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Owing to its geography, bordered on one side by the Western Ghats and on the other by the Arabian Sea, Kerala was never colonized to the same extent as other Indian states. Its rich heritage, iconized in the form of Kathakali dance, is still practised today and many Keralans still call the traditional kettuvallam houseboats home. The best places to stay in Kerala range from modern beach resorts to traditional properties that have been in the same family for generations.

Known as ‘God’s own Country’ Kerala is one of India’s most popular tourist destinations. From the peaceful Backwaters to the cultural melting pot of Cochin and the tea plantations, nature reserves and wellness retreats in between. Or what about the wildlife and spice plantations in Thekkady or pristine beaches surrounding Thiruvananthapuram? In short this state has it all and our comprehensive list of the best places to stay in Kerala will not leave you wanting.

A visit to Kerala takes things down a gear and for many is a welcome alternative to the freneticism of the rest of India.

Meaning “the land of coconuts” (they are everywhere), these bountiful fruits play an integral part in local folklore.

From the spice trade, which has influenced everything from the landscape to its kitchen cupboards to the Chinese fishing nets (which have become a mandatory photo opportunity), Kerala boasts a colourful culinary scene and plenty of unmissable dining experiences. From traditional dishes with a twist at Malabar House to atmospheric waterfront dining at Ginger House you can make your way around this state table to table. Or try your hand at a cooking course to take home some of those famous South Indian flavours.

Our selection of the best places to stay in Kerala range from chic, boutique properties with appealing price tags to blow the budget all out luxury stays.

Best places to stay in Kerala

For a stay on the water

A visit to Kerala is synonymous with a night on a houseboat. Both the following are ideal for a waterborne stay

For 5* luxury

There are plenty of world-class options to stay in Kerala but our favourites are evocative of the region whilst providing indulgent accommodation -

For a once in a lifetime stay

With so many different experiences to be had in Kerala there are some truly immersive and unforgettable stays.

Each have their own idiosyncrasies that make them a one of a kind place to stay.

For a boutique stay

Although you can find almost all the big name hotel chains in Kerala we believe that some of its best properties are the smaller, family run options.

  • Fort House Hotel, with its enviable location is a perfect example of this at an excellent price
  • whilst Le Colonial proudly displays its roots.
  • Further afield Purity combines pop colours with local furnishings for a successful fusion feel
  • and Shalimar Spice Garden a chic yet secluded hideaway.

For wellness

Kerala is the home of Ayurveda, traditional Indian homeopathic medicine and a haven for yoga and meditation retreats. There are countless resorts and retreats but our favourites would have to be:

For total relaxation

  • If a complete break is what you are after then look no further than Rainforest Boutique Resort, bordering the Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary wildlife reserve and boasting novel tree house accommodation.
  • The clue is in the name at Serenity at Kanam Estate! This small but perfectly formed property is ideal for taking time out on a hectic tour of the region.

Not decided yet? Browse though our list of all the best places to stay in Kerala or feel free to call or email one of our gurus for advice.

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The best hotels in Kerala

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  • Harvest Fresh Farms

    Near Thekkady, Idukki, Kerala

    Sustainable tourism in the truest sense: experience an organic eco farm in the heart of the luscious Keralan countryside. From poultry and livestock, fruits, vegetables and herbs you can immerse yourself in all elements of farm life. Home cooked produce and comfortable rooms complete the stay.

    3 rooms from $45
    Great walks  -  Embark on a 'Fruit Trail' with your knowledgeable guide.
    Sailing  -  Can be booked nearby.
    Secluded setting  -  For escaping.
    Quirky  -  An experience!
  • Fort House Hotel

    Fort Kochi

    A lovely family-run boutique property in a great location in the historical town of Fort Kochi. Quiet, full of character and excellent value

    16 rooms from $48
    Other Activities  -  Front desk will order a variety of tours, including elephant rides
    Birdwatching  -  Good birding near the hotel.
    Sights nearby  -  Well located for major sights.
  • Kondai Lip Backwater Heritage Resort

    Kochi (Kerala)

    A collection of 11 ornately carved Keralan cottages this property provides an authentic stay right on the banks of the backwaters. Rooms are simple yet stylishly decorated with large beds and bathrooms, private terraces and river views. South Indian cuisine is served and massages are available.

