I SPENT 15 days (18 days if I were to count the days I flew out of the Philippines and back) to see the various sights in 11 destinations in Kerala, India. This happened when I took part in the Kerala Blog Express Season 4, along with 28 other bloggers from 27 countries around the world. Apart from the attractions we saw and the activities we did, what made the whole trip enjoyable was the warm hospitality and the special treatment extended to us by our host hotels and resorts.
1. Coconut Lagoon, Kumarakom
Entry to the 30-acre resort is by boat through a small canal. A heritage and eco-tourism resort, Coconut Lagoon provides a breathtaking view of the Vembanad Lake. We stayed in one of the heritage bungalows with an open-air shower and toilet where you can be one with nature.
2. Neeleshwar Hermitage, Kannur
This is another resort with a garden courtyard inside the bathroom. Our cottage, named Moksha (Freedom), opens to the Arabian Sea. It has a hammock and lanai in front where we could enjoy the view of the beach. The room has a built-in iPod with dock that provides soothing music.
3. Kochi Marriott Hotel, Cochin
It was five-star luxury treatment as soon as we arrived at the towering Kochi Marriott Hotel, right behind Lulu Mall. From the mob dance to the sweet welcome treat with our respective domain names on it to the sit-down dinner at the posh Cassava restaurant, our stay was truly a delightful one.
4. Wayanad Wild, Wayanad
Set in the midst of a jungle filled with so much greenery, Wayanad Wild was indeed a resort that responds to the call of the wild. Run by CGH Earth, same as Coconut Lagoon, the resort takes into account the needs of its guests as well as that of nature.
5. Greenwoods Resort, Kumily
A tree house, the morning mist, and a festive welcome are some of the memorable features of Greenwoods Resort. Our room is one of a cluster of four that is found in the Kanana Deluxe Cottage. Located in the heart of Kumily, it is walking distance to various shops within the town proper.
6. Tea County KTDC, Munnar
The terrace in our hotel room opens to a beautiful view of the hills around Munnar. And because of the cold weather in Munnar, our room does not have an air conditioning unit, yet this was the coldest night we’ve ever experienced in our entire Kerala trip. Never mind that we had to walk far from the main lobby to our accommodation because we enjoyed the view and the beautiful flowers that are well kept in this property. KTDC hotels are government-owned hotels around Kerala.
7. The Raviz Kadavu, Kozikhode
The nine-acre property right at the banks of Chaliyar River is a resort that has beautiful landscapes. Our room has a wide open-air terrace fronting the river. It was in this hotel where we were treated to a brief cooking lesson by its in-house chef.
8. The River Retreat, Thrissur
This property overlooking Bharathappuzha or the River Nila used to be the summer villa of the Maharajas of Cochin. Now, it is the River Retreat, a heritage ayurvedic resort. Here we dined under the stars with the beautiful view of the river. Our room has a terrace which provides a view of the rice paddy field behind the resort.
9. KTDC Samudra, Trivandrum
Located in the coastal area of Kovalam, KTDC Samudra is a step away from the beach that faces the Arabian Sea. By the beach, there are vendors, shops, mosque and other attractions.
10. KTDC Bolgatty Palace, Cochin
Within Bolgatty Island in Cochin is the KTDC Bolgatty Palace and Island Resort. Formerly a Dutch mansion, it is a heritage structure tucked in a quiet spot in the commercial part of the city.
All photos are by this author. Claire Marie Algarme blogs at http://firsttimetravels.com. Follow her as @firsttimetravel on Twitter and Instagram and like her Facebook page First-time Travels.
Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on April 28, 2017.
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