AlleppeyLord Curzon, a former Viceroy of India, oncecalled Alleppey the 'Venice of the East'. This wasnot without reason as the town was an importantand wealthy British trading post on the MalabarCoast. The network of criss-crossing canalsremains and offers access to the nearbyBackwaters, beaches, and beautiful lagoons. The main business now is coir making and localresidents welcome visitors to the old quarter andwill take you on a fascinating walk down narrowstreets lined with colonial houses and offer areviving cup of tea, before showing you the wayto the local market or silk shops. The long, sandybeach is a great place for an evening stroll or agame of cricket with the locals. RAHEEMRESIDENCY, ALLEPPEYSituated opposite Alleppey's beach and with easy access to the town and Backwaters, thissmall boutique heritage hotel offers stylishaccommodation and a homely atmosphere.Though built in 1868, the property displaysMughal, colonial and contemporary influences.Each of the ten individually styled air-conditionedrooms has antique furniture and period features,including stained-glass shutters and four-posterbeds. Facilities include an outdoor pool in thecourtyard, an Ayurvedic centre and a well stockedlibrary, and the rooftop restaurant boasts anexcellent view. OBEROIM/V VRINDA,BACKWATERSThe M/V Vrinda offers a unique experience onthe Backwaters. Owned by the luxury hotel chainOberoi Hotels and Resorts, you can enjoy threedays of cruising on the tranquil waterways withregular stops to visit places of interest. There areeight well appointed cabins on the lower deck,each with en suite bathrooms. The upper deckhouses a lounge and bar with panoramic views ofthe Backwaters, while breakfast is served on thesun deck. A choice of international dishes orSouth Indian cuisine using local ingredients such as coconuts, bananas, rice, freshwater fish andprawns is available.www.audleytravel.com/southindia ?01993 838 355 ?Kerala71Raheem Residency, AlleppeyHouseboat, BackwatersOberoi M/V VrindaYoung children, AlleppeyMother and son, BackwatersPicking coconuts, BackwatersHouseboats A cruise on board a private traditionalkettavalam houseboat is the perfect wayto relax and explore the backwaterseither as a day trip or an overnight stay.Today's rice barges are replicas builtusing traditional methods, and differentsizes and standards of boats areavailable. At the front is an uncovereddeck, ideal for sunbathing, while thedining and seating areas are shaded bywalls of woven palms. Houseboatscomprise anything from one to threebedrooms and although they are air-conditioned and have en suite showerrooms, the accommodation is simple.Excellent meals are freshly prepared and served by the crew.
MARARIBEACHRESORT, MARARISet among 22 hectares of coconut groves, lotusponds and lawns, this resort is reminiscent ofKerala's coastal fishing villages, with winding pathsbetween whitewashed thatched cottages. Thesefeature floor to ceiling windows, rustic furnitureand outdoor bathrooms. Several of them havetheir own private pool, though all share access to the seemingly endless beach and largeswimming pool. Bicycles are available to use, while the restaurants will satisfy your appetitewith stunning cuisine including a fabulous choiceof seafood. This is a laid back resort, ideal for afew days' relaxation.A BEACHSYMPHONY, MARARIThis boutique property consists of four cottages, each different in style and atmosphere.Created by a Belgian interior designer, theyfeature traditional Keralan architecture with added contemporary European touches andcolours. The cottages are very spacious, with large verandas overlooking the beach and aprivate garden with individual hammocks. Meals are prepared to order in consultation with the chef and served on your veranda or the beach.MarariThis sleepy village is around 12 kilometres northof Alleppey, locked between the Arabian Sea andLake Vembanad. The long, soft, sandy beach isideal for launching traditional Keralan fishing boatswhich return to the shore with plentiful suppliesfor the local market. A handful of hotels andguest houses are situated beneath the palm trees.The area is a great place to unwind at the end ofyour trip -stretched out in a hammock with abook, strolling along the beach, exploring thequiet lanes on a bicycle or following a course ofAyurvedic treatment. 72Marari BeachA Beach Symphony, MarariAyurvedaAyurveda is an ancient medicinal systemdeveloped in India and particularlypopular in the south of the country. It is a traditional holistic approach to the body which aims to eliminate toxins, boost the immune system andtreat a variety of ailments, a practicefollowed by many Keralites for centuries.Many hotels throughout Kerala have atreatment room for massage, but a fewresorts are more dedicated and offer full specialist treatments including dietary advice.