“A charming and peaceful 4-room guesthouse in Varkala, with rooftop terrace, fragrant garden and veranda views of the Arabian Sea”
The 4 double rooms all have terracotta-tiled floors, lots of space and an unfussy design. The soft greens, pinks and blues of the walls are reflected in the cushions, the hand-embroidered cotton linen and the muslin curtains, which waft gently in the sea breeze. Furniture is a mixture of local pieces and items which reflect the owner’s travels (Tuscan armoires, Byzantine-style chandeliers, Thai Buddha statues, French turn-of-the-century sconces, Burmese lacquer-ware trays and Vietnamese planters). Small alcoves, low tables from Syria and brass urli bowls with floating flowers add a touch of the Middle East, and garlands of jasmine blossoms are arranged on lotus leaves to perfume your evenings.
The white tiled bathrooms are spotless, with murals of plum and purple-coloured circles adding a bold design touch. Bath and beach towels are provided and woven cloths from Bangalore add splashes of hot colour.
Each room has the use of a veranda with views of the sea or garden (note that the veranda for room 3 is shared not private). The veranda for room 4 merges with the rooftop terrace to create a wonderful private retreat.
Mosquito nets are available on request and mosquito plugs are provided, though sea breezes tend to keep insects at bay except between 6 and 6.30pm. There's also a resident cat, Kuku, whose smug expression adds a comical, homely touch.
Breakfast is served on your veranda between 8am and 10am and consists of simple, tasty vegetarian fare - homemade bread, toast and jam, porridge with nuts, fruit and honey, milkshakes and fruit salad. There are also eggs cooked however you like them, including Indian-style bhurji (with fresh onion, tomatoes, green chilli and coriander), and masala omelettes. The china is elegantly white, the coffee is delicious (and kept warm with a little cosy) and the tables are brightened with pink linen place mats and vases of flowers.
Light refreshments and free filtered water are available on request and a 6.30pm dinner can be arranged with prior notice (although no alcohol is served as the house doesn’t have a licence). The host has developed an eclectic menu of tasty Anglo-Indian dishes, mainly vegetarian, which is dependent on what is seasonally available.
If you want to eat out there are many local restaurants to choose from, most perched in a line along the lively North cliff and serving all manner of international cuisine, with hauls of catch-of-the-day fish laid out for your selection. If you can’t be bothered to go that far, Theeram is a basic but recommended choice close by, where you can sit on the beach with your feet in the sand.