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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. A visit to Kerala takes things down a gear and for many is a welcome alternative to the freneticism of the rest of India. 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 close to Kottayam, to the cultural melting pot of Cochin and the tea plantations, with nature reserves and wellness retreats nestled in between. Pus, what about the wildlife and spice plantations in Thekkady or pristine beaches surrounding Thiruvananthapuram, Kovalam and Varkala? In short, this state has it all and our comprehensive list of the best places to stay in Kerala will not leave you wanting.
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. Meaning “the land of coconuts” (they are everywhere), these bountiful fruits play an integral part in local folklore as well as featuring heavily in regional cuisine.
What Not To Miss
- Head off hiking through the Sholayar Forest Ranges and go visit the breathtaking Athirappilly Waterfalls. Whilst it's a fairly difficult walk (perhaps not suitable for young children or the infirm), when you arrive it's well worth the effort! An idyllic spot.
- Meander through Munnar's Tea Gardens and take in the stunning surrounding scenery. You'll love the atmospheric and mist-enveloped hills, whilst there are also tours available and a small museum to teach you all about the tea making process.
- Guruvayur Temple is a must-see if you're in the area! One of the most prominent Vishnu temples in Southern India, the place quickly fills up with devotees (adding to the pious ambiance), and at 8pm the Guruvayurappan goes around the temple on an elephant accompanied by traditional Keralan music. A great place for learning about the region's religious culture.
- Wonderla Amusement Park is a great family day out, perfect for breaking up the trip if the kids are bored of culture-vulturing! With a wide variety of rides set in luscious green surroundings, this is a fun-filled spot.
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.
For a stay on the water
A visit to Kerala is synonymous with a night on a houseboat.
- You'll love the five star luxury of the Oberoi Vrinda! It boasts smartly decorated rooms and a terrace offering wonderful views of the water - an excellent place to relax at sunset. What's more, there's both an Indian and Continental restaurants.
- Discovery, The Backwaters is a private 'kettuvallom' style boat with chic, pop colour interiors and an eco-friendly electric motor. Enjoy a good book on the terrace whilst you soak up the sun.
For 5* luxury
There are plenty of world-class options in Kerala but our favourites are evocative of the region whilst providing indulgent accommodation...
- The stunning Vivanta by Taj Green Cove, inspired by the traditional Keralan houseboat, boasts accommodation with stunning interiors and private balconies. Unwind in their extensive Ayurvedic spa and enjoy the tranquility of its leafy surroundings.
- Accommodation at the unapologetically lavish Leela Kovalam features smart modern interiors, whilst it also boasts a private beach and an infinifty pool. With a range of spa treatments and yoga classes offered, you'll feel a million miles away from all your worries.
- Niraamaya Retreats Surya Samudra enjoys a wonderful setting in jungle-like grounds, offering ocean views and with access to a quiet beach. Their chic cottages feature plenty of Keralan wood and you can enjoy terrific meals at Café Samsara.
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.
- Whether it’s the wholehearted welcome at Philipkutty’s Farm, a spoling farm-stay with six secluded villas set along the waterfront - featuring clay-tiled floors, antiques and mahogany furniture. Scoff down local specialities at the restaurant, which has been recommended by none other than Rick Stein!
- The 18th-century Malabar House oozes colonial charm with individually decorated rooms some of which feature four poster beds. Enjoy South Indian fusion cuisine and spend your days relaxing by the pool.
- The immersive rural experience at Harvest Fresh Farms is a must for those interested in sustainable tourism. This organic eco farm offers comfortable rooms and guests get stuck in with all aspects of farm life - from picking vegetables for supper to mucking out the animals! A splendid family stay.
- Rainforest Boutique Resort offers upmarket treetop accommodation with stylish interiors, modern bathrooms and panoramic views. Relax by the pool and enjoy fusion dishes at the restaurant. A unique spot!
