There must be no better hotel for an historian, cricketer and foodie such as my other half.
Fort Cochin itself is the oldest European settlement in India, a melting pot of diverse cultures, with mini test matches being played by aspiring young Tendulkars on every available patch of green and food that sets the mouth salivating at 50 paces.
After a sluggish early morning taxi journey from the airport through the teeming outskirts of Cochin city, we criss-crossed bridges over numerous, tranquil inland waterways finally arriving in the extraordinary time warp that is Fort Cochin.
Bed space above this is simply a wastage. We have grown very well since then and Furniturekraft is one of our first suppliers we started with. You may place the furniture at your bedrooms, but it should be used by your family members, not others.
Influences of all these settlers, together Arabian and Jewish traces, are clearly apparent as you drive through the city. The hotelier behind Brunton, the renowned Keralan hotel group CGH Earth, specialises in restoring traditional Keralan properties into eco-friendly luxury hotels while maintaining the original character and atmosphere of each location.
Traditional punkah fans hanging from the ceiling, cool the overheated guests, and we were handed a thirst-quenching glass of fresh pomegranate and cinnamon juice before being taken to our suite past the lush, foliage-filled inner garden. Inside, our room had been treated with just as much attention to detail as the rest of the hotel. The spacious, high-ceilinged room was furnished with heavy teak furniture, the piece de resistance of which was a huge antique four-poster bed so high it needed steps to reach it.
The antique furnishings are complemented by state-of-the-art en suite bathrooms and in our case, a walk-in power shower. Another delicious touch was a huge bowl of fresh fruit sitting temptingly on the table, the scent of which made our room sweetly fragrant throughout our stay at Brunton.
Having taken a dip in the delicious riverside pool and ordered ice-cold Kingfisher beers to cool off it is seriously hot in Kerala in spring it was time for some sustenance. It proved the best meal that we would have in a whole two weeks of good lunches in Kerala, and we devoured a tasty seafood thali, the tastes and colours of which I can still remember now.
While there are rickshaws aplenty vying for tourist trade, we decided to take Brunton up on its offer of bicycles to borrow to explore the town. It was all that this pair of tourists could hope for from a cycle tour of Cochin. Bicycling in the early evening Keralan heat meant that we soon needed to put that mighty shower into action and, once dressed, we descended to the colonial Armoury Bar for cocktails mixed with exotic fresh fruits.
Having sipped our way through several decidedly un-Indian but nevertheless excellent Mojitos, food was in order and, naturally, we craved curry.
Famous Keralan chef Jerry Matthews presides over the History restaurant and has created a great variety of fusion dishes. Sadly a passing rainstorm prevents us from sitting outside on the terrace, but we discovered the indoor dining room is fun, the service top-class and the food sublime — my fish curry hit the spot in fieriness and taste.
Mr Smith saluted me for our chosen stay — Brunton Boathouse is the perfect hotel from where to explore this historical Keralan hub. Grown up, polite, comfortable and with superb food and service, I suspect Geo Brunton himself looks down with pride at how the very best standards of the Empire are being maintained well into the 21st century.
We loved The staff! Such attention to detail and personal service. Made us feel very special from start to finish. Especially with the personal service of the staff who know you by name from the start, it's really a no-brainer to eat every night in the hotel.
No need to go anywhere else that's saying a lot coming from this food lover. There was plenty to keep me intrigued and wanting to sample during my 3 night stay. Laundry service was perfect. We also really loved the commitment to ecologically friendly services.
The soap smelled great, too! The hotel will give you a map with all sorts of local sites. These are excellent suggestions. There is such a rich local and international history in Kochi to explore. Ask for a discount if you buy more than 1 item. A half-day tour of the backwaters is highly recommended. I think more than a half day would feel quite long.
There is a small spa on site which is lovely, but more in the therapeutic, minimalist, traditional style. Really great for a massage after a long day of touring, but don't expect to spend all day in the spa getting service after service. Unless you're a sure-footed, intrepid urban explorer, plan to book a taxi or tuk tuk from door to door for touring around town. You can stroll along some streets further into the city e.
It's an oasis unto itself.
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