Sunday, 1 July 2012

Colonial Mansion Hotels of Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi has many Portuguese, Dutch and British colonial mansions that have
been converted into boutique hotels and home-stay facilities. The vintage of these
mansions range from 500 odd years to about 100 years. Once used as residences,
clubs and offices by the colonial masters these are now welcoming discerning
travelers for once in a lifetime stay options. Enterprising Malyalis spotted the
opportunity of commercially exploiting the rich architectural legacy  that
they either inherited or acquired transformed these mansions into finest living
houses. Francis Wazciarg and Aman Nath, the enterprising Indian and French
duo of Neemrana label have done fantastic work here by offering two of the oldest
mansions (Le Colonial and Pierce Leslie Bungalow).  I can not think of any other place
in the world where one gets to stay in colonial mansions of such vintage. 
Most of these mansions are built around a courtyard, have thick walls, tall columns
and arches, lofty ceilings and  polished wooden floors. The inner courtyard is usually
covered by wide canopy of tall trees, with thick green patch all around and water-bodies
with water-plants. These mansions offer accommodation options which are  
personalized, are leisurely placed,set in tranquil surroundings with no rush of
continuous frenzy of arriving and departing tourists that one gets to bear in a modern
hotel. The staff are ever-present yet not breathing down your neck. They leave you
to be yourself and be with yourself.
The rooms are large, tastefully fitted with colonial furniture and complimenting
modern facilities. Its walls adorned with antique art objects, paintings, prints and maps.
The public area alcoves and windows have more extensive display of the colonial art
and crafts sourced from the local Jew Town antique shops. The rooms are named after
the past colonial occupants or renowned characters from the Portuguese, Dutch or
even British history in India.  
Here are Heritage Hotels and Homestay options at Fort Kochi on top of my list. Enjoy
the leisurely break!
Le Colonial
The Le Colonial, was home to the Portuguese Governor for almost 150 years and then was lorded over by the Dutch for another 140 years. St Francis Xavier is also said to have lived in the house which has also called the "St Francis Bungalow”. Sold to the British in 1795, it was acquired by J Thomas, the legendary tea traders. The mansion has combined colonial history of 500 years, now converted into a boutique hotel under the Neemrana fold, the mansion has not only retained its architectural heritage but also added modern amenities for its discerning guests. The hotel is adorned with many art objects, prints, paintings of Raj and the days before relieving its colonial past. It has 7 tastefully decorated rooms named after Jan Van Spall, Vasco da Gama, Major Petrie and Tipu Sultan among others.  
The bungalow has seven bedrooms and suites all individually decorated own secluded terrace, recreating the genuine colonial feel whilst retaining comfort and elegance. Selected among the Worlds Top 130 New Hotels by CondeNaste Traveler. The chefs lovingly create Indian, continental dishes with fresh ingrediants which one can enjoy either in the elegant dining room, the garden or in the intimacy of room or terrace.
The occupants get to enjoy its large collection of art objects, paintaings, prints, old maps which adorn the walls, shelves, and every open space.  Entire collection of art here is in harmony with the leisurely and rich heritage of the mansion and truly provides a romantic escapade amidst the settings that goes back to several centuries.
Le Colonial
Le Colonial Bungalow - Tiled roof, loft ceilings, archways, courtyard, pillars and plenty
of greenery all around
Le Colonial
Dining Hall - polished wooden floor, arches, high ceiling, colonial furnitures and gourmet food
Le Colonial

Lobby - Rich and varied collection of paintings connecting with mansions colonial past and their history
Le Colonial
Passage to the colonial past - Walls adorned with prints and paintings
Jan Van Spall suite named after the last Dutch Governor who lived in the house.
Room with a private verandah and two king size beds under a raftered roof. 
Viceroy Suite, the largest and the noblest room at Le Colonial, with a long verandah attached. Art deco furniture in teak and satin wood gives the room a feel of classic charm

