When you are tired of your office surroundings or when your brain refuses to supply you with enough imagination to survive those roundtable meetings or just when you feel too bored of life – you just travel to Kerala. Your faith on humanity is restored, you start believing in people and above all you know there are other ways to life. To ensure that our system is fed with this dope, every year me and Sayantani plan an annual trip to Kerala. And this time we got an invite from Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG) to review Crowne Plaza Kochi property for Indulgence Chronicle. A perfect balance between leisure and business, this luxury property has carved out a niche for itself. With handpicked teams and well equipped rooms, Crowne Plaza Kochi should be in your experience list this season.
The early morning 6E flight we took from Delhi made a smooth landing at Kochi Airport, India’s only airport completely powered by solar. Crisscrossing through the city traffic, we reached the hotel in 35 minutes, which means the location is quite good for airport commute. As we got down from the car, we were greeted in typical Indian way with flowers. An ever smiling Emily, the front desk staff, greeted us with tender coconut water. Kerala and coconut are synonymous.
Room with a view
The check in process is super-smooth. Emily emceed us to our room, which is of deluxe category. The room is 34 square meter, a global standard for all Crowne Plaza hotels. As we removed the curtains, we were amazed to find a horizon-kissing backwater right in front of us. In our mind, we have decided to abort the view even for a second for next 48 hours. Where in your home would you get a backwater lake frequented by houseboats.
Well for the uninitiated ones about Kerala, backwater lakes are quite common in this state. The Kerala backwaters are a chain of brackish lagoons and lakes lying parallel to the Arabian Sea coast (known as the Malabar Coast) of Kerala state in southern India. The network includes five large lakes linked by canals, both manmade and natural, fed by 38 rivers, and extending virtually half the length of Kerala state. The backwaters were formed by the action of waves and shore currents creating low barrier islands across the mouths of the many rivers flowing down from the Western Ghats range.
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The room that we were lodged in had a King Size bed, a couch overlooking the glass window. There is well stocked minibar. However as per the Supreme Court’s directive, this hotel being beside the highway can’t serve alcohol. Just like any other premium business hotel, the internet is wireless and superfast. The washroom has bath tub. So in the evening, after your meetings, just lie flat in the tub and borrow some mineral oil from the Spa.
The hotel has four categories of rooms – deluxe, superior, junior suite, and presidential suite. All rooms are endowed with city view or backwater view.
Crowne Plaza Kochi has all the facilities of a luxury 5 star. It has a well equipped gym, salon and a spa. The Spa has been leased out to Mumbai based Sohum. Being in Kerala, you really can’t miss out on Shirodhara and Ayurvedic massages. We opted for the traditional Kerala massage and slipped into an hour of heavenly bliss. The charges are reasonable and worth it.
Food and Kerala go hand in hand. The land of Kerala Biryani and Avial is renowned for cuisines from three regions in the state- Malabar, Kochi and Travancore. We shall discuss about the food of Crowne Plaza in details in our next story to you.
There are four restaurants in the hotel including a coffee lounge. We tried the lunch at Mosaic. Chef Gaurav, in charge of Mosaic is a friendly chap from Punjab. Gaurav offered us a wide variety of buffet meal ranging from a delicious beef curry, roasted duck, Kerala chicken and avail among the major dishes. There was a Sea food delicacy as well, which was loaded with squid, octopus, calamari. There was a lavish live station for Indonesian Chicken satay, Thai rice and Appam and meenkari.
The evening tea was relished at Ashokan’s Chayakad, a promotional tea shack at the hotel. A senior chef Ashokan makes refreshing tea and coffee in traditional method where the coffee is added with milk and poured from a height, thus giving it a hint of espresso. But the coffee being filter type, tastes completely different.
The dinner was sorted at the terrace restaurant, rightly named Sky Grill. You can actually see the city beaming with flickering lights like a fairytale. And when you are engrossed in deep thoughts, the chef sends a delicious platter of Caramelized Prawns, Black Pepper Chicken Skewers, Panco coated fish fingers. The prawns so tender! Fish never tasted this divine before. You get a certain high, thanks to the hint of coconut oil.
This hotel isn’t exactly in the downtown. Fortunately most tourist attractions are at 20 minute distance. Also most offices are nearby. No matter whether you visit for business, you can always add travel flavour to the trip. The sprawling garden near the pool gives your back water view a moment of truth where you can sit, relax and ponder.