Set amongst coconut groves and backwater canals, experience the real Kerala at the Coconut Lagoon resort in Kumarakom. Overlooking the Vembanad lake, one of the largest lakes in India, even approaching Coconut Lagoon is impressive, as it can only be reached by boat. The gentle boat ride from a kilometre upstream offers a relaxing introduction to the resort, passing coconut palms and traditional houses. It’s a real highlight of an escorted tour of India with Distant Journeys, and its location close to the Vembanad Lake means you’re not only able to explore the lake and backwaters at your own pace, but also discover the many rare birds, animals and plant species found here.
Ecology, community and culture are the Coconut Lagoon’s three main values, and they are all reflected in life at the resort. Each of the guest houses are former traditional mansions known as tharavads, each transported and rebuilt from local villages to prevent them from being demolished, preserving the local architecture. A rare indigenous breed of cattle called the Vechoor also graze on the land, actively preventing this breed from dying out. Coconut Lagoon Kumarakom is also extremely eco-friendly, making the most of local resources, upcycling and recycling wherever possible.
Accommodation and services
The Coconut Lagoon Resort Kerala is not so much a hotel as a private village, where, rather than in a room, you’ll get to stay in one of the beautiful former tharavads (bungalows or mansions). These boast traditional Kerala wood-based architecture, featuring elegant floral and geometric carvings. Each guest house is totally unique, and no detail has been spared, with furnishings either painstakingly sourced from traditional manors or created by skilled craftspeople.
As standard, all of the cottages at the Coconut Lagoon Resort Kumarakom feature air conditioning, for your comfort, and complimentary Wi-Fi. The beautiful bedrooms contain either double or twin beds, with well-equipped and partly open-to-sky en-suite bathrooms. The bathrooms offer showers, a hairdryer and all the other little touches such as bathrobes, slippers, and a dental and shaving kit. If you’d like to enjoy a beverage from the comfort of your room, there’s a mini bar (chargeable), tea and coffee facilities, and two free bottles of drinking water provided each day. Enjoy your drink outside and lap up the views on the cottage’s private terrace. For all your laundry needs, a laundry service is provided, and an iron and ironing board can be provided on request.
Leisure facilities and activities
Take a dip in truly unique surroundings in the outdoor lakeside pool. With grand views of the Vembanad lake, it’s a real highlight of the Coconut Lagoon Kumarakom. You can also feel all of your stresses slip away at the resort’s Ayurveda centre, employing traditional Ayurvedic and Indian practices, including herbal massages and therapies, to help you de-stress. Those who wish to look after their fitness can also visit the on-site gym, with a variety of cardio machines, or take part in the daily yoga classes for an invigorating start to the day.
If you want to learn more about the resort’s stunning surrounding and the Vembanad Lake, there are a variety of facilities and activities to help you do so. Cruise along the many backwater canals of Kumarakom with a relaxed canoe ride, or take the peaceful hour-long sunset cruise out on the lake, accompanied by flute music. You can also learn about the area’s biodiversity with birdwatching experiences, a visit to the Butterfly Garden – home to 54 different species – or a naturalists’ talk at the Darter Club. The local culture is also celebrated at Coconut Lagoon with its unique floating tea shop, gift shop selling a range of local Kerala products, and the vibrant and traditional Ottanthullal performances.
The serene Aymanam restaurant overlooks the lake and is a great place to visit at the Coconut Resort for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Dine either indoors or outdoors on buffet offerings throughout the day, including a number of authentic Kerala dishes served on banana leaves, such as karimeen, a local fish; tapioca with crushed birds-eye chilli; and plenty of dishes centred around coconut, the core ingredient gathered from the palms that grow here to flavour curries, chutneys and much more.
Kerala cuisine is also largely centred around fish and shellfish caught in the local backwaters, and you can sample several of these at the Vembanadu Grill. Tuck into favourites such as rock lobster, tiger prawns and scampi, all freshly grilled and seasoned.
For a larger variety of international dishes, visit the rustic Ettukettu restaurant. Open for lunch and dinner, it offers dishes from both Asian and Western cuisines.