Review: Niraamaya Retreats Backwaters and Beyond, Kumarakom in India
Travel writer Bindu Gopal Rao discovers Niraamaya Retreats Backwaters & Beyond, Kumarakom is everything you want in a holiday and this one comes with a twist of wellness.
A two hour drive from Kochi Airport after a very early morning flight is rather tiring but the minute I enter the gates of Niraamaya Retreats Backwaters & Beyond I feel a sense of calmness. Perhaps it is to do with the environs. Located on the banks of Lake Vembanad in Kumarakom in Kottayam district of Kerala, this resort is ensconced in all shades of green and blue which makes you reconnect to nature almost immediately.
The eight acre property is set amidst lush tropical gardens and only houses 27 luxurious villas with many of them overlooking the Vembanad Lake. The property has been designed keeping local architectural motifs like sloped roofing use of wood, clay tile roofs and has an extensive use of stone, laterite and local timber.
The experience starts from the extensive lobby space that overlooks a landscape garden and is framed by the lake. The décor is completely local with wicker chairs, traditional lamps and a wooden swing that adds an element of rustic charm. Located on an elevated level, the view of the lake is absolutely breathtaking from here.
The room interiors are inspired by Colonial Kerala and include solid wood furniture that has been handpicked including a beautiful four poster bed, wicker chairs, a sturdy wood table as well as a wooden console for the television. The bedside tables are also in wood and are fitted with draws so there is enough storage and the large cupboard has a locker.
The resort has rooms of varying categories and the best part is all the rooms are expansive. The Premium Water-Front Villas come with uninterrupted views of the serene lake and also have a private sun-deck with plunge pools and more. The Luxury Private Pool Villas on the ground level come with private plunge pools and a sun-drenched deck with verdant views of the lush tropical gardens.
The Superior Lake-View Villas are a level above ground and apart from beautiful of the backwaters from its private balconies. A walk-in wardrobe, powerful body showers and open-to-sky bath gardens with rain showers are part of the room. The Grand Presidential Suite is a testament to all thing uber luxury and offers a stunning view of the backwaters and is located on a level above ground with exclusive access through a private glass elevator.
The plush interiors come with panelled walls, dark wood flooring and stunning art by artist Ravi Varma. An open-to-sky bath garden, massage shower in the indoor bathroom and terrace views of the serene backwaters apart from a separate dining space and private balcony make this room easily the best one on the property.
The rooms are serviced twice daily in the morning as well as turn down service in the evening. Apart from chocolates in the room I was impressed by a small note on Mudra Moments in the room where a small picture depicting how you can use the innate healing power of your hands for your health. I had a picture of the Linga Mudra aimed to boost immunity and keep respiratory ailments at bay in my room.
The Linga Mudra is simple and all you need to do is intertwine the fingers of both your hands and clasp them together. Hold the thumb of your left hand erect and encircle it with the thumb and index finger of your right hand. Press your hands on your navel. Simple yet effective and it is these small elements of wellness that you can also take away into your daily routine from here.
The retreat has a large 25m pool and a performance deck as well as two restaurants Essence – the specialty restaurant for South East Asian cuisine and the all-day dining Café Samsara with authentic Kuttanad cuisine at its heart. With a focus on wellness the resort pays much attention to giving you a getaway that is luxurious and yet has health at its heart.
You start your day here with a rejuvenating session of yoga and the in house spa that has a focus on Ayurveda offers pure ayurvedic immersions as well as a range of Western therapies. A key focus of the spa is short intervention Ayurveda programs to put people on the path of wellness. The resort chain has recently tied up with an IT firm so that it can remotely capture the Ayurveda bio vitals of the guest to understand the doshas in the body to design a custom wellness program.
The resort is also planning on site activities for guests and helps arrange visit to the bird sanctuary located close by. With reverse osmosis in place, even the rap water is drinkable. Some signature experiences like having tea by the lakeside at sunset are good fun and the houseboat sunset cruise is a must do too.
“All our resorts at Niraamaya exude a sense of space and have a small construction footprint. Like this one is spread over eight acres but has only 27 rooms since we believe that we must allow guests to have a sense of space. Our focus has always been to enhance guest experience at each of our properties, and Kumarakom will be no different and will remain true to the environment and Niraamaya values,” avers Manu Rishi Guptha, CEO, Niraamaya Business Group. A visit to the resort and you know that this is exactly what you will take away.”
Address: Pallichira Road, Vayitharamattom, Kumarakom, Kerala 686563, India
Phone: +91 80 4510 4520
Images courtesy of Niraamaya Retreats Backwaters & Beyond