This is the first time we’re featuring a resort as a destination, because Kumarakom Lake Resort isn’t a hotel, it really is a destination. Set against the backwaters of Vembanad Lake in Kerala, Kumarakom Lake Resort is a self-contained trip in itself.
An hour’s drive from Fort Kochi, we knew we were approaching Kumarakom Lake Resort by the telltale signs for resorts and hotels lining the slim road that went through the backwaters. Paddy fields and coconut trees flanked us on either side. In the shade of an open air, all-wood reception, we were welcomed with cold towels, fresh coconut water and warm smiles.
Walking across to our room, we crossed a wooden bridge over a tiny greenery lined stream, catching a glimpse of the lake against the horizon. We walked the stone path, and took a sudden turn between the plants. Our room was a pleasant surprise. The resort has meandering pool villas and some duplex, each of which has a private access to a long pool that meanders the length of half the property. Ours, was right at the beginning, before the curve towards the rest of the villas, making our patch of pool, pretty much private.
Every 200 year old villa has been lifted, transported and re-assembled from its previous location. The authenticity of its Kerala heritage comes through in the form of the intricate wood engravings above the door, the raised threshold before the door (to prevent insects and animals from entering) and the sideways bell shaped intricate brass padlock.
Inside, the villa was a dark, cool sanctuary from the hot sunny day. The interiors were all wood, with an intricate ceiling, a bench below the window, a desk and chair, a small breakfast table with chairs, television, suitcase bench, cupboard and a really, really comfy bed. A large mirror tricked us into thinking the room extended beyond. A hinged door, led us to the piece de resistance. An open- air toilet and shower, replete with pebble lined stone tiles and exotic plants. Don’t worry, they assure you nobody can peep through from anywhere. Showering here, under the skies was quite an experience.
The resort also has 22 heritage rooms with their own private pool and jacuzzi, some modern rooms with enclosed bathrooms and handicapped access, including 2 Presidential Suites with a lakeview as well as some houseboats.
Activities at the resort are aplenty. From their complimentary sunset cruise down the lake with live traditional music, to canal cruises, fishing, pottery, weaving, cooking classes, these guys can arrange pretty much anything Kerala-like that you’d like to do.
What Kerala experience is complete without the mother of all of Keralite culture? Ayurmana- the Ayurveda spa at Kumarakom Lake Resort is somewhat like a school/ museum of Ayurveda, what with the consulting doctor, artifacts and other displays, and the almost religious vibe to the whole process. We went in for an hour long rejuvenation massage, where two therapists worked in synchronicity on each of us, rubbing us with strange smelling oils and then a scrub. I must admit, I did doze off at some point (always a good indicator of how my massage is going) and my skin felt unbelievably smooth, soft and moisturized at the end of it. KLR also offers Ayurveda spa stay packages, from weight loss to de-stressing; so the next time you have 10 days off, you know where to go.
Experiences at Kumarakom lake resort don’t end here. The Infinity pool, has a Jacuzzi (gasp) and if you really want to just do nothing, there are hammocks and benches strewn all over the property for you to help yourself to. The lakeside is ideal for bird watching, and well, dozing. For the shopaholics, you needn’t get away to the city, the Curio Shop had all sorts of cottons, ethnic jewellery and other souvenirs, including the most curious antiques.
The staff at KLR was always so cheerful and polite, ever so often going out of their way to stop and chat, click a picture of the two of us together or just recommend something we should try. It’s a wonder when they find the time to keep the resort sparkling (we dare you to check the beams for dust) and mosquito free (we still think there’s some futuristic repellant invention they’re keeping secret).
You may have noticed, we haven’t mentioned food at all. Strange for foodies and gourmands like us, you’d think. That’s because the food at Kumarakom Lake Resort blew us away in a way we just weren’t prepared for. And we believe it deserves its own post. So click here, and bring your appetite!
Kumarakom Lake Resort
Kumarakom North P.O. Kottayam 685566, Kerala, India.
Tel +91 481 2524501
Doubles from Rs. 12,500/-