“A haven of stylish hospitality: an 18th-century residence in one of India’s historic trading ports”
There are 17 rooms of varying sizes and luxury. We were lucky enough to be treated to the famous Room 11 (one of the Roof Garden Suites), which has a huge, L-shaped roof terrace on which we dined by candlelight.
All the rooms vary slightly, so ask to see what’s available on check-in as some have more pleasing aspects than others. The first floor features the Roof Garden Suites and the ground floor houses the Deluxe rooms, with the 7 rooms surrounding the courtyard having been most recently refurbished (2009). The largest room, The Malabar Suite, is split over 2 levels and has a separate seating area, as well as a terrace.
All have air conditioning, ceiling fans and lock-up wardrobes, as well as phones and cable flat-screen TVs. But despite the mod cons, a stay at Malabar House feels like stepping back to a more genteel era: the beds are antique, the floors cool and clean and the ceilings high, with walls daubed in sunny yellows and whites, warm reds or cool aquamarines. Each room boasts local works of art chosen by owner Joerg Drechsel, who also happens to be an antique dealer, with splashes of vibrant colour provided by piles of silk cushions. Some also have elegant wooden columns in smooth dark wood, lending a particularly refined air.
The ensuite bathrooms have both bath and shower - a rarity in India. Accessories include wonderful linen bathrobes, hemp slippers and the Malabar House range of toiletries, all made from natural ingredients.
The hotel’s restaurant, Malabar Junction, claims to be 'one of the best seafood restaurants in southern India'. Quite a boast and sadly one we can't verify as the menu has changed since our last visit, but it sounds terrific and it's receiving rave reviews.
Breakfast, available from 7am to 11am either downstairs or in your room, is a simple but hearty spread of pastries, fruit, toast, coffee and juices, or typical Keralan fare such as dosas (savoury rice and lentil pancakes) with coconut chutney and fresh banana.
For lunch and dinner, tables are set up around the pool in the courtyard (lit by candles in the evening) or in the lofty dining room if it rains. The dishes on offer blend southern Indian and Western influences. Starters are the likes of sesame-crusted tuna or leek soup with crab and coriander dumplings. The delicious mains include Kuttanad duck roasted with fennel and pineapple, Uralthiyathu (tiger prawns and sea bass with ginger, mustard seeds and tapioca) and Keralan thalis. And the desserts? We'd struggle to choose between the home-made ginger ice cream and the chocolate samosas, so would probably order both.
Also unsampled by us as yet is the new wine lounge, Divine, which showcases emerging Indian wines as well as serving tapas dishes celebrating both Eastern and European flavours.
This place is better suited to adults as it’s more of a sanctuary than a play area, although children are welcomed. Children below 5 stay free, though there is a charge for extra beds and cots if required. Babysitting is available on request.
Cots Available, Extra Beds Available
Babysitting is available by arrangement.
Baby cots are available on request for an additional charge.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking