Karikkathi Beach Houses

Near Kovalam, Southern Beaches, India Book from Eur50

Reviewed by Emma Taylor
Simplicity and style beside a truly stunning private beach - 2 lovely cottages (sleeping 2-6) with staff, quite literally off the beaten track
Karikkathi Beach Houses are quite simply that: small cottages next to a gorgeous white sandy beach - it would be difficult to get any closer to the Arabian Sea without falling in. The original cottage sits right on the shore and is now joined by a twin, just a few metres up the cliff. Reached on foot via a path winding through coconut groves, both houses are fabulously isolated and scenic, undisturbed by traffic or day-trippers.

Designed by Swiss architect Karl Damschen (creator of the nearby Niraamaya Surya Samudra hotel, which shares the little beach), the 2 cottages are rustic yet elegant, with palm-thatched roofs supported by casuarina rafters, clean white walls and shady verandas. Windows with wooden shutters frame ocean views, floors are tiled in terracotta and the simple furniture is made from wood and rattan. Outside, tiered terraces are brightened with hibiscus flowers and red tablecloths, sprinkled with crushed shells that feel powdery-soft underfoot and furnished with hammocks and loungers. This feels like your own idyllic holiday home and, as well as Ayurvedic treatment rooms with on-site practitioners, there’s a staff of 3 to look after your every need. Your back garden is Karikkathi beach, where you can lie back to the sound of the crashing surf and watch the evening sun dissolve into the sea like a molten coin.

Highs

  • The sea views and sunsets are out of this world and the dramatic pounding of waves lends a stirring percussive soundtrack
  • The houses combine peace and privacy with dedicated staff, who provide friendly yet discreet service
  • It’s a great spot for a chilled-out week of expert Ayurveda treatments
  • Breath-taking views from the beach-side hammocks

Lows

  • There's no restaurant, but guests receive a discount at sister hotel Niraamaya Surya Samudra
  • If you don't book both rooms in your cottage, you may find yourself sharing with strangers
  • There’s no pool and the sea is only suitable for strong swimmers (and not even those when the red flags are out). Guest can use the pool at Niraamaya Surya Samudra, however
  • The night-time lighting is not very bright (making reading difficult) and the sheets are not as soft as they could be
  • You’re occasionally approached by hawkers on the beach, but only a fraction of the numbers working the bigger, busier beaches

Best time to go

The peak season is from December to March, when temperatures range between 24 and 32C. April to May is the hottest and driest period and the heat often reaches 36C in May. August and September are a balmy 38-30C and November and December are the coolest months, when it drops down to 24C. It's still warm (around 28C) during the monsoon season (June, July and then again in late October to mid November), when it usually rains for a few hours each day (mainly at night) and then clears up. This is a much quieter period and is a good time for Ayurvedic treatments.

Our top tips

If you’re travelling independently, call ahead 10 minutes before you arrive so that staff can come and meet you and help carry your luggage along the 100m path through the coconut grove.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Spa
  • = Makes the grade
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Beach Villas
  • 4
  • Restaurants nearby
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
Room:

Rooms

The original cottage was built as a holiday home for owner Sajjad and his family and both it and its sister house have a light and homely feel. Both have 2 bedrooms separated by hallway spaces, with double and twin beds which can be swapped around or pushed together as needed. The newer (upper) cottage is larger and smarter, its ensuite bathrooms are more luxurious and its hallway is furnished with antiques, but the other sits closer to the beach.

The space throughout both houses is refreshingly airy and open to the rafters, with shuttered windows framing sea views like photographs on the wall. The spotlessly clean bedrooms have fans and romantic ceiling-strung mosquito nets (a necessity in this part of the world), though there are no phones, air conditioning or TVs to disturb the peace. There’s enough outside space for guests to co-exist happily, but the houses would work best for families with older children or couples/friends travelling together.

Each also has access to Ayurvedic treatment rooms, one under the upper cottage with a consulting cubby-hole, the other in a shed behind the lower cottage. They’re not the prettiest, but we’ve been told this should improve soon.

Features include:

  • Terrace
  • Internet access
  • Fan
  • Mosquito net
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds

Eating

All meals are served at sister hotel Niraamaya Surya Samudra (a 2-minute walk away) and all Karikkathi guests receive a discount. Breakfast consists of a light and healthy continental spread, with freshly squeezed fruit juice, fruit platters, cereals, yoghurt and perfectly poached eggs.

Lunch and dinner are available in their main restaurant, Café Samsara, which overlooks the beautiful pool and sea. It serves a mix of Keralan specialities, pan-Indian dishes and European flavours. There's also a poolside bar, Madira, which serves beer and wine, and a thatched grill restaurant called Essence.

Features include:

  • Cooking Classes
  • Walk to restaurants
Eating: Niraamaya Surya Samudra
Activity:

Activities

  • Have an Ayurveda consultation with the highly-qualified doctor. Packages of treatments or single-session massages are also available from the on-site team of therapists (there are good deals in low season), as are therapeutic diets if you want to go the whole hog
  • Catch up on some reading in a palm-strung hammock, or watch butterflies, squirrels and sea eagles swooping down to catch fish
  • Browse through the small library of books and magazines
  • Use the facilities at [i:IS002:Niraamaya Surya Samudra]: swim in the pool, relax in the spa or just make use of their WiFi
  • Wander along the beautiful white sandy beach to Kovalam
  • Visit Trivandrum (half an hour’s drive away), for some city buzz. There’s a huge Hindu Temple, a 200-year-old palace, various museums and lots of shops
  • Explore the Kerala backwaters on a day or overnight boat trip
  • Book a day trip to Kanyakumari, the point where the Bay of Bengal meets the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea
  • Spend a day in Varkala and chill out with the hippies in a laidback clifftop bar or at the lovely Jonny Cool Café
  • Shop for food, fabrics, and even tailor-made clothes in local villages (staff can provide directions and suggestions)

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cooking Classes
  • History religious
  • Plantlife
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Well being
  • Wildlife
  • Shopping
  • Ayurvedic treatments

Kids

If you’re bringing kids you’ll need to book a whole cottage. Bedrooms can be set up as doubles or twins, with a small extra bed available if required. Older children will enjoy the fact that the rooms are separated by hallways, which gives them some privacy. Couples with toddlers should book the bigger rooms in the upper cottage but beware: the garden is not fenced, the steps head straight down the rocks to the beach and the strong currents and pounding waves mean the sea is too dangerous for them to swim in.

Best for:

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

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Babysitting:

Childminding and babysitting are available on request.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request.

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

Families Should Know:

No meals are served on site.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

6/
Rooms
8/
Food
9/
Service
6/
Value
7/
Overall

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