of a kind resort providing guests with the ultimate luxurious holiday destination in Kerala. Find out what makes this resort so unique below.
Paradise on Kumarakom Lake
The Kumarakom Lake Resort is situated 16 kilometres west of Kottayam (where there is a train station) and around a 1.5 hour drive from the Kochi International airport, the resort was ranked among Asia’s Top 25 Resorts by the Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers Choice poll and the top 500 hotels & resorts of the world by Travel + Leisure, among other prestigious accolades. Entering the resort one feels transported to another world, the perfect embodiment of all that is to love about Kerala: tranquil natural beautiful, fascinating culture and flavorful cuisine.
The resort was constructed of manas, traditional mansions on Kerala, each over a hundred years old, which have been carefully dismantled from their original locations and reassembled within 25 acres of lush grounds overlooking the gorgeous lake. These traditional structures have been “reinvented” for modern travelers and ingeniously blend traditional features with all modern luxurious comforts including a renowned restaurant, Ayurveda spa, fabulous activities and two pools–an infinity pool overlooking the lake and an incredible a 250-m long meandering pool weaving its way around a section of the villa rooms.
Enchanting Rooms & Suites
Spread across the resort are sixty-seven heritage luxury villas and rooms. Each is reconstructed traditional building, although with modern fittings and decorated in an elegant Keralan style. There are five categories of rooms, all of which have their own advantages. These start with the Luxury Pavilion Rooms, spacious rooms found in two larger pavilions and have a large ensuite bathroom with a Jacuzzi. The Meandering Pool Villas are two-floor villas with outdoor bathrooms, sitting areas and direct access into the marvelous meandering pool. Heritage Villas are closer to the restaurant and infinity pool, although they have their own private courtyard with a private pool and Jacuzzi and some have lake views.
All of these are incredibly romantic and exude immense charm, however, if you’re planning for a very special trip, you may want to consider booking a Presidential Suite. These are found right on the lake, have a private pool, a private courtyard and exquisitely regal interiors.
Lastly, if you are keen to have a houseboat experience, the resort has several traditional houseboat. Spacious and luxuriously outfitted, they come fully staffed to ensure you have an enchanting overnight on the lake. They can be booked as a package with staying on land at the resort or separately.
Gourmet Dining within a Beautiful Setting
Dining at the resort is a real treat. The resort’s main restaurant, Ettukettu, is found within an eight-sided, 200-year-old mansion which was commissioned by the King Marthanda Varma as a gift to his favorite martial arts tutor. It has been identically reassembled here and is surrounded by a reflecting pond. It serves an opulent multi-cuisine buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The feast includes local specialities from Kerala as well as live food stations where you can have specific dishes and breads prepared exactly to your liking. Alternatively you can choose to dine at Vembanad, the Seafood Bar which is overlooking the lake, perfect for a romantic sunset dinner. There is also a bar next to the pool for refreshments during the day a fresh coconut stand and complimentary teatime in the afternoons at the Thattukada, a traditional tea shop set up overlooking the lake.
Wonderful Natural & Cultural Activities
I would highly recommend booking at least two nights at the resort, if not more, as there is really a lot to do, in addition to enjoying some relaxation time. Kavi, resort’s activity coordinator is there to recommend and arrange a multitude activities, plus he’s a fantastic photographer and will snap a few special memories of your trip. Complimentary onsite activities include pottery making, weaving, fishing, cycliing, traditional dance and music performances and the not to be missed nightly musical sunset cruises. At an additional fee, guests can arrange sightseeing trips, Bird Sanctuary Visits, Backwater cruises, water sports and more. The resort is also an excellent venue for weddings and other events.
Paul John Resorts & Hotels
The Kumarakom Lake Resort is part of the Paul John group of distinguished boutique hotels. These include the Forte Kochi Hotel, the perfect complement to a stay at the Lake Resort as you’ll likely be traveling through Kochi, the luxurious Paul Bangalore, one of the best hotels in India’s IT capital, and the brand new Coorg Wilderness Resort, located in this stunning part of India near Mysore.
Disclaimer: I was a guest of the Kumarakom Lake Resort, however, all of the ideas expressed above are entirely my own.