    11 rooms from $63
    Cooking classes  -  Learn the art of Keralan cuisine or embark on a food tour - both fun and tasty activities!
    Fishing  -  The hotel can arrange day or even overnight trips aboard a traditional houseboat.
    Back to Nature  -  Located directly on the Keralan backwaters all rooms enjoy river views.
    Sights nearby  -  Fort Cochin is a day trip away and certainly worth a visit.
  • Soul and Surf

    Varkala (South Cliff)

    Soul and Surf is a family run haven overlooking the ocean on the southern cliffs of Varkala. Rooms are light, airy and comfortable - A real community for those yoga, massage and surfing lovers. A beginner or an old-timer: surfing is the shared passion. Relax by the ocean, become part of the family.

    14 rooms from $69
    Beach nearby
    Sights nearby  -  The famous red cliffs of Varkala and the original temple town.
    Cooking classes  -  Soul Food. Cooking classes readily avaliable in Kerala.
    Great walks  -  Along the sea front.
    Recommended by  -  CN Traveller
  • The Wind

    Munnar,, Kerala

    A clifftop boutique hotel in one of Kerala’s most scenic regions. Phenomenal views, clean, comfortable rooms and stunning surroundings

    8 rooms from $71
    Views  -  Scenic Munnar hill ranges
    Outstanding location
    Sights nearby  -  Well located for major sights.
    Secluded setting  -  For escaping.
  • Vivanta by Taj Trivandrum

    Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala)

    Providing all the facilities you would expect from a such a renowned global chain, relax knowing that you are in good hands. Located in the heart of the city with easy access to both tourist spots and the business district. Modern rooms enjoy an Indian twist as does the cuisine. A sensible choice.

    127 rooms from $82
    Sights nearby  -  Built in traditional Tamil style Padmanabhaswamy Temple is an impressive visit.
    Sailing  -  Take a boat out on the idyllic Vellayani Lake.
    Cooking classes  -  Check for timings.
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
  • Vivanta by Taj Bekal

    Kasaragod, Kerala

    Properties of such aesthetic delight are rare. Inspired by the Kettivallam houseboats this luxurious Taj hotel provides stunning interiors with a private terrace as standard and some with private pool. There is an indulgent Ayurvedic spa, huge pool and al fresco dining. A simply superb stay.

    57 rooms from $90
    Fishing  -  The Kappil River runs adjacent to the property and fishing trips can be arranged.
    Sights nearby  -  The historic Bekal Fort is a must visit.
    Great walks  -  Kappil Beach is just 500m walk away.
    Cooking classes  -  Check for timings.
  • Raheem Residency

    Alleppey, Kerala

    A homely southern India stay providing guests with an authentic slice of boutique beach life. Each of the ten rooms are of an excellent size, filled with antiques and feature ornate four posters, rich fabrics and original art. There are daily yoga classes and a traditional spa. A welcome break.

    10 rooms from $90
    Sailing  -  The hotel can help organise a trip on a classic snake boat or spend a night on a houseboat.
    Great walks  -  The iconic rice paddy fields are best explored on foot.
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the nearby Jain and Serpent temples.
    Cooking classes  -  Check for timings.
    Recommended by  -  I Escape
  • Windermere Estate

    Munnar, Kerala

    A charming cardamom estate with far reaching views across the Western Ghats. Wooden beams and floorboards; check curtains and open fireplaces give this property more of a Scottish Highlands feel. There are daily nature trails, yoga classes and a restaurant serving fresh local and continental meals.

    18 rooms from $103
    Back to Nature  -  Early morning guided walks, forest trails and set amdist verdant Keralan hill country.
    Birdwatching  -  The Thattekad Bird Sanctuary has a variety of local and migratory birds.
    Great walks  -  For early risers there is a daily guided nature walk.
    Full of character
    Recommended by  -  I Escape
  • Eighth Bastion

    Kochi (Kerala)

    In a quiet corner of Dutch Cochin lies this 18th century property. Decor is chic and spacious on the inside yet true to its roots with period artwork, antique pieces and an overriding nautical theme. Rooms enjoy private balconies and cavernous baths. East Indies serves up tasty South Asian cuisine.

