They currently offer three serviced villas here. The first, Orchid Pool Villa, is a contemporary recreation of an existing thatched bungalow, set beneath the shady palms, within a few minutes' walk of the dreamy beach. The second, Hibiscus Pool Villa, sits alongside Orchid - this they designed and built themselves (Rupert is a trained architect) using the reclaimed framework of a traditional Keralan wooden house. We can't wait to see Frangipani - the third villa - for ourselves. Rupert and Olga's mission is to keep it small but luxurious: with each villa offering a secluded haven - your own living space and your own garden with a pool - which is intimate, close to nature and local culture, and great value.
- The villas have their own reserved area on Marari beach (300m walk away)
- All the privacy of a villa, plus room service and a chef to look after you
- All are homes from home with mod cons, kitchenettes and lots of space
- Dining by candlelight, on fresh, seasonal Keralan dishes, in your private garden
- The friendly staff (Olga and Rupert, villa hosts, chefs, housekeepers, and beach attendant) are very much part of the experience
- Strict cancellation policy
- Tucked away down narrow back roads, the villas are a little hard to find - an airport pick-up makes it easier
- Open-to-the-sky bathrooms tend to invite bugs and wildlife - if showering at dusk, use one of the mosquito coils
- Lunch and dinner aren't included in the rates, but are good value and made just for you!
- Travel baby cots (with mosquito net covers)
- Booster seat for dining
- Baby bath
- Changing mat
- Mattress protectors and bed-side guards
- Toilet seat adapter
- Night lights
- Children\'s beach chair
- Car seat and window shades
- First aid kits
- Bottle warming & sterilising
- Children\'s shampoo, baby oil and lotion
Some equipment may need to be requested in advance
Available on request
The chefs usually prepare continental meals (pasta, chips, salads, fish, boiled vegetables etc.) for families with children, and a kids\' menu is available 8am-8pm. Bibs and baby-proof crockery and cutlery are supplied. Both Orchid and Hibiscus villas also have a simple kitchen or kitchenette.
- Toys and books, colouring and activity books
- Play kits
- Inflatable dolphins, armbands, rubber rings, paddling pool, pool toys and games
- Kids\' DVDs, satellite TV with English family channels
- Games including cricket, badminton, football and board games
- Kite flying on the beach
- Birding (bird book available)
- Visits to a local school
- Yoga and dance lessons
- Play cricket or football on the beach with local children
- Dolphin spotting
- Cycling round local villages
- Boutique Villas
- 3 Villas (for 2-4)
- Breakfast (+ other meals on request)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Beach Nearby
- Creche / Kids Club
- Car not necessary
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
- Concierge Service
- Bicycles Available
Hibiscus Pool Villa (sleeps 2 + 2 children) is a beautifully carved old wooden ‘heritage' cottage, that has been updated to give a more modern feel. There’s a semi open-air bathroom with a monsoon shower under banana palms. Off the main bedroom, there’s the kitchenette; French doors open onto a small shaded terrace and a perfect little walled garden with private pool.
Orchid Pool Villa (sleeps 2 + 1 child) sits next door. Whiter, brighter and more contemporary, there is a small kitchenette, a living space and a sky-view shower bathroom. The terracotta pool terrace leads to a pool and small tropical garden.
Both villas are equipped with emergency supplies of candles and mosquito repellent (we found both useful), a torch, and a mobile phone with Indian SIM card (so you can call staff at any time). The fridges are stocked with complimentary milk and mineral water, and there’s tea and coffee (the latter grown in the Keralan hills). All bedrooms are air-conditioned.
We're yet to see the third villa in person, but it looks just as delightful as its neighbours - fusing traditional architecture and modern comfort. Frangipani (sleeps up to 4) has a double master bedroom and a lounge, which can also be made up as a double or twin bedroom if needed. It's just a 300m walk to the beach, and has its own large private garden with hammocks, pool and sunbathing deck. There's even a shady pergola, ideal for yoga or dining.
- In room treatments available
- Safe box
The villas share an in-house chef who is always on-hand to prepare your meals and snacks from breakfast to dinner. Specialities are local Keralan cuisine, but they can cater for continental palates, too (sandwiches, for example, soup or chips). Many of the dishes are a fusion of both.
