People standing in front of Chittoor Kottaram with muthu kuda to welcome their guest, dark and moody room of Niyati hotel in Fort Kochi
L: Chittoor Kottaram R: Niyati Boutique Hotel

From A King’s Palace To A Restored Godown: Experience Kochi Through 5 Boutique Stays

There are many ways to experience a place when you travel. The method of transportation, the choice of your stay, and the sites you visit, all weigh into the overall experience you come away with. Whether you are looking to be treated like royalty, experience the marvel of traditional Kerala architecture, or live right next to the locale’s favourite neighbourhood Pub frequented by locals, there are a whole host of properties in and around the coastal location of Kochi that cater to your specific needs. The following are some properties that we’ve curated that offer unique experiences that range from palatial stays to what is the ‘oldest boutique hotel’ in the heart of the beloved Fort Kochi locale. 

1. Cranganor Riverside Chateau

A sustainable slow travel destination around an hour away from the main city, Cranganor is a water-front property on the banks of the river Periyar. The Indo-Dutch architecture style property with seven rooms, long open verandas and sprawling lawns is both luxurious, and eco-conscious. All the rooms feature colonial style furniture, antique dressers, vintage curios and a breathtaking view. Additionally from ayurvedic wellness treatments to traditional performance art by the local artists, and of course delectable traditional fares, Cranganor offer an up close and personal look into the many bounties - from culinary marvels to cultural experiences - that a visit to Kochi has to offer beyond the popular locale of Fort Kochi. 

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2. Niyati Boutique Stay

If you’re looking to stay in the middle of Fort Kochi - the erstwhile colonial neighbourhood where Biennale happens and experience what it feels like to live there, Niyati is the best spot for a number of reasons. The property itself is located in the centre of the locale, and is walking distance from a lot of its main attractions. The restored colonial building has a rustic charm and according to the founders has been the home to many families over the years. This historic structure has been a silent observer of life's ebb and flow in Fort Kochi with a million beautiful small details that range from old bookshelves to a framed box enclosing the shirt of someone who helped build the property. Best of all, Francis - Fort Kochi’s beloved pub in current times is right next door and the beauty of the property extends into the lively establishment. For those who’re staying in Niyati, just stepping into Francis might be a great way to meet the many people that call Fort Kochi home, and other travellers just like yourself and perhaps even sing a song or two along with the regulars as the in-house musician plays classic rock songs, every night. 

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People standing in front of Chittoor Kottaram with muthu kuda to welcome their guest, dark and moody room of Niyati hotel in Fort Kochi
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3. Chittoor Kottaram

Imagine staying in the favourite manor of the erstwhile king of Kochi and having the entire property all to yourself. If you’re someone who is looking to experience Kerala ‘king-sized’, Chittoor Kottaram is your best bet. This single-key mansion is just a boat ride away from mainland Kochi. Way back in the eighteenth century, the Rajah of Cochin built a quaint temple for his family deity in Chittoor and soon enough, he built this manor to stay close to it whenever he could. Under the umbrella of the CGH hotels, Chittoor Kottaram today is a luxurious, get-away best suited for couples. From a personal entourage who’d welcome you at the kadavu (river bank) to the other waiting to serve you with all that you need, the people from the nearby locale continue to work at the palace and have stories to regale a visitor with. The property was meticulously restored with the help of the Helen Hamlyn Trust and has been opened to visitors seeking a travel experience that captures the simple yet timeless beauty of a bygone era in Kerala history.

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4. Govinda Mangalam Home Stay

For those who’re seeking a stay that goes beyond the luxury of hotels and rather a personal touch, Govinda Mangalam Home Stay in Mattancherry is a great option. The tranquil ancestral home with a thulasi-thara (a staple in most Hindu family homes in Kerala) is reminiscent of family homes that many Malayalis grew up in, or visited their grandparents in. From the furniture to the food, Govinda Mangalam is a property that offers a home-like atmosphere from the get-go, treating you to the best of homestyle Kerala cuisine, and taking you on curated experiences like one would take their beloved house guest on. With three rooms that are tastefully decorated, but also bear markings of having been a loving home, Govinda Mangalam is a hidden gem that will make you feel like you are truly one of their own, when you stay with them. 

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5. Malabar House Hotel

A list of boutique hotels in Kochi would be incomplete without a mention of the Malabar House. Considered the oldest boutique heritage hotel in Fort Kochi, it is housed in an eighteenth-century building that changed ownership over its many years - from spice and tea traders and other officials - until it became the first heritage hotel in the locale in 1997. If you’ve visited Fort Kochi, chances are you have walked by this property and stared at it from the outside at its sheer architectural beauty. The 17-room hotel’s heritage can be traced to 1755 and ranges from Deluxe Rooms to varying suite rooms. They also highlight the traditional and contemporary art of/from Kerala through select art and design objects. Located in the main Fort Kochi area, Malabar House is a property in Fort Kochi that has stood the test of time and continues to do so, even as the rest of it changes.  

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