Kerala luxury vacation

“Two week tailor made tour of Kerala. Locally-owned accommodation, your own car and driver, and a great variety of locations and activities.”

Highlights

Fort Cochin | Kerala backwaters | Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary | Boutique hotels | Western Ghats | Mararikulam beach | Spice Village | Ayurvedic treatments |

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made to suit your dates, budget and requirements
Our top tip:
The mountains get cold at night, so bring layers.
Trip type:
Tailor made.
Solos:
Solo travelers welcome. Surcharge for own room.
Accomm:
Boutique hotels.
Included:
Accommodation, all transfers, some meals, driver/chauffeur.
Meals:
All breakfasts, half board at Coconut Lagoon, all meals on houseboat.
Vouchers
Accepted
Vacation type

Tailor made vacation

The tour operator offering this vacation is a British company with an intimate knowledge of the destination. All their vacations are tailor made which means that they can create a unique vacation for your individual requirements. They offer a range of accommodation from guesthouses and homestays to the more luxurious hotels. Where possible they use properties that are heritage or characterful. Quality and value are the hallmark of these trips. They are licenced to sell flights from the UK and will search for the best airfare for your dates. If you book flights with them, then the whole vacation will be protected by ATOL. This tour operator is also a member of ABTA – this means that all their vacations adhere to the ABTA Code of Conduct, their finances, insurances etc are checked regularly and if you have a complaint that cannot be resolved there is an arbitration scheme available to you.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Kerala luxury vacation

By supporting locally owned hotels and homestays we are helping to provide employment for local communities. All of the hotels on this tour are extremely proud of their strong policies regarding the environment and ecotourism. CGH Earth Group who own Coconut Lagoon, Spice Village and Marari Beach have evolved over four decades into a chain that specialises in remaining true to the environment – one of their mottos is "Nature remains the Chief Architect". While staying at their resorts the staff will be happy to show you around their various environmental projects including water harvesting and water re-cycling, organic farming, biogas facility, composting etc.

The Malabar House hospitality team is committed to sustainability and social and environmental responsibility. They are the only operation (at the time of writing) in India that is certified by Green Globe 21, the worldwide environmental certification program for sustainable travel and tourism. The houseboat is locally made using traditional methods and natural materials and owned by a local company. All our houseboats adhere to stringent environmental rules and regulations that are in force on the Kerala backwaters.

Coconut Lagoon, Spice Village and Marari Beach Resort are all owned by the environmentally friendly CGH Earth Group of Hotels. CGH Earth is a Kerala family owned business that has been operating since 1954. Sustainability has been their ethos from the start. At CGH Earth protecting the environment and nature is core to their business and visitors staying at their various hotels will see this in practice

This tour includes a visit to Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Periyar is a protected area, is committed to conserving the numbers of tigers and elephants within the reserve and practices community based ecotourism.

The ground handling of this tour is provided by our local agent and we supply him with more than 90% of his turnover. All of the drivers and staff are local people. Thus we have fifteen local families that are directly financially reliant upon us. Our drivers have a contract and are paid a monthly wage. This is very unusual in South India where most drivers are normally employed on a commission-only basis (not easy for such seasonal work). All of the guides we use are local.

Tailor-made vacations cater for couples or small groups and this means that our customers have the opportunity to interact with the locals. All of our customers are supplied with detailed information about their vacation. We supply general advice relevant to all customers as well as more specific facts about your particular tour. These documents offer our customers lots of advice and guidance including how to obtain an Indian Visa, which immunisations are recommended, how much to tip people, how to dress appropriately and how to behave in National Parks.

15 Reviews of Kerala luxury vacation

4.5 out of 5 stars
SHOW
7
8
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Reviewed on 09 Mar 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


An impossible question as absolutely everything was fantastic! Everyone was friendly, helpful and went out of their way to make sure we had a vacation of a lifetime. The itinerary was prefect for an introduction to Kerala; the accommodation was superb, the food delicious and all activities were interesting and worthwhile.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


ATMs work slightly differently than in the UK - cards are input and withdrawn before you input any information to the ATM. Make sure you enjoy as many Ayurvedic massages as you can!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes - we could see the impact using filtered water instead of bottled water, the filtered non chlorinated pool was the best water I've swum in. Locally sourced food was how food should be and we were conscious of saving both electricity and water. Kerala airport is totally powered by solar panels.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Superb

Reviewed on 25 Jan 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Seeing a herd of wild elephants up close and the tea plantations

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Hard to swim in Kerala, think how long you want at each place.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Most of them apart from Gateway hotel in varlkla

