Returning to a review of a destination after almost 6 months since visiting is an interesting way to see your real thoughts as to what has stayed with you regarding the experience in this interim.
Wholeheartedly I can say that from many years of travel Shine, his crew and the small plot of the Seashore Beach Resort have a grand, tranquil goldmine here that is thoroughly recommendable to future people.
This was part of the 'parents + sister + 15 month or so niece + girlfriend who have never visited India before' trip that had many options to catapult me into trouble.
We arrived after a hot and emotional journey on the train and Shine grabbed us, gave us a cup of tea and put us straight into an aircon room where calm was restored. We were staying in 3 of the 4 cottages (2 x downstairs and 1 x upstairs room). All aircon and all with relaxing views of the garden and the sea beyond.
The setup of the premises from the quiet alleyway goes - entrance, standard aircon and non-aircon rooms. 1st part of the garden, the 2 x cottages (2 rooms in each upstairs and downstairs), 2nd part of the garden, view friendly (but perhaps not nipper - more later) low wall. A few thousand miles of sea.
The cottages don't obstruct too badly the view from the standard aircon/non-aircon rooms. There is no obstruction of view from the cottages - although one of the downstairs rooms is smaller than the others and has heavy grating on it (this is the the left side cottage as you look at the sea). The other downstairs cottage room and upstairs room we had were spacious, new, comfortable and afforded superb views.
The garden and paths are carefully maintained, made of 'Indian grass' with hammocks in strategic positions and flora and fauna about. The view is spectacular, the shade movable (with some careful pre-empting you can find shelter / not find shelter almost the entire day). There is not a moment you cannot hear the sea roaring below the cliffs or see the wildlife soaring on thermals buffeting up from the sea. It is pleasingly put together with simple paths bisecting it. NB. The paths do get super hot in the sun (my niece learnt this the hard way and would circumnavigate them carefully if they were illuminated chanting ‘hot burnies hot burnies') but the airy rooms and location removed from the hustle and bustle provide solace if required from the hot burnies.
The cottages have a small but compact verandah looking onto the gardens, with furniture to sit on.
The aircon in each of the rooms we had works well, without noise and the rooms and toilets they are very clean and carefully maintained. Linen etc fresh and overall is a feeling of cleanliness and care.
NB. The downstairs room we had mentioned above is being renovated I believe as this is a little darker and smaller than the others - and the bathroom here was quite slippery - you've been warned - we pointed this out to Shine and the crew.
The garden ceases at the top of the cliffs and drops off down to the sea. The barrier here is high enough to not obstruct the view, but a little low for tiny terrors. One moment had me on the upstairs balcony look down to see my niece trundling towards the cliff down the path. In a split second I worked out it would be better to take 4 steps at a time down to the garden rather than to jump from the balcony and shatter my knees, only to skirt round the corner with cartoon skidding noises to see my family looking at me with incredulity from the lower balcony. They were about 5m from my nice who dutifully waddled back to them, never in danger from this unseen angle. The cliff does worry - but you just need to have 1 x set of eyes always on the smaller ones.
The steps down to the beach are fun and just shy of being too much. The natural ambience of the beach and it’s secluded nature mean that for all intents and purposes it is private for the hotel - but be warned that water has some riptide currents in it. And they are very very strong and can pull the young and inexperienced across and out in an instant.
Varkala + North Cliffs:
Varkala is a holy place, the main beach constantly thrumming and the views from the cliffs are wonderful. The North cliff area next to the helipad, some 7 minutes in Dilip's (lovely local chap for lifts) tuk-tuk for about 200Rs is full of wonderful friendly restaurants for families and all (with an eye to the elevation). Thumbs-up from all. It is no longer the 3 or 4 basic premises overlooking the unprotected cliff from when I last visited 12 years ago. Progress (or not..).
Shine et al:
Friendly, helpful, kind, resourceful and caring. Lassi's, cold water and local info whenever needed (drinks etc at an additional charge). Hospitable and family friendly, and situated in the quieter part of the South cliffs - far more favourable than the busier sun baked opportunities of the main drag. Simple but filling breakfasts, no dinner options. Wifi available in the main atrium and at a stretch to your balconies.
Just remember this is a cash only place. Don't get caught out like we did (well almost). It is also a home stay - not a hotel as such. Infinitely more personal and for my experience greater fun..
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- It's a very beautiful piece of paradise. It's a guest house (I couldn't call it something so cold as a resort) that delivers excellent service with a low key spirit of wanting to make your experience as enjoyable as possible. The rooms are clean, comfortable and the higher-end suites are exceptionally lovely and all for prices that make this the very best value I have almost ever experienced in all my travels. 'taken from guest review'. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Seashore Hotel Varkala
- Varkala SeaShore Beach Resort Kerala