How it is to be marooned in an island resort in Alappuzha
The ride in a small motorboat sets the mood. It chugs its way from a private jetty, meandering through palm-fringed canals, the shores bustling with life in full motion, little boys taking turns to dive into the water, oblivious of the boat that moves past them.
From the narrow canal the boat moves into the majestic Vembanad Lake. The land now seems a bit far off, there is more traffic on the enticing backwaters, with huge houseboats, the regular passenger boats and the smaller country crafts criss-crossing the gentle waters.
Even as you look around the Lake Palace looms into vision. This backwater resort, spread over 50 acres, is an island with a varied choice of accommodation, fine food and a host of other amenities.
The Lake View cottages, in one of which I spend a day, borders the lake. All of them, built in a row, offer an enthralling view of the lake from the balcony. There are a few Kerala cottages, in traditional architecture, the backdoors of which open, once again, to the placid lake.
Water Villas, perched on pillars in a part of the lake, are a special feature of the resort. The architecture is traditional: gabled tiled roof and a veranda that runs around the villa.
Green paddy fields lay sprawled on one side of the property. Sitting in the balcony of your cottage, you can watch workers walk in a line along the narrow pathways that cut across the fields, ready for another day’s work. Life seems to be moving at its own pace here.
There is also a new block of 20 Lake View premium suites and twin luxury rooms that offer a spectacular view of the lake.
The multi-cuisine restaurant offers Chinese, Continental and Mughlai delicacies but do not miss the ethnic dishes like Kuttanadan duck curry, Karimeen polichathu or the scrumptious vegetarian spread, with a lavish sprinkling of aromatic spices and the typically Kuttanadan flavour.
A mini-swimming pool, water scooters, speed boats, paddle boats, a pool table, a reasonably good health club, recreation area and a well-stocked gift shop call for your attention.
Or you can simply walk around the resort, through the well-laid out gardens and green lawns, past the carefully nurtured trees that dot the lake.
You can also rejuvenate with an Ayurvedic massage. If you have the time, take a houseboat cruise on the lake to some exotic little villages around.
(The prices are exclusive of taxes)
Kerala Cottages Rs. 13,000
Water Villas Rs. 14,000
Lake View Cottages Rs. 15,000
Lake View Premium Suites Rs. 25,000
Lake View Twin Rooms Rs. 15,000
The tariff is inclusive of transfers from the mainland by boat, welcome drink on arrival, buffet breakfast, sunset cruise and use of in-house facilities.
How to get there
Alappuzha is 85 km from Kochi and 150 km from Thiruvananthapuram. The nearest railway station is Alappuzha. The resort has a private boat jetty near the KSRTC bus stand, which is around 3 km from the railway station. From here you are taken by a motor boat to the resort.
Things to do
Simply laze around watching the world float along the lovely lake. Make use of the swimming pool or get yourself an Ayurvedic massage. Don’t miss the houseboat cruise. And try and plan your trip to coincide with some of the world-famous boat races that are held from August to September on this lake and nearby.