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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in India

Coconut Lagoon: a local idyll on the shores of Lake Vembanad

You still have to take a boat through a small canal to reach us…

By Samboo G
General Manager at Coconut Lagoon

Thirty years ago, our little village in Kumarakom didn’t have the luxury of many roads. Everything was transported by boat. While the area has since been developed, to this day you still have to take a motorboat through a small canal to reach us. It’s a real water world.

A lot of thought was put into the vernacular architecture. Most of the bungalows were transplanted from Kerala’s mountainous villages to the banks of the huge Lake Vembanad. The Pool Villas, our more recent creations, have east-facing private pools perfectly positioned to see the sunrise while the front verandah overlooks the lake and you can watch the sun set over the reflective water.

Our cuisine ranges from Indian dosa pancakes and snacks by the swimming pool to freshly caught seafood cooked traditionally on an open flame. We do this ‘curry lunch,’ a six-course extravaganza including beef, pork, chicken and duck served on a banana leaf. If you have that I can guarantee you won’t be eating dinner.

For special occasions, we set up private dinners on a massive lawn by the lake. You’re completely alone save for a few drifting fishing boats. Then there’s our paddy hut where you feel like you’re in the paddy fields of a rural village rather than a resort. It’s candlelit with the sounds of grasshoppers, birds and crickets in the air.

We have many activities from canoe rides into the backwaters to cycling to the friendly local villages. Birding is a real highlight here with species such as egrets, herons and male paradise flycatchers showing off their extraordinary, long tails. I think the human species is the one of the few species where the female is more beautiful than the male. In terms of our relationship with the land, we see ourselves more as guests and try to maintain the utmost respect for the surrounding flora and fauna. You’ll get an idea of our ethos on a guided walk around the organic vegetable garden, our bio gas plant and grounds that support only indigenous flora.

Out of all the activities though I would tell people not to miss stand-up paddle boarding at sunrise. The lake at this time is at its quietest and you can usually catch a soft morning breeze. Chances of falling into the water are high, but that’s the whole fun of it isn’t it?

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Alfred & Samboo G

Hailing from the backwaters of Alappuzha, Samboo started his career with Guestline Hotels, members of the Accor hospitality group, before joining the Relais-Chateaux accredited, Malabar House in Fort Cochin. The last seven years at Coconut Lagoon have been some of his most enjoyable putting his vast knowledge of the history and geography of Kerala’s famous backwaters to great use.