    18 rooms from $104
    Cooking classes  -  'Flavour' cooking class is popular for learning those famous South Indian dishes.
    Local markets  -  Antique lovers should pay a visit to the markets of 'Jew Town'.
    Sights nearby  -  The resplendent Paradesi Synagogue is just 2km away.
    Great walks  -  The 200m to the iconic Chinese fishing nets.
  • Vivanta by Taj Kumarakom

    Kottayam (Kerala)

    Overlooking the picturesque Vembanad Lake this property enjoys an enviable position. Eighteen verdant acres are connected by shady walkways, gullies and streams whilst colourful cottages are decorated in a Portuguese style. Plus there's the JIVA spa, and Regional and International cuisine.

    28 rooms from $108
    Families  -  With plenty of on site activities, kids club, plus family villas this is a great place to take the little ones.
    Romantic Break  -  Secluded villas, some with private pools, make this a great stay for couples.
    Birdwatching  -  The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is located just next door to the property.
    Kids Club  -  Fully staffed.
  • Amrutham Gamaya

    Kovalam (Kerala)

    A holistic hideaway nestled in Panangode's verdant hills provides guests with 'Spa. Nature. Silence'. Choose from yogic, meditation or Ayurvedic retreats for a truly revitalising experience. Rooms are of a good size but simple and there are tranquil outdoor areas to relax. There is also a pool.

    8 rooms from $108
    Hideaway  -  A true haven of tranquility you will find little to disturb you here. Unwind and relax.
    Fishing  -  Visit the port of Vizhinjam and see what the local fishermen do best!
    Sailing  -  Take a boat out on the stunning Vellayani Lake.
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
  • Xandari Harbour

    Kochi (Kerala)

    A contemporary property with unobstructed views of Cochin's famous harbour. Rooms are light and spacious all featuring separate lounge areas, some with private balconies and huge egg shaped baths. Restaurant 51 serves a fusion menu of Malabar and Mediterranean. The infinity pool has enviable views.

    16 rooms from $116
    Fishing  -  A visit to the Chinese fishing nets is truly interesting and a mandatory Keralan photo opp.
    Sights nearby  -  When visiting Kochi you must see Vasco Da Gama Church and Paradesi Synagogue.
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
  • Niraamaya Retreats Cardamom Club

    Kumily, Kerala

    Nestled in the Idukki mountains amidst fragrant cardamom plantations lies this boutique escape. Comprised of just six cottages including chic interiors, modern bathrooms, private terraces and tea and coffee making facilities. There is an Ayurvedic spa and Pan Asian cuisine at Café Samsara.

    6 rooms from $122
    Back to Nature  -  High up in the Idukki mountains surrounded by the regions cardamom plantations lies Niraamaya Retreat.
    Birdwatching  -  Crimson-Thekkady is home to Crimson Throated Barbets, Sunbirds and Blackwinged Kites.
    Secluded setting  -  For escaping.
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
  • Bethsaida Hermitage

    Kovalam (Kerala)

    Foremost a wellness hotel, secondly a beach break. Offering tailor made Ayurvedic packages and large rooms with balconies on which to relax. There is a seven night minimum stay so that guests can get the most out of their treatments. Cuisine is Indian and Chinese with a special Ayurvedic menu.

    60 rooms from $127
    Sailing  -  The hotel will be happy to help you arrange a trip along Kerala's iconic backwaters.
    Sights nearby  -  Rent a scooter or even better Royal Enfield and explore the surrounding areas.
    Restrictions on children  -  Children cannot be permitted at this hotel.
  • Vivanta by Taj – Green Cove

    Kovalam (Kerala)

    A tropical hideaway with chic interiors and a whole host of activities. From mini golf to cycling; beach cricket to volleyball. Not to mention the indulgent JIVA spa. Rooms feature polished parquet flooring, ornate upholstery and private balconies whilst Jasmine serves international cuisine.

