“A charming family-run farm-island with 6 waterfront cottages and great food - a truly personal insight into local life in backwater Kerala”
Though it’s billed as a homestay, each of the 6 waterfront cottages has lots of privacy and space. They’re all set in a neat line along the waterfront, with terraces and beautiful views over the backwaters and the passing boats and fishermen.
The 3 older cottages were designed by Swiss architect Karl Damschen, who included some delightful touches such as beautifully carved doors and pillars, and 3 doors to the outside world. Throw these open during the day for maximum breeze, or up the ante with the air-conditioning if needs be.
We stayed in one of the newer cottages and, despite being designed by a different architect (Kochi-based Thomas Dominic), they shared a similar style, layout and spirit. That said, we did enjoy having the added bonus of a separate living area.
Although mod-cons are limited, the shower bathrooms are spotless and all the beds are comfortable. Best of all, the colourful reflections all around make sunset a real treat - and sunrise, with its dawn chorus, even more so.
All meals at Philipkutty’s are lavish communal feasts home-cooked by the graceful and skilled Mrs Mathew Senior, using lots of local ingredients from the farm. They’re often the high point of the day.
For lunch and dinner, guests share a big circular table groaning with about 6 curries and various accompaniments. It’s all south Indian cuisine and there are no menus (you get what you’re given), but expect lots of fish-based dishes, Keralan spices and dhals. We had the fish molee (which Rick Stein cooked while filming here for one of his TV shows), as well as curried prawns, fried fish and banana fritters. Everything tasted fresh and healthy, and our days soon became an easy cycle of eat, rest, repeat.
The cottages’ self-catering facilities are limited to tea- and coffee-making equipment and a refrigerated minibar (no alcohol is provided but they do include free drinking water).
Luncheon parties are sometimes hosted, strictly by prior arrangement, for passing guests who catch a boat from the mainland.
Children are very welcome, and older kids will enjoy being immersed in a working farm.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
There is a Family Cottage with 2 bedrooms, but the traditional Keralan design means that every cottage is spacious and could easily sleep 3 without feeling cramped. (Expect one large room divided into smaller spaces.)
Available by arrangement.
Baby cots (on request).
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Those with toddlers should be aware of the waterfront location