Royal retreat of the Raja of Cochin, this magnificent vintage villa provides grandeur on the backwaters.
“Once upon a time there was a king…” Now you can be part of that story as the royal family of Cochin has opened one of their homes to guests. Long ago, another powerful king stopped the Raja of Cochin from visiting the famed Guruvayoor temple. The Raja vowed to have a better Krishna temple in his own kingdom and hence the Cheranalloor Krishna temple was built. The Chittoor Kottaram was created as a royal retreat near it. Today it accommodates only one group at a time so that it remains a majestic experience. The hour-long journey over water from Fort Kochi in a private motorboat is a great way to start the experience.
The Kottaram (meaning palace) is maintained so well that it is hard to believe that it is 400 years old. It is a lovely large house with extensive wooden verandahs serving as communal spaces. The one in front looks over the lagoon while the one at the back looks over the inner courtyard and lawn. Though it is built over a large area, the house has only three bedrooms. The two smaller ones are on the ground floor while the royal bedroom on the first floor has a separate living area and a bedroom. One of the bedrooms downstairs is a double while other two have the original twin four poster beds. The en-suite bathrooms are modern and one even has a selection of books in it. The royal pond with a long row of covered steps leading to it is soon to become the swimming pool. There is a private Ayurveda massage area in the grounds and two complimentary massages are available to guests. Every evening, a performance of traditional art is staged in the garden. It is quite magical to experience a private Kathakali or Mohiniattam performance at close quarters.
The kitchen and dining area are next to each other and guests are welcome to watch preparation of food. Traditional Kerala food is served on banana leaves for lunch and North Indian food for dinner. Ideally guests should stay for 2 nights to ensure that they have tasted the best of Kerala vegetarian cuisine. Guests are also invited to join the morning market visit for fresh vegetables and fruits. A sunset boat ride with tea and snacks is part of the experience too. The manager and the staff are tireless in ensuring that the guests relax and enjoy the royal experience.