“Sleep is the best meditation.” Dalai Lama
The Vivanta by Taj Hotel – Malabar is a colonial style gated hotel, a vast resort on Willingdon Island, a historical location that’s seen many travellers pass by its door over the years from traders to the discerning traveller.
As soon as the gates close behind you there’s an air of dignified serenity. Greeted at the door by ladies in traditional dress, we were each blessed before entering the sophisticated lobby which was an eclectic mix of classic artefacts, dark wood bespoke furnishings and textiles. This five-star property has a heritage wing, built in 1935 that still has Victorian interiors that reflect the more traditional Cochin and a newer tower wing that has renovated guestroom suites, a mix of the classic with the contemporary.
After travelling all night and sightseeing all day arriving at such a luxurious and comfortable abode was a blessing. The hotel promises ‘You Can Eat The World’ but in reality while the Indian specialities were good, the other options were disappointing especially the Italian risotto in the Pepper all-day dining restaurant. We did enjoy the complimentary High Tea, after settling in our large room, where mini international delicacies were paired with Indian treats and of course lots of tea. Pepper served both Indian and International cuisine for each meal to suit every guest including wellness menus. The hotel has three other restaurants, The Rice Boat serving seafood, The Thai Pavilion and the open-air Dolphin’s Point, but we didn’t visit any of them due to time constraints of a one-night stay.
The gardens were a stunning mix of lush greenery and colourful tropical blooms that gave an additional feeling of tranquility. This really is the perfect place for the weary traveller to rest their head and indulge in some luxury. Relaxing body scrubs and Indian massages were offered at the Jiva Spa and there was also a beauty salon, gym and business centre but we didn’t try any of these as we only stayed one night. Good wifi connections were available in our room and all the public areas.
We took the complimentary sunset cruise on a traditional wooden Indian boat across Vembanad Lake. The cruise passed by the modern port, past the brightly coloured Indian fishing boats moored up for the night and the famous cantilevered Chinese fishing nets that line the shore. While it was a pleasant outward journey, the return leg was spoilt by loud music played through crackling speakers and bright flashing disco lights, both completely unnecessary and quite frankly annoying. Upon our return it was happy hour so we enjoyed pre-dinner drinks at Mattancherry, the stylish lobby lounge bar.
Winner of multiple international awards, the Vivanta by Taj – Malabar accommodates the needs of all types of traveller whether it’s couples, families, business travellers or honeymooners, they can cater for all individual requirements across their various different rooms and packages. If you are looking for a place to start your trip in style or somewhere to finish to unwind and relax in luxurious surroundings, then this hotel is the place for you.
The Nitty Gritty
Vivanta by Taj Hotel- Malabar
Wellington Island, Kochi (Cochin) 682009, India
Telephone: +91 484 664 3000
Check-out 12:00pm (Late Check out Available upon request)
Old school colonial charm
Immaculate resort and gardens
Complimentary High Tea and Sunset Cruise
Attentive and hospitable staff
The Not so Good……
Unnecessary disco on sunset cruise ruined the experience
International Dining Options were disappointing (Italian)
Food was expensive compared to the rest of Kerala but as expected in a 5* hotel
Alcohol prices were very high except at Happy Hour
Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2015. All rights reserved.