Major Petrie Room, a high, four-poster bed with teak steps to mount, a striped
white rafter roof and windows pierced in thick walls. A gallery of etchings and gravures
on the walls and the ambience of art – as in an elegant home.
Facilities: Formal dining in arcaded Dining Hall, rejuvenating intimate massage facility, swimming pool.
Tariff: Ranges from Rs 7,000 to Rs. 24,000 depending on the room chosen and season of visit  
 Le Colonial 1-315, Church Road, Vasco de Gama Square, Fort Kochi. Phone: 484-2217181/2217182. Mobile: 8086677472 

The Tower House
Tower House, a Neemrana property has an enviable colonial past. It is a 17th century twin house with scallop wall and looks like a ship. The sheer joy of stay at Tower House Bungalow (Formerly Peirce Leslie Bungalow) at stone throw distance from the famed chinese fishing nests is a journey into the history of spice trade of this port city and an introduction to the good life lived by the foreign traders in the last 4 centuries. The generous arched doors welcomes one to step in to the another world where time stretches, pauses to watch the sun set and move over so lightly towards dawn. The welcome area displays multi-religious art and antiques in honor of its Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Christian ancestry. The thick wall, teak stairs leading to the first polished floor covered entirely in fine teak that have with-stood the vagaries of nature and the general wear and tear looks steady enough to last few more centuries. The large salon on the first floor with high vaulted ceiling is designed to provide generous circulation of air which helps in keeping the place cool even in summer months. Long verandah opens in the inner courtyard and overlooks the green lawn and an inviting cozy swimming pool is ideal for enjoying a favourite book over a cup of tea. The rooms are in various sizes and named after its colonial masters - Noronha, Wayermah, Mateu, Souza, Mascarenhas , Mossel, Pacheco, Cunes and Menezes. Most of the rooms have large four poster beds, and windows that have views of the trees or the sea depending on where they are located.
The furniture here is an eclectic mix - rosewood, teak and ebony period furniture blends with cane and rattan pieces and informal sofas and settee. Light pours in through the windows, skylights and the vastness of the indoor spaces makes for an unforgettable experience. Tower House takes you back in time, moods and memories woven together create a fabric that is strong but sits ever so lightly.
The Tower House, view of inner courtyard and the swimming pool
The Dinning Hall
The Hall on first floor
View of The Tower House from piazza
The Mateu Suite
The Mateu Suite: the grandest suite with a separate dressing room, a locker and a minibar

