“Big but beautiful village-style resort of thatched cottages with a strong environmental ethos, behind an unspoilt sandy beach”
Winding paths weave round lotus ponds and fruit trees to connect the 62 traditional palm-thatched cottages and everything required for your spiritual and physical well-being is provided: a large swimming pool, Ayurvedic and yoga centres, ball sports, martial arts, nature walks, organic cookery and traditional dance demonstrations. It’s popular with couples, families and groups of friends, many of whom return year after year.
A strong emphasis on the environment is also evident throughout. Rainwater is harvested, water is solar-heated, plastic is avoided and mangroves have been planted. No trees were cut down to create the resort and only local materials were used during its construction. There’s even an ecology tour, when staff will proudly show you the organic and butterfly gardens (and the less-picturesque bio gas plant too!).
- The grounds are spacious and tranquil and the wide beach is empty and unspoilt - no smoke-emitting watersports are permitted and there are few hawkers
- The comprehensive facilities include a large swimming pool, tennis and badminton courts, a club house with WiFi and dedicated centres for yoga, meditation, martial arts classes and Ayurvedic treatments
- The wide range of on- and off-site activities are all designed to foster respect for, and increase knowledge of, the local environment and culture
- The service is charming and the catch-of-the-day seafood from the restaurant and Beach Grill is delicious
- It’s expensive by Keralan standards, especially in high season, but you do get lots of space and good facilities
- The resort is larger than most places chosen by i-escape so it can feel less personal
- Finding your way back to your villa can be confusing, though thankfully there are plenty of arrowed signs
- Breakfast finishes at 9.30am, so it’s not great for lie-ins
- Room service is possible but it’s discouraged, as the managers feel staff hurrying about with trays could disturb the peace for others
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Beach Resort
- 2 restaurants and bar (open daily)
- Over 6s welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Tennis Court
- Bicycles Available
- Board games
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.
- Air conditioning
- Coffee tea making
- Extra beds
- Internet access
- Plunge pool
- Safe box
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.
- Children meals
- Coffee tea making
- Organic produce
- Vegetarian menu
- Spend the day lounging by the pool with a book borrowed from the multi-language library (known as the ‘Book House’) or wander along the sandy beach (usually empty except for the odd fellow guest or local fisherman)
- Book a massage or treatment at the Ayurveda centre. The onsite Ayurvedic doctor will describe the practice, explain the importance of the herbs used and take you through the impact of Ayurveda on daily life (find out more about Ayurveda here)
- Kick-start your day with the 7.15am yoga class, either in the yoga centre or on an open-air platform near the beach, and wind down again in the evening with the 7.15pm meditation session
- Take in a movie: kids will love the daily child-friendly films at 9.30am, while grown-ups can enjoy Bollywood classics in the afternoons and Western movies in the evenings
- Book yourself music lessons and learn to play the table, harmonium or flute
- Get your heart pumping on the badminton and tennis courts, then finish off with a game of beach volleyball
- Sit in the shade and enjoy a game of backgammon or chess on your veranda
- Do a spot of shopping at the on-site boutique, which sells souvenirs, books, clothes, postcards and other bits and bobs
- Head to the free organic cooking demonstration and learn how to spice up your life, Kerala style; or enjoy the weekly cultural performance of dance and music
- Hire a bicycle and go exploring - the resort can provide a map directing you around the local fishing villages
- Stroll along to the coastal village of Mararikulam and gain an insight into local life - weaving, coir-making and fishing are the main occupations
- Enquire about the various tours on offer, including sightseeing in nearby Alleppey or Cochin (an hour’s drive)
- Hire a paddle-powered or motorised canoe to explore the backwaters or take a day or overnight cruise on a traditional Keralan houseboat
- Follow the Temple Trail, which takes in five of Kerala's most famous temples
- Visit paddy fields, rubber plantations and coconut farms on the farm tour around Pulinkunnu (30km away); a Keralan lunch is provided
- Catch a rickshaw to the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary (15km away), which has a wide collection of exotic inhabitants
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Cooking classes
- Historical sites
- Martial arts
- Plantlife / flora
- Private guided tours
- Traditional cultures
- Well being
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)
Family friendly accommodation:
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.
Kids Activities on site:
- Board games and books
- Kids' film screenings at 9.30am each day
- Bikes for hire
- Music lesson
- Badminton and tennis courts
- Onsite naturalist to guide you through birds and butterfly gardens
- Martial arts classes
Kids Activities nearby:
- The beach is just on the doorstep, but can be rough and shelves dramatically so not for non-swimmers
- Kumarakom bird sanctuary makes a good day trip
- Tour the nearby villages by bike
Families Should Know:
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.
- Airport 1.5-2 hours
- Medical facilities: 10 minutes