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Hotels in Kumarakom
Hotel Coconut Lagoon

Kerala's famous backwaters comprise of vast lakes and a system of narrow canals and waterways linking them to one another. Not so long ago, these waterways served as the backbone of Kerala's transportation. And Kumarakom is the ideal place to experience the backwaters. Coconut Lagoon has rightly carved its place among the top 10 heritage resorts of the world. The resort is on a small island and can be reached only by boat. The accommodation consists of individual cottages built in the traditional Kerala style, relying heavily on wood and some with private pools. The bathrooms are open to the sky and the restaurant specializes in Kerala cuisine peculiar to the region. Activities here are just lazing in the swimming pool with Jacuzzi, walks in the nearby coconut groves or paddy fields, sunset cruises etc.

Muted as the dawn itself, the alarm cry of a solitary pond heron breaks the early morning stillness as a dugout canoe, paddled by two fishermen, glides across the water at a determined but unhurried pace. The scene is idyllic, the mood dreamlike. Kerala’s back country waterways seem far removed from the universe most of us inhabit, yet they are linked to the rest of the world in a very real way, and have been for at least two millennia. In earlier times, if less so today, these very waterways were the staring point for the transport of South Indian spices, which eventually found their way to the distant shores of Europe and beyond. Formed by the 40- odd rivers that flow down to the Arabian Sea form the Cardamom Hills in the Western Ghats, this network of rivers, canals, lakes and estuaries compromises one of India’s most beautiful areas a rural, river in expanse of verdant coconut groves and rice paddies. In Malayalam, the language of Kerala, the backwaters are known as Kuttanad, "the land of the short people," a reference, perhaps, to the face that the farmers seen working here are often knee-deep in paddy fields,

For centuries the backwaters have provided a safe and efficient means of transportation for goods and people moving between the interior and the port towns along the coast, Even today, coconuts, pepper, coir, rice, and other such products of the region are carried along these waterways in traditional boats called Kettuvallam (stitched canoes), and village children are ferried off to school in all sorts of country craft.

Location: 10 Kms from Kottayam, 78 Kms from Cochin. Direct ferry from Casino Hotel, Cochin, also travel half - way by road and take the ferry from Tanneermukkam jetty or Kumarakom.

The Restaurant: Cited in Arundhati Roy’s Booker Prize – winning best-seller, "the God of Small thing," the restaurant at Coconut Lagoon is renewed as much for its superb Kerala cuisine (vegetarian and no vegetarian alike) as for its authentic setting, and is housed in one of the resort’s most impressive Tharavadu. Known as Ettukettu, the building incorporates two atriun-like courtyards under an expansive tile roof supported by dozens o slim columns, a design that enables the space within to benefit from the slightest breeze. The restaurant is the oldest Structure at Coconut Lagoon, and it, too, formerly belonged to a prominent Malayalee Family living in a nearby village. Cuisine: Ethnic and international (buffet).

The Accommodation: 14 Heritage Mansions, 28 Heritage Bungalows. Though some of the cottages are of more recent vintage, many are well over a century old and a few actually date back to the early 1700s. The resort can only be reached by boat and its accommodation consists of individual cottages called Tharavadu, the traditional wooden house of Kerala. Coconut Lagoon's cottages feature ultramodern bathrooms, each located in an inner courtyard boasting its own banana tree. Through all the cottages vary in configuration, and some of the air-conditioned units are newly built replicas in corporation only fragments of old Tharavadu that could not be saved in their entirety, Coconut Lagoon offers two basic types of accommodation: Heritage Mansion and Heritage Bungalows. The former has two stories, the upstairs bedroom gallery offering particularly magnificent views of Lake Vembanad. The latter are more compact, single – level cottages. Both are furnished in Aiyny and Jack Woods, and retain all the charm of original family homes, with thick, solid doors, intricate window carvings, and terra cotta tile floors. Structurally necessary alterations have been carried out with consummate discretion, i.e., in keeping with the style and décor of the era, and great attention has been paid to very detail. The lamp stands in each Tharavadu, for example, having been  carved from old wooden hinges. Traditionally, of course, Keralites bathed in the rivers – in rural areas many people still do – but Coconut Lagoon’s cottages feature ultramodern bathrooms, each located in an inner courtyard boasting its own banana (or coconut) tree, so you can shower al fresco under a starlit sky in complete and utter privacy.

Recreation : The Cashew Shaped pool, slightly elevated to give a commanding view is popular including the honeymoon couples who swim there in the early evening to the sounds of Indian classical music drifting across from the Garden Café. For those who prefer not to venture beyond the bounds of the resort itself, there are plenty of things to do. Simple bamboo fishing poles are available, too, and though the restaurant offers many fine seafood dishes on its ever-varied lunch and dinner menus, the chef nonetheless promises to cook any fish an angler catches from the lagoon. Be warned, however, that no prizes are given for catching a monster from the fish farm within the confines of the hotel, though no punishment is meted out for doing so, either.

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