Kerala has been a pioneer in developing the homestay culture. Many homestays have immense heritage value and ambience. Apart from providing a decent place to stay they also have that special personal twist. Plus, the hosts usually know the area very well and will give you the best travel advice. Prices vary according to facilities and location, and there is often no room service. Be sensitive to timings, noise restrictions and rules about alcohol (if any).
Be sure to read the historical docket put together by Col Roy, the owner, to truly enjoy your stay at this 18th-century British villa in the heart of Thiruvananthapuram. Though the home is refurbished to include all modern amenities, the ambience exudes an old-world charm. The award-winning homestay has three suites and two double rooms, all of which are spacious and aesthetically done up. The villa is tucked away just behind the central MG Road, a convenience much appreciated by tourists.
The Lakewood Retreat
Lakewood Retreat offers an escape to the soothing suburbs, where the water from the Karamana River splashes against the front porch. The two guest rooms and a bamboo cottage suite face the idyllic backwaters. Lakewood Retreat is just 5km from Thiruvananthapuram, making it easy to visit Kovalam (6km) or get into the city for sightseeing.
Emerald Isle Homestay
Leading the heritage experience in homestays is the much awarded Emerald Isle, a 150-year-old house owned by Mr Vijo. Portions of the old house, like the granary, have been converted into beautiful rooms. Situated at the edge of the Pampa River and the paddy fields of the Kuttanad region, Emerald presents an enviable access to the best of Alappuzha.
You wouldn’t want to step out of this one! A fresh green garden spreads over in front of the four cottage units, each with personal wooden decks, right at the edge of Vembanad Lake. A semi-covered common area and attached open kitchen is where most guests spend time catching up. Opt for the upper storey rooms for more privacy.
Kodianthara Heritage Farm House
The sunny nadumuttam (central courtyard) encircled by the cosy refurbished rooms is the most popular spot of this 160-yearold house. The carefully preserved structure, with a granary and old portraits, is a pleasure for history lovers. Traditional food, a canal running inside the house, a backwater cruise and an idyllic village setting are the highlights of the property.
Coconut Creek Homestay
The sprawling garden, a canal passing through the house and clean rooms with modern bathrooms make for a wonderful stay with a local family. Do chat with your hosts for local information. Only three rooms of the heritage house are let out for guests, ensuring that there is privacy. Moreover, the lakefront is less than five minutes away by foot.
Fort Kochi & Mattancherry
Noah’s Ark Homestay
Noah’s Ark truly represents the homestay culture of Kerala. Tap into the vast knowledge of your hosts, Diana and Jerry, who have let out only three rooms of their house. You will enjoy your stay in the modern well-furnished rooms with wi-fi facility as well.
Eden Garden Heritage Homestay
Mel and Judith’s 250-year-old traditional Cyprian home is a pleasant change from the tourist-heavy area at Fort Kochi. They have three simple rooms overlooking a small lotus pond and a lush garden, creating a veritable Eden in Kochi. Besides the peaceful atmosphere, the food is scrumptious.
This luxury homestay in a 400-acre coffee estate is a big departure from the regular lodging options here. The eco-conscious Tranquil has walking trails (with a list of birds) that have been interestingly mapped. There is also the option of a massage and a swimming pool to rejuvenate yourself.
Boasting comfortable, multi-levelled rooms with private balconies and a splendid view of paddy fields and plantations, Ente Veedu is the perfect holiday setting. And after sampling the delicious home-made Kerala fare here, you won’t feel like leaving. The homestay is central to all three locations, Kalpetta (19km), Mananthavady (15km) and Sultan Bathery (23km).
Want more? Check out our Kerala travel guide.