A Boutique and concept hotel’s intrigue is their own story that is intimately linked to the owners who pioneer the concept. Sometimes the idea is way ahead of its time and then there comes that moment when everything about the concept become relevant and trending and also because it has become a part of a worldwide conversation. And that is what has transpired with the five unique gems as unique hospitality statements that Joerg and Txuku created in Kerala 21 years ago. And if you look around Kerala in the wake of the Kochi Muziris Biennale, the art that seems to hang in the still humid air around the bay area in Fort Cochin. Art then is intrinsically linked to a hospitality experience.
There is a lot of Art and antiques happening in Kerala in the burgeoning boutique hotel space. But Art, design, food concepts, colour, culture, experiences and people - there is only Malabar House in Fort Kochi. Trinity, Purity, Serenity and Discovery are extensions of the same idea to create Art and design spaces from where one can explore Kerala. You will have to add the operational excellence of Saji Joseph, group CEO to the picture to help you imagine the uniqueness of Malabar Escapes and its offerings.
With hotels located in a way to give you immersions of the quintessential Southern Kerala - with Fort Cochin, Kanam in the plantations highlands, Vembanad Lake and the backwaters. Malabar Escapes is a Kerala Journey that can be plugged into longer itineraries that straddle North and South Kerala, over the hills to Thekkady and Munnar that further trail to Tamil Nadu.
Malabar House in Fort Cochin is the group’s flagship hotel and Joerg and Txuku’s dream project. After a holiday in Kerala in the early nineties, they decided to make India their home; Malabar House is clearly the drawing board. Designed and detailed to the last order, continuously evolving, at once homelike, intimate, stylish, Malabar House creates stunning visuals around you. And no doubt an Instagrammer's paradise! Every frame around Malabar House, including the way the food is curated is a perfect frame - colour, depth, detail and a tiny bit of the inexplicable that speaks to its audience individually. So while one may be taken in by the startling red of a wall, an arch and a weathered wooden door, someone else could be blown away by the installation at the entrance foyer - a globe ( an installation by Joerg ) that hangs suspended close to a granite spiral stairway. The foodie in you won’t stop training your lens to frame every tapas plate served at Divine. The in-house bakery, the spread of INDIAN, regional and continental cuisines served as salads, grills, curries and consommés if faultless to every world traveller. The 17 rooms and suites at Malabar House exhibit more art, interesting and engage you but without clutter. En-suite bathrooms, interestingly visualised and quiet, restful living spaces, verandahs to sit around in and suites that open to terraces, sit-outs that bring in the sunshine and bird song are signature elements of the Malabar Escapes design principle. The Spa, essential to the Kerala offering is another unique statement concentrating on massages and treatments from the local Kalarii art form, that will calm and refreshes you.
Just around the corner, along the football field, a short walk off Parade Road is Trinity. An old bungalow that stands shy of a small garden, three massive old trees define the edges and centre of Trinity and also the reason why myriad birds nest here and are always in chorus. Trinity devotedly follows the design principle of Malabar House in its clean lines and simple interiors, while the original bungalow that houses three rooms and suites, has been fashioned to works around its nooks, elevations and width, the new rooms are an extension and have a contemporary feel, and claim a lot of space and light. The ground floor at the junction of both the buildings have a creative F&B space that leads into a courtyard and a garden - 'Passage Malabar' with an all-day-breakfast menu apart from salads, sandwiches and rice dishes and their very own artisan Bakery products. Trinity also has a small conference space on the ground floor of the main Bungalow and interestingly for a seven key Hotel offers many sit-outs and family spaces, both Indoors and outside.
Head further south towards Vembanad, touted as the second largest freshwater lake in India, an unending vista of water is your view from the tranquil spaces of Purity - a backwater retreat. The Art principle is evident in the way the resort is designed with clean arches, colour and columns, antiques and furniture, windows and doorways. Purity is a curious mixture of an old bungalow with an annexe attached with reverence to the original style. Windows, columns and doorways add interesting details while a dash of colour here and there sets the mood that highlights the use of the space. As with all Malabar Escapes boutique hotels, there is a great stress on the quality of service, and innovation with their cuisine offerings. The central courtyard that is the crux of property, is the breakfast area and leads towards the rooms and suites, and out to the lake, The rooms and suites at Purity afford lightness and intrigue, at once making for pleasing and comfortable spaces. Towards the lake, Purity stands away to allow a wide tropical garden, a ‘Nandi’ gazes contentedly at the lake, and around are trees that frame an open columned pavilion perfect to exchange wedding vows or to stage a performance of music or dance. Further along, closer to the lakeside is a setting perfect for dining under the stars. A swimming pool almost close to the lake’s edge creates an illusion of being afloat in the lake.
Pure Spa is the signature spa at Malabar House, Purity and Serenity - each designed as appropriate spaces in tune with their location. Pure Spa is mix of traditional Ayurvedic therapies with the robust oil massages derived from Kalaripayattu - the ancient martial arts tradition of Kerala. The treatments and therapies are designed as wellness journeys perfect to book intensive treatments to heal, treat and rejuvenate as also to quickly restore your balance and well being with a spa or two.
Malabar Escapes is truly about experiences - and each hotel of the bouquet throughly enlivens the destinations through a series of experiences that connect you with the land, people and traditions. Some signature experiences include spending the day with the elephant at Serenity, Kuttanad backwater village experience, market and coir factory visits in Purity and culinary experiences that can be organised. Discovery - the turquoise coloured remodelled environment-friendly houseboat offers a backwater experience with overnight cruising or sunset and day cruises. Every hotel has a menu of activities to choose from - in-house like the daily yoga, culinary classes, dressed for Sadhya - a traditional festive lunch, masala making and sunset canoe rides in a fisherman's canoe. Around are community experiences like the one to Kuttanad and Chertala, visits to churches, palaces and temples, craft and art experiences, toddy tapping, local market visits, the elephant experience at Serenity etc. All experiences are interlinked between accessible hotels of the group like Purity and Malabar House have experiences that can be accessed from both.
In a world where luxury is defined by individual curation, personal attention and life-changing experiences while 'feeling at home' and the awe of novelty. Kerala with Malabar Escapes gives you everything and then some!
In short: in addition to offering excellent food and a lovely space, the staff at Malabar House are event-planning angels! We received six-star service from the warmest, kindest, most helpful staff...
We had a garden room on the first floor with two large balconies. A very comfortable room and best shower of our whole India trip. Lots of space to relax in and watched a memorable win by England...
A gem of a hotel in the middle of Fort Kochi, walkable to places, restaurants (although the food in the hotel is excellent), shops, markets etc. The most comfy bed I've ever slept on in a hotel...
Nearest Airport : Cochin -45 Km
Nearest Railway Station : Ernakulam-12km