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


9

Reviewed on 12 Apr 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


We enjoyed it as a whole experience. We loved the countryside, the vistas, and particularly the variety of birds we saw. Fort Kochi was a contrast -bustling, colourful and quirky with the peace and tranquillity of Munnar and then the backwaters.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Don't be afraid to try homestays - lovely to be able to meet local people.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Not sure really - though hopefully the cost of accommodation went directly to the people who opened their homes to us.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Very enjoyable

Reviewed on 18 Nov 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The people we met was the most memorable - ALL of them lovely- friendly, genuine, generous. This applies to local s we met, in addition to those employed in the industry. Every single day was memorable and exciting. No exaggeration! Maybe I would have to say the Houseboat was the highlight though. Or the train from Kovalam to Cochin. Im so glad we didn't skip. We could easily have taken another car transfer, but it was so not like any other train ride. I loved it. Oh- and the food- at half of our stays we ate communaly- food prepared for everyone. Everything we had without exception was delicious. I put on half a stone.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Book at least two, three maybe nights at each location if traveling around, there is so much to see and experience in each place. We stayed at Dewalakom Homestay, a rubber plantation/organic farm- our hosts were delightful, generous, welcoming, and the place beautiful. We were treated to free cookery
demonstration, guided walks, yoga, and trips included with their lovely staff. Then Hornbill Camp- given it was camping- more basic, but great location, we
explored by kayak, bike, (free), and guided walk in the nearby Bird Reserve at dawn- all just amazing. Then Coconut Lagoon Hotel- this is simply the best hotel. I have ever stayed in. The wildlife was incredible, and the Ayurvedic treatment the best. Then a backwaters Houseboat 2 night cruise- the boat was comfortable and gorgeous in every respect and the crew were SO nice. I was very sad to depart and could have spent a week there but only had two nights.
Then down to The Leela at Kovalam beach. Very chilled. Great location again. Good Hotel. We then took the train back up to Cochin. The train was brilliant,
we were nervous of doing so in case we got lost, however the driver helped us with porters, and got us on the right train with no problem. Fort Cochin-small
hotel- what great area! absolutely buzzing. Sadly only time for one night. Must go back. The meal we had there was the cheapest, and yet the best of the whole
vacation. The owners were a lovely family, very generous.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Well, it did I suppose, that's a difficult question to evaluate, with many complex factors of which I would have insufficient knowledge to judge. Certainly
Dewalocam Retreat does on all aspects. Not so sure about the larger 5 star hotels. On face value certainly we were led to believe so. I would say they all do so to a greater or lesser extent.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


We had the most fabulous vacation of a lifetime, due in no small part due to the advice of the staff. Everything was organised and executed like clockwork. Each place we stayed was in its own way perfect. All the accommodation was faultless, and the travel between was well organised and exactly as planned and described. The drivers we had were professional and well spoken.

Reviewed on 26 Dec 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


All of the destinations were special in their own way. You are made to feel very welcome wherever you go.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Don't over think your wardrobe or take too many clothes. All destinations offer laundry facilities.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Not sure. Didn't feel anyone or anything was exploited. Not clear on the beneficiary aspects.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Very well organised. Great selection of resorts and locations. Good professional driver. First trip to India. Felt I was well looked after and selected the right company. Thank you.

Reviewed on 03 Jan 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


By far the most memorable part for us was the houseboat cruise on the back waters. Two nights on a barge - we loved the leisurely pace as we moved slowly along the rivers, giving plenty of time for watching birds and also watching life as lived alongside the river. Memorable in a slightly different way was crossing the lake in the Periyar National Park on a bamboo raft - we had to stand and nothing to hold on to! In many ways the whole vacation was memorable - we had a lovely time.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


We wished we had taken one or more games such as Scrabble. Some resorts provide a good selection, but not all, and seldom is television available. We did a lot of reading.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


We certainly felt that our vacation gave local employment, and most of the resorts clearly were attempting to reduce environmental impact and supporting conservation.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


This was definitely a 4-star vacation!

Reviewed on 10 Mar 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The backwaters trip and the stay at Serenity

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


The Tea Bungalow is not the same standard as the rest of the accommodation, so don’t accept it as an alternative to the hotel in the itinerary.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes,all three.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent

Reviewed on 26 Feb 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Getting really far off the beaten track & to the real Southern India (Kerala & Tamil Nadu). Seeing lots of wild fauna & flora, including elephant three times. Having preconceptions & understandings of different cultures challenged.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


The agent has a remarkable ability to understand what is really wanted out of a trip. Take time to make use of all the excellent information provided, & advice/feedback.


