The Best Luxury Hotels and Resorts in Kerala

23rd October 2015

India is a great value travel destination but you don’t have to rough it to experience this amazing country – it’s not all about backpacking and cheap guest houses.  There is an emerging but still quite affordable luxury and high end tourism industry in India and treating yourself to a couple of nights in one of these hotels will show you a completely different side of travel in India for a lot less than you might expect!

You can really have it all in India from a guesthouse for only a couple of hundred rupees to the grandest most opulent maharajahs palace. Of course, you can still backpack around India for 1000 Rupees ( £10 / US$16) per day, but, India can be a challenging country to travel in and a little more goes along way here and good value for money doesn’t always mean the cheapest product or service, especially in India.

During my recent 2 week trip to Kerala with Kerala Tourism I was lucky enough to experience some of the best luxury hotels and resorts in  ‘God’s Own Country’ that were just too good to keep to myself!

One of the fabulous luxury palace hotels in Rajasthan – The Oberoi Udaivilas in Udaipur Photo Credit:

India has some amazing boutique and luxury hotels that can be amazing value, often a fraction of what you would spend on an average hotel in Europe, meaning that India really is a great place to splash out a bit and treat yourself.  With an ever growing middle class things are changing quickly here and you can also stay in some elaborate heritage properties  and luxury resorts all across India including some fabulous forts and maharajahs palaces in places like Rajasthan (next on my list!)

Here are some of the best luxury resorts, hotels (and houseboats!) in Kerala

The Leela, Kovalam Beach

Kovalam is a beach resort just a stones throw away from Kerala’s capital city – Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram) and the international airport from where we started our exploration of Kerala. Perched on the cliff top the Leela Kovalam Beach Resort  was the perfect way to start the trip in style – the infinity pool with spectacular views over the beach and the mesmerizing Kovalam sunsets are reason enough to stay here.

An infinity pool with a view at the Leela, Kovalam

Seaview rooms at the Leela, Kovalam

Fishermen on Kovalam Beach

Sunset over Kovalam Beach, Kerala

Welcomhotel Raviz Ashtamudi Resort

Tucked away in a serene spot on the backwaters is the Welcomhotel Raviz Ashtamudi Resort. The welcome and hospitality we received here was almost overwhelming as the staff were so eager to impress! The hotel is situated right on the side of a lake, after a boat ride and a canoe race at sunset we were all gifted a beautiful Kerala style sari and were treated to a sumptuous poolside party thrown in our honour!

Actually, I hardly got time to appreciate the super comfy room and gorgeous views from the balcony. This luxury hotel actually has some amazing rates on at the moment – making a room here less than a basic travel lodge in the UK – worth every penny/ ruppee I think!

The Raviz also have another delightful property in Kozhikode (Calicut) I did not get to stay here but we enjoyed a delicious and  extravagant buffet lunch around the pool.

The ITC WelcomHotel Raviz Ashtamudi

My room at the Raviz Ashtmudi

All dressed up in my new saree on the Kerala Blog Express courtesy of Kerala Tourism

Views at dawn from my room at the Raviz Hotel

CGH Earth Hotels

I was also lucky enough to stay at several CGH Earth Hotels in Kerala and I absolutely love this hotel group because each hotel has individual charm and character that really enhances the culture and nature of the surroundings, so that even in the comfort of your hotel room you feel close the fascinating culture of Kerala.

The CGH Earth hotels are also super eco friendly and have interesting activities for guests to get involved in. I especially loved Coconut Lagoon nestled on an backwater island near Kumarkom. You have to take a boat through the backwaters to get to the hotel and I loved the traditional Kerala village feel – especially my room in a double story wooden house. Spice Village is arguably the best place to stay in Thekkady, the pool overlooking the harbour and colonial character of Brunton Boatyard means it is a top choice for Fort Cochin or also try 8th Bastion for it’s fabulous, chic, contemporary feel and delicious food.

You have to get a boat to reach Coconut Lagoon

Coconut Lagoon – one of the CGH Earth Luxury Hotels in Kerala

My room at Coconut Lagoon – the hotel and villas are designed like a traditional Keralan Village

Spice Village – one of CGH Earth’s Hotels in Thekkady, Kerala

Rooms at Spice Village

The riverside Pool at Brunton Boatyard in Kochi

Enjoying the hospitality at Brunton Boatyard, Fort Cochin, Kerala

A Blissfull Backwater Cruise

And of course, a visit to Kerala wouldn’t be complete without cruising along the backwaters and spending a night in a traditional thatched house boat. Just make sure you check your operator before parting with your money as not all houseboats are equal. We went with Lakes and Lagoonsand I can highly recommend them – it was probably the highlight of my time in Kerala and the backwaters must be the most peaceful, serene place I’ve found in India yet – an essential Kerala experience that you really shouldn’t miss!  See the full post about my backwater houseboat experience here.

Cruising the Kerala backwaters on a houseboat is an expereince you can’t miss when in Kerala

Relaxing on a house boat on the Kerala backwaters is just heavenly

Sunset on the backwaters in Kerala

Other Recommended Luxury Hotels in Kerala


Kumarakom is the place to go if you want luxury alongside the backwaters. Some other members of the group stayed in the Kumarakom Lake Resort and had private swimming pools on their balcony! I also heard great reports of the Zuri Resort. The Oberoi and Vivanta by Taj hotel groups also have fantastic properties that get rave reviews but sadly, I have yet to experience these myself.


Wayanad is nestled far up in Western Ghats and one of the most beautiful and unspoilt parts of Kerala will reward you for making it up here ( it’s quite a drive from the main tourist trail). In Wayanad I adored my stay at Pranavam Homestays in the lush plantations with amazing vegetarian food and generous and friendly hosts who really made me feel like home.

Visiting the ancestral house at Pranavam Homestay

Indian hospitality at Pranavam Homestay in Kerala

Views of Wayanad

The other bloggers were split between other luxury resorts in Wayanad and I had the opportunity to visit  Vythiri Village – it wasn’t totally finished when I visited (March 2015) but I can see it will be an amazing resort with an artificial waterfall, zip line, huge pool, a state of the art conference center, a fun bridge, a restaurant in a houseboat and rooms with private plunge pools in the bathrooms andVythiri Resort – another stunning, luxurious rainforest retreat.

By the way, my stay in these properties was generously hosted by Kerala Tourism but all views are my own. If you wanted to book one of the hotels I’ve recommended here I have provided links to where, at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small commission to go towards helping me stay at that maharajahs palace in Rajasthan! So thanks for your support.


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