The Noronha Suite
Noronha is a grand suite with two queen size beds, a separate dressing room, a locker and a large bathroom.
Facilities: Formal dining in arcaded Dining Hall, Library, Swimming pool, Craft Shop,  
Tariff: Ranges from Rs 2,500 to Rs. 10,000 depending on the room chosen and season of visit
Tower House 1/320, Tower Road, Fort Kochi Phone: 0484-2216960-62, Mobile: 9895693716
Brunton Boatyard
As the website of the hotel states it is an attempt bring colonial Cochin alive for the contemporary traveler. A welcoming vaulted and airy lobby framed by arches and overhung punkhas promises of a mansionful of colonial history. Waves from the Cochin harbour crashes on the walls of property built in 1895, once a boartyard owned by Geo, Brunton & Sons, the mansion has been painstakingly restructured it for use as a boutique hotel. In recreating the space for modern use the mansion has seen extensive use of terracotta, lime, wood and tiles - all local produce, yet retaining the Dutch influences - lofty ceilings, hanging fans, and studded with artefacts and curios associated with marine navigation. An inviting swimming pool by the edge of the harbour completes the vista. Hotel's private jetty is round the pool, from wher one can take off on cruise either dwn the harbour onto Vypen Island or towards the Kumbalanghi back waters.
                                             Brunton Boatyard - View from the sea
Room with a View
All rooms and suites here offer generous sea view, so does the ensuite bathrooms.How about enjoying cool drink lying in bath tub and watch the seagulls flutter about or the container ship cruisng through the harbour! Brunton Boatyard deservingly boast to be the most beautifully located heritage hotel in Fort Kochi.
This property not only offers luxurious stay at a greta location but is also marked for the gourmet local cuisine it serves from 'The History Restaurant' and  'The Terrace Grill'.
The History Restaurant offers unique gastronomic fare in form of Kerala, Arab, Jewish and Syrian Christian cuisine which were deeply infuenced by the Portuguese and Dutch and which generously make use of the abundantly locally produced exotic spices. The food on offer is truly a melting pot of different cultures that influnced the way of life in its colonial past.  Closely guarded secret recepies were sourced from the old families of Cochin and recreated lovingly by the chefs. Generous use of fresh cinnamon, pepper, red chilli, coriander, vanilla, ginger and excellent blend of spices is hall mark of the food served here. One must not leave without savouring Mulligatawny soup, Pork vindaloo, Awal arubyan bil Kabaneh (Arab pulao), malabar dessert - Pazham Nirachatu (stuffed steamed banana) and star anise chocolate truffle.  
The Terrace Grill on the other hand open for Dinner only and offers Seafood dining experience. You can have freshly caught fish and crustucans grilled or cooked the way you fancy and savor it while you watch the town life unfold down nera the jetty. Facilities: Formal dining in The History Restaurant and The Terrace Grill, The Armoury Bar, swimming pool, Spa 
Tariff: Ranges from Rs 7,500 to Rs. 12,000 depending on the season of visit
Brunton BoatyardCalvetty Road, Fort Kochi Phone: 0484 2215461/ 2215465
Koder House
Koder House is a three-storeyed heritage boutique hotel opposite the beach at Fort Kochi facing the thick canopied piazza and very close to the Chinese fishing nets. The heritage boutique hotel was once residence of the Jewish Koder family. The three storied hotel was actually built by the Koders to accommodate families of their three sons. It is believed to have been structured and gabled in Europe and shipped to Cochin. Its windows are said to be made of imported Belgium glass. The red brick facade with wooden arch on the top looks inviting. As stated in its publicity, Koder House encapsulates the concept of a heritage boutique hotel combining originality and style with personal service.  Polished teak floors, lofty ceilings and stairways and spacious suites and rooms reflect the tradition of Dutch architecture.
Koder house, Cochin, IndiaKoder house, Cochin, India
Tastefully designed rooms and suites blend the traditional with the modern to provide comfort and luxury to the traveler. Each suite has its own distinctive style and decor and comprises a bedroom, desk, television, large dressing/lounging area and luxurious bathroom with a spa bath and separate shower cubicle. Four of the six suites also have
a balcony overlooking the Chinese fishing nets.Koder house, Cochin, India
Koder House not only offers luxurious stay options but also serves excellent cuisine from teh restaurant Menorah, which continues to offer authentic Jewish cuisine. Traditional Kerala, Indian and continental cuisine is also served here with some traditional recipies traced down from local families.  Their signature dishes Malabar Fish Curry, Meen Pollichathu,  Alleppey Prawn curry and Mixe Grill Seafood Platter are worth the fame.
For relaxation and rejuvenation one can enjoy treatment at Serena Spa or do few laps in the swimming pool. At the sundown, one can enjoy cocktails in Bear and Wine Lounge and for the book minded there is a well stocked Library for browsing.
Koder House Tower Road, Fort Kochi Phone : 0484 2218485 / 2217988. Email:
Old Harbour Hotel
A charming heritage boutique hotel opposite the piazza is a 300 years old Dutch-Portuguese mansion , which functioned as residence for employees of English tea-broking firm and later a hotel for traders. This old mansion was restored into a hotel of style and leisure, keeping the original façade and architectural elements intact, to bring alive the old hotel of previous sea- farers. While restoring the building preservation of the building and its natural surroundings were kept intact. This boutique hotel offers a comfortable blend of luxury, style, heritage and tradition to discerning traveler. oldharbourhotel
Exterior view of the Old Harbour Hotel
The hotel has thirteen spacious lofty celing rooms,  each named after the old street names of Cochin. Each rooms opens into the luxuriant courtyard or faces the piazza.  The furnitures are a mix if traditional and modern with all modcons in each room. The garden cottages with a verandah, private lily pool and open sky shower is a high point here.
Old Harbour Hotel
oldharbourhotelInner Courtyard view
We also have a large garden with a swimming pool as well as a stage for cultural performances, all of it set amidst plenty of natural green. For the comfort of our guests, there is an Ayurvedic spa and a large open-air terrace. We are aware that our guests are special and to ensure this, care has been paid to organic soaps and lotions in the bathrooms, comfortable robes and slippers as well as plenty of bottled water.
oldharbourhotelLuxurious and spacious room
oldharbourhotelArcaded Dining Hall serves organically grown vegetables, high quality meats, freshest cath of fish and crusticans. Seafood is served in barbeque menu at dinner time in the courtyard garden. 
Facilities: Swimming pool, spa, fine dining.
Tariff: Ranges between Indian Rupee 9500 to 16000- depending on the room type and season
Old Harbour Hotel 1/328, Tower Road, Fort Kochi Phone : 0484-2218006, Mobile: 09847029000
Tea Bungalow
Tea Bungalow celebrates its one century of its existence in 2012. Built by United Carpets, the famous British firm engaged in soir and spice trade to function as its office-cum-workshop. It changed hands in 1956 when Brooke Bond, the tea company bought it and christened it Brooke Bond Bungalow. Restored to perfection with blend of the colonial heritage and modern facilities, Tea Bungalow offers ten spacious en-suite rooms ecah named after a port involved in spice and tea trade. The rooms are named Cochin, Zanzibar, Galle, Mombasa, Muscat, Malacca, Mauritius, Cambay, Goa and Calicut and offers a tranquil place to step away for a while. Spotlessly clean, the bedrooms are elegantly designed to exude, warmth and comfort and an ineffable sense of quiet luxury.

