We went to check on Zuri Kumarakom, Kerala Resort & Spa that has emerged as the choice of tour operators and guests alike for offering traditional services with a trendy touch.Kumarakom, the resort town of Kerala is situated on the banks of the 98 kilometres Vembanad Lake that further merges with backwaters and the Arabian Sea. Zuri, spread on 18 acres of lush greenery, has created a lagoon through water inlet from the lake to make most of its rooms and cottages face a water body. Pool villas face the Vembanad Lake.
Way to the yoga island, Zuri
Open high ceiling, slope roof reception area with a huge white Kathakkali dance welcome pose in the centre was beautiful and inviting. Tender coconut in a jute basket base made a perfect welcome drink as we waited at the decorative canoe boat turned reception table for quick check-in formalities. We next jumped on the buggy to be driven along the lawns and the lagoon to be taken to our cottage on the opposite side.
Sloped roof tiled cottage had a beautiful garden entrance at a good distance from the adjoining ones. A hammock tied to the coconut trees in the lawns in between was definitely inviting. Tastefully done interiors had traditional Kerala artefacts, a plush bed, rosewood work table with a chair, a comfortable wooden sofa with cushions and a big screen wall mount television. The glass door on the other side opened into the balcony with two comfortable wood chairs and a table amidst thick decorative palms overlooking the lagoon where few guests peddling the boats could be seen from afar.
The passage with luggage rack (a special steel grill to protect the bag lid when open was thoughtfully placed on the wall behind) and the wardrobe led to the huge bathroom. Large washbasin with the mirror had exclusive herbal soaps, shampoos and bath gels. The bath on the right had glass, offering a view of the private backyard, whose entry was through the shower room. Another rain shower in the open was provided in a corner of the backyard that had antique copper vessels displayed on a platform.
Food & Beverage service
Lime Tree, airy, glass panelled all day dining restaurant with a central garden and facing the lagoon had good buffet spreads for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For a la carte, Shibu Thampan, the new Executive chef with 15 years of international experience cooked and served exotic world cuisine in beautiful crockery. Appam and vegetable stew made by the local chef was tasty too. The Kalaripayattu and Mohinattam performances at Natya, the amphi theatre in front of the restaurant before dinner were professional and beautiful. Mr Thampan was working on reopening (it is open now) Lagoona Bass, the specialty seafood restaurant by the lake shores with special menu made with subtle indigenous herbs grown in the resort’s organic garden and special Kerala spices to bring-in best flavours of the fresh seafood from the lake. Specialty of Vembanad Lake is that its water turns salty with sea water for three months of the year and supports sea fish while fresh water fish thrive for rest of the year. A cigar bar next to Lagoona Bass serves all kinds of alcohol.
Maya Spa at Zuri Kuamrakom Resort & Spa
Sarat Valsraj, General Manager, Zuri Kumarakom Resort & Spa told us that their USP (Unique Selling Point) was the Maya Spa, an in-house spa of Zuri Hotels. We do agree with him, after the relaxing rejuvenation massage at the treatment rooms facing the beautiful sight of the lagoon breaking out from the lake under an artistically created bridge. 60 minute Ayurveda Abhyangam massage with a touch of marma (acupressure) loosened all our limbs and joints. “It detoxifies and helps in blood circulation” said Kartika, the spa Doctor and added that all their therapists were professionally trained and have long experience. They use their own, specifically prepared herbal oils for different massages and also offer international therapies. They have 14 treatment rooms- 4 single rooms each for men and women, 2 couple rooms and 4 different therapy rooms like stone therapy. Its popularity was evident when we tried to take an appointment and many slots were already blocked. Dr Kartika said that many guests book treatments along with the room.
The resort is popular with small meeting and incentive groups and has a 150 seater banquet hall with breakout area. Evening entertainment is organised at the open air amphitheatre.
Walking, jogging and cycling are possible along the long track passing across the resort. Morning yoga at the open air platform on the picturesque island with a guru is a calming experience available to all guests. Paddle boating and fishing is possible at the lagoon. Swimming pool set in a beautiful surrounding. Day cruises on a houseboat with lunch and snacks onboard are possible against a fee. View of the sunset by the lake while sipping coffee or tea brought co-guests together. One can play Billiards at the pool table for a small fee. Village life experience tours are available in the vicinity.
Two nights stay at the resort provided much needed relaxation amidst God’s own country’s famed nature and hospitality.
Name: Zuri Kumarakom, Kerala Resort & Spa
Rooms: 18 basic, 16 deluxe, 28 cottages and 10 pool villas
Restaurants: Lime Tree, Lagoona Bass and Cigar Bar
Price: Ranges from Rs 11,000(US$ 165) to Rs 30,000(US$450) on continental plan
Getting there: Kumarakom is 2 hours drive away from Kochi airport
Text & Photos by Anand & Madhura Katti