- The Wind, perched on a clifftop overlooking a valley, enjoys a wondefully serene setting. There are eight cottages with private balconies offering phenomenal views, and an eclectic array of cuisine is served up. Make the most out of your location to head off hiking through the area and explore the surrounding tea plantations.
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 in Fort Kochi, offers stylish rooms with white walls and the odd dash of colour. Set in lush gardens and with its own waterfront restaurant, this is a truly idyllic retreat.
- Le Colonial, brimming with antiques and walls covered in original art, proudly displays its roots. Spacious rooms feature four poster beds, bright silks and rugs. Come back after exploring all of Kochi's sights and unwind by the pool with a good book.
- Purity combines pop colours with local furnishings for a successful fusion feel. This modern boutique spot boast spacious accommodation with verandahs offering garden and lake views, whilst you can also enjoy fresh Keralan dishes al-fresco. What's more, there's an extensive spa on site.
- Shalimar Spice Garden is an exotic yet secluded hideaway offering chic cottages. Unwind in a hammock by the pool or make use of their Ayurvedic spa to feel utterly rejuvenated. Wander around the surrounding spice plantations and learn about how they're integrated into the restaurant's superb cuisine.
- Trinity, set in a colonial building, boasts just three bedrooms featuring chic interiors and antiques. This intimate spot also lets guests have free use of their bikes, so there's no excuse not to see all that Kochi has to offer!
- The homely Raheem Residency specialises in authentic boutique beach life, boasting charming and spacious accommodation complete with antique furnishings and rich fabrics - whilst some even come with four poster beds! Join in with the daily yoga classes to feel truly refreshed. A truly idyllic stay.
- Privacy At Sanctuary Bay enjoys a serene setting on the waterfront of Vembanad Lake. Accommodation is in cottages featuring terracotta flooring and colourful silks, whislt you'll love the splendid cuisine served up. A romantic boutique getaway.
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:
- Neeleshwar Hermitage offers nineteen thatched cottages boasting a serene location on an isolated stretch of beach. With smart, beach-chic interiors featuring private terraces, there's also a range of specialised Ayurvedic treatments on offer to help you fully unwind.Add to all this scrumptious food, and you have a truly excellent stay!
- Vivanta by Taj – Green Cove is a great choice for ultimate pampering. Forget about all your worries as you relax in their extensive spa and spend your days soaking up the sun on the beach while keeping your eyes peeled for turtles and dolphins!
- Bethsaida Hermitage boasts easy access to Vizingham beach and offers specialised Ayurvedic spa treatments. Large and smart rooms have a traditional feel to them, and you can enjoy fusion Indian and Chinese cuisine at the restaurant.
- The Zuri Kumarakom Kerala Resorts & Spa offers rooms and cottages combining modern with traditional Indian styles - think dark wood exposed beams and contemporary textiles. Their extensive Maya spa offers a huge array of treatments and you can even arrange private yoga classes! Enjoy international cuisine and relax with a cocktail at sunset.
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.
- Somatheeram Ayurveda Resort offers private cottages set in 15 acres of lush grounds. Wander down to spend your days on the private beach or relax by the picturesque pool. With a number of Ayurvedic treatments offered and a doctor on site, you'll leave feeling years younger!
- Amruthram Gamaya, nestled amongst luscious green hills, is the ultimate holistic hideaway. Enjoy yogic, meditation or Ayurvedic retreats and take a boat out on Vellayani Lake for a relaxing way to spend an afternoon. A wonderful retreat!
- Surya Samudra enjoys a fantastic location, set amidst 20 acres of lush gardens atop a hillock. Their chic, stylish cottages - made from locally sourced materials - ooze tropical luxury. With a private beach, a spa, tremendous cuisine and wonderful views, this is the ulitmate choice in romance and relaxation.
For a Cottage or Villa
- If you think you'd be best served by a self-catering option then browse through the wide variety available with our partner, booking.com.
- It's best to visit in peak season, from September to March, when the climate is cool and comfortable. Off season is from April to May, however at this time the weather's too hot and humid to really enjoy walking around exploring the area. Monsoon Season is from June to August, and so it's a good idea to avoid visiting at this time!
