Lake-view cottages in a spice and coconut farm on an island in the Vembanad Lake.
A pioneer in Kerala homestays, Philikutty’s Farm near Kottayam is the brainchild of Vinod Mathew. At a time when agricultural revenue was waning, he decided to showcase the very facets of his farm that made it a difficult proposition. The fifty acre farm which grows spices and coconuts is on an island built on reclaimed land within the Vembanad Lake. Typical of reclaimed backwater areas, it is 2 meters lower than the level of the lake and has a retaining wall all around the island. It is surrounded by water and accessible only by country boat. And this is the part that guests love. The serenity, the view of the lake and its inaccessibility combine to give a “Robinson Crusoe with comforts” holiday. Sadly, Vinod passed away a few years ago at a young age. His energetic wife Anu and mother Aniamma run the farm now.
This is the perfect place to finish the book that you have been working on for the last decade. There are six cottages built in the traditional Kerala style with tiny courtyards facing the lakefront. Each cottage including the bathroom has an abundance of wooden fittings and is furnished beautifully with antiques. There are minor differences between the cottages but clearly the focus is on privacy and quietness. Instead of air conditioners, there are ceiling fans in all rooms. A common path runs in front of the villas though it does not disturb the privacy of the cottages. A wooden pavilion with a large dining table for communal meals is in close proximity. It also has bookcases and small tables with chairs for guests to use.
Mealtimes are undoubtedly the highlight of the day with the table groaning under the weight of the traditional Kerala feasts cooked by Aniamma. She is an outstanding cook who focuses on specialties from the backwaters. Gourmet magazines from Europe have featured her and now group lunches too are organized at the farm.
The family owns a plot of land on the mainland where cars can be parked safely, overnight . Their private country boat is available to ferry guests on their trips to the mainland and back.