THE ZURI SPA RESORT

KUMARAKOM

USP: Therapy for the mind and body

The Zuri glows green and golden in the early morning light, and as trees turn to shadows, a bottle-blue at dusk, broken only by lemon-yellow lamps. So yes, the resort spa, voted the best in Asia for two consecutive years, can be good for the soul. The impeccable service, barring a mildly confused reception desk, eases from your shoulders every responsibility a notch short of breathing, leaving you to wander the verdant 18 acres of the property in Kumarakom, which Timeout returned to after a new management took it over. Five acres of that is a man-made lagoon that meets the Vembanad lake, borrowing its changing colours and agile fish.

The rooms are wood-beamed and high-ceilinged, lit only by indirect lighting, drawn in turquoise-blues, emerald-greens and deep-browns. You can soak in the tub, or step out for the exhilarating open-air shower, then stand in the midst of marine winds on the balcony that looks out onto the many-splendoured lake.

The Lime Tree is a casual all-day restaurant with buffet options; the upscale Laguna Bass specialises in seafood; there is the Marquess, a cigar lounge; and the Trunk Call bar, which promises to keep your spirits soaring.

But, what should really be keeping you occupied is their spa, Maya, the largest in South India, and with awards that certify it as one of the best in Asia. Ayurvedic, Oriental and Western therapies that will solve the mystery as to why everyone at The Zuri wears a dopey-eyed, blissful smile. As their tagline says, unwind like the gods do.

How to get there

The Zuri is about an hour-and-a-half's ride from the Kochi airport, or, (and we recommend this), after about an hour in the car, complete the last leg in a speedboat that will navigate Asia's largest freshwater-lake to take you straight into the centre of the resort. You can call 0481-2527272 for details and reservations.

Things to do

After visits to Kottayam, Allepey and the spice plantations, take a houseboat onto the still waters of the Vembanad, fish, set out on horticultural walks, cycle within and outside the property, play billiards, box cricket and volleyball, attend yoga sessions at the Body Temple, and, without fail, take part in a boat race.

Tariff

The Zuri Rooms come for Rs.17,000; the Deluxe ones for 18,500; the Cottages for Rs.23,000 and the Presidential Pools Villas for Rs.75,000.