- Kerala boasts no less than 3 international airports: Trivandrum International Airport (serving Thiruvananthapuram), Cochin International Airport (serving Kochi) and Calicut International Airport (serving Kozhikode). Flights from the UK usually take around 12 and a half hours and require at least one changeover.
- For car hire prices, we recommend you visit our online partner Holiday Autos.
Not sure which is the best place to stay in Kerala for you?
Best Hotels in Kerala
The Old Courtyard 8 rooms from $31Kochi (Fort Cochin)
A delightfully calm, timeless oasis well located in this bustling and vibrant old harbour town. For travellers who favour good value, historical architecture with a story and a whiff of the colonial.Full of characterSights nearby - Visit the nearby Santacruz Basilica Kochi.
Bio Veda Ayruvedic Hill Resort 7 rooms from $31Kerala
This restorative hilltop rural retreat is geared towards good value Ayruvedic (package) treatments. Basic lodgings put the emphasis on health and relaxation. Solo travellers and couples will enjoy the peace. Not for luxury lovers, ambience seekers or elderly with walking difficulties.Local markets - Explore the bustling local market at Kallikadu.Great walks - Beautiful walking in the surrounding valleys.Sights nearby - Take a trip to the nearby Neyyar Dam.Romantic - Good for couples.
Harvest Fresh Farms 3 rooms from $46Near 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.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 16 rooms from $48Fort Kochi
A lovely family-run boutique property in a great location in the historical town of Fort Kochi. Quiet, full of character and excellent valueOther Activities - Front desk will order a variety of tours, including elephant ridesBirdwatching - Good birding near the hotel.Sights nearby - Well located for major sights.Traditional
Villa Jacaranda 4 rooms from $52Varkala
A white washed, back to basics four bedroom home stay that offers the minimum but in a modern, clean and personal way. Private terraces, Keralan dishes to order and notably tranquil. A stones throw of the South Varkala beach, on the rooftop you can absorb all around. Beautiful and charismatic place.Sights nearby - Janardhana Temple being the main temple attraction.SpaRecommended by - I Escape
Kondai Lip Backwater Heritage Resort 11 rooms from $64Kochi (Kerala)
A no-nonsense, easy-going pit stop in a quiet, isolated backwater location, not far from Fort Kochi. Good for a night or two - for groups and families. Boats to borrow and birds to watch. Also home to a small butterfly garden.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.
Somatheeram Ayurveda Resort 89 rooms from $65Kovalam (Kerala)
Utterly immersive Ayurvedic experience at a truly inviting price. Private cottages are dotted around 15 acres of lush grounds, plus there's a large pool or you can Wander down to the private beach. Vegetarian dishes are served and there is an on site doctor - a truly comprehensive stay.Spa breaks - Dedicated to authentic Ayurvedic treatments you will leave feeling years youngerValue chic - Comfortable accommodation at an inviting priceSwimming Pool - Outdoor poolSeaside - Ideal for a seaside holiday.
Soul and Surf 14 rooms from $70Varkala (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.Beach nearbySights 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 8 rooms from $72Munnar,, Kerala
A clifftop boutique hotel in one of Kerala’s most scenic regions. Phenomenal views, clean, comfortable rooms and stunning surroundingsViews - Scenic Munnar hill rangesOutstanding locationSights nearby - Well located for major sights.Secluded setting - For escaping.