3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


It was a 100% enjoyable experience. We are currently booking our next trip for Dec '13/Jan '14.

Reviewed on 19 Oct 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


In order - Meeting up with our English cousins, the food, the people, the colour, the accommodation, our driver

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Go for it. RT (and the operator) did an amazing job. Everything was so steamlined. Not what you'd expect from an India vacation! Just be prepared for the humidity. Wear your bikini under light full-length clothes. A sarong is a must. Doubles as a skirt, sarong over bathers for the beach and a light bed-sheet.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, absolutely. Felt 'righteous'/good

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Out of 100 - 100. Out of 10 - 10 Out of 5 -5
It was the most perfect vacation in the whole wide world.

Reviewed on 23 Feb 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Being part of a celebration at a temple in Cochin and seeing the elephants parade in all their finery, accompanied by the deafening sound of drums and horns.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Let the representative at the company know exactly what you want, they will go out of their way to accommodate your wishes.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, particularly the homestays. I would like to know more about the environmental impact of the houseboats.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


We would like to say that the service from the operator was very efficient. The itinerary they devised for us was exactly what we had asked for, the accommodations were excellent and all the arrangements for transfers worked without any hitches. It was one of the most relaxed touring vacations that we have ever done, Kerala exceeded our expectations.

Reviewed on 06 Feb 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The magnificent tea covered mountains at the Munnar hill station, and the indescribably beautiful Periyar national park with its many birds, monkies, and all sorts of other animals. The intense green landscapes, fantastically painted hindu shrines, and the bright red, gold, yellow, orange and every other color saris worn by women everywhere. It was a visual feast!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Bring lightweight sneakers with good soles for walking on slippery dirt surfaces or rocks- no need for hiking shoes. Bring binoculars! So many beautiful birds to see! Bring sunscreen and bug spray if you tend to be eaten by mosquitoes. The mountains really get cold at night, so absolutely bring a warm sweater and long pants and a light warm hat.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, there was evidence of organic gardening, recycling, and efforts to minimize waste. All of the people involved in the trip appeared to be paid fairly and to feel appropriately deployed in the effort.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Completely fantastic! We loved it! The most huge and beautiful tropical place that I had ever been to, I can't wait to return!

Reviewed on 14 May 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Definitely the 2 nights spent on the luxury houseboat cruising the Kerala backwaters!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Don't be persuaded to spend only one night on the boat and the second at a backwater resort. Make sure you spend at least 2 nights on the boat.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Largely it benefited local people in the obvious way that the establishments we stayed in and the activities we engaged in employed significant numbers of locals.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


It was superb!

Reviewed on 16 Mar 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The whole trip was superbly organised and planned by the tour operator. But the highlight must have been our trek in the Periyar tiger reserve - alas no tigers but close up views of the wild elephants was really exciting.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Get help from some experts – the tour operator know a great deal about the region and are willing to spend time meeting specific requirements. They helped us turn our good trip into a great one.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


We spent most of our time staying in CGH hotels who specialise in minimising the impact on the environment. I would like to think our stay also helped the local economy.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


11 out of 10 - can I say more?

Reviewed on 13 Jan 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Staying on a farm in the backwaters and then 'Cruising' the backwaters in a houseboat watching the world go by. The food was amazing and there were many opportunities to have lessons which I am looking forward to implementing if I can source the ingredients. The people were so friendly and helpful. The drivers went out of their way to tailor our 'travels'. The diversity of experiences, cultures, scenery in such a small area.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Take a plug as not all sinks have one. Children asked for pens but we ran out so take lots. Budget for tipping as it only seems fair to do so but it ends up being quite costly. Depending on how you book your traveling etc, check out eating and accommodation costs. For some reason, I thought these would be similar to South East Asian but it was more expensive.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


I don't feel 'qualified' to say. We were in good hotels and whilst they employed local people there was a visible divide within the country. However, all the hotels we stayed in had policies about water usage and tended to use local products for soaps and cooking.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


It was a great vacation with a variety of experiences. Our tour operator clearly understood our needs and preferences and matched that up with their extensive local knowledge to produce an extremely well organised itinerary and memorable experience.

Reviewed on 01 May 2009 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


So many highlights! Seeing stork-billed kingfishers while floating along the backwaters on a house boat, practising yoga on the beach at sunset, watching the Kathakali dance performers putting on their makeup before a show, mesmerising!!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


If you have time, visit the area around Munnar. We stayed in a bungalow on a cardamom plantation. The views were stunning.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Most definitely. All the hotels employed local people. A few of the hotels recycled waste to use as bio fuel.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Fabulous!

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