    59 rooms from $128
    Cooking classes  -  Cocktail making classes with the hotel's in house mixologist is great fun for the grown ups.
    Sailing  -  Embark on a boat trip on the hotel's private lagoon.
    Designer  -  Uniquely designed interiors.
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
  • The Zuri Kumarakom Kerala Resorts & Spa

    Kottayam (Athikkalam, Kottayam, Kerala)

    The Zuri is all about pampering yourself at the Maya spa. With an extensive wellness menu, fitness centre and detox packages - leave feeling completely rejuvenated. Surrounding a peaceful lagoon there are international dining options and on site activities. Modern rooms enjoy Vembanad Lake views.

    72 rooms from $130
    Spa breaks  -  The Maya spa is one of the largest in South India and includes Ayurvedic, Chinese and Western treatments.
    Romantic Break  -  Couples treatment room, pool villas and romantic private boat trips. Ideal for just the two of you.
    Fishing  -  Catch yourself a fish (lobster, shrimp or mussel) supper.
    Birdwatching  -  The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is just a short drive away.
  • Privacy at Sanctuary Bay

    Kochi (Alleppey)

    Another near perfect, eco friendly offering from Malabar Escapes. Hung tiled cottages with terracotta flooring and colourful silks are divine as is the tailor made cuisine. There is an inviting pool overlooking the Vembanad Lake and plenty of activities on site. The ultimate Indian boutique chic.

    from $141
    Birdwatching  -  Day trips to the nearby bird sanctuary, home to many exotic birds, is great for nature enthusiasts.
    Back to Nature  -  Ensconced by Kerala's verdant landscapes this property is a world away from city life.
    Sights nearby  -  The historic town of Cochin is well worth a visit.
    Secluded setting  -  For escaping.
    Recommended by  -  I Escape
  • Shalimar Spice Garden

    Kumily, Kerala

    An exotic gateway to the verdant Western Ghats Shalimar Spice Garden provides chic interiors to its discerning guests. Cottages are a blend of modern lines, traditional artworks and locally sourced materials and include private terraces with hammocks. There are two restaurants serving fusion dishes.

    18 rooms from $141
    Back to Nature  -  Surrounded by Thekkady's verdant spice plantations you are ensconced by nature.
    Great walks  -  Set off on a morning nature trek in the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.
    Secluded setting  -  For escaping.
    Designer  -  Uniquely designed interiors.
  • Trinity

    Kochi (Cochin)

    A truly boutique, three bed offering. Do not be fooled by the colonial exteriors - inside it is a haven of modern tranquility. Rooms are spacious with clean lines and chic interiors, peppered with antique pieces. There is a small plunge pool and guests can use nearby Malabar House's facilities.

    3 rooms from $144
    Fishing  -  The Chinese fishing nets are nearby. Try your hand at this traditional style of fishing or just opt for an iconic photo.
    Sights nearby  -  Historic Mattancherry Palace was a most generous present given to the then Raja and still impressive today.
    Spa  -  At sister hotel, Malabar House. Just a two minute walk away.
    Designer  -  Uniquely designed interiors.
    Recommended by  -  I Escape
  • Surya Samudra Beach Garden

    Kovalam (Kerala)

    Set atop a hillock overlooking the Arabian sea sits Surya Samudra. This modern resort providing guests with a traditional Ayurvedic spa for pampering and a luxurious pool for relaxing. Private cottages include draped four posters and feature outdoor bathrooms. Dining is healthy and largely outdoors.

    31 rooms from $149
    Sights nearby  -  Kovalam's impressive Hindu temple is within easy reach and well worth a visit.
    Sailing  -  An iconic trip along Kerala's backwaters is a memorable experience.
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
    Barefoot Luxury  -  For total relaxation.
    Recommended by  -  I Escape, Fodors
  • Neeleshwar Hermitage

    Kasaragod, Kerala

    The first of its kind in North Kerala, Neeleshwar is leading by example. Located on an isolated stretch of beach and comprising nineteen thatched cottages featuring private terraces, outdoor showers and local artwork. A wellness property, there is an Ayurvedic spa, yoga, meditation and a pool.