Karikkathi Beach House 2 rooms from $69Kazhivoor, Kerala
Even though it's hard to access, this idyllic haven is worth it for its glorious peacefulness and crowd-free beach. Perfect for those intrepid travellers who like no distractions and to be at one with nature.Hideaway - Off the beaten track, it's the perfect place to hideaway for a few days on the beach.Sights nearby - Thirty minutes from the amazing city of Trivandrum.Great walks - Wander along the nearby sandy beach.On the beach - In front of the hotel.Recommended by - I Escape
Over The Hill 8 rooms from $82Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
A small, friendly place near Trivandrum in a verdant peaceful location which makes for a good spot to unwind after a long journey. Perfect for couples and families preferring a low key no frills hotel immersed in nature. Staff offer a very personal service so guests feel very well cared for.Sights nearby - Visit the nearby Padmanabhapuram Palace in Kovalam.Fishing - Sea fishing trips can be organised by the hotel.Seaside - Ideal for a seaside holiday.Swimming Pool - Indoor/outdoor
Vivanta by Taj Trivandrum 127 rooms from $83Thiruvananthapuram (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.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
Our Land 6 rooms from $86Alappuzha (Punnapra Pallathuruthy)
This Eco getaway is about getting fully immersed in nature. For the more intrepid traveller who is content with rustic simplicity and an authentic experience. Not for those who like their creature comforts - although there are plenty of creatures to keep you comfort! A bird watcher's paradise.Back to Nature - Escape to a secluded backwater island on the banks of the holy Pamba River.Hideaway - Isolated and serene, it's perfect for a hideaway holiday.Sights nearby - Four miles from the Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple.Birdwatching - Superb birdwatching with some 105 local species.
Raheem Residency 10 rooms from $91Alappuzha (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.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
Kayal Island Retreat 2 rooms from $96Alappuzha, Kerala
Only accessible by traditional rowboats this island hideaway offers total relaxation. Just two villas, charmingly decorated and furnished with antiques, invite guests to step into authentic Keralan life. Local dishes are served whilst Ayurvedic massages, yoga and meditation are available.Hideaway - With just two villas this is a proper private island getawayFamilies - Families or groups can hire the entire propertyGreat walks - Around the island, through the coconut plantationsSecluded setting - For escaping.
Windermere Estate 18 rooms from $104Munnar, 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.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 characterRecommended by - I Escape
Eighth Bastion 18 rooms from $106Kochi (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.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 28 rooms from $109Kottayam (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.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 8 rooms from $109Kovalam (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.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 16 rooms from $117Kochi (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.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.Views - Great views from hotelSeaside - Ideal for a seaside holiday.
Niraamaya Retreats Cardamom Club 6 rooms from $124Kumily, 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.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.Cooking classes - The hotel's chef offers local culinary classes.Secluded setting - For escaping.
Punnamada Resort 36 rooms from $129Alappuzha (Kottankulangara)
The classic, timeless style will appeal to those who like quality, understated luxury and discreet, professional service. Beautiful location and caters well for all activities. Just as well suited to families as it is for couples and solo travellers.Sights nearby - Visit the nearby Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple.Fishing - Fishing trips can be organised on Vembanad Lake.Local markets - Explore the bustling local market in Alleppey.Birdwatching - Nine miles from the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary.
Bethsaida Hermitage 60 rooms from $129Kovalam (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.WellbeingSailing - 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 59 rooms from $130Kovalam (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.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 72 rooms from $132Kottayam (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.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.
Pepper Trail 3 rooms from $138Wayanad, Kerala
Quirky, chic and surrounded by nature is how we'd describe this three bedroomed, tree-top property. Uniquely decorated suites use local craftsmanship and pop colour with divine intent. No pokey bathrooms here. Dishes plucked from the kitchen garden are served and Ayurvedic massages are on offer.Romantic Break - Sprawling tree top accommodation with colourful interiors and charming bathroomsBack to Nature - Sleep up in the trees amidst 200 acres of working coffee and spice plantationsValue chic - Tremendous value for such a unique and luxurious stayGreat walks - Guided nature trails through the estate's 200 hundreds acres of coffee and spice plantations
Vismaya 2 rooms from $138Cherthala, Kerala
Lakeside retreat in a beautiful old building recently renovated with stunning views, discreet personal service catering for sublime relaxation. For couples and families with older children.Great walks - Beautiful walking along the side of Lake Vembanad.Local markets - Explore the local market at Varanad.Sights nearby - Visit the nearby Devi Temple.Remote - Off the beaten track.