For breakfast, there’s a choice of eggs to order, toast, fresh fruits and juices, muesli and other cereals, or you can go native and order idli (savoury cakes), hoppers, poori (wheat flour puff served with a spicy masala) or rice-flour dosas served with a light potato curry - all typical of South India.
To ensure freshly cooked seasonal food, the lunch/dinner menu changes daily, and offers a choice of a fish, prawns, meat or chicken dish, served with vegetable or salad dishes plus rice and/or breads (appams, chappatis). Typical dishes include: fish mollee (white fish cooked in mild spices with coconut milk), prawn malibari curry (cooked in tamarind) or snake gourd vizhiki (fried in coconut oil with Kashmiri chilli powder, mustard seeds and curry leaves) among a variety of vegetable dishes using beetroot, okra, aubergines, cashews nuts, tapioca, green lentils and yam. On Sundays, you can try a traditional Keralan Thali - various dishes served with red rice on a banana leaf.
The continental menus feature tiger prawns in a honey sauce, pasta with fresh tomato sauce or fish and chips (king fish, pomfret, karrimeen or tuna). Finish off with pineapple crumble, sautéed banana with homemade ice-cream, or steamed rice flour balls filled with coconut.
Orchid and Hibiscus villas have a kitchenette with sink, fridge and kettle, and a barbecue. On request, guests can also receive a guided tour of the local markets, Keralan recipes and a private cooking class with advice on preparing local dishes. If you want to eat out, there are a few resort restaurants within walking distance or a short auto-rickshaw ride.
- Coffee / tea making
- Dinner by arrangement
- In house cook
- Kids' meals
- Lunch by arrangement
- Meal delivery service
- Restaurants nearby
- Room service
- Vegetarian options
- Hang out on Marari beach: a private area reserved for guests is 300m from the villas and furnished with sunbeds, parasols, hammocks, a shower, a shelter and a full-time attendant
- Borrow the bicycles and potter around the beaches and village backroads of Mararikulam (Marari village)
- Among various tailor-made activities, staff can organise Keralan cooking classes in an outdoor kitchen, visits to a local market, dance lessons, visits to spas, Ayurvedic treatments, and personal yoga sessions with a local teacher
- Explore the canals and lagoons of the region’s famous backwaters: you can travel from shore to shore on board a government ferry (like a floating bus), or you can rent a little country boat (with boatman) and do your own thing; staff can advise
- Take a tuk-tuk into nearby Alleppey (also called Alapuzzha, 20 minutes). Known as the Venice of the East (thanks to its complex network of canals), the little town offers temples, coir factories, a magnificent cathedral (St Mary’s), a departure point for boat trips, and a fine beach
- Take a day trip to Fort Cochin (it takes an hour - or longer if you take the scenic beach road) and visit the Bishop’s Palace, St Francis’s Church and the Matancherry’s Jew Town district with its 16th century Paradesi synagogue, spice and antique shops and heritage houses
- Take a ferry across Lake Vembanad to Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, 14 acres of waterfront ornithology (from storks and egrets to night herons and native kingfishers)
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Cooking classes
- Historical sites
- Museums / galleries
- Plantlife / flora
- Private guided tours
- Shopping / markets
- Traditional cultures
- Well being
Best Time to go
Our Top Tips
Marari Villas are set under coconut palms on Marari beach, close to Mararikulam and Alleppey in Kerala, southern India. They are 15km from Alleppey, and 50km from Cochin.
The closest airport is Cochin (Kochi) International Airport (70km), to which there is a direct flight from London (Air India 3 days per week), regular flights via the Gulf and internal flights from Mumbai, Madras and Goa. Kerala's other international airport Trivandrum (151km) and easily accessed by road or rail. The staff at Marari Villas can arrange pick-ups from the airport, by taxi - see Rates.
From Ernakulam railway station in Cochin, take a train to Alleppey/Trivandrum that stops at Mararikulam Station (3km from Marari). Alternatively, head to Alleppey (15km), which sits on the busy mainline route between Trivandrum (3 hrs) and Cochin (2 hrs). You can jump in a rickshaw from either station.
Staff can arrange a car and driver, or a rickshaw, for day or half-day hire and there are bikes available for guests’ use.
Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.
More on getting to Kerala and getting around
- Cochin International Airport 70.0 km COK
- Trivandrum International Airport 151.0 km TRV
- Beach 0.3 km
- Shops 0.5 km
- Restaurant 0.3 km