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Comfort zone: A houseboat cruising along the backwaters of Thiruvallom near the city.
Comfort zone: A houseboat cruising along the backwaters of Thiruvallom near the city.

Houseboats come with all sorts of facilities – from swimming pools to conference halls

Another tourist season in God’s Own Country is only a few weeks away. The stake-holders of the burgeoning tourism industry in the State are busy wooing the tourists with attractive tour packages and innovative products.

A cruise along the waterways of Kerala in a luxury houseboat is the most enchanting holiday experience for the domestic and foreign tourists arriving in the country. Over the years, houseboats have become the mascot of Kerala Tourism.

The comfortably furnished houseboat with all modern facilities as in a hotel room is the holiday home for hundreds of foreign and domestic tourists arriving in the State. Houseboat operators in the State are known for converting the giant crafts into luxurious houseboats for the tourists and for innovative products.

Houseboats manned entirely by women, the ones that offer ayurvedic therapy and treatment, those that resemble a ‘nalukettu’, fully air-conditioned ones and those with glass panes are turning out to be a big attraction.

The houseboat with a conference hall that can accommodate 150 persons is also in high demand among the corporate world.

Modified to meet the novel concept of holidaying, the houseboat with conference hall is the best choice for those who want to combine business and leisure. Besides an open lounge, bath attached bedrooms and a kitchenette, it has even an upper deck for more privacy.

The houseboat with a swimming pool is the latest addition to the list of innovations of “kettuvallom.” Tomy Pulickattil of the Alappuzha-based Pulickattil Houseboats, considered by many as a master innovator, is the brain behind the new “kettuvallom” with swimming pool. The houseboat is 90 feet long and 16 feet wide and has two bedrooms on the ground floor with the pool on the first floor.

The pool is 12 feet long and has a depth of four feet. Even though the pool might look small, it is fitted with a Jacuzzi and swimming will be a fun. “The work is almost over and the canopy needs some finishing work. The boat would be floating in the Alappuzha backwaters from next week,” Mr. Tomy told The Hindu.

While converting Kettuvalloms, care has to be taken to use only eco-friendly and traditional materials and for setting up treatment plant. Lanterns are hung to give a romantic touch even though solar lighting is equipped. Even while retaining the strong traditional flavour, the standards of comfort and convenience are very high in these floating hotels.

Among the houseboats, Mr. Tomy says the one with a conference hall is in high demand. The groundwork for constructing an antique houseboat and the one that will move along the road instead of the backwaters has commenced already.

S. Anil Radhakrishnan

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