    19 rooms from $172
    Sights nearby  -  Bekal Fort makes for a historically interesting and architecturally impressive day out.
    Cooking classes  -  Learn the secrets of Kerala's famed cuisine.
    Remote  -  Off the beaten track.
    Secluded setting  -  For escaping.
    Recommended by  -  I Escape
  • Le Colonial

    Kochi (Kerala)

    As with all Neemrana hotels Le Colonial is rich in history and strong on heritage. Packed with antiques and walls covered in original art, rooms are spacious with ornate four posters, bright silks and hand woven rugs. There is a small garden with inviting pool plus it is metres from Kochi's sights.

    7 rooms from $180
    Cooking classes  -  Take home the traditional Keralan 'Flavours' from this popular cooking school.
    Sailing  -  A day or overnight trip along Kerala's famous backwaters is a must.
    Sights nearby  -  Just 25m from the Chinese fishing nets and St. Francis Church.
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
  • Lake Palace - Thekkady

    Thekkady, Kerala

    A collection of cottages with most impressive views of Periyar Lake, its imbibing elephants and other wildlife provides a stay amidst nature. Terracotta hung tiled roofs, private terraces and four poster beds induce a homely feel. All manner of nature trails and outdoor pursuits are available.

    from $180
    Back to Nature  -  Bordering the Thekkady and Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.
    Local markets  -  Visit Kumily town's fragrant tea and spice markets.
    Great walks  -  Guided walks around the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary.
    Secluded setting  -  For escaping.
  • Philipkutty's Farm

    Vechoor, Kottayam Dist.

    An idyllic homestay on a farm-island in the backwaters of Lake Vembanad. A truly authentic Keralan experience in a magical setting

    6 rooms from $189
    Cooking classes  -  Cookery demonstrations teaching local cuisine secrets
    Birdwatching  -  Egrets, Cormorants, snake birds and more
    Back to Nature  -  Best time to visit. October to March.
    Fishing  -  Excellent fishing nearby.
    Recommended by  -  I Escape
  • The Leela Kovalam

    Kovalam (Kerala)

    A fine offering from a firm Indian favourite. Opulent modern interiors with eye-ogling views, its own private beach and infinity pool. Rooms feature balconies and contemporary interiors. Choose from several romantic dining settings from grilled seafood at The Tides or poolside dining at The Terrace.

    183 rooms from $198
    Sailing  -  The hotel concierge will be happy to help arrange a day or overnight trip along the backwaters.
    Sights nearby  -  The nearby mosque, located on Samudra beach, is an atmospheric visit around sunset.
    Great walks  -  Along your very own slice of private beach.
    Cooking classes  -  Check for timings.
  • Serenity at Kanam Estate

    Kottayam (Kerala)

    Dating back to the 1920's this small yet perfectly formed five bedroom property is located on the grounds of a former rubber tree estate. Decorated in a colonial style, creating a resplendent feel, rooms are large and bright. South Indian dishes are cooked with homegrown vegetables and fresh fish.

    5 rooms from $199
    Great walks  -  Through the surrounding rubber plantations. This is real 'God of Small Things' country with lush, ripe fruits aplenty.
    Cooking classes  -  Learn the art of healthy South Indian cooking with the in house chef.
    Full of character
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Recommended by  -  I Escape, Tablet, Mr & Mrs Smith
  • Purity

    Muhamma, Kerala

    Built in 2003 by Florentine architect Maria Fernhof this is a modern boutique hotel yet filled with antiques. Modern art covers the walls and relaxing verandahs benefit from garden and lake views. Fresh Keralan dishes are served al-fresco, weather permitting. There is a pleasant pool and spa.

