THE GATEWAY HOTEL

JANARDHANAPURAM, VARKALA

USP: Blue waters and greenery for company

The Gateway Hotel is a perfect weekend getaway for those weary of city life. Towering gates that hide this garden resort may make the place seem intimidating, but step inside to discover a service that's warm and hospitable.

Perched atop a sandstone cliff, the resort has architecture that's simple, and interiors, tres chic. Flowers bloom cheerily at almost every nook and corner of the premises. From the lobby, you can see the shimmering blue sea. Shortly, you discover that the beach is but a two- or three-minute walk from the hotel. In short, you get the best of both worlds here — a walk through Nature's flora and a dip in the vast sea.

Our room is spacious with a balcony that overlooks the sea. There are other cosy rooms that face the landscaped gardens and take you directly to the resort's swimming pool. There is plenty to do at this resort, especially if you are into sports. You can play tennis, volleyball, badminton, table tennis or head to the gym.

And, to ensure you are up to such activity, there's GAD (Gateway All Day), the resort's multi-cuisine restaurant. It has a section dedicated to ‘active' food, packed with anti-oxidant and phytonutrients with low glycemic levels to keep the body's energy level balanced.

However, if you are not the ‘sporty' kind, you can lounge with a book from the lobby's book shelf while enjoying the cool sea breeze. Or, head to Kappil beach and work on your tan. Try the backwater boat ride at Kappil. You can also visit the 2,000-year-old Janardhanaswamy Temple, just a few minutes from the beach. However, if you just want to unwind, head to the Ayurveda centre and indulge in a massage.

Things to do

Try your hand at sports — tennis, volleyball, badminton or table tennis

Burn a few calories at the gym

Go on a backwater boat ride at Kappil

Head to the Ayurveda centre for a massage

Or, just lounge with a book as you take in the cool sea breeze

How to get there

The Gateway Hotel is 50 km from Thiruvananthapuram airport, 2.5 km from Varkala railway station, 55 km from Thiruvananthapuram city, and 220 km from Ernakulam

Tariff (Winter 2010-2011)

Standard Garden View Room — Rs. 12,425 (double); Rs. 8,925 (single)

Superior Sea View Room — Rs. 13,505 (double); Rs. 10,005 (single)

Day package — Rs. 700 for an entire day at the resort (includes a welcome drink, the use of the swimming pool, lunch and evening tea or coffee)

For details, call 0470-2603000 or mail gateway.varkala@tajhotels.com

(The writer was at The Gateway Hotel at the invitation of the resort)