I’m back to Dharamsala after a roller-coaster ride that was the Kerala Blog Express 2016 – an all-sponsored trip across God’s Own Country – promoted and organized by Kerala Tourism for selected travel writers! I have so many stories to share, but I’d like to begin by this recommendation, which was the sole thought that kept raging in my head throughout – I wish this was a couples’ retreat.
Kerala is just so breathtakingly stunning, dreamy and romantic!!! If you’re getting married this year (or not!) and are tired of the same old honeymoon spots every second couple in India is nowadays vacationing at, take my word and opt for Kerala! You remember all those gorgeous landscapes from Mani Ratnam movies? They’re not just good camera work, they’re really REAL!! And you have to go see it yourself. What with its clean beaches that look like little corners of heaven, the surreal canals (“backwaters”) weaving through tiny civilizations, colorful towns and hillstations covered in tea plantations – Kerala has enough ammunition to deport you to your childhood fairytale fantasies! The best part of it all is how you can find peace in the most crowded places, thanks to the many gorgeous resorts across the state, some of which I am reviewing below to help you plan your trip! From lake-side rooms, to rooms with a pool floor, and if that doesn’t do it for you – there’s the floating houseboat for complete privacy! Here are my top picks from the best luxury resorts Kerala has to offer, perfect for a romantic getaway from your busy city life:
Vivanta by Taj, Kovalam
Vivanta by TAJ, Trivandrum was my pre-arrival accommodation, and I was like WHAA? If this is pre-arrival, what will happen once the trip really begins? I was welcomed with a traditional aarti, shell necklace, coconut water, and a smiling staff! It was almost time for the sunset, so the staff quickly arranged for my luggage to be sent to the room, and arranged to send Raul and me to their “private beach” (WHAT!?) And sure enough, the hotel has its own small little piece of heaven, even after 15 days from that evening, I very clearly remember how happily I sat by, with no sound but that of the waves hitting the rocks on the shore. Being a mountain girl at heart, it was the closest I have ever felt to loving the ocean! They also have a pretty infinity pool, two restaurants, a spa that offers complimentary morning yoga sessions, and a perfect little coffee shop.
It was the perfect seed to what was going to be my blooming love-affair with Kerala!
Price Range: Rs. 18,000 to Rs. 20,000
Spice Routes Houseboats, Alleppey Backwaters
FLOATING HO– USE! I don’t think I need to sell the concept any further. Short video from our houseboat to show you what to expect!
PS: You will be amazed by the hospitality on-board! The video is from the houseboat “CLOVE”, I’ve heard “Cinnamon” is even better 🙂
Price Range: Rs 18,000 (1 bedroom) to Rs. 28,000 (4 bedroom)
Kumarakom Lake Resort, Kumarakom, Kottayam, Kerala
Hands down the one place that will stay in my memory for a very long time! Why? How can you ever forget the first time you stayed at a cottage with an open shower and your own private pool and Jacuzzi? YES! Kumarakom Lake Resort oozes luxury in every aspect – be it the opulent cottages with a vintage yet modern feel, an infinity pool which is the perfect sunrise spot, early morning relaxing yoga session by the lake or a world-class property so huge, you need a car to take you around! If there’s only one luxury resort you want to save up for, let it be this!
Price Range: Rs. 13,000 (Luxury Pavilion Room) – Rs. 48,000 (Presidential Suite with Private Pool)
Honeymoon package (3N/2D): Rs. 63,000 (Luxury Pavilion Room) – Rs. 1,55,000 (Presidential Suite with Private Pool)
The Zuri Kumarakom, Kerala Resort and Spa – Kumarakom, Kottayam, Kerala
Just when I thought no amount of luxury can beat my stay at Kumarakom Lake Resort – Enter The ZURI Kumarakom, Kerala Resort and Spa, with a super tempting “Maya Spa” – one of the largest in South India and offering Ayurveda, Western and Oriental therapies, on the platter! This also turned out to be the first afternoon I had free in all the days on the trip, so I jumped at the prospect. I won’t go into unnecessary details about my massage (I think it deserves a blogpost!), but I will say that it was pretty darn perfect!
While all other bloggers are away for a temple visit, I'm happy that I spent my evening getting a full-body ayurvedic therapy massage at Zuri's Resort's amazing in-house spa "Maya", which also happens to be my second name. Loved the aroma of the warm medicated oils, known to improve blood circulation, relieve fatigue and related body aches, and nourishes skin. #keralablogexpress #TripOfALifetime
PS: Luxury cottages here have a private pool AND a private lake!