Ornate carved wooden doors, simple elegance of each room, exquisite paintings on the
wall are charming additions. The wide verandahs with broad comfortable armchairs
and teapoys are great spots to idle away time.
Café du Mahé is a multi-cuisine restaurant which serves Indian, Kerala and
Continental cuisine. The elegant dining area with exquisite tableware and s
oothing lighting opens onto the garden. Some tables are also set up al fresco near the
The Garden is the perfect foil for Tea Bungalow, enhancing its calm serenity.
One can lounge on the garden chairs under a lawn umbrella or in the dappled shade
of the jackfruit, breadfruit and cinnamon trees, and enjoy the exotic shapes of the
bonsai plants. At night the cleverly lit garden is transformed into the stuff of dreams.
Multicuisine restaurant, Poolside Barbeque Lounge, Coffee Lounge,

Swimming Pool, Library
Tariff: Ranging from Rs.6,000 to Rs 10,000 depending on the room and season
Tea Bungalow      1/1901, Kunumpuram, Fort Kochi. Phone: 484 3019200. Mobile: 9388719678 9388719679. email:
Malabar House
Old Dutch mansion built in 1775 located opposite the Parade ground near Dutch cemetry has been home to the spice and tea traders over the past centuries. This is more than a highly designed heritage hotel. It is an art hotel, home of a carefully curated collection, highlighting Kerala’s composite culture as a passage between East and West. It offers flawless comfort and an excellent service.

Acquired and restored by the French husband and wife duo Joerg and Txuku, the transformation of the large white Indo-European bungalow froma decrepit mansion to being the first boutique hotel of Fort Kochi has been a remarkable journey. Best of the heritage legacy was conserved and strengthened through extensive use of traditional architectural expertise this resulted in a perfect combination of traditional appearance and modern comfort. The hotel is also home to a fine Indian art collection, which ranges from antiques to contemporary art pieces. Each of the spacious suits and rooms are elegant and luxurious.
rooms at malabar house

For fine dining experience, Malabar Junction, the signature restaurant of the hotel scores way above multistarred restaurants. Txuku personally curates the menu which is an eclectic amlagam of the traditional tastes of Kerala with Mediterranean cuisine. The "Fisherman's Dream", a snapper fish marinated in secret sauce is to die for. Bread is freshly baked in the in-house bakery under the supervision of the owners. Caramelized pineappale served with green and black pepper is the kind of dessert that I would cherish always. Divine, its wine lounge is the crossroads of tradition of South India and innovation.
fine dining at Malabar junction

