“Big but beautiful village-style resort of thatched cottages with a strong environmental ethos, behind an unspoilt sandy beach”
The 62 cottages have been designed to look like local fishermen’s huts, with palm-thatched roofs hanging low over raised verandas and traditional wooden-slat shutters. Step inside and you’ll find simple, elegant styling with the modern comforts of a smart Western hotel. Beds (either double or twin) are firm and comfortable, with crisp white linen or cheerful striped pastel throws. Chairs and sofas are cushioned wicker and the floors are tiled in warm terracotta.
The 49 standard Garden Villas have a bedroom with a seating area, a private veranda and a bathroom which is partly open to the sky (one villa also has disabled access). The 10 Garden Pool Villas have the addition of a private 6x3m plunge pool, while the 3 larger Deluxe Pool Villas have a separate living room, a spacious bedroom, 2 bathrooms (one enclosed, one open-air) and a private 8x4m private pool set within a garden.
All cottages have air conditioning, ceiling fans, minibars, safes, hair dryers, complimentary organic toiletries, phones, tea and coffee making facilities and insect screens. Additional thoughtful touches include fresh flowers dotted across the beds and towels prettily arranged into fans.
The large, open-sided restaurant serves up sumptuous international buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with tea and snacks in between and live Keralan music every evening. Bread is baked daily on the premises, seafood is bought fresh from local fishermen every morning and the vegetables, spices and fruit come straight from the resort’s organic farm. It’s all thoroughly delicious but beware: you’re so spoilt for choice that you’re liable to seriously overload your plate.
The Beach Grill is set under the palms and is open from October to April for lunch and dinner (though there's an additional charge and advance booking is required). It specialises in catch-of-the-day seafood (juicy lobster, king prawns, crayfish and karimeen) accompanied by aromatic vegetable stews, spicy chicken, tangy chutneys and salads. There’s also a Beach Shack serving light snacks and the Palm Bar for pre-dinner cocktails.
If you want to extend your culinary skills during your stay, there are thrice-weekly cocktail classes in the bar, as well as an open-air dining area at the farm with daily cooking demonstrations at 6.30pm. Here, you can have fun harvesting ingredients, learning how to cook Keralan meals and consuming the results, with printed recipes for you to take away with you too.
Marari Beach Resort has been described as "Mark Warner with Malayalam accents" - just so you know what you're getting here. It is a village-like resort with plenty of activities laid on and no reason to leave it. It's very popular with families but no under 6s are allowed.
Children over 6 are welcome and those under 10 are accommodated free of charge if sharing existing beds with their parents.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
It gets tricky if you have a larger family, but couples with 1 child can simply add an extra bed for an extra charge. If you're a single parent travelling with 1 child, you can book a twin instead of double bed. All 3 types of villa just hold 1 extra bed, so if you're travelling with 2 or more children, you will need to book 2 villas.
There's a buffet set up with snacks available all day long plus barbecue food and restaurant food. It's all suitable for kids.
The paths can be slippery after rain; there's no fence around the pool; the sea can be rough and shelves dramatically; the pool is in full sun with no shade. Mozzies can be a problem in the evening.