I spend part of my childhood in Cochin. I have fond memories of biking along the wide thoroughfares of Wellington Island and boat rides from Ernakulum across the backwaters to the embarkation jetty, around the tip of the island on to Mattanchery and Fort Kochi. We would also cross the azimugham to the islands and land at Bolghaty to wander the grounds of the Palace.
I was back to Cochin again. Cochin continued to change its face and a lot of the old places looked quite different.
We had stayed at other wonderful hotels in Ernakulum including the Taj Residency during our past trips. This time we decided to stay at Taj Malabar. Years ago, when I took those boat rides it was not a Taj property but was just Malabar Hotel. It was the best hotel in Cochin if not the whole of Kerala at that time.
We had a wonderful regal welcome matched only by the royal receptions of the North Indian Palace hotels the week before. The refreshing drinks, soothing towels and personal concierge all added glamour to luxury.
I had booked the stay directly but my good friend Commander Samuel, who is the managing director of Kalypso Adventures, a leading adventure tour operator, might have had a hand in us getting the best rooms in the house.
The rooms were fantastic. Our room especially was a corner one which gave us a panoramic view of the back waters. The size of the room and its amenities were extra ordinary.
Even without the update, I think the value for the money is exceptional at $100.
We had dinner in the restaurant that was shaped to resemble the traditional kettuvallam (boat). They specialized in local food especially the seafood. Their cuisine took me back to the days of fresh caught fish, crabs, konju at Fort Cochin near the Chinese nets where we would buy them off the boats and have it cooked on the beach. (I think this is still available even now and would be the best and most fresh sea food you can get anywhere in the world.) During our travels, I, a proud foodie, always judge food authenticity by comparing it to that of the "hole in the wall" joints in that city. Taste and authenticity of the dishes at this five star place matched that of the local fare. I want to also comment on their hospitality acumen. After our $3 "almond can in the mini bar" experience at the Hyatt in Amritsar, it was welcoming to see that they refused to charge us for a drink and provided a complete new dish free of charge for my daughter because she did not think it was perfect the way she wanted it. This was in spite of my acknowledgment that the drink and the dish tasted perfectly all right to me.
We ordered room service next morning. Eating a breakfast of Kerala delicacies from the vantage point of our corner room was exceptional. They even made us local dishes we craved but were not on the menu.
The staff and their attention to the details and the warmth of their hospitality was fantastic.
The grounds had a look of a botanical garden.
My family spent half a day in the Spa and said it was one of the best Spas they have been to.
We enjoyed the complimentary evening reception and an hour long boat ride through the back waters. It certainly was a trip down the memory lane for me.
Nostalgia aside, we had a memorable stay at the Malabar hotel. It still remains the best hotel in Cochin.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Situated on Willingdon Island with a magnificent view of Cochin harbour, Vivanta by Taj - Malabar is a fine balance between yesterday and tomorrow. Our lobby is a unique mix of chic and classic. The heritage wing, built in 1935, reflect the inherent beauty of Cochin. And the tower wing houses newly renovated guestroom suites, each a delicate mix of the classic with the contemporary. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Vivanta By Taj - Malabar Hotel Kochi (Cochin)
- Taj Malabar Cochin Kochi
- Taj Malabar Cochin Hotel Kochi
- Vivanta By Taj - Malabar Kochi (Cochin), Kerala, India