“A calm oasis of colonial elegance and charm at the heart of Trivandrum, with cultured hosts and a heritage homestay feel”
The single-storey design of Varikatt Heritage is as 'Keralan' as it gets and includes what used to be a ‘women’s area’ and a granary. So much so, in fact, that it inspired an entire thesis by an Indonesian architectural academic.
The 2 Large Double Rooms (named 'B' and 'C') and the Double Room, like the dining room, are dark and cool, have antique hand-carved rosewood furniture, kingsize beds, and wooden chairs; Large Double C has a dressing room. Ensuite bathrooms are simple, with big glass-walled shower compartments. The Suite also has a dressing room, as well as a living room-cum-study. Antique kerosene lamps swing from the rafters and a deer’s head gazes down from the wall.
All rooms have mod cons such as a mini-fridge (excluding Large Double B), cable TV, WiFi, air conditioning and a phone. The housekeeping is also first-rate and a same-day laundry service is available.
The family dining room used to be the old ‘women’s area’ and sits cloistered from the sunlight at the heart of the house. Delicious home-cooked meals are served round its long rosewood dining table and your hosts make you feel like an honoured house guest. If you want more privacy, however, you can eat at a smaller table in the light-filled hall or outside in the garden.
For breakfast you can choose between a familiar continental option of cereal, eggs, toast and jam together with masala omelettes, or a traditional 9-dish Keralan spread with delicacies such as palappam (rice pancakes) with egg curry, coconut-flavoured vegetable stew and idli (steamed rice cake) with chutneys and dosas (rice and lentil pancakes). All come accompanied by fresh fruit juice and coffee or tea.
Dinner offers the chance to experience Colonel Roy’s own spin on various regional cuisines, from Mughalai and Tandoori to Chinese, using local vegetables and meats. You place your order from an extensive menu in the morning but the specialty is the various Travancore options such as fish curry, prawn masala and kadai chicken, with a host of tasty side dishes.
A light lunch can be arranged with a little notice and there are plenty of options for eating out in Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala. And if you want to perfect your own culinary skills during your stay, the staff are happy to reveal their secret spice blends and to offer lessons in Mughalai and Kerala cooking.
Varikatt Heritage has always been a family home and it continues that tradition by welcoming children of all ages.
Children (4-12 years)
The Suite is your best bet, with a double bed and space for an additional single bed or baby cot in the large dressing room. It connects with the adjoining room with a shared door, so larger families can have more space. There's no bath, only a shower. The rooms can all fit an extra bed or cot, too.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Food is available all day and special mealtimes can be arranged for children. In addition, you have access to a blender and microwave for baby food. There are family-friendly cafes and restaurants within walking distance and you can get takeaway easily.
There's a shop for nappies, baby food and beach toys within a short walk.