Divine, its wine lounge is the crossroads of tradition of South India and innovation.
divine - the wine lounge

the experience at malabar house
Enjoy classical music or a dance performance at the patio stage, rejuvenate your soul and body at the ayurvedic spa, step into the history and culture of Fort Cochin
Facilities:Fine dining, swimming pool, spa, wine lounge,
Malabar House 1/268 - 1/269 Parade Road, Near - St Francis Church, Fort Kochi Phone: 0484 2216666
The Old Lighthouse Bristow 
The Old Lighthouse Bristow is a heritage mansion converted into a boutique hotel. Mansion with a beach front surrounded by abundant greenery while the sea waves from the Arabian ocean crash on its shore. Once residence of Sir Robert Bristow, the architect of modern Cochin port, today it offers a luxurious stay experience to traveler.
Room options are both garden facing as well as seafacing suites which offers stunning view of the Arabian sea from its ensuite balcony. There are two garden villas for that exclusive rendezvous by the sea. All rooms are spacious. Stay here provides ultimate privacy and style.  
There is a large swimming pool with a Jacuzzi and outdoor beach side seating area, while breakfast and dinner is served facing the sea.
Th hotel lobby and halls are decorated with sculptures and paintings representing the colonial heritage thus connecting the visitor with its past.
Alfresco dining can be experienced at the outdoor restaurants Bistro and Lighthouse Lounge. The Vinocean bar is well stocked for a spirited experince!  Spa Deha, the spa offers rejuvenating Ayurvedic massages, perfect foil for the jaded body.  
Facilities: Alfresco dining, Bar Lounge, swimming pool, Spa, beachside seating area,
Old Lighthouse Bristo Beach Road, Next to INS Dronacharya, Fort Kochi. Phone: 0484 3050101 / 3050102
 The Old Courtyard Hotel

The Old Courtyard Hotel, previously mansion of the Koder family of Fort Kochi. It was known as Lily Koder’s house. Jacob and Rose Kuruvinakunnel found this gem of a mansion on Pricess Street a perfect setting to start a heritage hotel.

Colonial style rooms, wher  period furnitures compliment the modern facilities, roomd adorned with the art and craft objects that were sourced from the antique heaven of Kochi. The cobbled central courtyad with a large old mango tree lends a charming touch to the atmospheric hotel. Arched arcade around the courtyard allows for plenty of light and air play.

Evenings under the tree enjoying that refreshing drink with enchanting music played by local artists is a great way to unwind after a walk through the amazing streets of Kochi.

The eight rooms located on the first floor overlooking the central courtyard and accessed through the stairs offer value for money stay options in a colonial setting. All rooms are airconditioned and have ensuite bathrooms. The King Suite is the room that one should choose if you want real luxury. The most spacious room, with lounging area, furnished with an antique 4-poster bed and antique furnitures. Exedues A typical colonial charm.

Four poster period bed

View of a Superior Room.
The restaurant in the courtyard offers refreshing dining experince. Fresh seafood catch is cooked to your liking in the fresh ingredients and spices that grow abundantly in Kerala. The cuisine on offer ranges from Kerala, Continental, Mediterranean and Asian flavours. The staff are lovely, friendly but not overbearing which make a a nice change.
Facilities: Cafe and Restaurant, Live Music in the evenings
Tariff; Ranging from Rs.2,000 to Rs.6,000 depending on the room and season visited.
The Old Courtyard Hotel Princess Street, Fort Kochi. Phone: 0484 2216302 / 2215035


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dimpy roy said...

Good list of hotels. Keep sharing post like this. The hotels in Cochin aim at providing the guests with a comfortable and hospitable stay. Whether you are travelling for leisure or business there is surely a hotel in Cochin that will meet your needs and requirements. Explore all top 3 star hotels in Cochin also.