“Luxurious cliff-top, beach-side resort with heritage cottages, an Ayurvedic spa, restaurants and a stunning infinity pool”
While the 2 beaches to either side of the hotel's rocky promontory are not private, they are very quiet and secluded. There's also a delicious jade-coloured infinity pool with underwater sculptures which segues into the ocean below, plus a beautiful Ayurvedic spa and cliff-edge yoga platform for reducing you to a puddle of serenity. The food served up in the 2 sea-view restaurants (or anywhere else you like) is a tasty feast of Keralan and Western dishes. And, as an added bonus, you can rest assured that the management is dedicated to minimising the hotel’s environmental footprint.
- A stunning dramatic clifftop location beside 2 secluded and near-private beaches, yet only 12km from the hustle and bustle of Kovalam
- Delicious, authentic Keralan dishes and fresh seafood in the 2 sea-view restaurants
- Super-private and indulgent Karl Damschen-designed wooden cottages - great for couples and families alike
- The infinity-style pool has amazing views and is a godsend when the sea is too rough to swim
- Elegantly-appointed and comprehensive Spa Niraamaya and daily yoga classes
- Set on a steep hill, the terrain and beach access can be challenging for those with limited mobility, but there are electric buggies for guest use
- The sea has strong currents and pounding waves: flag signify if it's safe to swim
- Service can be disoraganised, but it's always warm and friendly
- The pool needs more loungers in order to cater to all the guests; there are more on the beach via a long steep staircase
- It's not cheap, and the extras can add up
Best time to go
June and July are the monsoon seasons. There are umbrellas in all cottages and 2 covered electric buggies for guests.”
Our top tips
- Beach Resort
- Restaurants + bars (open daily)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
Starting with the Rock Garden Rooms, the cottages get progressively bigger and closer to the sea until you reach the cliff-front Octagon (built from traditional stone) and the Banyan Tree Bungalow (tailored for honeymooners, with an outdoor tub in the garden). All are beautifully designed with traditional Keralan wood and blend in seamlessly with the gardens.
Harmonious lines and raised ceilings give a wonderful feeling of space. Beds are kingsize and doors and shutters feature solid ornate brass bolts. Each room has cleverly hidden air-conditioning and soundproofing; other pampering touches include organic cotton bathrobes and top-of-the-range Forest Essentials toiletries.
We stayed in a lovely Heritage Premium Cottage with a gauze-curtained four-poster, rich purple silks, crisp white cottons and graceful wall art. Our writing desk and the veranda with its planter chairs faced the sea, while our bathroom was a walled garden, half undercover, with indoor and alfresco showers and an open-air tub - just blissful.
- Air conditioning
- Coffee / tea making
- Cots Available
- DVD player
- Extra beds
- Safe box
- Satellite TV
The food at Café Samsara is outstanding, the chef’s a pro and it’s a real step up from your standard local home-cooking fare. The menu is a mix of Keralan specialities, pan-Indian dishes and European flavours; we enjoyed outstanding pepper squid, Malabar curries and spicy prawns. The downside is that service is disorganised, but go with a relaxed frame of mind and you’ll be just fine.
Essence is a more formal thatched Thai restaurant where you can watch your meal being prepared, marinated and flamed (dinner only, book ahead). Or, enjoy a romantic private dinner anywhere you like – perhaps the beach or cliff-edge yoga platform. All ingredients are fresh and local and the majority are organic; the management boasts that the only food to come from the deep freeze is the ice cream, which is, of course, homemade.
For drinks, there's Madira, the small poolside cocktail bar, and a second bar down on the beach (daytime only).
Breakfast consists of a light and healthy continental spread, with freshly squeezed fruit juice, fruit platters, yoghurt and perfectly poached eggs - a rarity in Indian boutique hotels.
- Children's meals
- Coffee / tea making
- Organic produce
- Private dining
- Room service
- Vegetarian menu
- Float in the infinity pool or swim in the sea, but only if a green ('safe to swim') flag is flying
- Unwind with a massage or Ayurvedic treatment in the luxurious Spa Niraamaya and join the daily cliff-edge yoga class
- Watch a cultural performance on the sea-facing platform (once or twice a week) or just soak up the sunset with a glass of wine
- Wander along the quiet beach to Kovalam or visit the nearby Keralan capital Trivandrum, including its huge Hindu Temple, 200-year-old palace and various museums
- Take a boat trip through the Kerala backwaters, go fishing with the local fishermen or book a catamaran ride out on the sea
- Visit nearby Aruvippuram and experience the healing powers of its torrential waters
- Cross into Tamil Nadu to visit the 16th-century wooden palace of Padmanabapuram, seat of the Travancore princes
- Drive to Kanyakumari, India's southernmost tip, where the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean meet the Arabian Sea (2 hours' drive)
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Historical sites
- Museums / galleries
- Shopping / markets
- Traditional cultures
- Well being
Although a romantic's paradise, this resort is also very child-friendly; there’s enough space to cater for both. Parents will be glad of the lifeguards manning both the beach and the pool.
Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
Family friendly accommodation:
The Heritage Premium Cottage and Octagon can each take up to 2 adults and 2 children; the latter is larger and has a garden. Most rooms have space for an extra bed or cot.
Available by arrangement.
- Baby cot
- High chair
- Night light
- Bottle warming
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
There's nothing specific on offer for families, but you can get food throughout the day (including in-room dining and early evening snacks). There are cafés and restaurants within walking distance.
Kids Activities on site:
- Swimming pool (underwater sculptures, a lifeguard and a shallow, supervised kids’ area)
- Play room
Kids Activities nearby:
- Sandy secluded beaches
- Boat trips around the Kerala backwaters
- Catamaran trips
- Fishing with the local fishermen
- Temples to visit
Families Should Know:
The sea is rough and generally not suitable for children or weak swimmers. Pay close attention to the beach flags before letting kids near the water: a green flag means it's safe to swim, a red flag indicates danger. There are some unguarded drops around the hotel.
- Airport: 30 minutes
- Hospital: 15 minutes
- Doctor: 15 minutes