“He who lives sees much. He who travels sees more.” Arab proverb
Kumarakom Lake Resort is an impressive luxury resort in Kottayam set over a vast twenty-five acres filled with coconut trees in manicured gardens on the shore of Vembanad Lake. The resort is a mixture of traditional standalone manas (Keralan homesteads) built from dismantled ancestral homes and villas with either private pools or pool access located on both sides of the main communal areas.
The open-air lobby and reception area was impressive but the staff were not so friendly at check-in especially when discussing the wifi options and charges which unfortunately tainted my first impression of the hotel. We had lunch and dinner on the first day at the open-sided main Ettukettu restaurant which served Keralan and North Indian cuisine alongside a selection of international dishes. Originally a eight-sided mansion with two courtyards used for martial arts, the Ettukettu is testament to Kerala’s history and architecture, it was dismantled and shipped from its original locality and relocated to the Kumarakom Lake Resort.
The food served at Ettukettu was ok but nothing special, the service was slow and painful which was frustrating but they did serve alcohol which helped, a buffet style breakfast was also served here. Vembanad Seafood bar was closed for renovation which was a shame as the area is a well known fishing region with the menu offering freshly caught Keralan seafood dishes.
Daily complimentary afternoon tea was served on the lawn adjacent to the lake’s edge, the perfect spot to watch the sunset and home to the resort’s own coir clad houseboat. Thattukada, the traditional outdoor ‘teashop’ was a simple boiling container expelling aromatic steam into the garden surrounding by fresh hanging bananas on coir ropes and offering freshly fried local snacks alongside a range of teas. Unprompted entertainment was provided on the last morning at breakfast as we watched an extremely agile man shimmy up the very tall coconut trees without a harness or rope to remove the dead leaves whilst launching coconuts to the ground.
There was also a fresh coconut stall and a poolside bar that we didn’t visit, pushed for time we didn’t use the Ayurvedic spa either but peeped inside and it did look nice as did the Curio shop that sold authentic cultural artifacts, souvenirs and textiles. The resort offered water sports including water skiing, banana boat and speedboat rides as well as fishing and free bikes. Sunset cruises, creative workshops, village walks and a trip to the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary can all also be arranged.
We had a colonial-style meandering pool villa with direct access to the 250 metre winding pool from our terrace and an ensuite open-roofed bathroom. Authentic dark heavy wooden Indian furniture was offset with white bed linen along with brightly coloured textiles and accessories. Overall the room was well presented, clean and I liked the authentic touches especially the traditional style Indian door but was I a bit freaked out that snakes would fall from the tree that overhung the open air bathroom (none did by the way). If I was being ultra picky I would have preferred a room further in the resort rather than at the end of a walkway near the perimeter fence.
As we had read that Prince Charles had stayed there to celebrate his 65th birthday I was expecting great things especially in regard to dining options and service standards which in all honestly were lacking. The location is quaint and has a certain charm and its lakeside location was a major plus point, it was a relaxing couple of days but I wouldn’t rush back as we had experienced better hotels for equivalent or less money.
The Nitty Gritty
Kumarakom Lake Resort, Kumarakom North Post – Kottayam 686 566, Kerala, India.
Telephone: 1800 425 5030 (toll free number)
Beautiful manicured grounds and a fabulous lakeside setting
Stunning room with direct pool access
Complimentary afternoon tea
The Not so Good……
Not the friendliest staff
Wifi was not complimentary and quite expensive.
The food in the main restaurant was ok but nothing special, very disappointing for the standard of hotel as was the speed of the service.
The seafood restaurant was shut for renovation.
All views are my own. Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2015. All rights reserved.
Read my nine previous Kerala posts In Pictures: A Postcard From Kerala, India, Discover Kerala: Faces of India, Discover Kerala: Cochin , Review: Vivanta by Taj-Malabar, Cochin, Discover Kerala: Munnar, Review: The Fog Resort & Spa, Munnar, Discover Kerala: Thekkady, Review: Greenwoods Resort, Thekkady and Discover Kerala: Kumarakom