    10 rooms from $218
    Birdwatching  -  The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary has a variety of local and migratory birds.
    Cooking classes  -  Pop in to the kitchen and get a lesson on Indian spices from the chef.
    Full of character
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Recommended by  -  I Escape
  • Rainforest Boutique Resort

    Athirapally, Kerala

    In close proximity to Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary this property offers stylish and unusual treetop accommodation. All rooms are spacious with modern bathrooms, large windows with panoramic views. There is a pool and media room to keep the kids busy. The cosy restaurant serves fusion cuisine.

    9 rooms from $231
    Back to Nature  -  The treehouse rooms in particular feel as though you are the only people for miles around.
    Great walks  -  There are many beautiful walks leading directly from the hotel.
    Birdwatching  -  The Parambikulam Dam attracts a colourful crowd of birdlife.
    Hideaway  -  This tranquil abode is perfect for nestling and relaxing.
  • Brunton Boatyard

    Kochi (Kerala)

    All 26 rooms enjoy unobstructed harbour views and are decorated with capacious four posters, antique rattan furnishings and white bathroom suites with dark wood shutters. Excellent dining options include The History restaurant, The Terrace and The Armoury Bar as well as high tea at Quadrangle.

    26 rooms from $231
    Great walks  -  The hotel arranges group walking tours which a certainly worth taking part in.
    Local markets  -  Hoarders and antique lovers will love the markets of 'Jewtown'.
    Sights nearby  -  Santa Cruz Basilica is a scenic ten minute walk away.
    Sailing  -  Can be booked nearby.
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith, Fodors
  • The Malabar House

    Kochi (Kerala)

    This 18th century former Dutch residence has a reputation in town for all the right reasons. Boasting colonial architecture and works of art, rooms are decorated in comforting palettes of yellows and turquoise. The restaurant is famed for its fusion cuisine and the spa for its excellent treatments.

    17 rooms from $238
    Local markets  -  You will be sure to find treasures in the antique markets of Jewtown.
    Full of character
    Designer  -  Uniquely designed interiors.
    Cooking classes  -  Check for timings.
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith, I Escape
  • Discovery, The Backwaters

    Vembanad Lake, Kerala

    Your own private Keralan 'kettuvallom' style boat for exploring the verdant backwaters. With chic, pop colour interiors and an electric motor making for a quieter, more eco friendly stay. There is a large terrace for sunning, reading a good book and where meals are served. Tradition with a twist.

    2 rooms from $263
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the Vishnu temples where you can witness impressive martial dance displays.
    Back to Nature  -  Cruising along the tranquil Keralan backwaters you are at one with nature.
    Swimming Pool  -  Guests can use the pool at sister hotel 'Privacy' whilst moored there.
    Birdwatching  -  The Keralan backwaters are a haven for local and migratory birdlife.
    Recommended by  -  I Escape
  • Coconut Lagoon

    Kottayam (Kerala)

    Accessible via a small canal this property is located right on the water. Cottages are scattered around the grounds of this former coconut plantation, each with private terraces, sitting rooms whilst the bungalows and villas have their own pools. There is an indulgent pool and Ayurvedic spa for all.

    52 rooms from $281
    Cooking classes  -  Coconut Lagoon is famed for its cuisine - learn their secrets with a private lesson from the chef.
    Kayaking  -  Right on the edge of the Vembanad Lake you can hop straight into a kayak and hit the water.
    Fishing  -  Head out on the hotel boat and catch a fish supper.
    Sights nearby  -  Cochin is a 45km drive but well worth a visit.
  • The Oberoi Vrinda

    Kochi (Willingdon Island)

    An unusual offering from the Oberoi chain in the form of a luxurious houseboat. The same five star service one would expect and rooms are smartly decorated and feature views across the lake. There is an Indian and Continental restaurant, bar and sun terrace. Experience Kerala's backwaters in style.

    8 rooms from $678
    Fishing  -  Visit the iconic Chinese fishing nets for a mandatory Keralan photo opportunity.
    Sights nearby  -  The historic Mattancherry Palace houses an excellent Indian art collection.
    Cooking classes  -  Either embark on a food tour or take part in a cooking class.
    Restrictions on children  -  Chlidren above the age of 12 are welcome.
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