There are many facets to the Coconut Lagoon experience. The heritage of the old feudal villages of Malabar, the vast Vembanad Lake by which it is located, the shimmering waters of the canals that criss cross the property. This is an ideal place to spend some time, to relax and to learn about the local way of life. The resort has an impressive record for sustainable tourism and offers a variety of activities in a beautifully peaceful setting.
Fittingly, Coconut Lagoon can be reached only over water. The great Vembanad Lake, an inland sea that stretches clear across central Kerala, forms a breeze-laden watery highway. Guests arrive in a generously clunky wooden boat with a little inboard motor (so as not to disturn the fish), travelling sedately through a narrow canal, its banks covered with flowers. The lobby turns out to be a reconstructed 19th century mansion with a stone jetty attached.
It is an ideal place for starting or ending a cruise on the backwaters, offering the chance to watch the many communities of fishermen in the shallow waters of the lake. The resort is adjacent to a small backwater fishing village and tours to the local community are arranged by the resort staff. A sizeable area of the resort is a dedicated butterfly garden, attracting a wide variety of species, while a fish sanctuary is home to numerous species of fish and turtles, as well as resident kingfishers. A Vecchor Cow keeps the grass from growing too tall. Just over the channel from the resort is Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, and tours led by the local naturalists allow you to watch the many species that nest here, including cormorants, egrets, herons and Siberian storks, as well as the native flying foxes, the largest species of bat in the world.
Managed by cgh earth experience hotels, the same local company as Spice Village in Periyar, the resort is leading the way for sustainable tourism in Kerala. Its organic gardens provide food for the restaurant, with compost produced on site. There is a water treatment and recycling plant and even a biogas plant producing gas for cooking.
Open: Coconut Lagoon is open all year.
Location: Coconut Lagoon is in Malabar on the banks of Vembanad Lake. It is a 10 minute boat ride from Kavanatinkara boat landing, which is 10kms from Kottayam, the nearest town. It can also be reached from Kochi, via a 45 minute drive and 25 minute boat ride.
Rooms: Accommodation is in a mix of pool villas, compact bungalows and larger mansions. All provide spacious accommodation and en-suite bathrooms. Pool villas also have a plunge pool and their own stretch of lakefront. Rooms are air- conditioned and have telephones.
Activities: Guests can explore the area on foot, walking alongside paddyfields and waterways to the local village. The hotel can arrange guided walks with naturalists. Backwater and sunset cruises can also be organised, or guests can venture out in a canoe. This is a good place for bird watching and the hotel has a butterfly garden guests can visit as well as the main garden full of trees and plants. Cultural programmes are held each evening near the restaurant. There may be the chance to learn to play the table (Indian drum) or watch a Kalari match, a traditional Keralan martial art.
Facilities: There is a swimming pool. The restaurant serves local Keralan cuisine and Ayemenem, the lakeside restaurant, specialises in seafood and grills. The bar serves a wide range of drinks. There is a recreation room with a TV. Guests can enjoy Ayurvedic treatments. The resort shop sells handicrafts, jewellery and clothing.
Dining: Meals are taken at individual tables.
Children: Children of all ages are welcome.
recommend malarial prophylactics for travel to India.
Communication: There is no Wi-Fi internet access.
A wide ranging tour showcasing the culture, scenery and wildlife of southern India.
"We were upgraded to a lakeside cottage, which was very comfortable. The staff were brilliant (obviously the cghearth training was good). Food excellent and pool looked inviting. Wish we had stayed another night so we could have visited the bird sanctuary; a guide tried to take us in the evening, but they would not let us in. The walk back through the village was interesting though. "
Tribes Travel, The Old Dairy, Wood Farm, Ipswich Road,
Otley, Suffolk, IP6 9JW.
Office hours: Monday - Friday: 9am to 5.30pm
Telephone: 01473 890499