A Beach Symphony

Alleppey, Cochin & the Backwaters, India Book from IRs8,900

Four beautiful traditional fishermen’s cottages on Marari's white sand beach - a symphony of serenity, warm hospitality and private dining
Belgian husband-and-wife team Jan and Christel have been in the hospitality industry for many years and A Beach Symphony is their dream project: an intimate, luxury hideaway that’s designed to make every guest feel blissfully at home. Originally a backpackers’ guesthouse called Motty’s Home, these 4 charming cottages are now lovingly decked out in richly-coloured fabrics and carefully chosen Keralan antiques.

Set in a sandy garden dotted with baby plants, hammocks and tall palms, they’re only yards from Marari’s stretch of unspoiled white beach and the sound of the waves lapping on the shore shushes you to sleep. All have air-conditioning, open-air showers and private, shaded verandas for dining and daydreaming; one cottage even has its own plunge pool. There’s a huge turquoise swimming pool and a garden pavilion for lounging in the sun, but if you want to escape for the day the owners will arrange a tuk-tuk tour of the area or a boat trip on the backwaters, before you return to enjoy delicious fresh seafood, serenaded by bird song.

Highs

  • Four beautifully designed cottages scattered through lush gardens beside a nice beach; Pool Villa Cottage Violin has its own plunge pool, too
  • Enjoy delicious informal dining on your huge private veranda - it's like a second room
  • The peace and quiet is blissful, with birdsong and waves to lull you to sleep
  • Both private and sociable at the same time, each cottage has its own facilities but there's also a communal pool and BBQ garden area
  • The owners and staff make you feel perfectly at home

Lows

  • You need to book months, if not years, ahead for high season - as it is so popular
  • A light undertow and occasional high swell can make sea swimming tricky (and dangerous for unwatched children)
  • Strict local alcohol laws mean there’s no official drinks licence or bar (although there is a small stock of beer and wine available on request)
  • The beach can get quite busy

Best time to go

October to April is the best time to visit, as temperatures are a blissful 22-32 degrees. If you’re visiting in February or March you might catch part of the 21-day children’s festival attended by a staggering 3,000 children.

The heat rises rapidly in May and A Beach Symphony closes during June and July for the southwest monsoon. A second, milder monsoon brings rain and wind to the whole region (particularly the coast) from mid-October to November. August brings the breathtaking Nehru Cup snakeboat races in Alleppey (18km away).

Our top tips

Set your alarm and take an early-morning stroll down the beach to watch Mararikulam fishermen bringing in their catch, sometimes over powerful breakers. It’s a very picturesque scene and little has changed in a thousand years.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Foodie
Honeymoon
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 4
  • Breakfast (+ other meals on request)
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 1 Jun 2016 - 31 Jul 2016
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
Room: Violin Cottage

Rooms

These 4 beachside cottages have an idyllic setting and feel wonderfully secluded. Seaview Cottage Khombu has curvaceous dark wood columns accentuated by white walls and perhaps the most impressive veranda. Both Khombu and Seaview Cottage Nagaswaram face the sea, while Pool Villa Cottage Violin (a cosy double with its own plunge pool) and Beach Cottage Sitar (a twin with extra space and privacy) are tucked into small gardens behind.

Each cottage reflects a different style of Keralan architecture, the most exotic being Nagaswaram with its wood-panelled walls and twin-peaked Chinese-hat roof. Inside the suites are dark and cool, with local art, teak furniture, roll blinds, earthy colours and feature bathrooms. But you’ll probably spend more time outside swaying gently in a hammock or reading on a daybed in the shade of your enormous terrace (30sq.m.).

All have air-conditioning and ornately carved beds. Bathrooms have strong showers set in private open-air bath-gardens (some also have double basins).

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Mobile phone
  • Terrace
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

Meals can be delivered to your veranda for relaxed private dining or set out on a communal table in the garden; candle lamps lend a romantic glow at night.

The food is fresh, traditional and not too spicy. Much of the seafood, including freshly-caught lobster, comes straight from the local fishermen and there's plenty of variety, with an excellent choice for vegetarians. Our dinner of grilled masala searfish with okra, rice, tomato and coconut salad and chapatis was delicious and beautifully presented.

Breakfasts can be continental or South Indian spreads, with plenty of fresh fruit and juices (filtered water is free and available at all times). Room service is also available, although the staff are so unobtrusive that it isn’t always easy to find them. If you struggle, each room has a mobile phone so anything you need is a quick call away.

Due to local laws, there is no alcohol licence, but guests can request drinks from the small stock of wine and beer.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Coffee tea making
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating: Sitar Cottage
Activity:

Activities

  • Amble along the soft sands of the beach or swim in the clear seas (swell permitting - it can be stormy Oct-Nov). You might even be lucky enough to spot a dolphin from the shore
  • Indulge in an Ayurvedic treatment in one of the many local centres. On-site yoga and meditation classes can also be arranged
  • Borrow a mountain bike from A Beach Symphony and explore the coastline
  • Visit the village of Mararikulam where weaving, coir-making and fishing are the main occupations
  • Ask the owners to arrange a cruise around the Kerala backwaters and explore some of the area’s loveliest corners
  • Follow the Temple Trail and discover some of Kerala's most celebrated temples
  • Visit the local school sponsored by Jan and Christel (you might feel inspired to donate too!)
  • Take a a tuk-tuk to the Vembanadu Bird Sanctuary, home to flocks of egrets, darters, herons, teal, waterfowl, cuckoo, wild duck and Siberian stork
  • Or just unwind beside the 14x5m turquoise communal swimming pool, set in a walled garden and surrounded by loungers and umbrellas

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Ayurvedic treatments
  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Mountain biking
  • Private guided tours
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Wildlife

Kids

A Beach Symphony plays host to many families and children of all ages are welcome. The large pool and proximity to Marari Beach are big draws.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

The 2 Seaview Cottages (Khombu and Nagaswaram) have additional screened-off single beds suitable for kids

Babysitting:

Babysitting and childminding are available by arrangement (though not for whole days at a time)

Baby equipment:

Baby cots and a child’s car seat are available on request

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kids Activities on site:

  • The pool
  • Marari Beach

Families Should Know:

Due to the swell and undercurrents, particular vigilance is required if children are swimming in this stretch of sea .

Distances:

  • Airport: 2 hours
  • Shops: 20 minutes (Alleppey)
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
8/
Food
9/
Service
9/
Value
9/
Overall

{{ review.firstName }}{{ review.countryName ? ', '+ review.countryName : '' }},
Feedback is only from guests who have booked and stayed through i-escape

Rates for A Beach Symphony