Price Range: Rs. 8,750 (Zuri Room) to Rs. 23,300 (Presidential Pool Villa)
Honeymoon Package (2N/3D): Rs. 34,000 (Zuri Lagoon View Room) to Rs. 60,000 (Presidential Pool Villa)
Greenwoods Resort, Thekkady
By this time in the trip, I had seen rooms with a private pool, Jacuzzi, lake, and a luxury cruise – you can understand how high our expectations were by now. But what Greenwoods lacked in appearance, they more than made up with hospitality! My my, if I had to choose one hotel that could teach all the others a lesson or two about what “serving” your customers really is, it would be Greenwoods! The staff was so sweet, accommodating and curious about our everyday experiences, they instantly won the hearts of every blogger (EVEN the ones who weren’t staying at other resorts) The property was quite pretty, with a lot of greens, a gorgeous treehouse coffee shop, and a swimming pool. They organized special activities for their guests like saree draping, traditional dance, and the best of it all – sapling plantation! YES, we all got a chance to plant a sapling in the resort, which will be named after us, so that there is a little something of us that stays at the resort even when we don’t! Now what better way to begin your married life than with such a heartwarming memory?
Absolutely in love with Greenwoods Resort for making @betty_travels, @katerina_vasou, @verushka143, @thesweetwanderlust, Mirela & Céline and me do this. WE PLANTED A TREE! Which will have our name written next to it forever. I personally chose a tree which I had never heard of – "Mitti" – the wood is used for furniture here. What a beautiful experience! #keralablogexpress #TripOfALifetime
Price range: Rs. 7000 (Standard Room) to Rs. 35,000 (Presidential Pool Suite with Warm Pool)
Honeymoon Villa with Pluge Pool: Rs. 15,000
Vythiri Resort, Wayanad
The Vythiri Resort in Wayanad knows exactly what everyone wants to hear! A perfect eco-friendly, jungle hideout, the choice of rooms ranges from treehouses to rooms with a private jacuzzi! Just watch the video, I need not say more!
Kerala has some insanely gorgeous resorts. This is the Honeymoon suite at Vythiri Resort! Doesn't it make you wanna get married already? For more such recommendations for luxury resorts in Kerala, stay tuned for my blog post on www.untravel.in ! Video credit: @patchinpixels #keralablogexpress #TripOfALifetime
Price Range: Rs. 15,000 (Vythiri Haven) to Rs. 30,000 (Honeymoon Pool Villa) &
Luxury Tree-House Accommodation: Rs. 20,000
Vythiri Exclusive Honeymoon Package (2N/3D): Rs. 38,000 to Rs. 53,000
They had me at “Ayurveda Heritage”! Kunnathur Mana Ayurveda Heritage Resort is a Government approved Ayurveda hospital in Kerala with GREEN LEAF Certification. One thing I most vividly remember about Kunnathur Mana is feeling relaxed even while I was so tired and sick – the place is full of positive energy! The 130 year old heritage of this ancestral property can still be seen in the way the property has been maintained. And GUESS WHAT? Remember all those Mughal “hamam” baths we have only seen or heard about? This place has one and they actually let you swim in it (under the supervision of a life guard of course as it is 25 feet deep!) This makes it the only heritage place all over India that offers this experience!!! The biggest plus of this place though is, regular tourists will never choose to stay here!
Price Range: Rs. 10,000 (Aniyara) to Rs. 15,000 (Pool view Palliyara)
Inclusive of Ayurvedic Doctor Consultation, one suggestive therapy / massage, one day medicines (if required), Ayurvedic meals (if advised) and one-hour Yoga / Meditation.
Xandari Harbour, Kochi
Thank you @patchinpixels for this amazing photo! I ❤️ you and I will miss you 🙂 #travel #beach #sunset #travel #india #kerala #marari #travelblog #traveling #traveler #travelinglife #travelblogging #travelblogging ##travelpic #travelpicture #travelphotography #travelphoto #incredibleindia #GWDinKerala #wanderlust #destination #cyprusblog #CypriotAbroad #cypriotblogger #cypriotandproud #cyprustravelblogger
Now, we visited this property only for our farewell dinner, but I have confirmation about their hospitality from other bloggers who chose to stay back a few extra days in this property. Xandari Harbour in Kochi was the most chic and classy hotel we saw during our trip!
Help keep our travel trail clean. Don’t litter, motivate your friends to do the same!