South India's Five Best Resorts
chillibreeze writer — Aditya Kandarpa
India has always been an extremely hospitable country, and with an ever-increasing tourist inflow, there are a staggering number of resorts that have cropped up all around. I’ve traveled extensively around South India and visited most of the popular destinations multiple times.
However, there is one thing I’ve understood. If there is a serious holidayer (serious not in the sense of the word, but in the sense of the spirit), the actual joy of travel lies in off-beat locations, and not in the bustling metropolis destinations.
So, I’ve put together a list of the five top resorts in South India, where you can actually ‘holiday’. These are not in any order, and each has its own distinct personality. So, these are not actually like the ‘Best resorts’, but rather like ‘Resorts that I am sure you will enjoy – because I did!’.
1. The quintessential getaway – Molly’s, Kovalam
While in Kerala, Kovalam is a beach that any good traveler should visit. And that is not just because the beach is extraordinarily beautiful, or the beach-life is superb. Kovalam is a wonderful place where you can actually experience the spirit of Kerala. And while there are several world-class resorts in the town – all big brand names are present – the real leisure experience lies at Molly’s. Run by a British lady, and her Indian husband, Molly’s is located bang opposite the Taj, and is just a couple of hundred meters from the sea.
Pros – Huge rooms, wonderful food (you need to make a reservation to eat, even if you stay in-house), Swimming pool in the middle of the property, HUGE bathrooms, Coffee makers in all rooms, Exceptional service, Great Ambience, Very private, very informal
Cons – Only 8 rooms! (So book well in advance), only one dining option, Credit cards not accepted
Who should visit – Honeymooners, couples looking to get away, Writers and other professions, well, actually anyone looking to get away from it all.
2. Colonial Splendor – Le Dupleix, Pondicherry
How can a hotel that has colonial splendor not be included in the top hotels of South India, when the Britishers actually landed here first?
Le Dupleix is one of the best restored colonial properties in the country, and the best part is that it is small! Though run by Sarovar hotels, one of the country’s largest groups, this hotel has just 14 rooms. Pondicherry is a destination that you should visit if you are looking to be serenaded by peace, and Le Dupleix does just that. It is so peaceful, that you get automatically rejuvenated!
Pros – All suites, A lovely writing desk in each room, Tea and Coffee maker, Bathtub, An outdoor lounge restaurant
Cons – Just 14 rooms (Need to book in advance here too!), One dining option.
Who should visit – People looking for leisure, Honeymooners, Elderly couples
3. God’s own resort - Philip Kutty’s Farm, Lake Vembanad
Actually, the ten five hotels can be found in Kerala itself! God’s own country truly is specially endowed with unparalleled beauty. And an extremely refreshing change is a farm run by a family that is seriously into hospitality.
Philip Kutty’s farm is located on a magnificent island in the middle of the lake Vembanad, and is among the most treasured experiences of our travel. The best part is that this is not a hotel. Philip Kutty’s family opened up their home for us, and the experience was awesome!
Pros – A true Kerala experience, Absolutely unlike a hotel – no room service, no AC, no TV, Unbelievable location
Cons – Not too many activities if you have kids along
Who should visit – Anyone looking for a trip that’s different, People bored of hotels!
4. Great Eco-Tourism - Barefoot at Havelock, Havelock Island, Andaman
Andaman is said to be India’s best kept secret, and that certainly appears to be true! While flying into Port Blair itself we wonder, “How come we did not come here all these years!”
Havelock Island has some of the best beaches in all of Andaman, and Barefoot is the hotel to stay at while visiting. The beauty of the whole resort is its re-generatability, which makes us feel good about our gluttonous habits! The hotel is almost entirely made of eco-sensitive objects, and offers a spectacular jungle experience, with all basic comforts in place.
Pros – Location, Tree houses, Activities, Ethnic food
Cons – None actually, but don’t go looking for a lot of facilities.
Who should visit – People looking for adventure, or leisure, or both; Eco-tourism enthusiasts
5. Amidst the spices – Spice Village, Thekkady
We’re once again in Kerala. Thekkady is among the greenest places you can ever set your eyes on. And being located in the midst of a restricted wildlife reserve makes it even more exciting!
Apart from sleeping among the spices, you can also catch an occasional glimpse of an elephant herd like we did. Spice village is certainly a must visit if you are interested in wildlife or botany. The hotel is built around a swimming pool, and the contrast between green and blue is certainly a very soothing experience.
Pros – Great food, Spectacular location, lots of games, Cottage-like rooms
Cons – Not too many things to do
Who should visit – Botanists, Wildlife enthusiasts, families with kids
Actually, there were so many wonderful places I visited, stayed in, ate in, and heard about. So, it was indeed difficult to bring out only five from the hundreds of options.
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