It is a hotel; but above all an inspiring piece of heritage surrounded by placid backwaters of the Vemabanad Lake. This property is a Kerala Tourism award winner in the category for 'best heritage hotel.' Hailed by the 'Conde Nast Traveller' as one among the 25 best getaways in the world, Coconut Lagoon has heritage mansions, bungalows and pool villas set amidst inspiring sights of surrounding backwater and towering coconut trees. Once you become part of it, you could simply lose track of time and space.
Water and history are the defining elements at Coconut Lagoon. There are so many facets to the Coconut Lagoon experience. The heritage of the old feudal villages; the vast vistas of the Vembanad Lake; the shimmering waters of the canals that crisscross the property - together, they become an experiment in ecological living that remains startlingly different.
Fittingly, Coconut Lagoon can be reached only over the water. The great Vembanad Lake that stretches clear across central Kerala forms a breeze-laden watery highway. As the boat reaches the reception lobby, you would find a reconstructed 19th century mansion with a stone jetty attached. You would be welcomed with a reviving coconut cocktail and walk up to the reception desk, all ready to check in.
Nature breathes life into Coconut Lagoon. You would spot in the premises of the hotel a local and a rare breed of cow - Vechoor - busy keeping the grass from growing too tall, a garden exclusively for butterflies; heaps of compost to keep things green; and canoes plying silently on the backwater and the bird calls from its neighbour - the Kumarakom bird sanctuary.
Staying at Coconut Lagoon is going to be a hard choice. Because you would simply be tempted to opt for all at one go. Its Heritage bungalows, Heritage mansions and Deluxe pool villas captivate your imagination, urging you to try all of them.
Living experiences at Coconut Lagoon are never more than the essence of old Kerala, updated slightly perhaps, but kept pure and simple.
One of the best ways to enjoy the backwaters surrounding Coconut Lagoon is to go for the sunset cruise arranged by the hotel. It is an hour-long idyll with soft lilting music for company.
There is also a half-day cruise, which can be extended on demand, which is along the backwater canals, which is a good way to experience village life, unfolding in vignettes along grassy banks shaded by tropical canopies and the village houses at mere handshaking distance.
And those who care for a stroll can do so at Philip Kutty's Farm, through lush paddy fields spotted with coconut groves. At the end of it all, you can get up close with organic farming, done the old-fashioned way. Or try a glass of refreshing palm toddy, a mildly alcoholic local tipple that should fortify you nicely for the walk back.
And for those who favour the time-honoured activity of guests, may grab a book from the bar library then let it slip gently out of your hands as your hammock lulls you into dreamland.
Coconut Lagoon is also a venue where you could enjoy some cultural marvels of Kerala. The hotel plays host to some of the finest dancers, musicians and performers of traditional art forms. Performances in the evenings include Kathakali, Mohiniyattom or Carnatic music.
The place is a gourmet's delight
The spirit of old Kerala is alive and well in the spread of delicacies at Coconut Lagoon. It is the place for you to sample some authentic Malabari food, with the accent, of course, on fresh fish from the lake and the sea. You would also relish here giant freshwater prawns along with a plate of nourishing red rice. You may also try the local delicacy that includes Karimeen (Pearl Spot fish) a dish beloved of its connoisseurs and of course a wide selection of international favorites.
Coconut Lagoon comes with a swimming pool, an Ayurveda centre, a centre for Yoga and meditation, recreation area and a training centre for Kerala's martial art - Kalaripayattu.
It is a lagoon that is steeped in heritage. And it is a lagoon full of nature and its many lullabies with the most affectionate one being the backwaters. Where are you...still outside the lagoon?
Coconut Lagoon is not accessible by road. By road it is 10 km from Kottayam to Kavanatinkara boat landing and from there a 10 minute boat ride to Coconut Lagoon.
Nearest railway station: Kottayam about 10 km.
Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport.
45 km from Cochin to Puthenangadi boat landing by road, 25 minute boat ride to Coconut Lagoon.