My Kerala Valentine’s Day
shared by Claire Salter
My Valentines Day this year started off differently than usual as I was flying to India to be part of the Kerala Blog Express with 29 other bloggers. I had started my journey from London Heathrow on Saturday 13th February but after a 10 hour flight, and going through a few time zones, I arrived in Sri Lanka at 4:30am. All of a sudden it was now Valentine’s Day!
I’ve never really been the sort of girl who cares about Valentine’s Day so I hadn’t really paid any attention to the fact I would be arriving in India on this day. I was still in shock about even being selected to be apart of the Kerala Blog Express.
I had met up with Janet (Journalist on the Run) at Heathrow just before our flight (she was coming from Dublin) so we arrived into Trivandrum together. Once we had finally got through visa control we headed outside to a greeting neither of us was expecting.
Waiting for us outside the airport we had the flashing of the camera men taking pictures, as well as a few videoing our arrival. We were then presented with a personalised welcome card, a goody bag and even a bunch of flowers as it was Valentine’s Day. I felt like a celebrity!
Once the excitement had calmed down it was time to hop into the taxi and be taken to our first hotel of the trip, The Leela.
As we pulled up we looked at each with an expression of “are we really allowed to stay in a place like this?!” We were both backpackers so this was far greater than anything we were used to and this was just the entrance!
We walked in and were instantly greeted with a traditional mark on the forehead, presented with a beautiful shell necklace and then given a coconut drink to enjoy. I had never been given a coconut drink in an actual coconut so already I was pretty excited and feeling very special.
Once I had been handed my room key I went straight to the room to check it out. The door opened and in front of me was the nicest hotel room I had ever stayed at. What a fantastic start to the Kerala Blog Express! Is it possible all the places we’d be staying at would be this nice?!
I couldn’t believe I was standing in such a nice room and then I saw on the desk was a plate of beautiful chocolates and sweets. There was even a palm tree made of chocolate! Oh they know how to make a girl happy on Valentine’s Day!
After I had finished gushing over my room and freshened up after that long journey, it was time to meet some of the other bloggers for lunch. I had been looking forward to this moment for a long time. I was finally having authentic Indian food. I couldn’t wait!
What made the lunch even more special was that I was dining next to the hotel’s infinity pool. You really can’t ask for a more romantic setting for lunch. At that moment I didn’t care there was no man beside me, I was having the best Valentine’s Day of my life.
No romantic Valentine’s Day would be complete without a stroll along a beach so a few of us decided to head down to the local beach to check it out. As an English girl I love being able to go to a beach with real sand as we just don’t get that in England. I grew up going to pebble beaches.
Along the beach we were approached by quite a few men trying to get us to come on their boat tours. They were harmless but it made me prefer my valentines with the girls I had only just met!
It didn’t take too long for the Indian sun to be too much for my delicate English skin so I headed back to the hotel. I was desperate to to try out the hotels infinity pool anyway and it did not disappoint. I’ve never been swimming anywhere with such an amazing view. I could have happily stayed there all day.
Sadly I couldn’t stay in the pool all day but with the mention of cocktails at the hotel’s Sky Bar I was happy to get out. After a quick change I headed to the bar to get to know a few more of my fellow bloggers who I would be spending the next two weeks with.
You really can’t ask for anything better than enjoying a refreshing cocktail while enjoying a beautiful sunset in a stunning location. Well, I thought it couldn’t get any better but apparently I was wrong! While we were enjoying our surroundings and getting to know each other the chef was bringing us samples of some of the delicious food Kerala has to offer.
After enjoying the samples brought out to us we were definitely feeling ready for the main event. Just like with lunch there was a wide selection of foods available. We even had the chef take us round and explain what was available.
What I loved about the buffet selection was that everything had a valentines feel to it. The decorations were gorgeous and I loved the way they had little hearts in the curries. I never have been one to get excited about this holiday but this hotel was bringing out my romantic side. Who knew I even had one!
And if that wasn’t enough romance for one day, there was even a guy walking around the restaurant giving out roses to all the women. Seriously, Kerala does Valentine’s Day very well!
I was loving my first romantic Valentine’s Day but eventually the jet lag started to catch up with me and it was time to call it a day. I lay there in bed thinking about the wonderful day I had at The Leela Kovalam and about the Kerala Blog Express that was officially starting the next day and then I remembered that this was the only day I would be spending at this wonderful hotel. It would be a real shame to leave already but I was excited to see what the next two weeks would bring.