For our Kerala holiday, the focus was entirely on exploring the coastal side of the state. So we decided to skip the popular hill regions of Thekkady and Munar, and aimed for a road trip from Kochi to Kanyakumari and back, making pit stops along the way. While we had chosen Kumarakom for getting a taste of the backwaters, giving the famous Alleppey a miss altogether just didn’t seem right. So, we booked an overnight stay at the Lake Palace Resort here before continuing our onward journey to Trivandrum. It turned out to be the most blissfully relaxing experience in an otherwise hectic trip. Here’s what makes Lake Palace Alleppey a destination unto itself that checks all the boxes for a riveting travel experience:
Arriving at the Lake Palace Resort, Alleppey
Situated on the banks of the Vembanad Lake, the Lake Palace Resort is a tad obscure in its location. We went around in circles traversing the same roads and crossing by the same narrow canals crisscrossing the city several times over but could not find our way. A little help from the locals put us in the right direction but as we reached a deserted stretch of road, Google Maps did what it does best – misled down some village road and then ended the navigation, declaring what seemed like a paddy field as our destination.
Tired, frustrated and crankier than the toddler in tow who was giving us a hard time all along, we phoned the resort help desk, expecting they would help us with directions. The staff there was thoughtful enough to send a car to lead us to the property. This small gesture went a long way in setting the tone of what to expect from our stay at the Lake Palace Resort.
The Traditional Welcome at Lake Palace Resort, Alleppey
We were in for a pleasant surprise as we walked into the reception area of the Lake Palace Resort. There was a group of young girls dressed in yellow sarees, with thalis in their hands, waiting to receive us. They placed cute little flower garlands around our necks and applied the traditional sandalwood tilak on our foreheads. Servers stood behind them, waiting to serve us our welcome drinks, even as soft traditional music played in the background. We sipped on our drinks as we waited for the check-in formalities to be completed.
The sweet gesture was enough to dissipate all our exhaustion and set the mood right for 24 hours of unspoiled luxury that awaited us. The beige furnishing and wooden interiors of the reception area at the Lake Palace Alleppey exudes a ritzy vibe. The soft scent of sandalwood incense in the air and cushy carpeting under your feet make you instantly want to kick back and relax. If you are arriving there several detours on dusty lanes later, with the sun beating down in all its fury, chances are you wouldn’t want to leave here at all.
An Expansive Property Designed to Bowl You Over
As we hopped on the golf cart to be driven to our cottages, we were bowled by the lush green environs, the unbridled tranquillity and beauty of the Lake Palace Resort. The entire resort is dotted with immaculate laws, well-maintained trees, earthenware statues and figurines tastefully laid out across the property, topiary and flowers everywhere, and a huge artificial lake right at the heart of it all. Our cottages at the Lake Resort Alleppey, like most others, sat on the periphery of this small lake. With towering trees in the distance and grey waters beneath our feet, these certainly were rooms with a view.
The cottages are built on a slightly elevated wooden platform that also serves a sitting deck on three sides. Sitting on these wooden deck surrounding the cottages, you can see little fish swimming about and birds hovering over in the hope of catching prey. We spent the afternoon lazying around in our room, enjoying some chatter over tea, as we waited for our lunch to arrive. A blissful siesta was the natural order after a sumptuous meal and what had been a rather tiring journey.
An Evening of Water Activities
From Ayurvedic massages to houseboat rides, speedboats, swimming pool and even a special class in pottery making, there was just so much to do in one evening. We eliminated the Ayurvedic massage and houseboats, having savoured these experiences just a day before at Kumarakom. The speedboat ride on the Vembanad Lake by the Lake Palace Resort was an exhilarating experience, giving us some energising adrenaline rush. The cool breeze in our hair, water forming ripples underneath and tiny droplets escaping to land on our faces, the brief ride was as refreshing as it gets. The serendipity of the experience certainly added to the charm.
Back from our speedboat ride, we headed straight for the pool where we spent a better part of the evening splashing about and playing ball. It had been an unbearably hot and humid day, and as is typical of coastal areas, such weather conditions are harbingers of rain. No sooner had we stepped into the pool than the sky became overcast with dark clouds, and the already pleasant evening breeze took on a cooler tone. In no time, a soft drizzle descended upon us. If you love water as I do, there are few things as revitalising as swimming in the rain. Talk about having your cake and eating it too!
Dining Amid the Patter of Raindrop
By the time we returned to our rooms and freshened up, an unexpected spell of lashing rain had descended upon the place. We requested for our dinner to be arranged in our room and the room service staff went a step further to arrange a nice table on the wooden deck of our cottage. The quiet candlelit dinner with the constant patter of raindrops and a pleasant breeze for a company was the perfect way to round off this perfect day.
The state’s cuisine is a delight for non-vegetarians. With easy access to fresh seafood and a variety of meats, you just cannot run out of options to try. For dinner, we settled for a coconut-based fish curry, a fiery mutton delicacy, and some Kerala parantha to go with it. The delicate taste of that fish curry was in perfect contrast to the hotness of that mutton preparation. Although seafood and red meat are hardly complimentary, the combination worked oddly well together. The meal had us licking our plates and fingers clean.
Kicking Off the Day with Pottery Making
The Lake Palace Resort also runs a pottery workshop for its guests and I reserved a spot for myself for early next morning. Starting off the day trying to mould the clay into fine designs and failing miserably was therapeutic in its own right. I watched like an awestruck child as the skilled potters shaped lumps of wet clay into pots and decor items with intricate shapes and designs. My own performance at pottery making was rather dismal.
As I watched lumps of wet clay slip out of my hands and land on the floor with a thud just as they began to take shape, any hopes of taking this up in full earnest were dashed to the ground too. I had imagined moulding amorphous chunks of clay into definitive shapes and forms would be cathartic and satisfying. And it was so long as the skilled potter did my bidding. When it came to trying my hand at it, pottery making turned out to be more frustrating than therapeutic.
All Set to Hit the Road Again
Just like that, it was a wrap on our brief yet memorable stay at the Lake Palace Resort. We prepared to head out but not before we had helped ourselves to the sumptuous breakfast buffet spread. From English to South Indian and North Indian breakfast on the menu, it certainly did make for a lavish fare. Spoilt for choice, we all headed for our preferred cuisines. Sausages, muffins, scrambled eggs, idli, uttapam and sambhar, aloo parantha, chhole bhature, we came back with a table full of assorted delicacies, each done to perfection. A round of filter coffee to add that finishing touch to a hearty breakfast and we were ready to hit the road again with full tummies and hearts.
This quiet comfort and luxury of the Lake Palace Resort stay with you for a long time. If you are planning a trip to Alleppey, I totally recommend booking yourself a stay here.