Privacy at Sanctuary Bay from $143Kochi (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.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 18 rooms from $143Kumily, 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.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 3 rooms from $146Kochi (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.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
A Beach Symphony from $148Kerala
A luxurious oasis within its own grounds on a long stretch of beautiful beach. Guests (mostly couples) are given their own independent cottages with lots of private space indoors and out and treated to professional and discreet service.Birdwatching - Superb birdwatching in the nearby Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary.Sights nearby - Visit the nearby Vaikom Mahadeva Temple.Seaside - Ideal for a seaside holiday.On the beach - In front of the hotel.
Surya Samudra Beach Garden 31 rooms from $151Kovalam (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.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 19 rooms from $175Kasaragod, 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.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
Ameya from $182Cherthala, Kerala
Lakeside luxury can be found at this newly opened French owned retreat where space, privacy and first class service are to be found. Best for couples.Birdwatching - The surrounding area is great for birdwatching.Sights nearby - Visit nearby Hindu Temples.Secluded setting - For escaping.Romantic - Good for couples.
Le Colonial 7 rooms from $182Kochi (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.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 from $182Thekkady, 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.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 6 rooms from $191Vechoor, Kottayam Dist.
An idyllic homestay on a farm-island in the backwaters of Lake Vembanad. A truly authentic Keralan experience in a magical settingCooking classes - Cookery demonstrations teaching local cuisine secretsBirdwatching - Egrets, Cormorants, snake birds and moreBack to Nature - Best time to visit. October to March.Fishing - Excellent fishing nearby.Recommended by - I Escape
The Leela Kovalam 183 rooms from $201Kovalam (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.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 5 rooms from $202Kottayam (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.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 characterRomantic - Good for couples.Recommended by - I Escape, Tablet, Mr & Mrs Smith
Paradise Gardens Beach Resort & Ayurveda Centre 2 rooms from $194Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
Rustic German-owned hideaway far from the madding crowds and off the beaten track where guests are given equal measures of privacy and pampering. Ideal for those who crave simplicity and solitude with only the sounds of nature to disturb the peace. Perfect for couples and small groups.Sights nearby - Three miles from Bethsaida Hermitage and Padmanabhapuram Palace in Kovalam.Fishing - Hotel can organise sea fishing trips for guests.Great walks - Beautiful walks along the nearby beach.Restrictions on children - Adult only.
Purity 10 rooms from $221Muhamma, 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.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 characterViews - Great views from hotelRecommended by - I Escape
Rainforest Boutique Resort 9 rooms from $234Athirapally, 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.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 26 rooms from $234Kochi (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.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
Vivanta by Taj Green Cove 59 rooms from $234Thiruvananthapuram, 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.Sights nearby - Ten minutes walk from Padmanabhapuram Palace, Kovalam.Fishing - Sea fishing trips can be organised by the hotel.Great walks - Kovalam Beach is just 500m walk away.Romantic - Good for couples.
The Malabar House 17 rooms from $241Kochi (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.Local markets - You will be sure to find treasures in the antique markets of Jewtown.Full of characterDesigner - Uniquely designed interiors.Cooking classes - Check for timings.Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, I Escape
Discovery, The Backwaters 2 rooms from $267Vembanad 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.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 52 rooms from $285Kottayam (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.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.
Niraamaya Retreats Surya Samudra 31 rooms from $391Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
One of Kerala's finest 5 Star hotels, this 30 year old Relais & Chateaux hideaway boasts a sublime location, ocean views, access to a quiet beach, innovative food and an award winning spa. A hot destination for couples, young and elderly, seeking sophisticated chic in unbeatable surroundings.Sights nearby - Three miles from Padmanabhapuram Palace, Kovalam.Great walks - Beautiful sunset walks along the nearby beach.Views - Great views from hotelSeaside - Ideal for a seaside holiday.
The Oberoi Vrinda 8 rooms from $688Kochi (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.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.