On a drizzly morning this June, I found myself at Cochin International Airport, greeting the chauffer of the silver Innova our hotel had sent us. And as we drove through the green and rolled down our windows, I marvelled to breathe in the fact that this, too, can be a city.
My time in Vayalar, Kerala, was punctuated with such unannounced heavy rain showers and yet, not for once, did it feel like a hindrance to my trip. Rather, it magnified the greenery, filled up the backwaters, and diffused in the air a petrichor exclusively intrinsic to the Kerala soil. Almost a 2-hour ride from Kochi International Airport, Vayalar is a village in the Alapuzha district of Kerala. Situated on the eastern banks of the Vembanad backwaters, Vayalar is a quiet land with modest brick houses with thatched roofs, narrow serpentine streets, a fantastic spice market, and occasional churches popping out of nowhere.
Vasundhara Sarovar Premiere, sitting on the Kerala backwaters to its back, is unlike any hotel I’ve ever been to. As you walk into the lobby, it seems you’ve stepped outside¬—with only two sides walled, the other two opening to a lush green you would want to roll over on, and the incense of fresh flowers filling your lungs. Everything about the lobby reflects a sense of piousness, a gateway to a soulful getaway.
As we walked to our room, because we didn’t want to miss out on the tiny details on the physical aspects of the hotel, we fell in love with the stairwell. An old school, dark mahogany-finish, the staircase was an instant hit for my husband, who decided we’d have something like that once we build our own house. Touchwood!
The room was enormous; the bed at the centre illuminated with hues lit up from underneath, a couch too good to resist, and a balcony overlooking what I’d call paradise.
It was drizzling outside, the green greener than could ever be, and birds chirping to calm me down. Did I mention the bathroom? Well, the Portuguese influence in the design could be well read. One word: gorgeous.
In the evening, we realised we’re hungry. My husband, the over-excited foodie, rushed me to the restaurant downstairs, Mystic Spices. touché! The place has a great ambience and delicious food. For two days, we gorged on traditional Kerala cuisine and fish. Lots of fish.
And they were all mouth-watering! Mystic Spices is aptly named. It has an entire wall featuring the spices you get in Kerala. It’s very Instagram worthy!
We went to the serene poolside after dinner and the beautiful, dimly-lit surrounding as the live flute player lulled us to a drowse too intoxicating to disturb. We went up to bed happy and woke up to rain next morning. Extra happy!
Shaazi, the Adventure Co-ordinator of Vasundhara Sarovar, is a wonderful man. He is endearing, punctual, and a keen observer. His enthusiasm to make our trip worthwhile was electric. Shaazi had arranged a boat for us to take a tour of the backwaters and visit a shack where Toddy, a local alcohol, favourite among generations of locals and tourists, is made. I should mention here that the shack was not filled with people looking lewdly at me, nor did it have an uncomfortable air. On the contrary, it was welcoming. There was stench of fish and pork and beef and fermented coconut, but it was warm and welcoming. And people inside greeted us. Not the regular alcohol shop, right? And needless to say, the boat ride was amazing. Green and gorgeous, Kerala is indeed God’s own country. We can’t thank Shaazi enough!
Vasundhara Sarovar Premiere not just gifted us a perfect vacation, but a memory I would want to share with everyone. Now when people ask me, “So how was Kerala?” I fish for words for a moment, stay silent, and reply, “beautiful”. Because no other word would comply.
Rates: Starting at Rs 7000 (varies according to season)
Official Site: www.sarovarhotels.com
Telephone :+91 478 6613000, +91 8089066001
Location: Vasundhara Sarovar Premiere
VP II/ 123 F, Vayalar, Cherthala. Alleppey District. Kerala